Eons ago…in a time when the Zero Pillar still stood strong. A muscular bearded man with flowing ginger hair walks through a grey snow-covered wasteland. Clad in smooth silver armor beneath a black shroud. He wielded a golden spear in his right arm proudly and each step shook the world around him. Blood dripping from his left eye socket which now lay vacant from a prior battle. Following behind him was a thin man with straight black hair and a goatee. While the first man was prepared for war, this man wore elegant black robes trimmed with gold. His black leather boots were similarly adorned with golden trim. Both appeared exhausted from the long battle they endured up to this point.
“You dare come to my domain All-Father?” A deep booming voice says across the blowing wind. The grey skies now glowing a faint red hue.
“I go where I desire.” Odin stops and slams the base of his golden spear, Gungnir, on the ground. The snow parting to reveal the scalding ground beneath it. But not just that, as the force of his slam grows and expands for miles the snow is parted. In reality, it was ash that rained perpetually from the heavens. Covering the molten magma that covered the ground. Sitting before them on a throne larger than mountains holding a sword as tall as he was sat a crimson-skinned giant. Veins filled with lava pulsating throughout his massive frame. A head full of flaming hair constantly created smoke that blotted out the skies and caused ash to rain. He was the dreaded King of the Flame Giants and Lord of Muspelheim… “You’d do well to remember that Surtr.”
“Indeed I shall. It will be my fuel when the end of days comes.” he furls his brow slightly to the annoyance of Odin. “Yes, All-Father. I know what awaits us all.”
“If you’ve laid one hand on the Norns.” the black haired man leers fearlessly at Surtr. The Norns were a trio of female creatures who called Asgard their home. Not quite Æsir yet not quite Disir either. They were the Fates who knew what was to come, what had transpired, and what is. But knowledge of one’s fate comes with a heavy burden few can bear.
“I know your fate too, Loki.” Surtr smiles and leans forward. His head still several miles above the pair. “I wonder…would it hurt you more to hear it from me or from your dear brother?”
“What is he talking about Odin?” Loki turns his focus to Odin he remains unfazed.
“Is that supposed to mean something to me?”
“The Norns called it, The Twilight of the Gods. The end of all life across all reality. They claim that when the great Pillar Falls, the Rift will come undone. That a great winter will come and with it an unending horde of Angels. That Yggdrasil will rot and…” Odin pauses and continues hesitantly. Voice shaky and sorrowful. “You will be the catalyst that sets this all in motion.”
“And I shall raze precious Asgard and all the Worlds across all the Realms to ash.” Surtr gloats proudly. “How does it feel knowing you will be responsible for the Dark God Iblis’ rise? To know you’ve a damned fate that will NEVER be avoided?” Loki simply smiles mischievously at the question.
“That sounds like a challenge. I never cared much for order let alone ordered Armageddon. So I think I’ll just break it. So if you’d kindly return the Norns to us, I can get to doing just that.”
“If only that were so simple. The Norns are no longer in Muspelheim.” Surtr sits back on his throne and chuckles to himself. “You are too late All-Father. I’ve sent them far away from where even Heimdall’s gaze will not reach. But if you wish to take their locations by force…” Surtr stands from his throne. An act that makes the ground glow red and volcanos erupt. “I will oblige.”
“Hmph, we best retreat Odin.” Loki suggests knowing the dire straits they were in. Upon their arrival, the pair had fought wave after wave of Fire Giant to make their way to Surtr. Even if the two could best Surtr the battle to escape would likely mean their ends.
“The Norns live, yes? Then we’ve no reason to remain here. No need for you to lose another eye.” Loki turns with his hands clasped behind his back and leaves from whence they came.
“A wise decision Realm Ender.” Surtr notes as he sits back on his throne.
With their mission a failure, the pair return to Asgard with little to show for it beyond grim tidings. The memory still stuck in the back of Loki’s mind ages later as he stood on the bridge of a strange space-faring vessel. Its insides brightly lit yet its once pristine and sleek insides were now dull and grey. Neon gold lights now faded. It’s crew asleep in their rooms as the artificial intelligence that controlled it kept them at a steady pace. For a time only the repetitive sound of computers automated processes, the hum of the engine, and Loki’s own breath can be heard. The sound of a door sliding open and the clang of metallic footsteps on the floor was instantly noticeable.
“Who are you?” a deep and menacing mechanical voice calls out. He was clad in silver plated bio-armor that covered him from head to toe that gave him the look of a royal knight trapped in the future. The plates were sleek and fit together like a puzzle. Golden light filling the sinews and pulsating like a heartbeat between each plate. The eyes similarly glowed a golden hue and nothing of his appearance or stance gave the impression of excess. The impression of someone who had nothing to prove to others.
“I’ve heard quite a bit about you Khonshu.” Loki turns to face Khonshu. “Your war across time as leader of Axis. Your unending battle to change the destiny of countless Worlds but most importantly yourself.” *
“Who are you?” Khonshu asks in a deeper tone.
“I am Loki. God of Mischief though I come bearing no ill will. In fact, I come bearing gifts.” he holds up his right arm and manifests an inky black demonic gauntlet that pulsated with crimson veins. It lay suspended within a mystical green bubble that protected it from outside forces. “I believe you know-“
“Scuro Angelo…I don’t want anything to do with that damned weapon.” Khonshu dismisses Loki fiercely.
“You’d turn down a gift from the All-Father?”
“I don’t take kindly to you divine types. Always imposing your will on others.” he swings his arms across his chest then down to his sides. Summoning a glaive to each hand. “Leave now or die.”
“Is this what I get for offering goodwill? Threats?” Loki asks before Khonshu appears and disappears above him. Swinging down with his right glaive and just barely missing the trickster as he fades out of harm’s way and appears several feet away with Scuro Angelo in tow. “We’re on the same side, Mr. Reinhold.”
Khonshu freezes and stares at Loki. “I haven’t heard that name in ages.” he banishes his helmet to reveal his tanned skin and blue eyes. Straight brown hair that was tied back in a ponytail. His face worn and scarred from countless untold fights. “You have my attention.”
“We both have fates we want to avoid…and I believe this gauntlet can help with that. After all, this is quite the unique Rift Relic. It’s the only one that exists in multiple timelines simultaneously. A fact that has made it exponentially more powerful. But it is just one of a set. If I were to find the left hand, Luminoso Angelo, and we combined both with that Geist of yours and there’s much we could do.”
“Why should I believe you.” Khonshu remained guarded and cautious of the Æsir.
“Because if I had intended to betray or kill you could I not have just used Scuro Angelo before you even knew I was here? Why waste time offering such a powerful weapon and talking instead?”
“You gods always work in mysterious ways. This could be a long elaborate ploy.”
“I give you my word as Blood Brother to the All-Father Odin himself.” Loki kneels and offers Scuro Angelo once more. His gaze focused on the ground. “Help me change our fates and prevent Ragnarök.”
Khonshu stares at the cursed Rift Relic and then at Loki. Even if the trickster wanted his help, a god would never lower themselves to a mortal. Even those he had slain in the past never once begged or bowed no matter how much they may have desperately wanted to. “Fine.” Khonshu responds. Taking Scuro Angelo and merging it with his bio-armor. He clenches his newly upgraded fist and examines as the two blend together seamlessly. His muscles were on fire but it paled in comparison to the hell he lived through up to this point. “Now what?”
Khonshu shifts his gaze from Scuro Angelo as the bridge of his ship melts around him. The floor becoming an ocean of blood that begins to drip skyward. All around him was the destroyed and rusted remains of a city from the distant future. The sky crimson and filled with black clouds. The sun replaced by a jet black moon that emitted a sinister dark aura.
“Poor lost child…” a deep dark voice echoes through the dark void. Each syllable shaking Khonshu’s very soul. “Come…come to me…” the voice says as the road before Khonshu bends and twists into the blood ocean. Without fear, Khonshu follows the path. Submerging himself as he finds himself in a staircase in the sky. The city he once saw now inverted with the ground as the sky.
“Scuro Angelo?” Khonshu thought as his eyes scanning the twisted landscape.
“I am…and yet…I am not…” the voice replies to Khonshu’s thought. “You seek to claim one of my vessels.”
“That means you’re an Angel…”
“Yes…Now…come child.” the voice requests. Black veins surging from Khonshu’s right arm. Extending throughout his body as they burn away his armor. Leaving only his bare skin to protect him. “I know why you come…I know what you’ve lost.”
The staircase and sky begin to crack and shatter. Sending Khonshu falling endlessly. The Black Moon coming closer and closer as he fell. The moons surface shifting and shaking as if it was alive. In reality, the moon was a single massive black eye amidst a sea of colossal eyes. Each attached to a jet black hound with skin like a disgusting mesh of flesh and machinery. It’s fur covering soaking wet tentacles that created the sea of blood. Its jaw split into an insect-like mandible with countless teeth hidden within.
“Gaze upon my visage child…” the voice emanates from the massive hound as Khonshu lands on one of its numerous eyes. The surface almost indistinguishable from the moon he was always taught about as a child. Yet it felt oddly warm and seemed to shift about constantly like an entirely separate entity.
“What is this?” Khonshu looks back into the hound’s eye as it shifts into a mirrored surface. But it wasn’t Khonshu in the reflection. IT was a considerably thinner spiky haired man with fair skin. His face a black void. “Eugene?”
“You’ve reset and destroyed so many timelines to save me.” the man said in an Irish accent that was overpowered by the hound’s voice speaking in tandem. Both reverberating and shaking. “You’ve fought for so long Jedda…Take my hand and we can be together again.” he extends his hand to Khonshu who hesitates. The sight of the one he once loved tore him apart. Every action he took for untold timelines was to save him from death. To save their World…but each and every time it ended in failure. The rush of memories overpowered Khonshu and he takes the shadows hand. Being pulled into the hound’s eye. The black veins that spread throughout his body growing and transforming his right arm into Scuro Angelo.
Khonshu’s mind was in a haze. Every memory of every timeline he went to meshing together. The power of Scuro Angelo slowly taking hold and intensifying the madness he was already enduring from his repeating fate. So many lives he recruited for believing in his quest. Countless more killed by his direct actions, failures, or indirect actions with each timelines destruction. All weighing on his soul and heart. His mind fraying as he was consumed. His eyes becoming black husks.
But before he could be fully consumed. Something nagged at the back of his mind. A small voice like a whisper just barely there. Without warning, the world begins to collapse inward on itself. Spiraling into Khonshu’s Scuro Angelo along with the black veins. His armor reforming anew and the black void that filled his eyes receding as he returned to reality.
“Ah, you’re back. A second longer and I would’ve had to go in after you.” Loki says with a sigh of relief. “What did it show you?”
Khonshu thinks back to when he was being consumed by darkness. There the voice in the back of his mind prompted him to do something he could never take back… “The truth. I spent countless lifetimes fighting for something I never had. For someone who was never mine.” Khonshu remembers almost falling prey to the shade of his lost love. But rather than falling for the deception. For eternal bliss inside Scuro Angelo…he grabbed the shadow by the throat and strangled it until it faded. “No more lying to myself and hoping for something I could never have.” Khonshu reforms his helmet and summons a flowing cape to his shoulders. His armor becoming sharper and more sinister. The silver dulling to a grey. “No more loops. No more failure. No more love.” Khonshu crosses his arm as a concerned Loki looks on. His heart turned to stone. In an attempt to drive Khonshu insane all it did was bring him clarity. “Jedda Reinhold died when his home was raised and his love was lost and gave birth to Khonshu. Now Khonshu has died with the birth of this new quest. As such it’s fitting I get another name…” he says turning to look at Loki. “From now on, you can call me Amun.”
“…Very well then…” Loki replies. He began questioning his decision to grant the already somewhat unstable Amun Scuro Angelo. But he subjugated the Rift Relic so it served him unwaveringly. Having such a weapon against the Angels was worth the risk it entailed.
“Good.” Amun raises Scuro Angelo as it glows with Abyssal Aether. Golden lines of data swirling throughout the darkness in tandem. A neon gold hard light map appears before him before reforming. Changing into a map of 9 separate globes with seemingly endless stars within each. With his technology and magic combined with Scuro Angelo, there was no hiding from his gaze. “Now let’s find my other arm.” Scuro Angelo glows brightly as a massive portal opens before his frigate. Transporting him and his fleet through time and space to the skies above an overgrown forest. “I can feel it here.”
“Good, all we must do now is navigate the forest.”
“No, we don’t.” Amun raises his arm once more as a wave of dark energy surges across the planet. Razing its surface clean and turning it into a smooth black surface like obsidian. Without a word, he disappears to the surface below and finds a distorted forest forcibly regrowing before his eyes. The source of this was a near identical version of Scuro Angelo colored white. It’s veins blue instead of red. With no life on the planet beyond the growing forest, he retrieves Luminoso Angelo and puts it on his left arm. Like Scuro Angelo, it merges into his bio-armor. After the process is done, he returns to the bridge of his flagship.
“That was…disturbingly easy.” Loki chuckles nervously.
“Don’t worry Loki. My quest was hopeless but I haven’t given up on yours. And with these…” Amun admires Scuro & Luminoso Angelo. “We can reshape entire Worlds as needed. With that said.” Amun crosses his arms as the multiversal map reappears. “Where to next?”
“Scuro & Luminoso Angelo are indeed powerful on their own but they’re not Pure Rift Relics. We’d need to find the Eternal Sage for that. But there are a number of other tools that will be quite useful to us.” Loki explains.
“Go on.” Amun waits patiently.
“First, would be the Starpulse. The single source of all Aether throughout the multiverse. The Star Forgers are a group dedicated to keeping it alive and exploring the ever-expanding multiverse. I’m sure some of their members would help our cause. If not I can always…borrow…a portion of their power for ourselves. But I must stress that conquering or destroying the Star Forgers or even damaging the Starpulse would just start Ragnarök even faster.”
“Next would be the Soul Thieves. They’re on a few Worlds but the World of Souls in particular. Unlike the Star Forgers, we can more or less easily acquire their power. All you’d have to do is find a Shinigami willing to perform a pact with you. Then you’ll be annoying countless Reapers and Valkyries by weaponizing souls in no time.”
“What use is that when Angels don’t have souls?” Amun questions.
“They don’t but countless less than savory characters across the Nine Realms do. Besides, at worst you’ll give your army another weapon to defend themselves.” Loki explains to no complaint. “Moving on, since you’re no longer bound to a single World I suggest visiting the Cursed World or World of Forma if not both. Either will give you individuals with unique powersets. But one is filled with superhero and supervillain types that will be harder to convince. I’d also like to suggest the World of Tech and Warring World. While your technology is quite advanced and capable.” Loki motions around the room as he talks. “It never hurts to get upgrades from other Worlds. I don’t know about you but I’d love a giant robot or two.”
“That would be useful to have.”
“Indeed, finally…assuming we find the Eternal Sage and get their aid we can easily purify Rift Relics for our own uses as well. So amassing them while extremely dangerous could be beneficial in the long run. It’d be the biggest gamble of our options. Personally, I’d prefer to avoid it until we guarantee the Eternal Sages cooperation. In any case, that’s all I had for now. There’s plenty of Worlds we can draw from but these are the main ones for the time being.”
“Thank you, Loki.”
“Huh…so this is what it feels like to be thanked…I almost forgot.” Loki thinks aloud. “So, where shall we go first?”
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