Those who live above all

Those who live above all

The year is 2250 AD and for some 50 years the Earth has come under the dominion of one of the most brutal regimes in Galactic history – the Scorge.

The pantheon gods and certain others seemed to have forsaken the Earth. They did not choose to interfere when we were quickly invaded and subjugated by a vastly superior technological power. Nor have the mortals of Earth heard anything of he pantheon gods since the time of invasion. The earth's superpowered heroes and villains were either destroyed in resisting the invasion or in subsequent resistance efforts. Just a few managed to flee the Earth and some actually chose to assist the alien invasion. This treachery availed them nothing since the Scorge invaders killed them anyway.

No one on Earth blamed Asgard for it was known that great Odin was long since dead and nothing had been heard from the mighty Thor or any other Asgardian in almost 250 years.

Some questioned why the might of Olympus or other pantheons was not turned against the invaders and to this question no one of Earth knows the answer. Suffice to say that by 2250AD there is no longer any effective resistance to the aliens. All hope has been lost and mankind resigned to its fate. Most of the human population have never known any other form of existence – though tales are passed down by those old enough to remember.

Strangely the final military confrontation took place not in North America or even what had been a resurgent and mighty Great Britain. No, humanities last act of defiance took place in a remote area of the Australian desert where regular and special forces units of the once powerful Australian Army together with a handful of New Zealanders were seemingly crushed under the invaders heel.

Almost the entire and much diminished population of the earth now serves in soul destroying labour camps spread across the planet. A handful of humans existing outside this system - these in the most remote of locations.

Alex Cabot a fadingly attractive woman living with her 9 year old, sickly and disabled daughter in remote Northern Canada is one of the few to exist outside the system. The Scorge tolerate these few as long as they cause no trouble and do not move their location. The aliens anticipate these "few" their numbers diminishing all the time, will eventually die out.

High in Northern Canada, late in what would once have been the Northern Hemisphere Summer Jenny Cabot young daughter of Alex looked into the darkening sky and saw what seemed to be a meteorite crashing to Earth only a short distance from their crude cabin. She called out to her Mum and they both went to investigate. "We must be quick Jenny" said Alex "the Scorge will be here soon to investigate."

Just as Alex and Jenny reached the crash site they were joined by their equally curious neighbour John Beancurd. A powerful if slightly bumbling man in his younger days, John showed the full effects of a lifetime of deprivation where each year had been a little harder than the last. All three looked down into the crater to see a tall, handsome, powerfully sculpted manlike figure either dead or unconscious. Going into the crater Alex detected signs of a pulse "They may be here soon, we must get him away from this area" said Alex "I sense something about him, an aura of power and nobility, something godlike about him."

Bending to try to lift the newcomer John Beancurd was staggered at his weight. "He seems much heavier than even his powerful frame would suggest "said John "far beyond my ability to lift," But then the strangest thing happened, as John remained physically touching the stranger. A sense of well being came over him and he sensed the return of an old vitality he thought long lost and more. Standing up for a moment John sensed a feeling of overall strength and well being that he had never known even at his prime. He sensed that this was perhaps how he would have been as a man had there never been any alien invasion of Earth.

"I knew there was something about him" said Alex as John now just managed to lift the powerful stranger in a fire man type carry and take him back to Alex's small and run down cabin. "He must be 650 lbs or more" said John. As the stranger lay still unconscious or perhaps merely asleep on the floor of Alex's cabin her small daughter reached probingly to touch him. From the moment of her first touch Jenny also felt an enormous feeling of wellbeing come about her. Her sickly pallor evaporated, she stood up straight and her disability seemed to disappear in moments. "This must be what it is like to feel well" thought Jenny – a feeling she had never known.

Staggered by this turn of events Alex began to cry with tears of happiness. "Quiet please !" yelled John "can you hear that noise?" It was a noise they hadn't heard in these parts for a long time, but it was unmistakable, the ugly whisper of alien scout craft approaching. All three involuntarily stepped outside the cabin to see the alien craft still some miles distant. What really surprised them though was how dark it had become outside and how quickly. A storm had not been seen in these parts for many years. Then suddenly it seemed as if all hell broke lose as by far the mightiest storm that either Alex or John had ever witnessed was unleashed. The three oncoming alien scout craft were first hurled away as playthings before being smashed beyond recognition by direct hits from bolts of lightning of unimaginable voltages.

Strangely the wild storm did not extend to Alex's cabin which was like a quiet haven - an eye in the middle of the storm. Then just as quickly as it had come the storm disappeared leaving an intense calm. The trio re-entered the cabin to find their visitor fully awake and standing to the full extent of his 6 feet 6 inches height. "I have been asleep for a very long time" said the godlike visitor "while my senses have reached out and told me something of recent events please tell me in what has transpired here upon Midgard in recent times.

Looking on in awe at the godlike visitor John and Alex related as best they could the story of Earths defeat and occupation. The visitor quietly heard them out. "I do not mean to be presumptious" said John "but you have the look of a great warrior god of Earth's past - a figure of legend." "I was once known as Thor of Asgard and the son of Odin" said the stranger.

"If only you had been here when the Scorge first came" said Alex (but not reproachfully) " the legends say you were the mightiest protector the Earth ever had."

" I am truly sorry I was not here to protect mankind" said Thor. "The aliens will be here at this site again soon and in greater numbers" continued Thor " we must relocate you somewhere relatively safe."

After successfully relocating John, Alex and her daughter Thor took stock of himself. "For reasons unknown to me" he thought "I have retained only a residual element of the Odinpower and of the rune magics that were at my command as Rune Thor." "I sense the existence of my hammer here and undamaged on Earth – my first action must be to recover it."

The hammer of Thor lay hidden in a deep concrete bunker in one of the most remote locations on the oldest continent of the Earth, Australasia. Long ago Australian miners had discovered the hammer buried deep in the Earth. Unable to move the hammer the Australians had built a bunker system about it and placed it under permanent military guard.

It was here that the last organised military resistance against the Scorge aliens took place as Australian SAS special forces units sought to keep the hammer from falling into alien hands. In this respect, at least, this final battle was successful. Whether the alien technology could have made use of the hammer is unknown.

While Thor of old had only achieved flight through throwing his hammer and holding onto the thong the residual OdinPower enabled him to levitate and fly without the hammer. He had also known for some time that a number of the hammers powers were actually innate within him but enhanced and given direction when mjolnor was present Hence the earlier summoning of lightning without mjolnor.

Flying very low over the earth's surface and at a speed beyond even that of Scorge fighter aircraft Thor quickly covered the not inconsiderable distance between Northern Canada and Central Australia. Arriving at the hammers divined location he struck the ground with one blow and it and the bunker system below was rent asunder. Whatever force had earlier prevented mjolnor from returning to its master's hand was no longer in evidence and from the deep bunker it flew immediately into Thor's hand. The moment the hammer reached his hand Thor knew also that it's long lost time travel capabilities had somehow been restored.

So it was that after nearly 250 years, mankind's greatest protector and the greatest weapon ever known to god or man were together as one again. There have been great moments in human history and equally truly ignominious moments. Always depending upon your perspective surely the return of the hammer of Thor to its rightful owner after such an absence ranks among the former.

Ever since returning to consciousness and assessing the alien menace of the Scorge, Thor had been considering how best to deal with them but to minimise reprisals against the residual human population. The residual Odinpower had enabled him to quickly view their power structure and capabilities. Technologically they were more advanced than any humanoid type race he had ever encountered in his long experience. It was clearly a matter of Asgardian mystical might against a very advanced technology. Thor had also divined the location of the Scorge homeworld.

At the core of the alien power over Earth were a dozen colossal starships roughly at equidistant stationary orbits about the earths surface supported by an even larger mother ship located half way to Earths moon. There was regular traffic between the starships and the surface based military garrisons that held each labour camp subjugated. There were also quite considerable numbers of highly manouverable figher type aircraft equally capable in atmosphere or in space.

" There is more force here than is needed just to hold an Earth devoid of military capability" mused Thor "and although still greater force was probably used to overwhelm Earth's heroes of the past, I see nothing that should have troubled the combined might of Earth's pantheon gods." "Where are you Zeus ?" Thor wondered.

"But enough musings" thought Thor as he summonsed almost instantly a planet girdling storm of a size and intensity beyond anything heretofore known. Gathering some of the storm unto himself and allowing his own godly life forces to become one with mjolnor he unleashed a god blast at the alien mother ship. At what seemed to be the very same moment but may have been barely detectable micro-seconds either before or after Thor directed the full electrical fury of the planet girdling storm against the 12 Scorge starships. Goaded, encouraged and enhanced by Thor the storm was beyond anything mother nature might have sustained from earthly resources alone.

In effect the attacks were simultaneous. All the great alien technology and vastly powerful force shields of the mother ship proved useless against a godblast greater even than that which had once humbled the mighty Galactus. The force shields of one or two of the Scorge starships held out for longer against the inconceivably powerful electrical onslaught than others, that is to say in the sense that one or two seconds is longer than no time at all.

Thor had no fear of alien reprisal against the labour camps below because mere moments before his attack and utilising the newly restored time manipulation capabilities of mjolnor he froze time around the labour camp garrisons. Subsequently dealing with the individual garrisons and other surface based Scorge forces was a relatively simple matter. Having broken the back of the alien power on Earth the bulk of these surface forces were progressively teleported by Thor back to their home world "To have teleported the alien starships themselves back to their home world would not have been enough" mused Thor "as they would have returned in short order and probably even larger numbers to the Earth."

"What was needed" Thor's thoughts continued "was an unmistakable demonstration of superior Asgardian might." If he had any regrets about the alien loss of life – these were surely greatly tempered not only by what they had done here on Earth but also what he perceived they had done on countless other worlds.

As a final act Thor teleported himself to the Scorge homeworld there to issue a warning against any further actions being taken against the Earth. He had expected to find the Scorge submissive and (at least outwardly) repentant. The reception he actually received was quite different.

As Thor teleported to an area high in the atmosphere of the Scorge homeworld he came under an immediate fusillade of potent energy weapon fire from interceptors and ground based weaponry. "They have been able to precisely predict my point of entry after teleportation" he mused "I thought that would have been beyond their capabilities."

Twirling Mjolnor at a speed defying thought Thor created a force field that should have been more than enough to deflect all of the Scorge attack. But there was another element to the attack an arcane mystical source that gave Thor pause. " The Scorge attack itself does not bother me he thought, but they seem to have someone or something backing them."

It was this insidious unknown element that threatened to overwhelm his force field.

At that moment Thor decided on a course of action that in some ways was anethema to him. He left the Scorge homeworld and returned to Earth – some element of the residual Odinpower within him had warned that this was the wisest course of action for the nonce.

For a time now the residual Odinpower and rune magics had begun to build within Thor again and he decided to let this run its course before re-visiting the Scorge.

Thor decided to devote both time and energy to assist mankind in the process of rebuilding the Earth after so many years of Scorge occupation. As days past and Thor regained more of the Odinpower this task became increasingly easy. Just a few days into the rebuilding of Earth Thor was visited by a barely discernable scarcely audible wraith like audio-visual projection. At first he could not even recognise the form of the projection. But eventually he saw the projection for what it was a projection of Zeus extremely aged and distressingly weak and frail – the sound so low as if it was coming from a source so remote as to beyond comprehension.

"I only have a window of mere moments Thor" said the projection "beware of "those who live above all" for they were the true architects of Earth's demise" "They are why we remaining pantheon gods were unable to protect the Earth." "They are to all of the gods of the Multiverse something akin to what those who lived above in shadow were to Asgard." "They recognise no peers" continued the projection "not just gods but many individuals and races are unknowing or unwilling pawns in their supposedly grander purpose – the Scorge just one among many." With that the audio-visual image of Lord Zeus faded into nothing and just perhaps so too did the source of the image.

In a few more days the OdinPower had completely returned to Thor as had his mastery of rune magic. "Perhaps" mused Thor "there exists no force or power that can permanently separate me from the Odinpower." All the while during these days Thor through the awareness and knowledge afforded him by his mastery of the runes, now returned to him, considered the matter of "those who live above all."

Shortly thereafter the rebuilding of the Earth was complete and with great delight Thor witnessed the sight of his mother Gaea. He did not ask of her why she had not made her presence known earlier. But it was as if his own restoration and healing of the Earth had facilitated her return. The two spoke at some length and particularly of "those who live above all" "What Zeus image said was true" said Gaea "they recognise no peers – not even the Living Tribunal." "They have never known defeat."

"You could just seek to avoid them my son, but that would not be your way." "You have never flinched against challenging superior force if you felt your cause was just." "I would know more of them mother" remarked Thor "what they have done and propose to do, whether they represent a continuing threat to Earth and I would know the fate of the earthly pantheons" "Your father and I both knew that this day would come" said Gaea "that for better or worse you would seek out those who live above all" "Among all the gods of the Multiverse who better to do this than you." "I would first seek out some of the greatest of the other pantheons of the Multiverse" said Thor "for what knowledge and assistance they might provide"

"Your father and I both foresaw this" said Gaea "and long ago prepared this artefact -the map of the gods - to assist you. " While your powers now far exceed my own, yet you are neither omnipotent nor omniscient and you will surely benefit from the long labours he and I both put into preparing this.

The "map of the gods" created originally by Odin and Gaea had been added to over the years by other Earth pantheon skyfathers and other Elder Gods. The many dimensional map was not a complete record of all the Multiverse's pantheon gods as no such thing existed. However it was the next best thing - the best available record. Represented on that map were some pantheons that mighty Thor knew of and a very great many of which he had no knowledge at all.

Among them were the Astuten, gods of wisdom and enlightenment, the Vaildeer – machinegods that had achieved a highly successful balance between magic and a very advanced level of technology, the Brkeel gods of power and the Trell energy masters – gods of light and energy. The many dimensional map also contained references to other features of significance to the pantheon gods including the domains of the very many death gods and various sources of unaligned great mystical power such as the fearsome fires of evil and the various vlee vortices - great reservoirs of untapped energy.

The death gods themselves if they could ever be united were a most potent source of power said to be capable of rivalling and even surpassing Mistress Death herself.

The map was clearly marked with certain dark mystical pocket dimensions that were considered off limits by the pantheon gods - best avoided even by someone with the power of Thor himself. These included dark matter and dark energy pocket dimensions controlled by even darker intelligences. Thor knew that even if he could somehow manage to tap in to all of the power of all the god pantheons of the Multiverse this might still not be enough to even trouble "Those who live above all" Presumably those entities could stop him at any point they chose assuming - for the moment – that they even considered him worthy of their notice.

Still it had always been in the nature of the mighty Thor that no matter how powerful his adversary he would never refuse a challenge. Had he not once challenged the enigmatic Celestial fourth host - thrusting the extra-dimensional OdinSword into their team leader Arishhem himself? And as Rune Thor had he not only challenged but indeed ultimately triumphed over "Those who live above in Shadow" - the shadow beings themselves?

"Where to start in such a quest" thought the mighty Thor "where else indeed but with the gods of wisdom and enlightenment themselves."

Thor did not need to visit more than a relatively few of the Multiverse's pantheons. From his initial visit to the Astuten a number of things became clear. First there was a clear hierarchy among most of the Multiverse's pantheons. Second there were existing a small number of artefacts of great power that by convention were never allowed to be gathered in one place less they be misused. If Thor, going against convention, could gather these in one place and get the skyfathers of the most powerful pantheons to join with him then vast armies of gods from across all the dimensions of the Multiverse might not be necessary.

Among the vital artefacts was the revelation/reality gem held by the Astuten. The gem existed in many different dimensions at the same time and even that part of it which existed in each dimension was multi-faceted in its own right. It was said that anything or any entity exposed to its emanations would be stripped to reveal its true fundamental nature, appearance and intentions. In the cold light of the gem no form of concealment was possible physical or mental. The gem was kept in the place that can never be breached – considered by many to be the safest place in the Multiverse – the inner sanctum of Glord All father of the Astuten.

Another artefact was the casket of power - the greatest single weapon (if indeed a casket can be a weapon) known to the pantheon gods of the Multiverse. Held under the custodianship of the Brkeel power gods it was said to be capable of drawing on all of the power of every member of every single pantheon past, present and future, that is living, dead, or yet to be born. Hence with such an artefact at hand it was unnecessary to assemble large armies. When the casket of power was placed adjacent to the revelation gem, it was said the gem could lay bare the Multiverse entire stripping away all that was only lies and deception and leaving only the fundamental truth. If a Galaxy entire were but an illusion of a higher power such as "those who live above all" the empowered revelation gem would strip it away.

A third artefact was the great energy harvester a huge siphon like object held under the custodianship of the Trell energy masters. Though used only sparingly it was said to be capable of drawing forth in the most efficient possible manner much of the unaligned energies of the Multiverse including from the fires of evil and the various vlee vortices. Rumour had it that like the casket of power it had an intertemporal component enabling it to draw forth energies that once were and energies yet to be as well as those presently existing.

Never before in the whole history of the Multiverse had the revelation gem, the casket of power, and the energy harvester been in one place at the same time. Indeed this was a deliberately act of their separate custodians the Astuten, the Brkeel and the Trell. Still there was yet another potential weapon that mighty Thor might utilise - the naturally occurring well of absorption – an ancient intertemporal sinkhole that it was said had no limit to the life forces and energies that it could drain away back to the endless void before the time of the very first creations. There was no way in which the well could be moved so that if it were utilised "Those who live above all" would have somehow to be enticed before it. The enigmatic lone guardian of the ell – Templor – said to have been created outside of time looked favourably on the gods and always ensured that occasional wayward visitors were not consumed by the well.

The most powerful of the Multiverse's skyfathers answered the call of Thor of Asgard. Some 20 of the titans all of them nearly as powerful as Lord Thor himself. Half of them were not fully humanoid. Each carried with them weaponry that in some manner either enhanced their power or at least allowed them to channel that power most efficiently. Great swords, lances, spears, shields, axes, maces, hammers and other implements that Thor had never seen before but that seemed better suited to the anatomy of distinctly non humanoids. Many of the skyfathers wore some form of protective armour and gems and amulets that were clear sources of mystical power. In at least one case there was a life force driven armour construct vaguely reminiscent of Asgard's Destroyer construct.

For his part Thor teleported unto himself the best that Asgard had to offer. The Destroyer armour, his own belt of strength, Odin's spear gungir and the awesome and seldom used OdinAxe. Mjolnor of curse had been with him at all times. The Destroyer armour was never meant to be worn as a suit of armour and until now could not be disassembled by any known means. But in this time of urgency Thor transformed it by mystical spell into a suit of armour that he could wear without any loss of its powers. Also while wearing the armour his own separate powers were undiminished. As a final act Thor mystically "melded" the belt of strength to the now physically wearable Destroyer armour.

All the while as Thor summoned the skyfathers and gathered in the artefacts of great power – he expected "Those who live above all" to intervene at any moment. It seemed inconceivable that they had not already done so. Were they so formidable that all this was as nothing to them?

It was not in effect necessary to go to "those who live above all' in order to engage them. In a sense they were in many, many places at the same time. It was thought that the full engagement of the revelation gem linked to the casket of power and indeed the energy harvester would reveal them wherever they might be. However such an act would reveal all that was unreality, fabrication, deception and lies throughout the Multiverse and "Those who live above all" could not allow this to happen. While up until now they had been merely interested spectators, their hand was forced.

The place chosen for battle was the vicinity of the well of absorption in the event that naturally occurring phenomenon might be needed I the struggle.

Generally thought to be the most powerful entities in the Multiverse, collectively beyond even the Living Tribunal, "those who live above all" approached the gathering of the Multiverse's most powerful skyfathers and their most powerful artefacts. Before the full light of the revelation gem powered by a partially open casket of power the true nature of "those who live above all" was laid bare before the assemblage of skyfathers.

Without even a moments delay Thor, Lord of All Asgard, opened the casket of power to its fullest extent and energies the like of which had never before been seen swarmed around, through, over, above and under "those who live above all." Thor and the other skyfathers present, not entirely unexpectedly, then found themselves temporarily reduced to barely conscious ghostly observers in a cataclysmic struggle. True to its nature the casket of power had started to draw on all of the power of all the Multiverse's godly pantheons, past, future and present starting with those gods that were most immediately present.

As to "Those who live above all" just before lapsing into semi-consciousness Thor and his fellow skyfathers heard them simply laugh. A scathing laugh that penetrated the deepest recesses of their minds until blissfully each skyfathers mind lapsed into oblivion.

So it was that all the past, present, and future power of the Multiverse's pantheon gods was unleashed swarming over the approaching omnipotent entities known only as "Those who live above all." The struggle threatening the fundamental stability of the Multiverse.

Whether those seemingly supremely powerful beings felt threatened in any way by such a cross-temporal surge of godly energies is not possible to say. Suffice that as their own limitless power and energy intertwined with that of the gods the omnipotent beings moved quickly and decisively.

First they "capped" the nearby well of absorption such that none of their own energies might drain away through that vast inter-temporal sinkhole. Second they disabled the siphon like energy harvester by breaking the link between it and the mystical energy sources it drew upon. Finally by means unknown they forced shut and sealed the casket of power stemming the awesome flow of godly energies. They were either unable or unwilling to act against the revelation gem which continued to show them as they were stripped of all pretensions. In effect basking in naked reality. At some point Templor, he who was born outside of time, and was the sole guardian of the well of absorption blinked out of existence.

With the casket no longer drawing on their godly powers Thor and the other skyfathers regained consciousness and gathered about it. Now firmly shut and sealed by the invisible hands of "those who live above all" – there were no mystical spells or incantations nor any tools, weapons or mechanical contrivances by which it might again be opened. Only physical strength at a level heretofore never witnessed could now reopen the sealed casket.

Sensing they had only moments before "Those who live above all" might, perhaps even casually, erase them from existence most of the skyfathers surrounded Lord Thor as he and several others gathered about the casket. The natural strength of Thor god of Thunder and Lord of Asgard is fabled throughout all of existence. Strongest of all the pantheon gods of the Multiverse he attempted to smash open the casket of power with the OdinAxe which it is said. can cut through any physical object or energy barrier. But not today – as successive blows seemed only to blunt the axe and perhaps shake the foundations of the nearer Galaxies.

Grasping the base and lid of the casket of power firmly Thor mystically increased his strength to its almost limitless upper boundary and then invoked his belt of strength in an attempt to amplify that strength still further into unchartered waters. Thor strained and strained his muscles bulging, veins standing out almost to bursting, and eyes bulging. Still it was not enough even to slightly budge the lid of the casket. Almost never had the strength of Thor been found wanting but never had it been put to such a test as this. Several other skyfathers lesser in strength than Thor did what they could to assist.

As Thor strained mightily "Those who live above All" recommenced their attack. For just a few precious seconds the energy shields of the skyfathers held firm but then quickly began to falter. Weapons and armour and even power amulets alike were crudely stripped away from them and disintegrated such that the skyfathers stood scantily clad indeed. And even as some of their number disappeared for all time still they fought on.

Strength almost failing him, Thor dug deep indeed into his inner resources and somehow drew on the very last dregs of an inner reserve and resolve the existence of which even he was unaware. Slowly the lid of the casket began to move and once that movement began there was no turning back as with some assistance from fellow skyfathers the casket lid was opened to its fullest extent and held open. Again the god power of all the pantheons, past, present and future began to gather.

For the merest of moments even the all powerful "Those who live above All" stopped their unrelenting attack somehow lauding this great feat of strength. How much strength was involved in such an act? – enough to move a planet?, a neutron star?, a black hole? In later years at great feasts of the Multiverse pantheons – legend would have it that it was enough strength to rotate the Universe on its axis. But then godly feats of strength have a way of growing out of all proportion over time – don't they?

At that precise moment a wedge of no less than 200 death gods struck one of "Those who live above all". The "hand of death" blow was as powerful as it was unexpected and was just barely enough to momentarily unbalance the entity and bring him/it within the influence of a freshly unsealed well of absorption. All 200 death gods piled on top of the entity and the whole mass descended into the inter-temporal sink hole drawn down to the void that existed before the very first acts of creation. Nor could that seemingly all powerful entities three companions that made up the totality of "Those who live above all" be of immediate assistance since at that precise same moment they were under direct from most of the god power that has , does and will ever exist.

What does a near omnipotent entity do with him/itself in the void existing before creation and in the company of 200 death gods? – perhaps it starts some creation of its own?

For some unknown reason the death gods of the Multiverse had been the only aspect of god power that the casket of power could not draw upon – a fact not known to "Those who live above all" And what were 200 death gods, more or less, compared to the total of their numbers in the Multiverse, a small price to pay.

As the casket of power again gathered in the past, present and future power of the gods – Thor found his own strength and power not being drawn off – somehow he was being left with the vital role of physically keeping the casket open. The swirling, sworling energies lashed at "Those who live above All" and now with clear direction. Nor was it direction from the casket itself. Amid millions of past, present, and future god consciousness caught up in the incomprehensible energies all allowed a single consciousness to take control of the attack, the consciousness of the greatest tactician of all the pantheon gods, past, present or future – Odin the Almighty!

Though victory or even stalemate seemed unthinkable Odin, pressed the attack again and again and again. All the Multiverse's death gods, save the 200 now removed, formed a single entity and fought valiantly alongside.

At a moment when victory appeared at least possible against an enemy that would never retreat, an enemy that would never admit of an equal, the failure of the revelation gem – put all that in doubt. The enemy that now confronted the Odin directed cross temporal all god power was now less distinct, less clear. Attempts at deception, confusion, reality manipulation while not entirely successful served to blunt Odin's attack. All the while the mighty Thor strained every sinew to keep the casket of power open, a task even more difficult with the failure of the revelation gem.

How and why the Revelation Gem failed was unclear but Glord, Allfather of the Astuten, gods of wisdom and enlightenment seemed to "condense" from the roiling accumulated god power and managed to reactivate the gem. Afterwards he stayed in attendance with it.

Odin saw to it that the Energy Harvester was also reactivated and drew heavily on all sources of unaligned power. The Allfather of the Trell energy masters "condensing" from the accumulated god power to remain with it. Not entirely to the liking of it's denizens the harvester "harvested" the entirety of the "fires of evil" pocket dimension complete with greater and lesser fire demons and sentient super heated fires dumping it all upon "Those who live above All." . For the very barest moment it gave just one of them pause.

For their part for the first time in the conflict the remaining three entities that constituted "Those who live above All" began gathering in external energies from the dark dimensions. Opening their huge maws to swathes of dark matter, dark energy and dark intelligences. Not for the first time Odin pondered defeat and its ramifications. If virtually all the power of all of the pantheon gods past, present and future were defeated here what would this mean? – that the gods would exist no more, could never exist and in fact had never existed? – defeat was unthinkable but how to overcome near omnipotence?

The only apparent weakness of "Those who live above All" was that if they came within the intertemporal pull of the natural phenomenon known as the well of absorption they seemed unable to escape it. Of course a couple of hundred death gods helping them along did not harm the process. How to entice them near the well? – though they had not moved again to seal it they were certainly keeping very much away from its pull.

"Those who lived above all" found feeding on energy no impediment to continuing their attack, they could easily do both at the same time. Still the consciousness of Odin sensed a momentary loss of focus of two of them. When one is near omnipotent there can be a tendency towards high levels of confidence.

Under telepathic instruction from Odin's consciousness the Trell skyfather arranged for the energy harvester to teleport to the maws of two of the near omnipotents what appeared to be large swathes of dark energies which they saw as part of their own collection. In fact the harvester had transported to them elements of white mystical energies from the vree vortices.

It was enough to unbalance the near omnipotents just for a moment. At that very same moment two wedges each consisting of hundreds of death gods broke away from the hard pressed all death gods' entity and thrust at the unbalanced near omnipotents putting them within the thrall of the well of absorption. To make matters certain the death gods piled onto the near omnipotents and accompanied them on their long journey down through time to the void before creation. A godly "kamikaze" sacrifice if you will.

Odin pondered on what the gravitational equivalent might have been to the vast intertemporal pull of the well of absorption. He knew such a comparison was meaningless but it must have been equivalent to many many thousands of black holes or more. No wonder the appointed Guardian of the well had been born outside of time. But who had appointed him?

To its credit the single near omnipotent entity left, the sole survivor of "Those who live above All" did not take a backward step. However just as the cross temporal all pantheon god power had not been sufficient to defeat all four of these near omnipotent entities it was assuredly enough to defeat one. Somewhat belatedly and certainly reluctantly that final entity took the same route and reached the same destination as its fellows.

As mighty Thor finally lowered the lid of the casket of power the past and future power of the gods returned to their rightful time in the continuum. But not before the departing consciousness of Odin posed and answered the final question.

Why was it that these almost all powerful entities had succumbed to a naturally occurring phenomenon, albeit with some assistance from the gods? Even as he asked the question Odin knew the answer.

In his wisdom the one single entity who truly was above all had created the well of absorption for just exactly that purpose. As the original creator he could assuredly be counted on never permitting these near omnipotent entities to be a part of the original creation.