The first light that shined in the dark universe gave birth to creatures of light. It stabilized the virgin universe and brought balance to the everlasting darkness. Before the White Light, there was no concept of day or night. Everything was immersed in darkness and the vast space of the universe remained dark and cold.
But, this was not to be!
Call it fate or destiny or perhaps the will of a higher power, a crack formed in the vast ocean of space. Through this crack, the Light dimension poured out the first light into the dark universe. From this light, the races of Light were born.
Those who dwelled in darkness were forced to adapt. They had no choice but to accept the Light that gave warmth and colour to life.
And so began the war. The war between Light and Darkness. It was a war that brought balance to the universe, for a time. When the scales tipped to one side too much the other reared back and catastrophe would unfold. The never-ending battle of darkness and light was never supposed to sow chaos in the universe. The intent has always been to balance the intricate powers of the universe so that it could expand faster and for life to spread unopposed.
"Of course, not everyone agreed with your plan."
A voice in the infinity of space rumbled.
A tear in space formed and proceeded to split wide open. Eternity stepped out of the tear and it closed behind him. He was the first soul to take birth in the new Universe that spawned the Multiverse. It is because of his existence the Multiverse exists and the souls can exist in multiple iterations across the Multiverse.
The large ball of colossal energy made of white light condensed into a humanoid form.
"Hmm... Free will grants all life the ability to choose. And the precondition for choice is the ability to disagree with me."
Eternity hummed while peering intently at the events unfolding on Earth.
"Why did you bring an alien soul into this verse? If I can feel the distinction, so do the Celestials. And you know how your first creation can behave." said Eternity, eyeing the Creator, the one who is many and perhaps the other moniker fits better, The One Above All.
"To seek a reason for my actions is a hopeless case. You should know better than that Eternity. You might as well have asked what is the purpose of life or the existence itself. My actions are beyond the scope of reason."
Eternity remained silent and observed the Creator, the one who gave him a purpose in this multiverse. But, he could not hold his curiosity back. After all, the presence of the Creator is a cause of concern for him. The Creator is a master at causing mischief.
"Why are you here? Why now after all this time?" asked Eternity.
"Why? Don't you want me here?"
"You are a mischief-maker, Creator. You have toyed with the humans of Earth many times in the past. I'd say you are rather obsessive about them." Eternity accused.
The Creator just laughed.
It was a strange thing for Eternity to watch, the Creator's laugh. Despite his powers, he remained ignorant of the true depth of the Creator. He only knew what he was allowed to know by the Creator. He might be the personification of all living souls in the Multiverse but he was still confined to this singular Multiverse. So, watching the source of all the Multiverses laughing like a normal living being was indeed disturbing and a rare event.
'Does humans warrant such attention? They are just souls like every other living being in the multiverse.' Eternity thought.
"I'm here to even the field in this struggle between darkness and light." said the Creator.
Eternity looked at the Creator with trepidation. Whenever the Creator became hands-on with the humans of Earth it has always ended in disaster for mankind. If it wasn't for the Eastern pantheon of gods, Earth would have been rendered asunder by the Creator's mischief.
"You intervened four times and you launched four conflicting religions. Are you sure you want to intervene again Creator?" Eternity asked.
"Don't be so melodramatic." the Creator said, dismissing his concerns. "Now then. Let there be light."
Eternity looked at the Earth where the Creator's mischief was directed. He could only see light and most likely this was the same for the humans down below. He was about to persuade the Creator from pulling back his power but the Creator was nowhere to be found.
"Typical!" Eternity groaned.
He looked at Earth and waited for the bubble of power the Creator bestowed to rescind. As his vision became clear he also felt the surging of a new power on planet Earth. His senses picked up a familiar warmth surging from the Kryptonian.
"I see." Eternity murmured, taking in the result of the Creator's will.
Slashing his dark hands he opened a tear in space through which he made his escape. Whatever happened down on Earth was not his responsibility. It never was and never will be.
The tranquillity of the free stream water was soothing as he stretched his limbs out. Bending his torso forward while he sat on a mat, he said his arms underneath his slightly raised knees while his legs were stretched out in full.
Bruce closed his eyes and took a small breath before he stretched his neck out and started ahead while his body was in the Tortoise pose. He took even breaths and the bright rays of the sun smothered him with warmth. He kept track of his heartbeat but it was steady and was rather in a calm rhythm.
The aim of this pose was not just to stretch the limbs but to control breathing and cut off the senses to the upper torso. With his upper torso now being level with the ground, it helps in focusing the mind inward. The benefits of the daily practice include reduced stress and a flexible body. For someone like him, this was a godsend.
A precondition to channel dimensional energy was concentration. Without a focused mind, the constructs made out of dimensional energy tend to be weak. One can only concentrate so much especially when a raging giant green monster was your alter-ego. Such weakness was dangerous for a sorcerer. Not just because of the expectations of the teachers here but also because of the responsibility associated with a sorcerer.
It was a new world here in Kamar Taj and this new world offered him new possibilities but also new responsibilities. Originally, he had come here to tame the Hulk. But now, after tasting the enormity of knowledge in the sanctum he was hooked. He was interested in going further ahead in this path rather than returning to whatever awaited him back home.
Home? There was no home waiting for him. His home was hunting him to use what was inside him as a weapon against the world.
If there was any regret in him, that'd be for Betty. But, as the Ancient One taught him, attachment to the material is detachment from the spiritual. Abandoning his attachment to Betty, he could see the pain he'd cause her if he remained in her life. The danger he'd put her through would be incalculable.
On the other hand, he could do more good by working in the sanctum with the order of the Mystic Arts. Most importantly, should he lose control of the Hulk the sorcerers of the sanctum can ensure no one gets hurt. It'd be a load off his back and he could work in a stress-free environment. Truly, he ought to thank Cerion for sending him here. Bruce felt like he was on a new path and opening a new chapter in his life.
Granted, it was a life full of ancient magic and dimensional threats. But, what was life without some fun?
Someone was calling his name repeatedly and that broke him out of the trance. Opening his eyes, he was greeted by the sight of Mordo, Kaeceilius and the Ancient One standing before him with an open portal behind them.
"There has been an incursion by a demonic entity into our world and your friend Cerion is in trouble. Are you interested in tagging along Bruce?" asked the Ancient One.
He looked at the Ancient One and then at the other two sorcerers. From their face, he deduced this was no joke and they were dead serious.
Bruce immediately came out of his Yoga posture to address his guests.
"What sort of trouble?" asked Bruce.
From what he knew of Cerion the guy was certainly capable of handling anything. His friend toyed with the Hulk after all. Who could bring trouble to someone like that?
"The sort of trouble that requires our attention." said Mordo.
Bruce eyed the man who had trained him in hand-to-hand combat. If the Ancient One was pulling all the big guns there must be some serious problem. Although, Bruce was not exactly sure what he could contribute here.
"Do you think I'm ready?" he asked the Ancient One.
"No one ever is. We do what we have to do at the most difficult of times. Those who manage to do this lead a productive life. Time, Bruce, waits for no one. Not you, not me, not for anyone. We make the choices we make and work for the best outcome." said the Ancient One.
'You could have just said yes.' he muttered in the confines of his mind as he followed the sorcerers into the portal.
Jane watched the events transpiring in Nevada on the tv with a sense of fear and bewilderment. She could handle her boyfriend being an alien but demons walking around and burning cities and people on live television, especially after Christmas eve is where she drew the line.
Nothing made sense anymore. Demons were supposedly living beneath the ground and aliens fly down from the sky. What next? God and Satan are real?
'That'd take the cake, won't it?' Jane thought.
The tv anchor who was chatting away excitedly explaining how the 'Angel of Pennsylvania' was there to save the day and the happenings on ground-zero suddenly paused.
"We are getting some new information from the White House. Our sources tell us that the President has ordered a missile attack against one of the demons. We don't know which one but seeing as one is immobile it is most likely...Oh, wait! There it is!"
The visuals suddenly shifted to the sky where a small dot of light was seen arcing through the sky. It didn't take a genius to identify the little ball of light was a missile. It disappeared briefly among the clouds and then the whole sky lit up with bright light.
"What the hell was that? Did they just use a nuke or something?" her dad yelled, standing up from the couch and looking worriedly at the tv.
Jane was also equally worried. She was also afraid of a nuke getting detonated over a city but primarily her concerns were for her boyfriend.
'My phone!' Jane thought.
She searched her pockets but it was nowhere to be found. She was about to look for the phone in her room but when she turned around she screamed in fright.
Her father was quickly at her side because of her scream and the two of them faced a tall dark-haired man in their drawing-room.
"Isn't it wonderful when a plan works far beyond your expectations?" said the intruder looking meaningfully at the tv.
"Who are you? Get the fuck out of my house." Her father walked toward the intruder threateningly.
The intruder flicked his hand and a plethora of dark energy swept her father off his feet. He smashed into the tv and lay unconscious on the floor. Everything happened in the blink of an eye and Jane was left gaping for a time.
"Dad!" Jane cried.
Coming out of the shock, she rushed to her father's side.
"I'm sure your father will be fine, child. You, on the other hand, I can't say." said the intruder, grinning evilly from ear to ear.
"What do you want?" she asked, now very scared knowing this is possibly an alien or a demon.
"Why you, of course." said the intruder, reaching out his gloved hand towards her only for a red chain to wrap around the man's hand.
"I don't think that's happening Mephistopheles."
Jane was left gaping at the newcomers in her home. There was a bald woman in bright golden robes and the three men standing by her side. The woman was holding the chain in her hand and pulled her father's attacker towards her with unholy strength.
Suddenly, one of the men beside the bald woman grew into a familiar green giant monster and gave a full-power punch at her would-be attacker. Her attacker was blown away smashing through the walls and leaving a man-sized hole in the direction of her house's backyard.
"Wow!" Jane voiced.
"Thanks." The green giant spoke, an abashed look on his face. "Hi. I'm Bruce Banner. I'm a friend of Cerion."
Jane dumbly shook the green giant's hand. This was all too much for her and everything was happening way too fast for her to process.
"Who are you people? Who's that guy? What happened to Cerion?"
"Enough chit-chat. This fight is just beginning." snapped Kaecilius, two shields sprung up on his hands and he proceeded to converge them together and expand them.
Not a minute later, a torrent of black fire attacked the shield forcing the other sorcerers to also pool their power to strengthen the shield.
Jane watched all of this with a completely lost look on her face and an unconscious father to care for.
'What's going on?' she wondered, even as she ducked and covered her father with her own body as the house started to collapse around her.