Prologue

All was silent.

For the first time in a while, the very fabric of space-time was silent, its infinitely large domain illuminated solely by the faint glow of the innumerable strands of space-time that wove their way through the darkness in patterns that no mind could possibly decipher. The fragile-looking strands stretched their way across fantastic distances, wound into intricate tangles, and bent into subtle loops and twists, creating a massive, intertwined morass that defined the sequence of possible chronological events.

No mind could have possibly comprehend even the most basic of these tangles.

No mortal mind could, by all means.

A mind that was detached from the realm of mortality, suspended within the bowels of space-time itself, however...

Now that is a different story altogether.


The Ellimist was an enigmatic being, the important part of this statement being 'enigmatic' and not 'being'. He was not living, yet lived through the proliferation of life. He could manipulate time itself, and as a matter of fact, the bowels of space-time were his eternal domain.

A domain shared by a similarly enigmatic non-being called Crayak.

Between the two of them, they kept a delicate balance running within time. While the Ellimist created life and nurtured it, Crayak eliminated life and detested it. Not to say the latter didn't create life - his creations were very much alive, and every bit as genocidal as their maker. They were polar opposites, their loathing for each other matched only by their mutual, grudging respect for their worthy opponent.

And to keep the balance maintained, there was the Game.

It was the only way they could strike out at each other without collapsing the universe around themselves, and as such, the Game was on.

The Game was bound by simple rules, but they were most definitely unbreakable.

As with all other games, however, there were several loopholes in the rules, and neither of them were hesitant to abuse said loopholes for their own motives.

After all, the winner would take it all, and the stakes were a little higher than what most people were accustomed to.


A bundle of space-time contracted into a pulsating sphere of light, glowing brightly in every color of the rainbow. It pulsated slowly for a while, before a frail-looking hand stretched out and gently extricated the globule of light from amidst the countless others, the action being so gentle that none of the other strands so much as twitched in their places.

"Well, well, well... What have we here?" the Ellimist wondered aloud, scrutinizing the ball of light. Several thick strands had looped around each other, eventually fusing into a thick, conjugated mass. He pondered this unnatural phenomenon for a moment or several, seeing, hearing, and feeling time's passage through the strands gathered in his palm.

After several minutes, he slowly replaced the sphere into the colossal lattice from which it had come, and stepped back, admiring the changes his handiwork had brought about.

Even as the complex mass of space-time strands rearranged themselves all around him, he smiled, sensing his nemesis approaching.

"The Rules, Ellimist!" growled Crayak, materializing in his customary guise of a huge cyborg, "What have you done?'

"Crayak, Crayak," the Ellimist chided, with some amusement in his voice, "The Rules prohibit us from undoing deaths, am I not correct?"

"And also the undoing of decisions," rumbled the dark cyborg, "Just what did you fool about with, you meddling nitwit?"

The Ellimist drew himself up to his full height in his incarnation as a diminutive old man, positively dwarfed by Crayak's towering bulk, "Not anything outside the rules, my dear adversary."

"What. Did. You. DO?!" the last word left Crayak as a bellow that shook the very fabric of space-time itself.

"Wait and see, Crayak. Wait and see."

"You broke the Rules, didn't you?!"

"I did not, and you have my word on that."

Once again, space-time was silent as the two players in the Game contemplated each other, no emotions visible in their chosen guises.

Crayak broke the silence, his lone, red-glowing eye squinting with contempt, "I have your word, Ellimist. No undoing of deaths or decisions?"

"None at all."

Without bothering to say anything more, the machine-like entity named Crayak vanished into nothingness, leaving the Ellimist alone once again, surrounded by the altered strands of space-time.

And at nothing in particular, the Ellimist smiled.


Above a slowly-rotating planet covered in lush green forests and wide expanses of blue ocean, a large asteroid lay suspended in orbit, deadly by virtue of its presence alone. It had occupied that very same orbit for about a decade or so, sluggishly moving in an elliptical path around the fertile world it potentially threatened. It was the largest in an asteroid belt that surrounded the lush world nearby, a veritable mountain of metal and rock more than two kilometers in length.

A smaller asteroid somehow managed to leave its orbit, as another, larger asteroid bumped it in the vacuum of space.

Such occurrences were common, and usually, nothing happened. But the small asteroid somehow left its orbit, anyway.

Within several hours, the large asteroid was tumbling ever-so-slowly towards the green planet, bearing down on an entire species that had barely started looking at the stars, let alone wondered what they were.

As time passed, it fell faster, and soon enough, it impacted on a continent laden with every sort of life form imaginable.

And the Ellimist, watching passively from his hidden vantage point, nodded with satisfaction.

On the other side of the same solar system, Crayak gave a grudging nod of approval, before vanishing and leaving his nemesis alone for the second time.

Too occupied with the asteroid impact on the green planet, now little more than a ruined wreck of an ecosystem, Crayak had failed to notice the other asteroid crashing onto a world several hundred light years away from the observed one.

The Ellimist smiled as he disappeared back into the bowels of space-time to ponder his next move. What he had done was trigger the asteroid collision on one world. As a result of that, and the complexities of space-time, the second asteroid impact had happened.

He could only hope that the rest would proceed as planned. Of all probable the future outcomes of his little deed, none were absolutely certain, and the outcome he was banking on was bordering on being improbable. But he had done what he could, and hopefully, time itself would settle the rest of it for him.


Far away from the two damaged worlds, a species of primitive apes glanced up at the sky for the first time, marveling at the sight of the stars shining in all their glory.