First, a word from the author: Greetings, all. Bruce Pendragon here, with another skip forward in the Vanguard Saga. This is the first scene of "Original War," part five of the series. Obviously, since i'm still working on part two, this won't be completed for a while, but I've decided to go ahead and lay out the beginnings of each of the books here, if for no other reason than to help me lay my own mental framework for the saga. If you've read any of "Southern Cross Dream" in the Startropics section, or "Chaos Cycle" in the Sonic the Hedgehog section then this will make a little more sense. Otherwise, consider it a new take on the beginning of the universe. And points for anyone who recognizes who the narrator is. Hint: vintage video gamers will leap for joy that he's finally getting the credit he's due. And without further ado, here's the story.
Prologue: In the Beginning
And it was called "Universe!"
At least that's how the fairy tale goes. The "Big bang," The cosmic marvel that was the beginning of the universe. You people always want to make it sound so glorious, so… so magical. Well, you got one part right. It was big. But don't talk to me about the so-called "big Bang."
I was there.
Yeah, it's true. I was. Tried to fight it actually. And not just me either. Nope. Nobody was really happy about it at the time. Who would be? I mean, time? Space? Matter? Energy? ...Okay, so energy was nothing new, but the others were, and who wanted 'em? We'd never needed these things before. Why should we want them now? Of course we tried to fight it!
But, as you can see, we failed, and the rest is… well, history. The explosion everyone hails as the "dawn of creation" happened, and we found ourselves having to learn how to cope with a physical universe. Now, the problem with a physical universe is that it's made up of physical forms and governed by physical laws. These were new concepts to us, and it took us eons to get used to them. Finally, we figured out that we worked best when we took on corporeal form, even if this did bind us to the physical laws of this sprawling, upstart existence called "the universe." Then, we learned when and how to switch from form to formless energy and thought and vice versa, and that was when we became what we are today. Now, I feel the need to point out something here. A lot of you idiot mortals and your finite brains have said that in our physical forms we look like Lylatian foxes. I tell you, if I weren't immune to disease, that would just about make me sick! Let me set the record straight on something.
Lylatian foxes look like us.
Not the other way around. That's right, bub. We were here first.
But I'm getting off-topic. Where was I? …Right, right. Learning to switch from form to formless, okay. I remember. So, once we figured that out, we started migrating back toward each other. Yeah, the "Big Bang" scattered us all over the place. Took us ages to get back together, I tell you. In fact, by the time we finally did, a whole bunch of this "matter" stuff had gathered together in one place. It was a little too crowded if you ask me, but what can you do? In any case, this one "galaxy," since that's what you mortals eventually named such gatherings of matter, became home to all of us who were around before… well, before, and that's where we ran into a problem.
We picked a galaxy, and that was quite a step when you consider how far this idiotic universe goes, but we couldn't quite agree on a planet. This was the first sign that we had a bigger problem. Eh, I can see the smoke pouring out of your ears from your brain trying to catch up. Let me slow down and connect the dots for you.
We had different ideas about where to live, because we had different ideas about how this upstart universe needed to be whipped into shape. Some of us (including that stripling, Merlin Prower) thought the place needed order. They wanted everything in this existence to conform to nice, static, predictable movements that could be clearly understood. These fools took up residence around a blue giant star (the one you call "Lylat"). They're the ones history calls the Ketsunae.
The more enlightened faction, myself included, were those who believed chaos was to be the rule of the universe. And after all, isn't it obvious that this is the more natural way of things? When does anything in the universe ever stay static? Planets, suns, galaxies, they're always moving, and no creation ever comes without some great act of destruction. You can plainly see that lesson when you look at how the whole mess got started. And if you define your understanding of the universe through ordered parameters, you'll never understand anything. The first time anything in your universe moves, it's changed the parameters of your understanding. The Ketsunae didn't grasp this, but we did. We, who were called the Chae-Dan, took up residence on the barely-formed third planet of a system orbiting a little yellow star. I You guessed it. This yellow star. What do you call this world now that we're not around? Orth? Earth, that's it. The rest of the home-galaxy calls it "Qay-Dan," and it's easy to tell where that name came from.
On that note, I guess it's time I explained who we are. You've known about us for millennia. All of you have. When your primitive brains can't quite wrap themselves around the notion of any singular consciousness that could have caused the existence you know to spring forth, you try to imagine the next greatest power in the universe, and that's us. That's right.
We're the Olympians. Or the Asgard, if you prefer. Or any of a thousand other hokey names you all like to cook up to describe us, the beings who shape the rest of the universe. That's right. From where you stand, we're gods. Live with it. We were around a Loooooong time before you were, and I intend to be around a long time after you.
Ah, you caught the switch there, didn't you? From "we" to "I?" I'm what most of the universe (thanks to Ketsunae influence) calls the "original evil," and as that little ditty from Earth's past goes, "pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name."
No, wise-ass, names weren't another thing we had to adjust to after the Big Bang. Names are labels, the products of thought to reference individual entities, and I assure you, we were experts in thought before space and matter were forced on us. Of course, portraying that name in a physical universe, through sound waves that can be perceived by physical ears, now that's the tough part.
I guess, for now, you can call me by my old name. It's a name that should sound a bit familiar. I'm called Bao'zar, the "Shadow King." That's right, I'm the Dark Lord Bao'zar, and this is my story.