Epoch Star

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Stories and Legends

Birth of Life
Unearthed Darkness
Advent of Mandrala
Dawn of Destruction
Ignus Invasion
Eye of the Maelstrom
Rising Star
The Fallen
A Bitter End

The Fallen



The immense starship, though bigger than any vessel that had ever been created, was utterly crammed with the bulk of its thirteen fearsome inhabitants. Each of the Legionites onboard was more massive than even the largest Ignus ever seen, but condensed into a powerfully built frame some three-stories tall. Their brawny arms were larger than cannons, and their six legs were like tree trunks mounted upon huge feet the size of boulders. One can comprehend the sheer destructive potential at the disposal of the Great Mandrala’s army by imagining twelve mountains of muscle willing to die at the mere command of a single word.

After only a few short months, the gargantuan spaceship’s uncannily swift engines had delivered them to its destination on the remotest frontier planet in the known universe, XXX: the very first of the Union civilizations that became infected by the Ignus plague.

It was dull and unimpressive, and looked like nothing more than a battered asteroid, drifting aimlessly through the cosmos. Destroyed and mutilated from war, its face had been scarred with countless unnatural canyons and fissures that stretched across the entire globe. The starship quickly descended through the thin atmosphere, blowing about dust and debris as its stentorian engines blasted down upon the dead planet’s ravaged surface, when the Legionites took their first steps onto the hideous landscape.

Stretching around the Thirteen in every possible direction lay the ruins of civilization. A lifeless graveyard of bones and misery, it was littered with the unsightly remnants of toppled buildings and rubble for as far as the eye could see. In the air lingered the faint, coppery taste of blood, and it was very difficult to breathe. The overhead star hung low in the jet-black sky, with its blinding rays glaring down upon them.


“Restore your peace of mind,” Mandrala then told them, having observed the terror in the Legionite’s huge, glistening sapphire eyes. His voice had a tranquil, almost song-like quality about it that seemed saturated with the unmistakable air of unwavering confidence. “For it is you whom I have chosen to represent Order upon the fields of Chaos today.”

“WwWweeEee WwwiIiiilllll…” the Legionites began to murmur amongst themselves. Their voices grew slowly and steadily. Soon their melodious cry began to echo through the heaping mounds of rubbish around them—rising in strength and gaining intensity until it rang like an orchestra of monotone brass instruments. “DDIIEE FFOORR YYOOUU!”


And as if it were the summoning call to a banquet, the Ignus then awakened. The landscape began to tremor and quake apart, shattering like broken glass, as if in gigantic parody of a dessert floor cracking beneath the scorching rays of the midday sun. Its numerous canyons and fissures widened like yawning mouths, spilling forth the noxious odor of death and decay. Twelve nightmarish monsters then blasted upward from the now-gaping holes in the earth. Like lava bursting forth from a volcano, their sinewy bodies stretched toward the heavens, while enormous plumes of dirt and debris rained down from the sky.

The Legionites began to tremble with fear, for the Ignus had them completely surrounded. Falling down upon the earth in a loud crash, the Ignus shook the landscape, and then began to emit the sound of hissing as the talons along their undersides rattled incessantly upon the earth, like the fingers of so many tapping hands.

Mandrala was surprised at their numbers, for only a dozen of the serpents now slithered across the broken landscape. But they were much, much larger than what He had previously imagined could even be possible, stretching further into the distance than what the eye can see in an endless flow from the horizon.

“LleeaadD uss…” The Legionites shouted with sudden trepidation. A story-tall wall of scales soon surrounded the party in every direction; for the Ignus had wrapped their elongated bodies into an enclosing ring about them. “WeE arre nnoothing withoouut yoou!”

 “And that is more than enough.” spoke Mandrala. The Prophet was calmly resolute. He took not even the slightest visible notice in that the ominous roar of the approaching Malestrom had become almost deafening. Although He did not shout, He spoke with such precision and strength that there was no lack of audibility in His voice. “Without my guidance, you are nothing but yourselves.”

“Bbuut WweE WwiilL DDIIEE!” they pleaded, unconvinced. Their barking words faltered in their panic, an unsynchronized clatter of ill-tuned interjections. “YyoouU AarREE UusS!”

“By that very admission, you have proven yourselves worthy leaders…Disturb me no further.” And then, with a brief, almost imperceptible pause, and a faint glimmering of sadness, “I shall require absolution before the impending sacrifice.”

He then merely proceeded to fold his 6 limbs into a perfectly balanced stance of meditation, and sat down upon the ground. His face became relaxed with heavy thought, and there He remained, rigid as a statue, as the serpentine rivers inched ever closer in a constricting spiral of death.


When Ignus came within a stone’s throw of the party, now having completely encircled His entourage, their heads reared into the sky to expose the thrashing blades that lined their segmented underbellies. Standing like monolithic towers over the 12 mountains of Legionite flesh, saliva poured like rain upon the earth from their tooth-filled mouths, while their countless talons clattered incessantly with grisly anticipation.

They were the only Ignus that remained alive in the aftermath of that first fateful invasion, and having had nothing to eat since the last of their brethren had been consumed, they were ravenously hungry. Devoid of any other food source, they had already cannibalized all the other, smaller Ignus of the planet; and, grown fat from the feast, they were the largest, most hideous and deadly specimens of their kind to have ever been seen.


The Ignus fell upon the their prey, striking in a lightning-fast blur of movement, and thrashing their myriad one-edged talons into the Legionites’ thick blue hides. The latter recoiled against the sheer weight of its attackers, but their steely skin and hardened flesh was merely scratched upon the surface.

They quickly regained their balance, and then retaliated by disarming the serpents’ deadly arsenal of thrashing blades. One after another, they ripped the Ignus’ talons from their sockets with their own prodigious strength, until the earth became littered with tooth-like bones and drenched in crimson rain.

Free of the Ignus’ stingers, the Legionites then spread wide their long arms to wrap around the serpents’ circumference in a sort of crushing hug. Using all their might, they toppled the towering monsters’ with the aide of their own tremendous weights—stealing them from the sky and tearing them down to the planet’s surface, which formed great craters upon the impact of their combined masses.

On the ground, the Legionites pounded the hideous beasts against the unforgiving earthen floor. They slammed their heavy fists into the Ignus’ scaly bodies, again and again, as the stentorian blast of crumbling stone thundered through the air with each successive blow.


Having grown accustomed to feasting upon easy prey, the Ignus were completely unprepared for the ferocity of the potent Legionite army. One of the serpents, in a futile attempt to swallow one of the huge blue warriors in a single mouthful, had wrapped its jaws about the meaty arm of the Legionite named ZZZ. Its razor-sharp fangs were the size of railroad spikes, and sunk deep into ZZZ’s dense flesh, as its mouth stretched like rubber struggling to encompass its victim’s enormous whale-like body. It was the last thing that the monster ever consciously did.

The two colossal beasts grappled for several moments, while the Ignus slowly looped its sinuous length around ZZZ’s every limb. Neither was able to gain advantage until ZZZ, filled with violence and rage, finally began overwhelm the other with nothing his own brute strength.

Prying its gnashing teeth from his body, ZZZ grabbed both lips of the monster’s huge mouth with his powerful hands, and began to force the serpent’s jaws to the breaking point. The beast let out a terrible dying shriek as its head was torn wide open and simultaneously cleft into two separate portions.

Almost entirely decapitated, the slain Ignus collapsed lifelessly to the earth. But ZZZ, still ensnared by the monster’s body, was dragged down with it and crushed beneath its immense weight. The Legionite warrior, greatly fatigued from his efforts, was helplessly pinned against the ground—when he, realizing that he was unable to lift himself, let out a bellowing cry of unbridled horror.

The other eleven serpents, as if hearing this, suddenly disentangled themselves from their own individual battles, and quickly darted across the barren landscape toward the helpless creature. The remaining Legionites, dazed in the sudden turn of events, were too slow to react. Their heavy, lumbering bodies were unable to reach their comrade in time, as the Ignus then swarmed upon the fallen warrior, tearing out vast portions of his flesh with lacerating tooth and talon. Blood gushed from ZZZ’s body as if it were the sweet liquids being expelled from a crushed grape. Gore was flayed in every direction, as the serpentine beasts writhed like lightning in the sky to snatch every delicious morsel before it landed. Within the short span of a mere few seconds, nothing remained of ZZZ but a haphazardly scattered collection of blood-soaked bones.


The Ignus then extricated themselves from the corpse. In each of their bellies resided the prominent bulge of ZZZ’s remains, slowly moving down their great lengths with the pull of digestive muscles. The monsters then unanimously shifted their immense weights so that their gaping mouths, now dripping with oozing red liquid, turned to face the eleven remaining Legionites.

Exhausted and disheartened, the Legionites resigned to their collective fate. They let out one last murmuring cry of helplessness as, subdued in their defeat, they simply waited in grisly expectations as the serpents then rushed upon them.

The Ignus moved slower than before, and bumbled across the landscape in an awkward gracelessness caused by the burden of their inflated bellies, crawling upon one another in a massive bulk as if they had grown into one body of a single nightmarish monster. They were slow and ungainly, but were almost upon the Leginoites—when an intense flash of reddish light then filled the sky…

The Legionites shielded their eyes from the blinding glare that now utterly drenched the landscape, as if the overhead star had enflamed to a thousand times its normal brilliance. The effervescent sound of a nearby fire ripped through the air, undulating and crackling like a raging inferno whose flames had been recently doused with water. Still unable to see, the Legionites were utterly terrified as they heard the raucous hiss of the serpents’ screeching tear through the air about them—until, just as suddenly as it had started, all became silent once again.


There are no words to describe that which the Legionites felt in that moment, as the lights dimmed and their power of vision was restored. Uncovering their eyes, they looked up to see what now lay before them. Where mere moments ago had been the deadly mob of writhing snakes now stood an amorphous blob of steaming flesh. The pungent smell of ozone overwhelmed the air, as the smoke from the monster’s baking remains wafted upward to disappear forever amidst the sky. And, somewhere atop the mountainous heap of rubbish was none other than the Great Mandrala Himself, all three eyes closed as before, sitting down in a motionless state of meditative serenity.

“MMAASSTTEERR!” the Legionites all cried in one voice. Their exuberance and shock at the spectacle before them flung their mouths wide open with disbelief. Slowly, they regained their words, forgetting all that had led up to this single moment of ecstasy. And as their voices rang out upon the landscape, ringing majestically to fill their desolate surroundings with its first glimpses of joy since the dawning of the Ancient Ignus War, the Legionite people fell to their knees, weeping with blissful triumph.


“No, I have not…” Mandrala then said, truncating the echoing cries of the eleven remaining Legionites. His voice was flat and lifeless, as if somehow disappointed in the outcome of what appeared to be complete victory. Though He had just spoken, He gave no further indication that He was to remove Himself from his motionless contemplations. Peacefully, His body did not stir as it merely continued to sit atop the crisping mountain of serpents.

The Legionites, bewildered and suddenly torn from ebullience to shame, stood silently for several long minutes before they responded. And when they spoke, it was not in the synchronized melody that was typical of them, but a misshapen song that bumped and boggled from their eleven flapping mouths to the air.

“WwHhaaTt dDoo weEe dDo nNowW?”

“Leave,” Mandrala responded abruptly. As before, nothing moved upon his entire body. Even his mouth seemed to be as fixed and rigid as stone. “Leave now….before it is too late.”

And it was no sooner had these words had left His mouth that the ground began to shake more forcefully than ever before. Vast portions of the landscape heaved upward, and the ghostly remnants of the toppled buildings in the distance began to sink below the horizon.


The Legionites collapsed with the unimaginable vehemence of the ground’s violent movement, when a deafeningly loud groan—like that of an awakening demon—blasted through the air as if the very planet were screaming out with quaking terror.

The Legionites looked about them in every direction, but could contrive no explanation to the sudden phenomenon. Casting their gazes up to the lonely figure of Mandrala, who still sat unperturbed atop the mound of dead serpents, fear overwhelmed their loyalty—and they broke out in full sprint toward the direction of their spaceship.

Fleeing in terror, they waited only long enough for the last of them to board the vessel, before its powerful engines fired—blasting them off to the sanctuary of space—but not before they got their first glimpses to see what was happening to the planet.

A huge, gaping canyon had begun to crack open across the entire globe, like some malicious smile stretching from either visible side of the planet’s hideous face. Then, widening as if it were the screaming mouth of hell, a blindingly iridescent red light began to seep forth from the fissure. The crimson glow was accompanied by a billowing flood of molten lava and an unimaginable wave of heat from the planet’s core, which instantly vaporized anything that strayed too close to its incinerating clutches.


And that is when the Great Mandrala, finally alone to confront his nemesis, arose from his contemplations.



Epoch Star  - Space Adventure  / Space RPG / Space Game - Free to download and play

©2004 Battleline Games