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From Runekeeper's Book, Hermes Trismegistus learns more about the Alpha Reich of the Henryverse. Though once they were peaceful, their politics gradually became a vicious cut-throat society where murder was the norm. The First Henry finds it all tedious but his is whisked away to a mindscape by Chimaat who vows that she could help him stabilise the Alpha Reich for the time being. The capital of the Alpha Reich took up the space of a solar system and in it was the ultranexus that provided the Alpha Henries with their incredible supply of aether. Chimaat, however, steals that light and leaves behind only turnips - her way of restoring stability to the Henryverse. It works for a time, however the Alpha Henries are gradually weakened by the loss of aether, which fuelled their magictech. Barbarians attacked and easily overran the outlands of the Alpha Reich but the Henries stored their aether reserved for protection of the capital system. Unable to overcome the capital, the barbarians disbanded but the Henires had used most of their magic and had to rely on science-based technology alone. The seals containing the Four Horsemen, however, were now in the hands of the barbarians who released War, Famine, Petilence and Death against the Alpha Reich. Chimaat, meanwhile, meets with Runekeeper to tell him that the God-Monarchs will bestow favour upon him and his creation of Earth and humanity. She grants him Runekeeper's Book, in which she has stored the ultranexus of the Henryverse and requests that he installs it upon the Earth for the use of Mega Jonestown Prime.

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Sigils Stating Secrets, Part Three -- Fall of the Alpha Reich

Hermes conjures a new box of donuts as he continues reading.

Originally Posted by The Book

The Alpha Reich is the greatest power in the young Forever, stretching across multiverses. The Alpha Henries themselves are first among all citizens and the cream of all nobility, living immortal lives according to their whims, never knowing consequences.

Eons have passed, though Forever is still very young at this point, and the Alpha Reich is bloated - with wealth, with power, with ego. The older Alpha Henries forget their past deeds as they wallow in luxury; the newer generations know nothing of the trials of their forebears and live frivolously.

The Alpha Henries are divided into hundreds of noble houses, each house having a Voice on the Grand Parliament that governs the Reich. Bored with the challenges that other universes have to offer, the Henries instead quarrel with each other. Great political games are interwoven into every element of Alpha Henry subsociety, and ambitious scions grow restless under the authority of their immortal sires.

The First sits quietly in the assemblage of the Grand Parliament, as Voices bicker and fume between each other, airing the perceived grievances of their respective houses. The oldest of all Alpha Henries is still in the prime of eternal youth, and is accorded supreme respect by all his descendants. But he is unable to correct their path. He chooses his words sparingly now, for the fewer one's words are, the greater impact they have.

Yet even his few words cannot stop the tide. While non-Henry vassals fester in increasing poverty, the Henry nobles are at each other's throats. Yet The First admits that, even before the deadly political infighting began, the Alpha Henry lords weren't always good to their vassals. Not cruel, no - at least not usually - but unable to properly provide for them. Perfect beings who have never known infirmity or hunger cannot truly comprehend the mortality of others. The First alone is wise enough to understand this fact, but he knows that even he is ignorant of a true understanding of the mortals in the Alpha Reich.

Within the Alpha Henry nobility itself, the political games are more vicious. Duels, assassinations, treacheries. The First forlornly remembers the old days, when the Alpha Henries were so noble of spirit that they spared the dissenting and violent and abnormal of their kind, instead banishing them rather than executing them. Now...murder is the result of the smallest slight.

The Alpha Reich is on the brink of civil war. Noble houses are split into a dozen factions, and at any moment all could erupt into open battle, plunging the great empire into chaos.

And The First cannot stop it. So he watches the assembly with hopeless eyes.

Chimaat: I could stop it.

The First: What--?

The assembly chamber of the Grand Parliament is suddenly empty. A fog blankets the air in hazy light. Only The First remains, sitting in his throne-like seat of honor. The First...and one other, standing before him.

The First: Who are you? What have you done?

The figure before him is a young girl, apparently not even into her teen years. She wears an ornate fuschia dress, with long white stockings and stylish short heels. An-emerald set tiara of crystal is set atop her hair, a different shade of green from the emerald. Her eyes are pupilless, only irises and whites.

Chimaat: My name is Chimaat! It's really rather a pretentious name, but I guess you don't mind, since you have a pretentious name yourself!

The First tries to scowl, but instead he chuckles. This girl's demeanor is unexpectedly refreshing after the games and doublespeak of his fellow Alpha Henries.

The First: I do not mind. Are we in a sort of mindscape?

Chimaat: Yeah! A psychic conversation set in an instant between words. When we're done talking, you won't have missed a single second of your Grand Parliament!

The First: A pity. I would not mind missing some of their rants.

Chimaat giggles again.

Chimaat: That's what I can help you with!

The First arches an eyebrow. Chimaat has not really said who she is yet, and he believes her to be far older than she appears. He definitely senses the immense level of power residing within her though; the girl makes no attempt to mask it.

The First: Are you going to strike me deaf then?

Chimaat giggles again.

Chimaat: I like you! I can defuse this imminent civil war. Your Alpha Reich won't last forever, and it won't necessarily be pleasant in its last years...but at least it won't splinter right now.

The First regards her with wary interest.

The First: How?

Chimaat thrusts her finger triumphantly to the ceiling.

Chimaat: That!

Then she brings her arm down to point her finger at his nose.

Chimaat: Would be telling!

The First is not foolish enough to think the girl is telling him everything, but decides that she is being honest about what she is saying.

The First: Why ask me? You're clearly powerful enough to infiltrate citadel security and my own psychic defenses. What do you need my permission for?

Chimaat: I don't! But I thought I'd be polite.

Then she is gone, and the Grand Parliament is back to normal, filled with Voices shouting at each other. The First sits back and steeples his fingers.

Hermes licks his fingers after finishing his latest donut.

Hermes Trismegistus: Intriguing, this. I never knew the Alpha Reich was on the brink of breaking apart, or that it would have fallen from that civil war long before it did eventually fall, thanks to Chimaat's involvement.

He takes a moment to idly wonder what Chimaat did, before resuming his reading again, to find out.

Originally Posted by The Book

The capital city of the Alpha Reich is built around the ultranexus at the heart of the Henryverse. Every Alpha Henry noble house has an estate here, linked by portals to whatever estates they may control in the farflung empire. It is a grand megalopolis so impossibly large that it fills up the entire local star system. An invulnerable shell surrounds the sun so that its heat does not adversely affect the portions of the city around it.

The ultranexus itself is encased in a massive and secure vault. Once, when the capital city of the Alpha Reich merely covered its planet, the ultranexus was free for all to visit, to admire or bathe in its light. Now, the lords of the Alpha Henries are jealous of their power, drawn from the aether that fuels their mind-bogglingly potent magitech.

In the center of the vault, the ultranexus appears as a massive glow of soft blue light, which strobes iridescent silver, white, and gold across the invulnerable metal of the vault's interior. Various eldritch machines surround it - on the ground, on the ceiling, on the walls, and in mid-air - monitoring it and siphoning it.

Only Alpha Henries are allowed in here now, and only the highest-ranking of those in fact. The highest nobility...and the Keepers of the Aether. Tollius, one such Keeper - born and raised within the complex of the massive vault, and having never stepped foot outside it, as is common for the Keepers - takes up his guard shift at the central monitoring station.

The magitech machines run themselves for the most part, and Tollius runs some cursory checks, chanting the appropriate rites as he does so, before kicking back, drinking some coffee, and tuning his mind to the news telefeed.

Tollius: Kardashius being a slut again, who'd have ever guessed? Come on, show me the latest assassinations, that's the juicy stuff!

The various displays and lights on the central monitoring stations flicker briefly, and Tollius frowns as he disconnects from the telefeed. Before he can do more than lean forward towards the controls, however, the vault goes completely dark. Even the machines seem to turn off, and no manner of visual enhancement can pierce the gloom.

No one has time for an outcry, however, before the darkness lifts, having lasted only a split-second. But when the darkness lifts, then the outcries rise up in major panic. Because the glowing light in the center of the vault is gone.

In its place is a mountainous pile of turnips.

Hermes Trismegistus: Wow. I did not see that coming.

He pauses.

Hermes Trismegistus: Not the turnips. It was fairly obvious that turnips would be involved.

He pauses again.

Hermes Trismegistus: Why am I talking out loud anyway?

Originally Posted by The Book

The First is astonished and trouble by the disappearance and evident theft of the ultranexus. The lords of the Alpha Henries are thrown into a panic. Chimaat's word was true however; the civil war is defused. No longer do the Alpha Henries have an infinite supply of top-quality aether to fuel their magitech war machines and spells.

Instead, they band together to conserve the aether they have left - and more importantly, to hide its loss from the populace at large, lest enemies seek to exploit their weakness. The Alpha Henries do have vast reserves of aether, and so are able to maintain their façade of strength for many millennia, but telltale signs herald their weakness.

For instance, new Alpha Henries are not born immortal. They age - slowly, but nevertheless. Even the multitudinous Alpha Henries born before the theft of the ultranexus feel a loss of vigor, and before long they too begin to age, very slowly and subtly, a day for every century.

Arcane machines and grandiose cities aren't maintained as much, or as well, due to dwindling supplies of aether. The magitech machines themselves don't work as well, without the ultranexus's stabilizing presence, even when they are fully fueled with reserve aether.

And then the barbarians come. The descendants of the Alpha Henries long banished from the Reich for their violent and misanthropic tendencies. They have not known the immortality or magitech of the Reich lords, though they nevertheless still aged slowly and were stronger than most other mortals. They also had bred far more quickly than the Reich lords, and when they sensed weaknesses in their hated foes who had banished them, they struck.

Leading enormous armies of everyone who had ever had cause against the Alpha Reich, the barbarians swarm into the multiversal empire, pillaging and sacking. Though some brave Alpha Henry nobles fight valiantly to defend their estates or their vassals, most retreat to the capital, sealing the portals behind them, unwilling to 'waste' the nearly-depleted aether on defending anything but their capital.

Without the support of the Reich lords, most of the empire falls quickly, but the capital remains all but impregnable. Waves upon waves of the barbarians break again and again upon its barriers, as the Reich lords desperately wring every iota of potential out of their dwindling aether.

To the frustration of the barbarian leaders, many of their allied armies disperse. The capital is too strongly defended to be worth taking, they reason, especially when they have these vast new territories to stake as their own! So a bulk of the barbarians remain, laying eternal siege to their hated once-brethren.

The Reich lords dare to breathe again. Their aether is almost gone, but some among them, driven by desperation, have developed new technology, based upon science alone rather than an aether-blend with sorcery, and this new technology may be sufficient to hold back the vastly reduced besieging army's numbers forever.

Hermes Trismegistus: Methinks the Alpha Henry Reich lords are forgetting something...though I suspect The First remembers, and awaits the end.

Hermes already knows how this ends, though he had not previously known about the ultranexus's theft or the depleted aether.

Originally Posted by The Book

But at long last, the end comes.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride on the city of the one who imprisoned them. The seven secret strongholds, in which the seals of the Nameless had been encased, all lay in the captured territory of the Reich that its enemies now claimed. It has only been a matter of time for the fortresses to be discovered and - with its magitech deprived of the aether necessary for its running - cracked open.

One by one, the seals are freed, and fools each utilize one to set a Horseman on a destructive path. Once awakened, the Four Horsemen ride on the city of The First with vengeance. The once-Old-Ones sit astride vaguely-reptilian looking horse-analogues, taloned hooves galloping across empty space as easily as though it were ground.

All the Alpha Henries, barbarians and Reich lords alike, look in terrified awe at their coming. In the heart of the fantastically huge city, the sun turns blood red and boils hot enough to melt the invulnerable shell around it, torching half of the city in instants. The walls around the city splinter apart. Wormwood comets slam from nowhere into the city, their impact craters infecting everything around them, both living and inanimate, with fetid corruption.

The Horsemen themselves ride in, trampling any barbarian that gets in their way. Their weapons sweep wide arcs of destruction as they ruin the city, until they reach the Grand Parliament chamber. The roof of that governmental palace is torn off, and The First, sitting alone within it, looks impassively up at the Four Horsemen who approach him from the sky.

First is War. Once the Old One known as the Dauntless, he now rides a red 'horse', a cataphract covered in black spiky armor. A horned helmet hides his visage, and a bloodred cape flaps from spiky shoulder pauldrons. In one gauntleted hand he wields a flaming black sword, a jagged blade etched with glowing runes. In the other he brandishes a massive chaingun effortlessly in a single hand, its barrels smoking after having spat destructive energy on his ride here.

Next comes Famine. Once the Old One known as the Quenchless, he now rides a black steed, whose hooves strike rifts in reality, creating miniature black holes that hungrily devour everything around them. He is all lack and want and hunger there is, and his hundred arms end in clawed hands with gaping sharp-toothed maws in their palms. He is naked, and hermaphroditic, with six ghastly breasts and a priapic member, and his form is gaunt and sickly pale. His head has only wisps of long stringy hair, and is little more than a skull with parchment-like skin stretched taut over it. Dim orange pinpricks sit in his sockets for eyes.

Third is Plague. Once the Old One known as the Pitiless, he now rides a sickly-white steed, who like him exhales noxious fumes from its nostrils and maw. He is bloated and corpulent, with nauseatingly green and pockmarked skin covered in scales that appear to be solidified mold. Vomit drools from his fat lips, and everything grows putrid around him. Insects buzz around him. In his pudgy hands he wields a great maul and a never-emptying beaker of foul chemical death.

Last is Death. Once the Old One known as the Dreamless, he now rides a pale green steed. The steed seems to be barely there, formed of greenish smoke and light, yet bears Death solidly. Death is clad in a ragged black cloak that conceals his body entirely, his face lost in the depths of his hood. A belt of skulls clasps his waist. In one bony hand he wields a metallic scythe that gleams with sigils and magitech lights, and in the other he holds a book of the damned.

The First: I knew you would come.

Hermes Trismegistus: And so the Alpha Reich dies. I suppose the story of the Four Horseman annihilating their last stronghold is common knowledge among the folk aware of the multiverse, but this offers new perspective.

The diagrams on the page shift and twist a final time.

Hermes Trismegistus: Oh, there's more?

Originally Posted by The Book

In the NeSiverse, more than 65 million years ago...

Chimaat: Runekeeper.

The cosmic god of all magic in the NeSiverse - Hermes Trismegistus's predecessor in that role - turns with astonishment to see one of the God-Monarchs, and bows low.

Runekeeper: Holy God-Queen Chimaat!

Chimaat: You have won the contest.

The Runekeeper blinks uncertainly, hope barely daring to breathe inside his soul.

Chimaat: The Earth and its zodiac, which you have crafted with Three Fates and Aeon, has been chosen by my fellows and I to serve as the center of our glory.

Runekeeper: Holy God-Queen, thank you! I'm so honored and grateful--

Chimaat: Oh hush, really. Both my parents love ceremony, but I don't quite as much. The decision isn't official yet, so don't tell anyone, not even your partners.

Runekeeper: But why-- yes, my lady.

Chimaat: I have something for you...to hold in trust.

She proffers a great Book to him. It fairly trembles with potency. The Runekeeper takes it, and a manacled chain whips out of the book's cover to clasp to his wrist. He jerks back in surprise, then relaxes.

Runekeeper: What...what is it?

Chimaat: Knowledge. Secrets. Power.

She pauses.

Chimaat: It also contains the Alpha Reich's ultranexus.

The Runekeeper almost drops the Book.

Runekeeper: What--?!

Chimaat: Imbue the ultranexus onto Earth. That shall where Mega Jonestown Prime lands and takes root...

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