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It is a Time of Legend.
It is The Twilight of the Great Crusade.
With the Age of Strife ending as the boiling currents of the Warp recede, allowing again interstellar travel, the broken host of humanity could once more meet each other. It is not always a happy reunion. Mighty heroes and vast machines of war battle for the right to rule the galaxy. As the being known as the Emperor of Mankind pours forth from Terra his vast armies to claim the galaxy, alien races stir. The brutal tide of elite warriors have smashed many alien races and wiped them from the face of the galaxy, and older, stronger, but perhaps not any wiser powers prepare for a future being bent towards man's supremacy. This is the Emperor's vision, and very little can withstand his intricate, ruthless plan.
Gleaming citadels of stone, steel, and gold celebrate the Emperor's victories. A million worlds sing praise of the epic deeds of the heroes of the Imperium. First and greatest among them are the Primarchs, engineered superheroic beings who lead their Legions of Space Marines to victory after victory. They are unstoppable and magnificent, the pinnacle of the Emperor's genetic experimentation. The Space Marines are the mightiest human warriors the galaxy has ever known, all but tireless and without peer in combat among their alien enemies. Organized into Legions of ten thousand Astartes, they conquer the galaxy each in the name of their Primarch and the Emperor.
Chief amongst the primarchs is Horus, called the Glorious, the Brightest Star, favourite of the Emperor, and like a son unto him. He is the Warmaster, the commander-in-chief of the Emperor's military might, subjugator of a thousand thousand worlds and conqueror of the galaxy. He is a warrior without peer, a diplomat supreme. He is the morning star, poised as a herald to bring humanity to a new bright golden age.
And yet, it is not to be. The Master of Mankind had decreed it. Long had he foreseen the creation of his children, but a mere hundred years just before their creation, chosen to alter the terms of his Great Crusade. A herald, never the master, the Wolf howls in the light of the moon. For the Emperor is a patient man, and ever-curious, and his plans ineffable.
The galaxy must have peace. It must know Serenity. The Emperor gambles greatly, but the prize is domination not just of one galaxy, but of a universe long left fallow.
LOVEHAMMER: The Scattering of Serenity
The pacification of Yndonesic Bloc was the last task in the Unification War for Terra. The monstrously cruel Cardinal Tang proved that there was no such thing as an inhuman act, for one knew with keen familiarity that there was no act a man would not willingly commit. The man who would be known only as the Emperor of Mankind walked through the barren, pitted wasteland that once was a channel of trade from mainland Asia into the Pacific. It was now the Celeves Plains. The last relic of the once-mighty Pacific was far to the East, past the purpling skyline, in an artificially-maintained ocean and its useless paradise archipelagos. The Pan-Pacific Tribe was in the ring of Hive-cities surrounding that.
The golden-armored being stood there, and all around him were broken remains of machinery and what had once been men. Terra was rife with techno-barbarians, and not even his chosen warriors escaped unscathed from the battle. He cast his mind back, further and further into the dim recesses of history that only he remembered, and now only just barely.
Moluccas. The word rolled off his tongue, its taste spicy with the flavor of his own long, twisted journey. Not even M2, but the first millenium and a half. Beyond that, even his intellect began to fade off into the obscurity of time; too many memories, melting together in the nostalgia of his youth, all he could recall now was vague feelings of distress, wonder, and enthusiasm. The touch of mortality. Even he thought there could be an end to his struggle.
He breathed in the tangy Terran air. Thirty thousand years, from one end of the galaxy to the other, but it begins again where it first started. A little further north was the Magelanic Rift, an old and forgotten thermal borehole. He was the one who named it, and no one else recognized the label. It had become an obscure little verb in High Gothic.
The Emperor looked around. He was done. Terra was once again won. The Warp, though still turbulent, was growing calmer by the day. It was as he had foreseen. His Work could now proceed uninterrupted. The Age of Strife was an unavoidable piece of his plan, but it was still a mighty inconvenience. He closed his eyes and felt his land. He felt solar wind caress the skin of the world, and felt the pulse of molten currents far beneath his feet. It was not something that could be done with any other planet. Much as he loved Terra, with long familiary it had grown too small for such as him. It was the cradle of the mind, but one could not stay in the cradle forever.
He smiled. That had certainly been a surprise, Zakharov's return. Almost five hundred years earlier than what he'd predicted. When Man finally met Ork, he was caught unaware about the alien's depth of brutal cunning, but not helpless. In fact, mankind was perfectly primed for the Alien Wars.
It was a pity, what happened to Manifold Six, but... as the first stars of night appeared and the familiar shape of Luna claimed the sky, he remembered... Terra first. His mother and wife. All of humanity was his child. No Planet could ever shake his loyalty. It was just too unstable. Even he'd been tempted by the power of the Flowering, but in the end... it would have been a crutch. A shortcut straight into a dead-end. Species-death.
"Humanity will be no slave to any alien mind." he said to the wind. "We will be better than that."
He remembered the fifth millennium clearly. It was his second birth, and the staggering realization of just how powerful he really was and how inflexible and enduring were his obligations.
He supposed he should feel triumph about enduring this far, but it was one more battle. Milleniums passed by in a blur; and battles both physical and mental and spiritual were unending. Killing human beings, the very people he was supposed to be protecting, he could never feel any glory in that. It was the slaughter of infants. It was the repudiation rather than education of of the ignorant. There could never be any satisfaction. It was a task, his duty, nothing more.
Alone and well away from any eyes, he thought about allowing himself a moment to slump his shoulders, and laughed derisively. The weight of his duty could never be too much for him to bear. He was certain. His greatest creation was himself. The dead were dead. Maudlin sentimentality would not help them any. The best tribute he could make was to make sure that their deaths were not in vain.
Ten thousand years. Twenty. Thirty. Just the blood he'd personally spilt would fill up a lake. Blood alone would not make any man a god, despite what old moustache-face had said. Little Bathory's been offering blood to the wrong diety. Ah, too bad for young Vlad, he'd been too late to recognize the corruption.
Even he could feel tired, but once more the core of his personality roared in its savage persistence. Too many faces that only he now remembered, too many voices binding him with promises. The Emperor looked around, and wondered what about this battlefield, so indistinguishable from so many others, that could make him think back through his unnaturally long life. Tanks torn open and battle walkers in pieces, bleached skulls and armored walls scorched with plasma- the price of hubris. He could still feel regret, it was better if this bloodshed could have been avoided, but it was necessary; and so he'd done it. What were a few million compared to thousands of billions? They would be better for this, and Man, torn and covered with scars, with their last ounce of courage, would once again reach for the unreachable stars.
His was a long journey and a heavy burden, not easily shared. He'd had many companions, but inevitably like all mortals they died or strayed from the purpose. Even here, at the end, he was utterly alone- as was meant to be. No mortal could look upon his Work and not, in the ignorance of their flicker-lives, recoil in horror. He had few that he could trust with a large enough slice, but always, always, their journeys must end before his could even be close to completion.
The Emperor knew his purpose, and had begun the next stage of his Plan when he felt the gods die. The pantheon of the Eldar, in their death-throes pulled the boiling currents of the Warp into the new feature of the galaxy - the Eye of Terror. The Emperor glared at the distant speck. The Enemy that he'd fought for all of his existence, the cursed Chaos. Soon, they would have again a reckoning. When mankind rules supreme over the galaxy, he will make sure, that they do not the suffer the folly of the Eldar.
He let out a sigh. As ever, the work was far from done. Still so much to do. He looked around. More horrors he must commit, to save humanity from an even worse fate.
Again, unbidden, a memory bubbled to the surface.
- Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt -
He remembered well what was spoken to Heremiah: 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: 'Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.'
He breathed in deeply. All had gone as he had foreseen. A thousand years shaped mankind in sharp, precise cuts.
Though almost a god, with powers beyond comprehension, the man known as the Emperor was still a man, and could father children, though very rarely and an even more remote number showing any abilities beyond normal. His true essence lay in his soul, his mind in the Immaterium, and the flesh he wore was but a shell he could reshape at will. He was a shepherd of Man, and from those of his descendants that he laid bare the obligations of his blood, expected the same dedication. All must drink from the bitter cup.
Violence was man's nature. They can be stopped for a time, when they begin to loathe that part of themselvesl but that would lead them incomplete and vulnerable. Mankind must heal completely. He would make them drink; for the most potent medicine always had an unpleasant taste. The wound must be reopened, the soul must knit.
The Emperor cast his gaze around, to burn this carnage into his memory. It was the price of his ascension. He searched within himself - he could feel regret - could he feel shame? Yes, he discovered, he could. His life was a litany of little failures, not triumphs, learning from mistakes, and his joy had ever been to watch men stumble upon myriad discoveries that he in his foresight simply did not think about. He focused on events, on choices, but mankind's power would be discovered and deserved. Scientists and statesmen he'd guided through the ages, and this... unsubtlety, this blatant force, though necessary it was a discordant note in his own personal history. For him to act was to rob mankind of its own potential, if just for a time.
He had to weigh it. What was a few centuries, even a few millennia, to an ordered galaxy? Perhaps, once more, he would just vanish and let his name become myth. Man, unfortunately, had a tendency to kill each other and ruin their very means of progress in the name of one who could do nothing but to watch, lest he worsen the situation by killing mankind's ability to think and act for itself.
His vision went into the future, and saw mankind occupying the space left by the Eldar. A psychic race, protected from Chaos. A powerful race, claiming a thousand galaxies. A race worthy of being the New Ones, and among them New Man would not be alone or needed anymore.
He nodded to himself. He would have it all, for only then could he finally test himself. How strong was he? Strong enough to let it go? He wanted to laugh. At that point, it would not matter. There would be others more than capable of wrestling the Work away from his grasp. Anything was worth that. He was old, but he had not forgotten the face of his father.
He turned to return to his commanders, then stopped short. Something was strange. Something was there, suddenly. He looked up, towards Luna, whose face was now hidden under a web of lights and installations. If he considered Terra, mother Gaea, as his metaphorical wife, then the moon was his sister. Through many millenia its soft light held him as he plotted and moved while mortals slept.
The Moon was... strange.
The Moon was young again.
The Emperor blinked, making sure he was not mistaking it. Yes - that rush of power, that lingering scream in the bare edges of his psychic senses, it was real. Something, or someone, had torn through the fabric of reality. Smoothly, softly, like a drop of water off a bamboo leaf into a placid pool. Not the gong-like arrival of a ship out of Warp, nor the keen slice of the Webway intruding into the physical universe, or the howling invasion of the beings men called 'Daemons'.
The universe blinked.
Impossible. Luna wore its oily visage again. And yet, there was something new, something that could not be. The Emperor was a man of considerable psychic might, a bastion of strength unlike any other. He touched every mind for miles around for every second for every day, lightly and without effort. This strangeness in the air... this mind... it could not have sneaked past him. In the years before the Age of Strife, he'd journeyed the galaxy and its partook of its wonders. He had beaten a C'tan into submission, and not even Lords of the Necron could hope to trick his senses.
And yet, here- so close, dangerously so. Even he could be slain, though his essence could remake itself from a single cell, from strands of his original DNA in the blood of his descendants. He'd traveled, and even among the Eldar at the height of their power, none could match the presence of his other-self in the Warp.
This one... was a mind like his, and yet utterly unlike anything he'd ever seen before. It was doing something strange to the Warp. Where it lay, the Warp was calmer, almost glassy. All around was chaotic as ever, but that one little spot was like an island amongt turbulent waters. That was unheard of. The Warp was constantly shifting and inherently wild, filled with ravenous entities that fed on living minds. He had lived with their chittering and their temptations since the day of his birth, but had grown used to them that he could tune them out with hardly a thought. He knew they hated him, for not only had he laughed at their power and their vows of obedience in exchange, as nothing that they could offer that he could not claim for himself, but because his immense presence in the Warp could tear apart the very patterns that made their identities. His was a maelstrom among lesser whirpools.
This was uncanny. He made his way towards it, more curious than concerned. He clambered through broken terrain, farther and farther from the base camp. If it was a trap, then they had baited it well. No mere physical object could compel the Emperor, but a puzzle was something he could unravel. A part of him supposed that this was another reason that the creature known as Tzeentch was so opposed; because he solved so very many of them.
He topped a rise and saw the source. Below was a child, probably not even a month old, wrapped in swaddling clothes that barely protected from the cold.
Interesting. As he'd expected, the calm did originate precisely from a mind barely formed yet already filled with staggering power. It was leaking. He leapt down and made his way to the little figure. The influence on the Warp did nothing to impede his own physical progress. Already he could see the baby's lips quivering in its meager attempts to shiver. Powerful, maybe, but still too vulnerable. The Emperor picked up the child and used his bulk to break the wind. With his mind he warmed the air.
He reached out with his physic senses, and rather than forcing through the odd region diffused his and split the approach. Physical effects were not stopped, but anything trying to touch directly from the Warp was instantly becalmed. Interesting. Not a null, not a blank. The child in his arms was a girl, he could tell from the passive scan of her mind.
"What are you?" he whispered. He looked past this incarnation and into her past life. What he saw surprised him.
She was, like him, a reincarnated being, powerful enough that the core identity could persist despite time and external manipulations. Unlike him, however, rather than reincarnated from thousands of souls who would individually be lost in the Warp, she was only one. Another impossibility. He was as he was because he -couldn't- reincarnate; he was now too powerful for that. Humans actually grew stronger from reincarnation, each time becoming a new soul to add to their previous sum of experience. This one... the only way he could explain it would be an unbroken chain of reincarnations many, many thousands of years of vibrant purposeful lives.
He frowned and looked deeper, moving as gently as possible. He could simply overwhelm her calming effect on the Warp; his own identity was a far more tighly-packed pattern. His very soul was Order, pure Law, and strangely enough in much the same manner as hers. There, in the very center, barely more than a pinprick, was the key to her past.
He saw a great kingdom in the system of Sol, a golden age for all humanity. Each planet held its own culture and wonders, all of them living worlds, Warp-work on a scale to rival the Eldar at their height. They were protected by powerful female soldiers wielding the fundamental forces of the universe. He frowned. That did not happen. Humanity had terraformed Mars and built a web of floating cities on Venus (its atmosphere was of more value for its chemical soup rather than just living space). He was there when the Humanity decided to move father Sol and all the Family much closer to the galactic core, a blade aimed towards the heart of the Eldar Empire.
He'd lived for thousands of years, guiding empires as they rose and fell, the fertile ground dead civilizations serving as inspiration for the one who would come next. None were meant to last forever. This one, this Empire of Sol, this shining peace... even if it preceded him, then there should have been artifacts to their technology. If this should arrive far in the future... it was as repellent as it was humbling. It was the complete opposite of his Work, extolling the few rather than uplifting the many, but at least humanity was safe and at peace. It could not be, not as long as he existed. Yet there were no falsehood in her memories.
His massive intellect turned on an issue. Such a place, with so much power and joy, surely they wouldn't be so inept to let this precious child out from under their watch be taken by accident or design? He continued his perusal of her memories.
What he saw changed his frown into a snarl.
The child squirmed a bit in her sleep, and the Emperor calmed himself. Connected as they were, the girl would be sensitive to his moods. He was incredibly powerful, and from what he could tell she would be as well. But she wasn't, yet. He would have to be more careful.
He saw Chaos descend upon the empire. He saw soldiers fight bravely against daemonic hordes, grotesque monsters that laughed as they stripped flesh from the bone and rent bodies asunder. He saw the guardians of the planets fight bravely against overwhelming odds, refusing to give an inch that wasn't soaked in the blood of their enemies. He saw them fight, he saw them kill and he saw them die.
He saw that something was wrong here, a history bent from the outside. He saw someone trapped inside a dark room, screaming. It was not supposed to happen this way. It was not supposed to happen so soon. The princess was supposed to have lived a while longer, to have loved, and that echo through time would serve as a gathering light. The guardian was betrayed. Her divinations had lied to her. Someone or something had tampered with the message from father Chronos.
And one by one, worlds returned to lifeless husks. Mercury's libraries burned. Mars, her forests broke apart in the chill. Venus choked to death. This worthy Work was cast down, and a metallic laughter issued forth from the sun. In the end the leader of this horde confronted the child's mother, not in the throne room but at the nursery. She begged, but it was for naught. She turned her back and clutched her child to her bosom. Just as clawed fingers of someone she had once loved grasped her waist, she finished her risky gambit. With her power fueled by her lifeforce, and the prayers of all her people, she banished the daemonic horde. She gathered the souls of the slain, sending them on the path to reincarnation. But the horde was near-infinite in number, and the souls of the dead in the countless millions, and still the very source of the corruption fought being torn from time. It drained her soul, and he saw with wonder and a little awe, lesser lights turning back from their road into renewed life, to add their own little sparks in the darkness to hers. One by one, bit by bit, the force was helped and it held, and that powerful being of Chaos, screaming in rage, was likewise banished back into the dark.
The Queen fell on the ground, in two halves, bleeding. He lowered his head in respect. That courage and that love for her child, a worthy leader. She was wise, to preserve one last aspect of her people, that they could begin again. With her final vestige of power, she too sent her daughter into the timestream, trusting the guardian locked in the Gates of Time to safely guide her to the future. This princess, her heartbeat and the light of her soul, would serve as the beacon for all the rest. Eventually, all would wake again. All but those consumed in the effort to give their loved ones a future.
And yet, he saw, it did not go as she had hoped. As a final parting blow, Chaos redirected the reincarnation of the princess and her royal guard, sending them past the barriers of time and the universe. They veered wildly off their path, eventually ending in a different realm altogether.
"So that is it," the Emperor muttered as he left the child's mind. "You come from another place entirely, little one."
His vision returned to that nursery, and for a moment there, had the queen been looking at him? Him, who had destroyed so many that he had built, so that the next generation would be a little bit wiser than the last? Her expression was pleading.
And his Plans all broke. He wanted to rage, but could not. The golden path he'd so carefully laid frayed and then reformed into a whole new set of responsibilities. He wanted to accuse the universe, but as ever it was stark and impersonal. Chaos only pretended it was an eternal force. There was something stronger. Irony, perhaps?
Possibilities flicked across his face. He had resigned himself to his bloody road, and suddenly, so very very interesting... a little path off the beaten track that until now he had not considered as feasible. The risks were great, but well within acceptable limits. All it asked from him was more patience. His was an ambition that knew no bounds. There was no price he would not pay.
He raised the child up gently, trying not to disturb her. She wiggled a bit and awoke, looking at him with eyes as blue as the sky. She smiled and reached up, cooing as she grabbed a lock of his long black hair. He smiled a bit as she tugged on it. She was fascinated by the long, flowing strands, wrapping her hands all around them.
"I need a name for you, little one," he said softly. "Give me a little bit to find something suitable."
He turned and made his way back to the camp where his army lay, chuckling a little. He couldn't wait to see how his generals and advisors reacted to this.
Already preparations were underway for the Emperor to march through the Hives and for all of humanity to celebrate the return of peace and progress. It was all for naught if their Emperor was not there. They did not dare, of course, to demand anything from their mighty master - the new man who freed Terra from the grip of its many tyrants, but his absence left a hole in their hearts. His Custodes, his companion-guards, were in a panic. What use were they, if they could not protect their liege? What the hell was the Emperor up to, he should be smart enough not to go off without protection! That bloody idio-... no. One of the golden-armored warriors refrained from punching the wall. He had no right, he owed the Emperor almost literally everything. His task was to obey, no more and no less, no matter what.
The freshly-promoted arms-master of the Custodes turned about sharply and thumped his fist on his vambrace in a salute. For a man towering over just about every human born, the Emperor could be damn sneaky when he wanted to be. "My lord." Relief flooded him. Inside his mind, he tried to keep back an indignant, somewhat rebellious thought. He knew the Master of Mankind could read minds.
The slight amused twitch in the Emperor's face showed that the Custodes was not entirely successful. "Find some baby milk formula, would you? A lactating mother would be better, but let it be clear that this is an request, not an indignity. We have conquered, we are one people again."
"My lord?" Constantin looked up to see the awe-inspiring sight of the Emperor, holding an infant in swaddling clothes in his gauntlet, and seemingly engaged in a staring contest. Blue eyes stared into golden glowing pits. The baby cooed and reached out, playing with the ambient energies.
The Emperor pulled his presence into himself, blinked, and stared out at the world with warm brown eyes.
The baby looked puzzled. The Emperor smiled wryly. "Little one, you're going to make me fight a whole new war, aren't you? It is one battlefield where even I do not reign supreme." Not that he had an issue with that, since half of his soul was female and had even given birth on several occasions; he was humanity's mirror, all of it, and the power to create life was one that he'd always respected. He was pure power, human limits were his by sheer whim. Unfortunately, reshaping his form at this point would add complications to the relatively simple task of leading his great and successful armies. He turned to see that Constantin Valdor was still there, staring with mute disbelief. He'd seen the Emperor go from a coldly focused scientist to an avatar of war itself, but never had he seen the Emperor look so... paternal.
"I have lived many lives, and raised many children. This burden is not unknown to me." the master of mankind said evenly. "This child... is of vast importance to My Great Work, and I will not let her out of my sight. There is too much risk, she is unable to defend herself in her current form." He forced his mind back on track. He had a tendency of focusing on curiosities to the point that he'd stop time while thinking it through. He lightly poked at the Moon Child's forehead with a clawed fingertip. Innocent blue eyes looked fascinated at the distorted reflections on the gold-plated metal. "Go and stockpile milk and diapers. Quickly."
"By your will." The Custodes saluted again and all but fled.
An immortal mind in ruthless efficiency flashed through countless possibilities in an instant, and resolved into three different scenarios; ever-dragged into the same three eventualities no matter how many variables he tried to shift. Two of them involved his death. Having lived for over thirty thousand years, shepherding mankind from the first crude huts and into building vast Hives, that he would ever die had never entered his mind. There were few, not even among the ancient Eldar, who could even come close to the power of the shining light of his soul. It was literally inconceivable.
A power equal to himself. Once again, the Emperor smiled wryly. How so utterly unprecedented. He'd believed for so long that the only way for that to happen would be to create them himself.
So desperate was he for answers, that he had allowed himself to be trapped at the other end of the galaxy when the Age of Strife descended; just for the chance to speak to the last tendril of the Old Ones, maker, masters and murderers of the Warp, and as expected they had condemned him for trying to walk in their footsteps. They had let themselves die for good reason. He was agonizingly alone. He had to claw his way all the way back to Terra, trying to marshal ships through vast Warp-waves that even he could not calm. And while he was away, his home fell to the grip of tyrants.
Necessary. To be hailed as a savior, to have unquestioning obedience so he could proceed uninterrupted in his Work, of course the people must be in the position to be saved.
"Oh, by the Lady of Pain, Kadmon, you've done it again." Malcador the Sigilite drank in the implications as he approached. He walked with a long staff, the only hint to his advanced age, for his beard was still black. Sheer force of will kept him young enough to keep up with his mentor.
The Emperor turned to see a wizened old man in deep purple robes approach. "Ah, old friend, behold my discovery."
"If you picked a rock off the ground and polished it to see a diamond, that would be a discovery. Being hit by a meteorite in the face, that is something different." He peered closer to the child held protectively in the Emperor's massive Power Fist. "Ugly little thing, aren't you? Like a hairless rabbit."
The child began to wail.
It appears your sentiments are returned." the Emperor replied. He sent out a soothing wave of power down, and was mildly delighted to see that it dispersed around the child. The strangeness of it attracted her attention however, and tiny little hands grabbed at threads of color and sound that only she could see.
"I already have too much to do, Kadmon. I will not be your babysitter." It would have surprised many to know that behind the public reverence displayed by Malcador, there was the comforting brusqueness of long friendship. Too many adventures, too many shared humiliations... and he was one of the few who was granted a large enough glimpse of the Emperor's Great Work, and accepted his role in it.
It would be a bright and terrible Imperium, but as they intended, would fall in the end. The next would be stronger, wiser, the form of man more fit to rule multiple galaxies. There was a reason they modeled so much on Rome.
"Pity. I do remember you were not so inept at it." The Emperor stared at the baby in his hands. "Hmm. Now what should we call you, little one? Perhaps... Pallas Serena." Serenity. Unlike all other psykers that ever encountered him for the first time, she was the first not to melt into a puddle of gibbering terror in the realization. He was just one big toy to her. Strange. His heart felt lighter. Was he smiling again? He was used to being underestimated or overestimated, but there was few like fatherhood to make a man feel humble again.
Malcador leaned on his staff. "This little Rabbit will bring us trouble. Mark my words."
"What makes you say that?"
"I can see the new path clearly enough. Daughters ALWAYS bring trouble. Sons are meant to trouble their fathers, but daughters are a constant worry. Sons could eventually be trusted to become rebellious and independent in their affairs, but to a father his daughter no matter what will always be his to protect."
The Emperor stared into his little bundle of Serenity and looked into what might have been. "At least, she will now have some higher standards than just some fool in a tuxedo." The Smoking Bomber, indeed. In the future that his new daughter could have lived, Serenity would have slain herself out of heartbreak. The little Prince of Earth would have to do quite a bit more than that to earn his father in law's regard.
This story is born off a thread at spacebattles(dot)com and a portion of it is embellished (with permission) out of the story post by Silver_Surfer. Kudos for kick-starting it, guy. There is also another continuity of it, a very excellent account by Arkado, whose title we have shamelessly ganked as the label for this whole thing. Lovehammer. If and when that story gets posted on FFNet, it's going into my Favorites list SO HARD the list will liquefy and reform into silicate pools.
Anyways, that's all for now. This story is going to come in anachronistic order, jumping all over the place with flashbacks, so the first real chapter will have to be long and relatively self-consistent. Nevertheless, at a mere 6 words, this is a departure from the normal form, isn't it? ^_^ No more monster prologues!
Kadmon comes from Adam ha-Kadmoni, the Primordial or Heavenly Man; just another title and not a name. Names are kind of a moot point for a being who has had so many of them. Read the wikipedia entry; it made me smile.