The Link

Prevailer’s most dreaded minions are bound together by a gift known as ‘the Link’.  This gift provides them with myriad advantages, and over time information as to how it functions has leaked out.

1: Linked individuals are aware of the actions and whereabouts of other members of the Link.

This doesn’t seem to be factual awareness, that is, a Fist member couldn’t tell you which room of a building another one was in.  Rather, it is the kind of awareness that you have of your arms, even when you are holding them behind your back.  You’d know what signs your fingers were making, not because you could see them or sense them in any other way, but because you’d feel the impulse to form those signs.

The Link provides, to each of its members, a low level version of this.  They know what each other are up to, in a diminished but similar way to how they know what they themselves are doing.

In the popular ‘kite’ method of visualizing souls and Ultra gifts the Linked are said to have had their souls wrapped around one another’s, and that the impulses that they are sending to their bodies sort of pollute each other’s experiences.

2: Every 24 hours the Link brings all of the team back to life, if they are dead.

They return in the same physical condition that they were the last time it ‘synced’ them up, 24 hours ago.  They retain the memories that they gained during the day.

Apparently, even while the Linked individuals are dead, the sense that the others have of them from the first benefit persists.  The deceased team member is still providing the same intent contamination to the others, and remains equally perceptible to them.  They describe the ‘location’ of the fallen as a sort of extra dimensional direction, ‘inside’ in at least 4 separate accounts.

The Link can bring the entire Fist back to life, so long as at least one member of it is still alive.  In order to destroy a Fist it would be necessary to kill every member of it, or to find some way to directly destroy the Link.

Chatter

DRex: Alright, just so we are on the record, the reason I am muting you is that she thinks that this is some kind of Ultrahuman only secret chat.  I want her perspective on the whole thing with Fourth Fist but she only speaks frankly around other Ultras, and I don’t have time to wait for the usual Ultra to Ultra gossip.

Roy: Understood.

DRex has removed Roy from the channel.

DRex has added Dragon to the channel

DRex: Hey, you receiving this alright?

Dragon: Yes, but I don’t know how that can be.  I thought we didn’t have point to point in realtime.

DRex: This is a special relay, I’ve rigged it up just for us.  The humans don’t know about, and they won’t.

Dragon: Haha.

Dragon: So what’s up?

DRex: A Fist washed up on Crete, it is your favorite people.

Dragon: 4th Fist?  U r joking.

DRex: Nope, and they say they wanna negotiate.

Dragon: AGAIN?!

DRex: Haha, yeah, so what am I in for?

Dragon: I am on my way.

DRex: NO!! Don’t get yourself in trouble.

DRex: Don’t throw away your career for these fuckers.

DRex:…

DRex: Don’t let them win.

Dragon: Ok.  I’ll stay put.

Dragon: They are ice cold killers though.  I know you aren’t as powerful as I am, so you better be really careful.

DRex: I’ve got Autumn and Reshi’s squads.

Dragon: I had people, it didn’t matter.  We got their main guy, Indulger, off of the ground.  Didn’t help.  They are animals.  Whatever assurances they give you, it just a trick to drop your guard.

DRex: The ambassador is Meghan, do you know her?

Dragon: I know a Megan, but I think it is a different one.

DRex: Ok, well, what I’m asking is what I should tell her?  The recordings on your sesesion cut out when you guys took off.  Did they have a tell or something before they jumped you?  Any warning at all?

Dragon: Nothing I can think of.  They said they wanted to give us information, but when the humans were asking them things they got all squirmy, like they didn’t want to cooperate.  I can almost respect that, it is hard sometimes to let the daggers boss me around.

DRex: Uh…

Dragon: Hey, you are the one who said they wouldn’t be seeing this.

DRex: Yeah, sorry, just not used to being able to be open about things.

Dragon:  We should have had something like this years ago.  It is so dumb how we can only talk through them.

DRex: Glad to oblige you.  But nothing more about Fourth Fist?  I am cube up in a few hours.

Dragon:  We  been through ‘don’t trust em’, and ‘they are scum’ right?  I think that’s it.

DRex: Thanks a bunch.

Dragon: Save me a slice, haha.

Dragon has left the channel.

DRex has added Roy to the channel.

Roy: Anything useful?

DRex: Well, by her description they are basically another First Fist.  Murderers and such.  But, I’m not sure I believe her.

Roy: You don’t think she is a credible witness?

DRex: I’m not sure.  She gives off a very Pantheon/Regime vibe.  If there isn’t already a forest of red flags on her file somebody has been slacking off.

Roy: Her sympathies have been noted, but she remains a potent military asset, and you know how lax the disciplinary boards are with folks like that.

DRex: Yeah, not my business.  I’ll take her warning to heart, but I’m not going to be guided by it.  I know there have been a number of more generous descriptions of this team.

Roy: Meghan has polled her contacts separately, and most of what she has heard has been good.  Consensus is presently that this is a genuine outreach.

DRex: Well, ‘Consensus’ won’t be in the room with them, but I guess I’ll take what comfort I can get.

The Eastern Front

[Sorry, this was a day late.  I got caught up in other things.]

In the land that was once known as Turkey, the fiercest battles rage.

This place, between the Black and Mediterranean Sea, has become the greatest battlefield of the New World.  It is here that the forces of the Union and the Pantheon clash directly, every year.

As the snow melts and the days grow longer the Pantheon camps send forth their progeny.  Teenagers swollen with divine power, indoctrinated with dreams of glory and given minimal training, they undertake their Pilgrimage with glad hearts.

By far the greatest number come from the heartlands of the Pantheon, from what used to be India and China.  They trudge west in endless columns, Ultras and humans, Gods and daggers.

Some fall along the way, lost to internecine squabbling.  Others desert the migration, joining one or another of the Pantheon’s many subfactions.  But the vast majority, aided by their divine gifts, arrive intact to the Great Hosts’s fortresses.

Here the Valkyrie and the Gods of the Pantheon sort them and arrange them, test and train them.  These Gods, who have earned their Divine Names in previous years, now take part in the culling of the next generation.  They divide the output of the camps into warhosts suitable for battle, contesting among themselves for the right to lead the mightiest and most useful.

As the year goes on these hosts march west, and meet the Union’s forces in battle.  Sometimes they go one at a time.  Other times they set forth in larger coalitions of hosts, always they test themselves against their godless foe.

The Unions forces, for their part, have also been receiving reinforcements.  Throughout the year their straining motherlands send them every new machine of war that can be constructed, every Ultra that the stingy Company will grant them and every new son or daughter who has passed their strict training regimens.  They hope (for prayer is of their foe) that it is enough to keep the Faithful at bay for another year.

Their champions are always outnumbered, and inevitably strained to the breaking point, but every year the miracle repeats itself.  The armies of the Union, stretched thin and overwhelmed by numbers that should be beyond defeat, pull through and gain their victory.  The Pantheon’s proud Hosts are left broken and crushed upon the battlefields, the spurious divinity that mankind’s rambunctious children claimed revealed to be a lie, as their elders lay them low.

It has been estimated that the Pantheon sends as many as twenty thousand Ultras a year against the Union, and the same again in human servants and auxiliary forces.  As many as seventy percent of them are lost in the battles, in one way or another.  Most are killed.  Some few are captured by the heathen enemy, dragged off to be interrogated in bunkers of dread repute.  Many more abandon the crusade, vanishing into the dust and chaos of battle, wandering back into the Pantheon.

The remaining survivors fall back, and rejoin the Great Host.  Some of them have earned their Divine Names, and become leaders of the incursions.  Others escaped death in a more prosaic manner, and join their fellows in the great waiting.

As for the Unions forces?  Estimates are far less certain as to the number of their Ultras, but most guesses place their numbers at a mere eight or nine thousand.  It is likely that as many again are spread throughout the Union proper, awaiting their turn on the front lines.

They do not fight alone, of course.  The Union’s Ultras are shielded by its drone forces, which number probably half again as large as their Ultra contingent, and by the finest human military that the world has ever seen.  Union battle doctrine calls for ten humans per Ultra, minimum, and often times the numbers climb well beyond that.

The question that hangs above the fields of war is always the same.  “Is this the year?”

Civilians tap it into forum threads.  Soldiers ask it in their free time.  Officers mutter it to one another, and anxiously query it into their com bands.  Newly minted Gods scream it to their masters.

What ‘the year’ means varies depending on who is asking.  Pantheon forces wonder if this is it, the year that the Great Host, the accumulation of decades of Pilgrimages, finally goes west.  Union forces wonder the same, and also whether or not the endlessly rumored preemptive assault will finally sally forth, and see them wrong foot their enemy by engaging the Great Host directly, before it has the chance to send out its smaller war hosts.  Conspiracy theorists scratch their heads and rake their cheeks,  wondering whether She will finally send Her forces into the greatest battle in the world.

Those who know the truth, meanwhile, ask a far more sinister question.  They know that even the Great Host is merely a smokescreen, a frightening apparition meant to mask the creation of a far deadlier weapon.  The Army of Sunset, they ask.  Is this the year that it makes its move?

They need question no more.  None of them.  This is the year.

In Council : 2

[Note from the author:  November is upon us, and once again this year I’m going to try and do NaNoWriMo.  I know that readership dies off if you leave your serial idle for a month, however, so I’m going to try and get some updates up.  I’ve got some pictures that an artist I know online drew, there is a recording of the first chapter of the serial, etc.  There should still be SOMETHING each wednesday/sunday, even if it isn’t a full updates.  I hope you will stick with me!]

My fellow Divinities, let none say that Death hides her failures from the eyes of the Pantheon.

The servants given over to my keeping have been rendered up unto the slaughter.  Banshee, Gorgon and Moses are no longer among the number of our worthy minions.

At that last name, well do I know that lamentations arise.  ‘Was she not to be kept far from danger?’ will be the cry of Isis and her faction.  ‘Was she not of substantial rank within the Army Of Sunset?’

I have few excuses to offer in the face of these accusations, other than the trite truism that war follows its own internal logic, and is rarely considerate of our most energetic pleas.

Ah, there is one other thing, I suppose, that I can mention as a mitigating factor.

Moses’s death was not in vain.  The Demon’s Sixth Fist is shattered.  Its leader may cling to life, but the  majority are dead, and unlike on previous occasions, will remain so.

Oh, and judging by the light and great cloud to the north, the Demon’s left hand, Adder, may have also been blasted from this world.  That’s probably worth something.

Hmm, and also I should say that we have not lost Moses’s gift, because I took it from her when she died.  Maybe that makes the loss sting a bit less.

Right, I should probably note that I drove the survivors of my attack, which is likely just the new Fourth Fist, up into the Union. We need no longer fear that the Thousand will be struck down by Adder’s fury.

So I guess I am not apologizing for a failure after all, but reporting a great triumph.  Funny how that works out.  It is almost like I am a mighty Ultra, and my doubters fear my terrible power, and vent through jealous carping and whining the feelings that they would never dare bring up to my face.

Hmmph, I’m sorry for the muddled messages there.  I guess I am an old woman, after all, as Isis is so fond of pointing out.  No doubt she’s killed two Adders during this time, or at least broken all of the remaining Fists.

I’ve decided to stay on the battlefield for a while.  I’m going to take charge of this season’s attacks on the Union.  Maybe I’ll have a few more failures to apologize for.