Alrighty then. Here's a story that I had in storage (and no, I'm not going to go through and indent every paragraph):
The Dynami Hive had to be one of the more technologically advanced constructs in the world, the level of knowledge that was required to build it had to rival that of the Drakel, or perhaps in some areas it exceeded them. Tons of metal, crafted and built to serve as a base for operations for the Dynamo, it floated high above the ground with anti-gravitational devices, offering protection and an edge in battle. They rarely had had to prove that fact to assaulting forces, but despite that, as sentient as humans and other advanced races of Lore they also were an insectoid-race. They lived for their Queen, and if necessary, they died for the Queen and the Hive. Any threat against the Hive was answered with en masse attack, leaving foes in disorder by the suicidal rage of the defenders who were driven forward by the sound of storm they attracted above as the ground was showered by lightning from within them.
It was a marvelous place, and walking the halls of metal was an awe-inspiring experience. As a base to a clan of Paxia, there were a few members of other races there other than the Dynamo. These were people accepted into the clan, but only a few of them actually lived there. Now, three people were walking through the base towards a destination meant only for them to see.
It had only been a few days before that two of them had been confronted with a matter of utmost delicacy, and secrecy. Even while human, what was being asked of them would give them the same duties that the Dynamo had, to protect and if necessarily, die for something. What that something was, would soon be revealed to them.
The one leading them on, was an old man, sixty-two years old now, with gray thinning hair and a pair of glasses that he kept on to grant his failing eyes the last shreds of vision that they still could deliver. The other male, a youngster in his early twenties, knew who this old man was. He was the Caretaker, that’s what the young man had heard; it was the only name the Caretaker was ever referred to as.
The young man’s name was Etless Scho, he was the epitome of youth. Strong body, a healthy complexion, brown hair which would not show signs of aging for decades to come. And for over a year now, he had been a part of Dynami. It was the wonders of the very place he now was walking in which had entranced him before, and being accepted into the clan had filled his heart with child-like joy. It had taken him weeks to even see all that the clan’s base held within, save of course the areas which were off-limits for all but the Dynamo and a select few. All in good time, he had thought. And now it seemed that time had come.
The other was a young woman, not much younger than he was, she too had sought to be a part of the clan and had been accepted, although a few months later than he had. He did not really know her that well, save for a few short conversations in the past where he had learned her name. Elina. He had not asked if it was her first or surname, seeing how she kept to herself more than conversed with others. She was a difficult person to have a conversation with. The only other thing that he had learned, was that she was very careful about her red hair. She always kept it at shoulder-length. He didn’t remember a single time that it had been any longer, or shorter.
Their journey through the clan base had gone well beyond the normal limits of access for the two of them. The old man was leading them on ever deeper, through numerous hallways, sealed doors which required access codes, and now even for him to place his palm on a device on the wall. The further they went, the stricter the entrance requirements became, it seemed. Obviously the Dynami were past the stage where the strictest entry requirement for a door was a magical spell, or a set of words.
“It won’t be long now.”
The old man spoke to them without turning back, instead looking at the opening doors and walking through. The whole journey that had begun a few days ago was still as much of a mystery than it was when two members of the Dynamo had approached them, and told them that after much discussion and careful consideration that the two of them had been selected for a task so important that an opportunity like it would never represent itself to them again in their entire lives. Of course both of them had agreed, even when they had only so few details. Only the place to be, where the Caretaker had been waiting for them. The old man had not told them anything new when they met him, instead he began to lead them through the Hive.
“One last door.”
The old man was the only one who had spoken anything the whole time they had spent walking, while Etless simply couldn’t think of words to say, he felt as nervous as Elina seemed to be. Neither of them knew what lay ahead, and what all the secrecy was for.
The old man stood in front of the wall and a machine scanned his face, a beam of light focusing on his eyes. A few beeps later the final doors began to slide open and the old man turned to face the two quiet followers behind him, who now aimed quick peers through the door to see what was inside.
“I’m sorry it has been like this, no one telling you anything, but believe me when I say that it comes with a reason. Now, both of you, I welcome you to the heart, and the most well-kept area of the Hive.”
“Welcome to The Archives.”
The Caretaker led them on again and as they passed to a hallway unlike the others they had been to, the doors behind them closed. A gasp escaped Elina, and even Etless was forced to mutter his surprise under his breath from what he saw.
The hallway had windows giving view into a large hall which’s floor was dozens of meters below them. Numerous Dynamo could be seen working there, but it was not on their normal Hive-related duties. They were working around machinery unlike anything they had seen in the Hive, vehicles, bipedal and what had to be machines and tools for war. The whole sight was as if seeing an army preparing for war.
The old man raised his hand as if to silence Etless as he opened his mouth the first time to ask questions, a number of them.
“I will tell you in full detail when we reach our destination. Please, this way.”
They did not get far before it was Elina who spoke her first words. They were the same that Etless would have asked the Caretaker. But her question he did answer.
“What is that place?”
“Just a research room, one of many. If you think that was amazing, just wait until I am done explaining the situation in full detail.”
The Caretaker’s answer was enough for the two of them at the moment although now there was another question in its place. What were they researching exactly? There was something familiar about the machines down below that Etless could not quite figure out. It was as if he had seen something like it in the past, but it was impossible. Nothing like the things below them could exist, outside of the Hive of course. But despite his reassurances the feeling stayed.
With the Caretaker leading them they passed several other research areas, some as large as the one they had first passed, others had been rooms that were connected directly to the hallway. In them, items both large and small were being studied carefully by the Dynamo within. Finally they reached the end of the line, to a sturdy door that looked like it had been built simply to last. Guarding it were two Dynamo, hovering above the ground, they slowly turned to face the three approaching them, and the door they were guarding.
“It’s alright, they are with me.”
Silent, the Dynamo looked at the Caretaker before slowly turning to face down the hallway again. They were warrior drones, unlike workers of the Hive who were fully able to talk with each other and others the warriors were unable to communicate with anyone but the Dynamo and lived only for a singular purpose of protecting the Hive. These two however were special, stationed there to protect that one spot. The door slowly began to slide to the side and as the Caretaker walked in so did Etless and Elina, both stopping briefly to make sure the warriors would not do anything sudden. They did not for now the two of them were of no concern for the guards.
Lights turned on one at a time in the room the Caretaker entered, and as the room became fully lighted the door behind them closed. Raised on pedestals were numerous things, some of them armor, others were weapons of different sort, swords, guns very much alike the ones Drakel used, and there were many things that one could not even dare to guess what they were. All of them were behind sturdy glass that concealed them within as if to protect them from thieves, or perhaps, others from them, for all of the objects were horrifying to the human mind. It was as if the designers of the items had only the aspect of instilling fear on their mind, alien faces, spikes, engraved eyes were present on all of them, they menaced with agony and horror, mouths were forever screaming silently. It was a technological horror show.
The Caretaker clapped his hands together, breaking the trance the two had fallen into as they gazed on the things that were surrounding them.
“Right, let us get started on your initiation. This place, the heart of the Archive, is the sole reason the Hive was built so many years ago.”
“What are these things?”
Etless was walking around a case of body-armor, looking at it with the eyes of a curious child. He saw his own reflection looking back at him from the armor’s gleaming surface. It was as if the entire set was made of obsidian, or at least a material very similar to it.
“Artifacts left behind by a horrible enemy which disappeared many, many years ago. Whether defeated, or driven away that we still do not know. But they did exist, that is for certain, and what they used to wage war with have been scattered across this world. The first of their creations was discovered well over a century ago, here in Paxia, in one of the caves that the Dynamo used during those days to live within. They were curious of course, horrified, but curious, of the technology that was so far ahead of all the races of Lore. In time they found other such items of the same nature, some on Paxia, others, on the mainland and beyond. While it took years to even achieve a level of understanding to allow the basic of functions of the items, eventually they were able to use them with complete control.”
The Caretaker turned around at a case which withheld a cannon, it was small enough to carry with your arms with ease, at least that was how it seemed.
“Of course, most of the items the Dynamo found were weapons. Horrible, horrible weapons. They thought long and hard what they should do with them, destroy them for the good of Lore, or save them for the future in case of an another Great War. Eventually, they came in terms with the latter of choices, horrible as the weapons were, they were too valuable to simply destroy. Of course in time the Dynamo had found and reclaimed within their lairs so many of the items that it was becoming dangerous to even hide and protect them . At the time, their knowledge of the technology was so far already that they began to build the ultimate fortress to hold the items in. That fortress is the Hive.”
The Caretaker paused, from the look of the faces of Etless and Elina, they needed a bit of time to let all that sink in.
“So, the makers of these things, were they from Lore?”
The Caretaker shook his head.
“No, they did not come from Lore, but from beyond the stars. We have been unable to find conclusive data of their point of origin. The few things we do know of them was their insatiable thirst for conquest but why eludes us as well.”
Elina was wandering around just as curious as Etless was, she had pressed herself hard for her mind to be able to capture everything around her, and what was being told by the Caretaker. Amidst all that, she asked him a question of her own.
“Where have you learned all that?”
“Of the creators of the items? Among the things that the Dynamo have found during the years, there have been a few data-devices. It took decades to get them open, but after the first one cracked by our efforts, the others followed soon after. However, most of the data within them was not very useful to us.”
“What was in them?”
“Stories. Journals of soldiers past, a single letter home by someone, to his or her family. There were a few technical blueprints and manuals to some of the devices we have, and for a few that we still have not found during our search around the world.”
“You’re still looking for them?”
“Of course. If forces of evil would get their hands on even one of the items left behind by their creators, the results would be devastating. Our agents journey across the world, hunting after stories, rumors of strange things being sold by gravehunters or your average street peddler. Their task is to find the items, obtain them and send them back to the Hive for study and confirmation whether or not it is one of the items we are looking for. Most of the times they send us back simply foreign items that originate from Lore, but every once in a while, they actually do find an item, or simply information of the location of larger items, that require a team to extract.”
“So you know how many items there are out there?”
The Caretaker chuckled.
“We do not have the slightest of clue. All of the items have long since de-activated or drained the last of their power source. We are forced to look for them with our own eyes and ears.”
“What about the cannons which activated and began bombarding Paxia?”
Elina’s question cut at the Caretaker like a knife. He kept a polite smile, but she had hit a nerve.
“Embarrassing as it is to admit, you are right. After all this time, we were unable to find them even when they were basically in front of our eyes. After their destruction, we secretly obtained a few of the destroyed cannons and studied them, and from what we have come to understand, they… They are special. The material they are built from seems to have been actually able to convert solar energy for power, keeping the machine fed with enough power to stay in stand-by mode. And for the reason we were unable to find them, we found the remains of a cloaking device within one of them. Apparently, we theorized, while in stand-by mode, most of the energy was being directed for the cloak, that rendered the machine unseen.”
“So that’s why no one ever found them until they began to fire.”
“Yes, exactly. Since they were located in the extreme locations as they were, chances of anyone finding them even by accident were slim to none. It was simple bad luck that they stayed undiscovered as long as they did.”
Finally Etless thought of having seeing enough, and asked the question which he had not had a moment to ask.
“So, what were they called? The creators, I mean.”
“From what we were able to translate, they referred to themselves as the Shadowscythe.”
“How appropriate of a name with a taste of design like this.”
Hearing Elina’s comment on the Shadowscythe amused the Caretaker, and at the same time, gave a sense of relief. Both of them were reacting relatively calmly having been shown, and told, what was the greatest secret of the Dynami. Truly, they were the best of candidates that had been selected.
“Yes, I must agree with you, the first weeks after I began to work here I had nightmares of a pair of earrings. They sang to me in those dreams, terrible songs. Then again, later we found out that they were a torture device meant to read the mind of the person they were on while inflicting searing pain. The whole experience taught me to never do anything unnecessary with any of the items which are here.”
“So, if the other rooms were for research what is this one for? Storage?”
“Something like that, yes. The other research rooms are for studying and understanding how the items work, there are a number of storage rooms such as this one, but this one has a very specific purpose. In here, are stored the most dangerous of items. It is heavily guarded of course, and I am the only one with access, besides the Dynamo of course. Even if someone was able to infiltrate the Hive, they would have to pass hundreds of workers and soldiers, and cut through dozens of locked hallways in order to get here and I guarantee you, none who tried would survive.”
The Caretaker paused again, his heart had begun to race towards the end of that description. Suddenly his eyes gleamed, as if he thought of something.
“Here, follow me, I’ll show you something.”
The Caretaker led them to a most curious of sights. A three-pronged pedestal stood tall, powering a bubble of electricity above it, which held a single object. It was a gauntlet, made of the same black gleaming metal as all the other items. It had claws with which anyone would have been easily able to rend flesh, and just like the other items, this too was adorned with one of those terrifying designs. A long alien face, teeth bent outwards, frozen in a scream of anger and pain.
“I wouldn’t advice touching the field. It would kill you instantly.”
The Caretaker’s advice was heard, even when the two of them were again captivated by the thing in front of them.
“What is it?”
“That, is the most valuable, the most dangerous of items that we have found, and hopefully will ever found. We gave it the name Hand of God.”
“That’s quite a name. What does it do then? Raise the dead?”
“No, that is for other devices. This gauntlet, is a Mana-control device. Anyone wearing it would be able to dispel any magical attack thrown at them, or to gather all Mana within an area to a single spot, condense it, and release all the energy in a massive explosion. It would give anyone, even the most poorest of Magic user’s skill and power that would rival and even exceed the greatest of Archmages. There are numerous uses for it as long as it has Mana to control. In a world like ours, with an abundance of magical power, this item is too dangerous for use and it’s kept sealed here, possibly forever. In case you wonder, it’s destruction has been suggested but it’s Mana-controlling abilities could be of use if used for the purposes of good helping others instead of causing destruction as it was originally made. It is, like everything else here, too valuable to destroy.”
“Why are you telling us all of this?”
Elina was again there with her sudden questions.
“The Dynamo have decided that a new Caretaker is in place. It has been a topic for many years now, but they have been reluctant to reveal this secret to anyone else until now. I’m growing old, and I’m not getting any younger. They need someone outside of Dynamo to act as the Caretaker, as preparation for the day when we can finally use what we have for the good of the world.”
“And if we would say no?”
The Caretaker took a deep breath.
“I’m afraid we would be forced to wipe your memory of these past few days. You would never know you would have been taken here, and would never be able to remember what is in here.”
The Caretaker was quick to continue his sentence, as he felt it needed something to back up such extreme measures.
“I’m sure you understand just why we would be forced to act accordingly. We can’t let anyone unintended to know what we have here in the Hive. It would attract unneeded attention, and after the whole incident with the cannons… The other clans might see it as if we were responsible for the attack.”
“So you are just going to keep everything here a secret to the world?”
Elina’s question was something that the Caretaker himself had thought of many times in the past. The simple answer for it was a nod, but he still answered in more detail.
“Yes, what we have here, when revealed, would change Lore forever, for the better or worse. We have to carefully think when a time to reveal all of this comes, but as of now… It is too early. The world is not ready just yet. I don’t think even we are ready for such a change. So much is still unknown, so many questions… We just might have to destroy all of these in the end, who knows?”
For Etless, it made sense. The world would change when it would learn the secrets that the Dynamo already knew. The way wars were fought would change forever with the help of this technology and even to think how much the average way of life of people would change in an instant was too much. It would be a shock for a lot of people, probably for even him despite being right in the middle of it. Apparently Elina was not as deep in thought over everything, or then she was able to wade her way through the whole situation calmly and rationally, for she asked again a question from the Caretaker.
“Do you want our answer right now?”
“No, heavens not. This is not a light decision; I hope you understand that if you would agree to become the next Caretaker, you would be bound to the Hive for the rest of your life. The Dynamo require someone willing to dedicate their entire being for this cause, of course you would be looked after and taken care, your every whim in accommodation would be fulfilled, it would be an easy life but with great responsibility. It would take years even to understand everything we already have, not to mention what items are still out there.”
The Caretaker obviously cared for his work, everything he had spoken of it had been with great compassion and enthusiasm that was rare in men his age. Other men his age would have retired by now, spending time in taverns and drinking what remained of his liver to ruin, but here he was, tending to mysteries that would silence even the most world-seen adventurer. The tour however was over, as the Caretaker explained, for there still was much work for him to do, and he had already taken too long with their introduction. He led them out to a pair of Dynamo warriors that had arrived as escorts to their quarters. They would be given two days to think about their answer, and during that time, they could not leave the Hive, and of course, talking to anyone else what they had seen was strictly prohibited. They could travel freely within the base, but leaving with what they now knew was not an option. But the last thing the Caretaker said, was something that hit both Etless and Elina hard.
There could only be one Caretaker. The Dynamo had been adamant about that, it was deemed too risky to have more than one, and even if both of them would be willing to take the task, only one would be chosen by the Dynamo. The other would undergo the memory wipe, and would be none the wiser about the secrets within the Hive.
Night time arrived, but within his room it was impossible to say whether it was day or night. Only the clock within told what time it was, but at the moment it didn’t matter. He could not sleep. There was no room for it in him, he was furious in thought. Was he really ready for something like this? A part of him was screaming that he was ready, that he wanted to know more, that he wanted to know everything there was about the items, their secrets, and the Shadowscythe.
But another part was indecisive, and it was responsible for keeping him awake. Could he really abandon his life in the outside for the one that the Dynamo would grant? He had always been a traveler in heart, settling for as long as he had in the Dynami was already proving hard, there still was so much he would have wanted to see and do, and that was a problem. The scholar and adventurer within him were in battle, one wished to stay and learn, while the other to leave and travel, even if meant a memory wipe. Maybe it would be easier to just have your memory erased, for right now the things he knew, weighed as much as the entire world upon him.
He closed his eyes, for even with his internal conflict, fatigue was coming down upon him. He wanted to sleep, and think this through with a fresh mind the first thing tomorrow. But not even a hour would pass before he would be for a rude awakening.
The Dynamo guards outside the storage room which had seen three human visitors earlier, were as composed as ever. They hovered still, their senses sharpened to the edge, no sound or movement could have escaped them before being noticed, reported, and acted accordingly depending on the level of threat they would decide on. Yet, what would happen in the next few moments would be too fast for even them.
Above them, through the roof of the floor they were on, spanned a large network of ventilation shafts. It was necessary in a closed environment as theirs, of course it was too small for any thief to crawl through, even through the widest of parts only a child could have crawled forward and even then they would have been stopped by the shrinking pathways that air was travelling through. Even so, it was not impenetrable.
Metal bent instantly as something above the guards forced its way through with immense force and speed. There was no time for them to react, even to look up what in the next moment would kill both of them. A crude description, one based on a quick glimpse at what burst from the ventilation shafts, would be a metal spider. However, they lacked a second body part that spiders had; their body was but one sphere with four metal legs on the side for travelling across surfaces. Of course it was not enough for an instant kill, but the blade that they had below their bodies was long and sharp enough for the task.
It took them only a second to pierce through the shaft, and embed the blades through the brains of the two Dynamo guards, who both fell to the floor. It had been instant death for both of them. What had killed them were trap-devices that the Shadowscythe had built and placed within protected areas, they detected life signs that came too close to the area they were planted in, and if the scans showed a lifeform other than Shadowscythe, they would speed through the air faster than any arrow, always aiming for the brain of the creature.
However, a quick reprogramming would turn them from traps to conventional weapons, going as far as giving them specific commands, which in this case was to kill the two guards.
Not far from them, a panel in the wall was kicked open from the inside. Nothing however came to view, the only sound was the panel falling on the floor. And in the next moment, someone appeared from nowhere to the hallway.
It was Elina. Her body was trembling, she took long gasps of air in and out, with a face as pale as she had seen a ghost. The reasons for her behavior were obvious, she had just killed. She had never taken a life before and even with all the time she had prepared herself for the situation, it was nowhere close to reality. And she had killed two at once.
The sound of alarm that was heard around the Hive snapped her out of her shocked self, and replaced with a hasty, yet calm efficiency towards the goal she was there for. She took out a small handheld device from her pocket, and connected three cords to a terminal that was hidden behind a panel in the wall. She knew exactly what she was looking for, and how she was to get it. It took her fifteen seconds to get the door to the storage open.
It was the alarm which snapped Etless awake, not to mention all the commotion outside his room. Opening the door he saw were numerous Dynamo and other members of the clan, human and other races, running through the hallways, geared for combat. He stopped one of them at random.
“Hey, what’s going on?”
“They say there’s a thief in the Hive. Every exit has been ordered to be closed. Whatever he stole, must’ve been important.”
As the person ran towards his post, a horrible feeling took over Etless. A thief and a complete lockdown of the Hive. There was but one thing that he could think of which would mean such drastic actions. He began running as well, not towards the exits of the Hive, but towards the Hive, where the Caretaker had taken him and Elina. He prayed that he was wrong.
He had no problems getting there, the few Dynamo he saw on his way passed him on their way to protect the exits and ensure that no one would get away. The doors which had previously been sealed were now wide open. Only when he reached the door which led to the first research room, did he see that it was closed, and outside, were four Dynamo along the Caretaker. The old man noticed Etless as he got closer, and what image he had given of a calm and friendly old man, was now gone. It was replaced with anger and confusion.
“What are you doing here!?”
“I heard there’s a thief, and-“
“Yes there is a thief! And they’ve locked us out.”
“I’m as surprised as you are, damn it! Somehow, someone has been able to breach the door to the storage, and lock all the doors connecting of three hallways towards it!”
“How is that possible?!”
The Caretaker bit his lip, carefully thinking if he should answer. But seeing as Etless could be the next Caretaker, and he would eventually find out even if he would not be told by anyone, the old man answered him.
“The Hive was made by reverse-engineering Shadowscythe technology. It’s not perfect, so if anyone had control devices that the Shadowscythe made, it technically is possible to override the security protocols that we placed and input their own protocols.”
“I thought only the Dynamo knew of the Shadowscythe and their artifacts.”
“Well, so did I! You learn something new every day, even when you get as old as I do!”
The Dynamo were hard at work at opening the door, for them, mental control of the devices within the Hive was possible with low energy currents, it was the same as if a human was pressing on keys in the panels, without the hands. But it was no use. One of the Dynamo said that it would still take a long time to break through the lockdown order that had been granted, ten, maybe fifteen minutes, and that was just for this one door. If the thief was as smart as he was, and he had access to Shadowscythe tech, it was a possibility that all doors had been given different lockdown codes and each would have to be solved separately.
“How did they get in, did they go through where we did or-“
“I don’t know! No, they didn’t! There is always a number of Dynamo within the research rooms through the day, not to mention the guards to the storage. Anyone walking through the hallways would have been noticed dozen times over, and if it was anyone unintended we wouldn’t have this conversation right now!”
Etless was helpless in the situation, as was the Caretaker who could only watch the Dynamo attempt at cracking the code. The thief had gotten into the storage room, and somehow had been able to pass all those Dynami. But how is that possible? Finally, a thought hit him and he said it out loud.
“What about outside? Is there any way they could have come in from there?”
The old man snapped his fingers, and pointed at Etless.
The Caretaker left the Dynamo at work as he began running the opposite direction from the storage room.
“There are a number of repair tunnels around the Hive, which go through the interior, and the exterior!”
He stopped in front one of the walls, and pulled off a panel in the wall. He crouched over as Etless arrived, and the young man got down as well. What he saw behind the panel, was a ladder and a small pathway.
“But you couldn’t find these unless you knew where they were. I doubt that anyone but you, me and the Dynamo know of their existence. Well, us and the thief. And if what I think is true, we are in the worst possible situation.”
“What is the worst possible situation?”
“That the thief is one of Dynami. Here, take this.”
The Caretaker reached for the inside of his jacket, and pulled out something which he passed on to Etless. It was a gun.
“What do you want me to do with this?”
“Use it. Whatever the thief broke in for, we can’t let escape the Hive, no matter what.”
The cold in the old man’s voice told enough for Etless, to protect the Hive, and its secrets, required extreme measures. It was shoot to kill with this thief, no other option at least in the old man’s opinion. The Caretaker went inside the pathway, and began climbing up, Etless following right after him. Digging a small device from his pocket, the Caretaker clicked on the end of it and began speaking.
“We have reason to believe that the thief knows of the repair tunnels. Warriors should be stationed around the entrances outside the Hive, and see if we can go past the doors that the thief locked down.”
The Dynamo however, were already on their way through the repair tunnels, six warriors in fact through the very same which the thief had used to enter. It was a narrow path for them, but they went through faster than a human could climb, levitating barely above the walls surrounding them, they slid through the air with grace that only they could pull off in the tunnels.
They exited the tunnel, and one by one, the warriors made it to the hallway where their two brethren lay dead, and saw that the door to the storage was left wide open. The thief had bothered only to close the doors before it. With their squad assembled, they charged the room in pairs.
The pain was the only thing that Elina could think of, it was the only thing she could feel. It pass over her body in waves as she held her right hand tight. Something within her was moving, something horrible, but at the same time, it felt so good. She was leaning on a wall when she saw the Dynamo warriors, who noticed her at the same time. She was next to the pedestal which held the Hand of God. The bubble had been deactivated; the gauntlet removed and now worn on her right hand. Droplets of blood fell from the openings in the gauntlet, staining the floor and her body red.
The Dynamo asked no questions, gave no time to explain herself before the first two gathered energy from within their body, and showered her with lightning. She screamed and held her hands outwards, in a futile effort to stop the attack.
The lightning split where it met her hand, her right hand to be exact. A deep and dark voice within her was whispering her things, telling her all the secrets, all the horrible things that it knew and was able to teach. This was just one of the first, and most basic of them. Splitting thunder like this would have been impossible had it been natural, but the Dynami created the energy within them. It was nothing more but magical power turned to electricity, and it was that magical power, the Mana, that the glove split, and as she closed her right hand, the lightning ceased to be, cracking loudly as it vanished.
Placing her other hand on the floor in an effort to raise herself, she pointed her hand to the pair of Dynami which had attacked her. The glove told her something, and she attempted just that. The Dynamo warriors exploded from within one after another, the room, other Dynamo and she were showered with their insides and pieces of carapace. Through the storm of gore, the other Dynamo warriors charged forth with no fear, the Hive had to be protected, and so did the secrets, even at the cost of their lives. It was a futile attempt, one by one they met the same fate as the others, and as the last of them exploded into fine bloody mist, Elina gathered her pained form up. Stained with blood of both Dynamo and herself she began staggering out of the storage, and towards the repair tunnel.
News traveled fast within the mental network of the Dynamo, and reached the Caretaker fast. The device he had spoken to earlier spoke now to him, apparently it was a worked both ways.
“We have identified the thief, and confirmed that she has stolen an artifact.”
“Yes. The thief is Elina. Caretaker, we cannot let her escape. She has the Hand. She used it to kill the warriors who confronted her without mercy.”
The old man only slowed down when he heard what had been stolen, but was quick to regain his pace, even climbing faster now up the stairs. Finally he reached the end of the tunnel, and climbed up, crawling through a path that would lead to another set of stairs. He shouted instructions to Etless as he went.
“Turn left into the first tunnel which splits from this one! I’ll go down this path, for if I’m right of where she will come out, we can surround her! After you turn left, just keep going straight until you get to the exit! When outside, go right, and be careful, it’s not exactly comfortable out there for us humans!”
By the time Etless had gotten to the split path to the left, the Caretaker had already vanished from sight, only sounds from ahead told that he was still going forward within the tunnel. For an old man, he was in a surprisingly good shape.
The hatch which led to the repair tunnel opened automatically as Etless approached it. He left it carefully after checking his footing. Outside was but a meter of a pathway which had been constructed, on one side was the Hive, on the other was nothing but air and a drop through several hundred meters onto the ground. A threat for humans, but the Hive had been built with the Dynamo in mind originally, they were the only ones who did the repair work around and inside the Hive.
The weather was bad, rain and wind struck against Etless as he was forced to a slow lurch on the pathway. He could barely see in front, but as thunder struck, he was granted natural sporadic lighting. A real blessing, although he hoped that it would not decide to strike the Hive the next time.
He could not think how long he had gone against the rain, wind, and constant fear of falling down to his death as he went through the narrow path with nothing to hold onto. Suddenly he thought of hearing something, and slowly he got the weapon that the Caretaker had given him, holding it tightly. He hadn’t even asked how it worked, but the moment he found the trigger, he figured all he had to do was aim and pull. No questions asked, no hard feelings. It’s just work, that’s all. All for the Hive, and so on.
The next time thunder struck, Elina and Etless saw each other. Etless was quick to point the gun at her, who was now too weak to even raise her hand to do anything to stop it. Etless knew what was at stake, with her stealing the Hand, but could not bring himself to just shoot her.
“Give it up Elina, there’s no way to go! It’s not worth dying!”
She did not answer, she could only lean against the Hive and bleed. It was a struggle for her to keep from falling down, talking to him was not a possibility. Too much distraction.
“Just give up, and let us have the Hand back. I’m sure we can still work this out.”
There was a flash of blue as something hit the pathway Elina stood on. Walls of light appeared around her as if meant to imprison her. The Caretaker shouted from behind her.
“Shoot her! That cage won’t hold for long!”
With what strength she had, Elina rammed against one of the walls surrounding her but it showed no signs of bending. They only let something in, but kept anything within them from going out. Etless still held the gun aimed at her, but could not just pull the trigger and shoot her.
“Damn it Etless! Shoot her!”
It was all that Etless could whisper, as he pulled the trigger. A shot of light went straight through Elina’s body, which wavered and vanished. The old man cursed out loud, and what Etless had thought of a killing shot, turned out to be a miss. She had vanished.
“What happened!? Where is she?”
The Caretaker closed the prison, and got the device from the ground.
“She tore open reality, and connected two places in a pathway of magic. She’s gone.”
The old man cursed out loud again as he tossed the device he held as far as he could. Then he cursed again in his mind when he realized he would have to go and get it back.
“And so is the Hand of God.”
A medical team was fast at work, raising Elina to stretchers and rushing her to the infirmary. Doctors were shouting orders as their assistants handed them over materials in perfect synchrony. She had lost a lot of blood, but they were able to stop the bleeding on her hand and transfuse new blood for her body which began to slowly stabilize. She had been awake through the entire ordeal, unable to feel anything and to hear anything but the whispers within her mind, and the dark promises of power.
As one of the doctors was examining the hand which held the gauntlet, another man entered the room she was resting in. He gave her a friendly smile, and pulled a chair to sit down on.
“Hey. Good work out there.”
Her voice was but a whisper, but she forced on a smile as well.
“What about the others?”
The man hushed her, there was no reason to exert herself too much right now.
“They will be leaving the Hive in the next few days when things calm down over there. I’m sorry that you had to go through all that,but it was the only way, you understand, right? To think that the Dynami had the Hand, there really couldn’t be a worse place to get it from.”
She only nodded as answer. The man turned his attention to the doctor examining the hand.
“How is it?”
“It has fused entirely with her hand, and is seems to be in perfect condition.”
“So… We have to remove her hand to get the gauntlet?”
Suddenly Elina was wide awake, and began to shout weakly that they were insane, no one would just go and cut her hand off for the gauntlet. She was soon silent when she felt cold steel pressing against her skin. The man sitting down had brandished a knife in such speed that she had not even seen him do so, or even bringing it down on her throat.
“We have looked long for the Hand, and now that you have it, there are only two options left. We will take it either with you, or without you. Do you understand what I mean?”
“..ye-yes, I understand.”
The man withdrew the knife, and patted Elina on the cheek a few times.
“That’s a good girl. Prepare her for the surgery.”
The man left Elina alone with the doctor, and team of medical personnel who soon entered the room to prepare her for the removal of the Hand. He was met with another man, who joined him on his walk through the cold rock hallways.
“I heard that Elina came back with the Hand.”
“Yes. Looks like she took too long with returning though, we’ll have to remove her hand to get the gauntlet.”
“I know. I wish it didn’t have to be like this, but she just doesn’t have the resolve to use it. if she did, she would not be in that state.”
Deep within Northlands, in the coldest of places where no human could live and only the hardiest of beasts roamed, a massive network of tunnels and facilities of study had been carved within a mountain. The two men leaned on a rail and watched large machines raise dust as they stomped on the floor, carrying building materials for the workers, placing built pieces in place for others to connect. All of the dark machines, and people were working on the same thing within the great hall. A massive craft was being assembled by them. Sparks flew from where people were connecting metal together, while others still struggled with the interior wirings and getting the computer of the ship working. However, even when rebuilt, it would require a key. And that key, was the Hand of God.
“It won’t be long now. They said that it would take about six months to finish fixing the hull, and placing all machinery would take another six months. The main cannons are still a concern though, the mechanics said that they have been damaged, but promised that they would at least get them to work at 50% capacity with no danger.”
“Excellent. It has been a long road, but all of our hard work will be worth it. The era of fear and conquest will soon be over.”
“It is time for peace.”