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The light of the war-torn anchor pierced his ship as it shone with the might of a million glistening stars - soon slithering back whence it came. The brief flashes of the dark crimson and unholy ghostly blue, combined with the terrifying lightning was enough to know what would come to pass. The Vault would soon explode with an unforeseen ferocity. Cracks and tangles and little imperfections made their way to the surface of this enigmatic object, giving way to horror as it bubbled and reached a quaking meltdown. As more arcs of light and deep flashes pierced the long dark, small trailing lights, belonging to that of the enemy, hurriedly trailed off into the night, never to be seen again.
The man who was watching, aching with the knowledge of a million million years, decided to take no more action to what would come next. All he would do is observe. Observe for the final time as the chambers imploded and the Vault shone as bright as it ever would. He knew of the famine and the disaster and all of the suffering and torment that this event would bring upon the Universe.
"I do not want to escape. I will cower behind time no longer. I must observe the most extravagant event in the cosmos."
The trembling beeps of the aged console came to an end as the aged and exhausted Traveler flipped it off, fully embracing what was to come. He even removed his life support, and gazed out his thin little window into the void - now shining brighter and brighter with each passing moment.
It seems as if he would not travel, not anymore. He would rather watch than even attempt to leave the confines of his ship. He could see nothing but darkness and the growing pinpricks of light as the exterior cracked and folded. There was not even a sound save for the wind blowing through the empty space between stars. No movement except for the imminent danger, as beautiful as it is haunting and lethal.
He watched as the walls began to tear apart, tearing away at their own weight and strength. The craft slowly broke down under its own weight, falling into the blackness of space. It is then that he realized how close he is to death... It is then when the Keeper of Secrets intervened and rescued him from such a fate.
Light. Light. Light. It shone, then departed.
The first thing he saw was the bright spectral light, bulging from the center, moving ever so slowly as it crept to a halt. Right when he noticed that something was wrong, he felt a cruel embrace from behind, an embrace which told him that his time in reality was far from over.
The Keeper of Secrets, Apharos Strizotvia, snatched The Traveler away from the site of danger, taking him as he walked back. The hum-buzz of the portal and the artificial light from the other side strengthened as the glimmering from the Vault dwindled and faded away, to be warped and lost. Gravity takes him back as well, weighing him down like prisoner.
"Apharos, What the hell..." The Traveler says, shaking his head as he sees the light and his old and rather ransacked ship disappear. The portal consumes him as they walk through to Apharos' private little room, all stationed out in a secure section of his private little shit. "This is meant to be emotional, y'know..." The Traveler continues as Apharos completely takes him in, denying him the sweet bliss of a painless demise.
"Right. Like killing yourself is meant to be useful to anyone." Apharos says as the portal closes and he lets go of The Traveler. "This has to be the fifth time you tried to observe that damned War without anyone's permission. It was kind of insulting, but now it is more or less annoying." Apharos admits while brushing off his clothing, swiftly walking over to his desk, and closing several holograms of confidential information. "Its not like you are suicidal either. You're just bored."
The Traveler observes Apharos' rich metal sarcophagus of a room, fit with his iconic bolstering window. He then sits down and rubs his temples, lamenting over the potential consequences. "You know... Its the first time I've been to the Vault. It is interesting I guess... I'm just ticked off that you never let me do anything fun anymore." The Traveler says with a slight rebellious tone of voice, sitting down on a plush seat while looking at the spot where the portal was. Apharos just scoffs in response.
"Keep telling yourself that... I still think you have too much leisure time, especially for your occupation..." Apharos says as he mostly ignores him, instead pressing various buttons on his fabricator. "...Which you signed up for." Apharos finishes, fully dampening any rebellion from The Traveler. "Anyways... I reckon that you are thirsty. Xlin-Tak, Peach, or whatever?" Apharos asks The Traveler as he cycles through various beverage options.
The Traveler shakes his head in response, which Apharos clearly notes. "Tch. At this point, only a cup of that supple and authentic prismolite would make me any joyful, considering - ." The Traveler starts to say, but he is interrupted by the press of a button and the processing of the machine. Out comes several pure, iridescent, and flavorful crystals which clank to the bottom of the cup. In a kind of smug and slightly brash manner, Apahros hands the cup and a little stirring stick straight to The Traveler.
"Your prismolite?" Apharos says as he places it on his desk, raising his brow and looking at The Traveler with his slanted and shady eyes. The Traveler widens his eyes as a reply, swiping the cup and examining the little crystals on the bottom. "Smartass." The Traveler says as he takes up varying crystals and stares at them intently. "You know that this is about the only thing which I remember from the older days..."
"Just another boring drink." Apharos says as he lends The Traveler some pure water. "I have become convinced that all you ever drink is that sparkling prismolite..." Apharos begins as he rolls his eyes and looks away. "Or those other ancient and odd drinks that you get... Its not even like the newer kind that I tried to give you... but I wont judge."
The Traveler straightens his back in the chair of his, fully sitting up and pouring the water in. "C'mon... The ones from before the Yohjan Confederacy are much more authentic." The Traveler says as he distills the prismolite and stirs it up with a stick. "You're lucky that I'm here..." He continues, sipping at the glass and smacking his lips a bit. "Since I am about your only form of socialization..."
Apharos kind of growls and sighs. "To do what? Watch you waste away? See you become but a husk of what you once were?" Apharos says while preparing himself his favorite alcoholic beverage. "For the past few years, all I have seen you do is try to flee, end your life, or go off claiming that you've seen everything there is to see. Spoiler... You have seen nothing, and you still have much work to do. So please just be competent."
"Says you." The Traveler retorts. "Everyone thinks you're dead... Still cant believe you sacrificed your presidency of the damn Commonwealth just to learn a few secrets." The Traveler says while smirking, soon taking a sip of his drink and focusing on it instead.
"Its more than a few, alright..." Apharos says sternly. "Those Sedruan secrets are very much worth ending my presidency. I have never feels any less stressed. In fact, I would go as far as to say that my life in the Commonwealth was crummier. Much much crummier. Even with my little place on Lowrokira. It was just so damn loud... and the opposition wouldn't shut up."
"Right..." The Traveler says while rolling his eyes, continuing with his periodic sipping. "You've mostly thought about yourself you know... You lived the high life, some of the best that is ever to exist." The Traveler continues to go at his drink with great satisfaction, setting down the glass on Apharos' table and making a loud sigh. "Ooooh... Now that is the kind of prismolite you'd find straight out of the source." The Traveler says while he gets up and stretches his arms.
Apharos just shakes his head and stares out the window, deep into the gilded and silky depths of Suvaren, lamenting over his decisions with The Traveler. As he does so, The Traveler disposes of his cup, and looks out the glistening window with Apharos, furrowing his brow as he evaluates the situation. "Oh, I see how it is." The Traveler says in an annoyed tone of voice, briskly walking towards the edge of the window. "You get to have your emotional moment, but not me? For fuck's sake..."
"Language! We have a guest coming over." Apharos says as he snapped back and sternly looks at The Traveler, right at the brink of shouting his throat away. "Besides, looking out a window to observe this spectacle wont kill me! It almost killed you and..!! ...Sorry, I mustn't scream." Apharos says, catching himself on the brink of rage. "Humans are especially annoying... but this..." Apharos thinks, calming himself down. "I'm sure he will straighten up once he hears of our guest we have today."
"Listen. Our guest is very very important." Apharos begins. "I need you to act civil, but that isnt usually an issue with you." He continues. "Any questions on the matter?" Apharos asks. As he does, The Traveler responds with a generic line. "Yeah, yeah, I'll go greet the guy. Is it The Prime?" The Traveler asks. "If so, then I can make way for some studying down in my room."
Apharos shakes his head, ready to break the news to The Traveler, walking back and confronting him. "No, The Prime wont be here today. It'll actually be his boss... and their boss... and their boss again. And... You get it. I'd best tell you right now, its the leader of Sedura, Vurilia Jiutopati." This makes The Traveler almost spit out whatever drink he has left, leaving him completely flabbergasted.
"W-What?!" The Traveler says in a shocked manner, freezing in complete surprise. "You're telling me that you pulled me, unprepared, to meet the Leader of Sedrua? Fuck, you're going to make me the butt of every other joke from here to the Orithyia." The Traveler retorts, while also feeling nervous and slightly intimidated at the mere mention of Vurilia's name. Apharos looks back at The Traveler with severe disappointment.
"Language... It hasn't even been a minute and you've been out here cussing like a savage." Apharos says very dismissively, as if he has been let down by a lot, soon returning from the window and back to his desk. "And yes, I did take you unprepared, since you have several hours to prepare for anything you need to." Apharos says as he stirs in his chair, rubbing his head as he drinks his alcoholic Xlin-Tak juice. "Please go now, you're giving me a headache... And you should really brush up on your professionality."
The Traveler hesitantly nods a bit before taking his bag, which he left near the door before his visit to the Vault. "I'll see you to this. I guess I'll have to prepare for Vurilia's visit." Upon The Traveler's closing words, Apharos looks back up at The Traveler and nodded, waving his hand in a 'you may leave now' motion. The Traveler then unlocks the door, and it opens with a deep metallic clank. Just moments later, The Traveler walks out of Apharos' room, embarks upon the ornate hallway, and heads to his room, which is not far from where he is.
As he walks, The Traveler's ears perk as he hears Apharos' door shut and lock, the sound of a turning lock re-iterating throughout the room. After a short bout of silent walking, The Traveler finds his room and enters the door. Immediately upon doing so, he winces at its condition. "Ugh, fuck me..." The Traveler says as he looks at the cluttered condition of the room, clearly in need of organization. "I forgot to clean the damn place... I swear I'd have the robot on to do this kind of shit..." The Traveler says as he looks all over for the button which organizes his room.
(Rewrite in Progress!)
"Ah. This... I swear I pressed it." The Traveler says as he annoyingly slams the button and his desk lights up, with a voice prompt. "What would you like for me to do for you, sir?" It asks.
"Just clean up everything. I need to find the crap for an important visit. Make it snappy, will you?" The Traveler says as he looks around for any potential items, eventually noting several sustenance packs on his desk.
The system responds cordially. "Of course, sir. I will deploy the cleaning agents." and went straight to work, deploying little mechanical crawlers and utilizing many smart objects in the room to aid with the cleaning. The Traveler, meanwhile, grabs the things which he needs the most. "This system is probably the best cleaning invention ever." The Traveler says with a smirk as things clear up and are put away.
The Traveler sighed in contentment, grabs his rifle, as well as his sustenance packs and placed them in his bag. "Those packs always scare me..." The Traveler muttered to himself
He then turned around and headed towards the door, looking at several pictures on the wall, making him reminisce in his past observations. "Well, I'm sure you're off to do some important business." The system says, as the mechanical workers went away and the room stood clean. "I will guard the room and keep it tailored to your liking."
"Yeah yeah, I know. You always excel at it, too." The Traveler says, passing a small compliment to the system. "You, Apharos, and The Prime are about the only ones I can feasibly trust." The Traveler says as he walks through the doorway, letting it close automatically.
As he exited the door, The Traveler heard a resounding notification, played by the intercom system on board Apharos' ship. "Attention, Vurilia is expected to arrive within a few minutes. Please present yourselves at the main docking port immediately." The automatic intercom made several low beeps after the message, signifying that it is rather urgent.
Immediately, The Traveler heard Apharos' room open quickly, and saw him trotting down the hall. "Let's go, then." Apharos says to The Traveler, walking by rather carelessly. The Traveler speeds up his pace, walking by Apharos.
"That is easy for you to say." The Traveler says. "You've met Vurilia more times than I can remember." He says while his bag sways around as it is hung around his shoulder. Apharos just scoffs in response.
"It isn't easy for me to say. The more times I meet him, the more confused I get." Apharos admits, explaining the intricacy of the situation. "Just act as you usually do around The Prime, and you will be perfectly okay."
After more words of reassurance, The Traveler looks up and nods, before looking back down again. "I see." He says while looking into his bag.
Apharos places his hand on The Traveler's shoulder, in a more reassuring manner, before saying "Also, that weapon of yours will be handy for what Vurilia wants you to do. Just keep that in mind."
The Traveler shakily nods once more, before both people see a flash of light appear near the ship. "That ought to be him..-" The Traveler says before being interrupted, by many more flashes of light.
"And his guards!" Apharos says in delight, clearly excited to converse with Vurilia. Both The Traveler and Apharos seem fairly nervous, and bide their time until the light and rather brash ping of the docking port sounds.
As the noise echoes around the room of Apharos' docking bay, The Traveler walks up to the port and turns it open for Apharos.
"Why, thank you." Apharos says as he ducks his head and walks through, with The Traveler walking in shortly after.
The light shines and blinds The Traveler, but he can make out a large, armored mass with several robed and equally iridescent accomplices around it.
Apharos barks out a laugh and jogs over to Vurilia, giving him a traditional salute in the best way he can. Vurilia returns the salute and looks over, seeing The Traveler make his way in.
"And you..." Vurilia starts. "You must be the one who executes his lovely missions." Vurilia goes over and offers a salute, to which The Traveler tries to replicate in the best way he can.
"I have heard much from you according to Apharos. Now come forth, we will depart as soon as you are ready." Vurilia says as he waves over to the docking port and it closes automatically. Vurilia then walks back to a doorway, with his accomplices trailing behind him in a semicircular formation. The Traveler witnesses as Vurilia's slender and rather sickly mechanical body walks through, before his eyes glanced back expectedly.
The Traveler, in a state of shock from Vurilia's attire and abilities, simply nods with his mouth slightly gaped open. He then follows Apharos, Vurilia, and the accomplices to a rather open and ornate room. The room, decked out with a kind of shimmering whit stone and gilded décor, has only a few traditional chairs surrounding a small table.
"He... He kind of looks Humanoid? Or not... Or... I cant comprehend his physical form too well... All I see is a shimmering man made of machines." The Traveler thinks as he stares at the center, eventually taking a seat and feeling it slide back on its own.
Vurilia looks deep into the eyes of The Traveler, unlike any being has looked at him before. Both The Traveler and Apharos sit across from Vurilia, witnessing his accomplices stare into his eyes as well.
"I am getting very creeped out..." The Traveler thinks. "Like my mind is being searched-" Until he is interrupted by a certain accomplice.
"That is exactly what is happening. Fear not, for we trust you. However, this is just a countermeasure against any wrongdoing." Vurilia nods in response to his accomplice. "Exactly... Now stay quiet for the moment."
Apharos appears to act normal as his mind get searched as well, by means unknown to the both of them. The Traveler just sinks in his chair as he is being picked clean of any thoughts.
The minds of both individuals eventually clears, as the process ends just moments after. "As expected, you are both safe and real. Now please reach forth to the center of the table." Vurilia says as he removes the hood of his robe, exposing a bright white circle plastered on his forehead.
Apharos, clearly used to the process, gladly reaches forth. The Traveler does as well, and soon Vurilia takes both of their hands. "We will now share our minds, our consciousness, and for a moment we will be united and protected as we converse what is about to happen. Do not be alarmed."
The Traveler nods in response, as does Apharos. Soon enough, Vurilia and merely taps their heads with both of his hands, transferring their consciousnesses to his. Their physical bodies collapse as they are sent to the mind of Vurilia.
The entire environment changes, as they are in an empty void with stars, worlds, and wonders of technology floating close to them. They see Vurilia's body, floating and looking away with his hands behind his back. The sands of time flow heavily as a low rumbling noise gives way to a serene set of pitches.
"This... this is his mind?" The Traveler asks out loud. Apharos then looks up, gains his bearing, then nods. "Yes, this is his own quiet place where he conducts only the most important briefings. Me must listen, now. Alright?"
After a swift nod from The Traveler, Vurilia looks back and floats down to both individuals, soon walking to The Traveler. Murmurs and whispers can be heard in his ears, which give way to more melodies and tunes.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Vurilia says as he looks intently at The Traveler. "Its like you could stare into the cosmos forever."
"What is it that you want of us?" The Traveler asks, getting straight to the point, clearly skittish from the whole situation. Vurilia smiles as he sits down on a plush chair that phases in, beckoning both of them to come forth.
"Im going to keep this short for the sake of your minds. I want you two to make sure that time flows correctly." Vurilia says bluntly. "Apharos, you are one of the people I trust the most. Since you trust this 'Traveler' partner of yours, then I dont see why I cant trust him too. Go forth and ensure that the time line changes for the better, understood?"
The Traveler is just confused. "I don't understand, what must I change?" He says as both him and Apharos now ponder at Vurilia's request.
Immediately, the both see the backdrop glow with the prismarine light of an object known to be destroyed, a keeper of legends, a vault of secrets. "This..." Vurilia begins. "This sourge must go." All people in the area pause, with The Traveler and Apharos gazing at the structure heavily.
"I... I know what that is..." The Traveler says, which surprises Vurilia a little. "Do you?" he says in response, grinning ear to ear as the backdrop fizzles back to the display of stars and worlds.
"Yes... I was just there, in fact. I saw the explosion." The Traveler says, in a half-bragging and half-humble tone. "I assume that I must cause the incident?"
Vurilia smiles greater, then speaks. "Not necessarily cause. We placed it there. You will just ensure that the sabotage caused by a secondary party must go as planned."
The Traveler then comes to a realization. "Vurilia... Sedrua... They must have placed the Vault there and waited..." He says out loud in a meek sort of tone.
Vurilia nods with The Traveler. "There you go! Yes... We indeed placed this dummy facility there. Again, it is your job to just ensure it is removed from our sight."
However, both The Traveler and Apharos remain bewildered. "I do not understand... What have you against the Quintet Puontari Federation?" The Traveler says.
Vurilia simply shakes his head as he sits up from the chair. "To keep it short, they are the only ones who can compete with us, the only ones who can deter us and stop any future conquest. It was all going well until I heard word of their arrival." He says, spreading his arms out in exasperation.
"Here... This will make you understand everything." Vurilia says as he approaches The Traveler.
Only moments after, Vurilia takes his right arm, raises it, splays his fingers and places it upon the head of The Traveler, sending countless memories and opening numerous secrets to him.
The Traveler revels in this experience as he drops to his knees, eyes darting with a cold and sharp sensation echoing across his body. He sees the Vault of Secrets, the War of the Ancients, times from the future and the past, and endless grand events which he never bore to witness before. After what seems like many minutes in this trance, Vurilia takes away his hand and walks back, seeing The Traveler in a state of shock once more.
"You have yet to see everything, you know..." Vurilia says to The Traveler. "Your old friend Apharos was about as cocky as you before I showed him the truth."
Apharos nods. "Yeah, I thought I knew everything until I rose to my level of power. Presidency was just too much. Vurilia offered me a way out." He says with a resonant feeling of understanding.
The Traveler's once energetic demeanor is gone, replaced by a dark and more thoughtful one. He stands up to take a step forward towards Vurilia.
"I guess I'll head out when we are ready..." The Traveler Says, as he reaches his hand out and feverishly shakes the hand of Vurilia. Apharos goes up to him as well, and follows The Traveler's actions with a salute, which suggests that they appear to be ready.
"Not so fast." Vurilia begins as The Traveler nervously started to walk away. "If you want to infiltrate a secure facility, you will need more than just your rifle."
Vurilia freely displays a holographic image of a small and portable computer. as well as a rather ornate and useful multitool. "These will be at your disposal once you wake up. Only use your rifle in the case that you are attacked."
Vurilia then turns to Apharos. "You will be coming with me once we are done with sharing our minds. I must converse to you about future operations with this 'Traveler'..."
Apharos nods and looks to The Traveler, clearly reeling from the cluster of experiences that were handed to him. "See you soon, boy."
Apharos and Vurilia turn around to face the area they were conversing in, as Vurilia takes a seat and prepares to undergo another procedure. It is then that The Traveler witnesses a flash of light, and a re-emergence into reality.
The Traveler soon regains his consciousness, feeling the warm and plump material caress his back and legs. His eyes open and with a quick scan of the new room, he realizes that he is now in a secured recreational environment, likely brought to this space by the accomplices. The room is very traditional in nature, with minimal modern furniture, instead being masked by that of exquisite wood and metal arrangements. To his side, The Traveler notices an ornate nightstand, with two objects, which are the small computer and the multitool. He slowly, but surely picks them both up to get a better look at them, before scanning the room once again and taking in the fresh mahogany atmosphere.
"They outdid themselves in the 'comfort' part." The Traveler thinks to himself as he rises from his bed. "Did they read my mind that I loved mahogany too?" He continues as he feels the texture of the stand, soon examining the items and placing them in his bag, now on the base of the nightstand. Afterwards, he looks once more at the room and decides to head out and explore Vurilia's starship.
|The War of the Ancients|
The Vault's Incident ● The Great Ambrosian Heist
Vurilia Jiutopati ● Donatus Shuker ● Apharos Strizotvia ● Beatrix
The Weary Traveler