Disclaimer: I am not in any way a biologist or chemist. I will likely bungle that aspect of this story completely. If there is anyone who knows this topic better than me, I apologize ahead of time. Also, I own none of the characters or images used in this.
(A transition looks like this)
Edit 11/19/17: Revised and reuploaded chapter to not be a complete and utter piece of crap. Typos corrected, sentences reworded, and everything just made better in general.
And he had help revising it, so it's not just the same pile of crap but "better." It's actually legible now. ~feauxen the exasperated beta
Edit 3/8/19: This story has not been posted by me to Royal Road or any other site aside from this one and Archive of our own. Any other posting of this story is without my knowledge or consent.
Abathur had never before considered his own death. Throughout all the countless years of his existence, for all that he spent his life making weapons designed to kill others, to annihilate them in the most varied ways possible, his own mortality had never so much as crossed his mind. After all, if he died, surely the Swarm would have fallen as well, and that was simply unthinkable. Billions of constantly adapting, constantly evolving creatures, beings that could breed armadas in days, going extinct? It was unimaginable.
Of course, the unimaginable only stayed that way until it became all too real. While the Swarm was not extinct, and the weapons he created lived and fought on, Abathur, Evolution Master and oldest member of the Zerg swarm, was almost certainly going to die.
He wasn't going to die in an accident, or some experiment gone wrong, though he'd been through his fair share of close calls. Nor was it some grand, important battle, although the Terrans had certainly brought a sizeable fleet. No, Abathur was going to die in a simple ambush while collecting essence. He'd brought a leviathan to a system called Algol, in the belief that there was essence he could use to augment the ultralisk strain. Instead of a simple gathering mission, he had warped into a full Terran armada, armed to the teeth and ready for combat. Whether they were waiting for him, or just happened to be in the area, Abathur would likely never know.
Many more were going to die. Garrick Ollivander knew this as well as anyone. You-Know-Who was claiming more and more ground, more and more lives. Hope grew more distant with each passing day. And so, it was only in desperation that they turned to this ritual. He didn't know where Adeviar had found it, but frankly, he didn't want to. He only wanted to end this nightmare.
All he knew about the ritual was its purpose. With luck, it would reach across time and space to summon a powerful being, something that could defeat You-Know-Who. He didn't know if the summoned being would be willing to help them, or if the ritual would even work at all. And if it was successful, what would the consequences be? Ollivander shook himself. The only alternative was to let He-Who-Must-Be-Named reign supreme, and anything, anything, was better than that.
The other participants, Adeviar Byhumorn, Defous Melhorn, Iwyn Izemorith, Jedelis Iwpyx, Faris and Vivira Jaren were courageous men and women, the lot of them. All of them united by a common goal, and no small amount of desperation. He could only hope that when they were done, this long nightmare would finally be over.
With every passing moment, Abathur could feel the barrier between him and the terrans weapons grow thinner. He searched in vain for something, anything he could use to preserve his life, his essence. A larva to manipulate, a queen or an overlord who could host a copy of his mind. He knew it was possible, the Overmind had done it many times. How had it taken their minds, regrown their bodies? Abathur struggled to recall the process, to recreate it before his time ran out. But the terrans were overwhelming the zerg fliers. He couldn't replenish his forces faster than they were being destroyed. Bit by bit, the terrans claimed ground despite his best efforts to stop them. How ironic it was that terrans would kill him. A race so biologically pathetic would, in the end, destroy the Master of Evolution.
"Is everyone ready?" Ollivander asked. Six grim nods answered him. Of course they were ready. Everyone here had spent weeks helping set this up, whether by collecting ingredients or drawing the runes and diagrams, all of which had to be precisely correct. Not a single person in the circle was unprepared.
So Ollivander pressed his wand to the center of the runic circle, flooding it with power. He was followed by Vivira to his left, then Iwyn to her left, then Jedelis, all the way around the circle. As the glyphs glowed with magic, and the items placed on the outer edges of the circle began to dissolve, Ollivander could only hope they weren't making a horrible mistake.
Just when Abathur was beginning to give up hope, he felt something new at the edge of his consciousness. A rift, a vortex, a gap, something was pulling at him. Something that promised salvation, offering to take his mind and his essence away from the Terrans and their war machines, away from his impending death. Where this vortex lead, Abathur couldn't say.
But if the choice was between certain doom and an uncertain destination, there was only one real option. Abathur allowed the anomaly to pull at him. His mind was the first to go through, with everything else following behind him. Survival was uncertain, but that was better than impossible. Abathur's last thought was that he hoped that he wasn't making a horrible mistake, before his mind was pulled through the anomaly and time lost all meaning.
The ritual was very quickly going wrong. A small error in one of the containment runes had caused the energy that was supposed to call and form the summoned being to cascade wildly around the small room, twisting and thrashing at the participants of the ritual. They clasped their hands to their head as alien thoughts rushed through their mind, or writhed in pain as unknown things crawled through their flesh, or both. The majority was pushing itself into Vivira, funneling into her. Ollivander had to do something. In a panic, he stopped feeding his magic into the ritual circle, cutting the flow. With a final pulse of light, the rest of the formation grew dark.
Unfortunately, the damage was already done. Half of the summoners lay dead on the ground, their flesh twisted into mocking caricatures of human beings. Defous had limbs bursting out of his stomach, Iwyn was covered in bony spikes, and Jedelis lay prone on the floor, his lower body twisted like a snake. Faris and Ollivander had crumpled to the floor, clutching their skulls. Vivira was the only one with intact vocal chords who wasn't screaming, instead lying prone on the floor and clutching her stomach. It was a scene straight out of a horror novel.
Later, when the Aurors arrived to investigate reports of bright lights and chaotic magic, they found a ruined ritual circle, and ruined people to match it. After a few questions were asked of the survivors and the purpose of the ritual was discovered, no charges were pressed. No one could blame them for wanting to help fight You-Know-Who, and the only people who had suffered their folly were the participants of the ritual.
The participants who were still alive got ferried to St. Mungo's. The rest were taken away in body bags. Ollivander and Faris were diagnosed with moderate brain damage, while Adeviar needed whole organs to be regrown with potions, and even then, he was horribly disfigured. Vivira, it turned out, was pregnant, much to the surprise of both her and her husband.
The survivors of the ritual, were released after they finished healing, with strict warnings never to try it again. Unnecessary warnings, after seeing their friends' corpses. Ollivander returned to the wand shop, Vivira prepared for a child with her husband, and Adeviar returned to his job, far away from prying eyes. All of them tried to live as best they could, but they all bore the scars of that night for the rest of their lives.
Abathur was... confused. His mind had gone through the anomaly, he was certain, but he had no idea where he was. He saw nothing. He felt nothing but warmth and liquid. What little he heard was muffled and distorted. He could barely move. All he could do was think, and even that felt strained, as if a thick sludge smothered every fold of his mind. All he could really do was squirm and wait. And wait. And wait.
On December 7th, 1979, Vivira Jaren died while giving birth to Thenabar Jaren, a healthy, if somewhat premature child. On that day, Abathur opened his eyes for the first time in nine months.
Leviathan: There are no creatures in the entirety of the Zerg Swarm that can match the sheer scale of the leviathan. The chief capital ships of the Zerg, leviathans function as a combination of troop transport, boarding vessel, front line brawler, carrier, and everything and anything in between. The battlecruisers of the terran, the carriers and motherships of the protoss, none of these craft can compare to the leviathan in terms of strength, utility, or sheer size. The main attack of the leviathan comes in the form of massive tendrils extending from its front, which slam into and impale opposing forces. Their tendrils are also capable of deploying zerg troops, similar to a nydus worm. In addition, leviathans can spawn mutalisks and brood lords, or drop sacs containing any number of zerg creatures or structures. Unlike most zerg strains, leviathans are extremely difficult and expensive to create. The only being that has managed to do so in battlefield conditions is Abathur. The loss of a leviathan is a steep one, but with time and resources, a new titanic living warship is always ready to do battle.