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Anorian Chronicles: Scroll of Dark Shadows

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Summary

Galactic battles, subterfuge, betrayal, supernatural powers, and time travel. That is just the beginning... Shadow moves across the Draconis Cluster as the Skulvas attack system after system. They seek the tomes of the Arimas, lost journals of great power. Through a 50 year long subterfuge, they had infiltrated every aspect of the government and military tiers. When they attacked they used the Republic's own defenses against them, effectively holding many hostage in their own star systems. Captain Tristan Taugas aboard the Kraken, rescues a friend during a Skulvas attack, only to be plunged into a secret war among ancient combatants. A journey across time itself might not be enough to save the galaxy, but that depends on choices made and paths chosen... Tristan Taurel races across the skies over the Lockdoon Sea in the Vindictive Hunter towards the next scroll. Dark forces spread across the lands, destroying, pillaging, burning, and out right razing cities to the ground. They wish to reshape the surface world in the image of their lord and master, Delnok. Shadows spreading, blood flowing, and its getting hard to tell friend from foe. The past affects the future of the lands of Anoria, but the future will ultimately shape the past. only time can tell what will happen in the end...

Genre:
Scifi / Fantasy
Author:
lucasdraco
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
1
Rating:
1.0 1 review
Age Rating:
13+

Chapter 1

Chapter 1


Sirens wailed throughout the ship as the Kraken screamed past a squadron of fighters attacking Helmcross Shipyards. The 20 starfighters took pot shots as they continued their attack run on to the shipyards. Helmcross was an engineering marvel with its 2 orbital rings circumferencing the gas planet below. One ring ran north to south while the other ran east to west along the proverbial central axis of the planet. The north and south ring was now two thirds of the way finished but its beauty was now being tainted by these attacks. Scorch marks and damaged hull sections could be seen up and down its length from where the Kraken had birthed during its stay.

The Kraken shook and groaned under the assault but her shields held true as the ship raced silently through the dark of space. Captain Tristan Taugas sat in his command chair rattling off orders as he checked the VR screens surrounding him. Information about both in-system and out-system logistics washed across his screens as he took it all in.

“Pilot, turn us around, and chase after those fighters,” he tapped a few controls before continuing, “Those merchant ships and freighters have no defenses against them.” The screen on his left changed to a map of the system zeroing in on their current location. The Kraken groaned as the pilot pushed all 8 Enzion Fusion Drives into full gear, the ship turning sharply. A ship its size should not have been able to turn so at those angles, but then again the Kraken was no ordinary ship, as it raced after the fighters. The hull moaned like a great behemoth in pain beneath the forces working against the ship.

“Hey, just cause I spared no expense on this ship doesn’t mean you can go and break her.” Tristan gripped the chair tightly, thankful that he had strapped in, as the ship corrected course and chased after the enemy starfighters.

The pilot said nothing as she lay ensconced in her seat by a lattice work of sensory webbing. Several plugs were locked into sockets that were grafted into her ebony skin, the latest technology from Tristan’s family industries. The pilot was now one with the ship in almost every sense of the word as she felt the ship as much as piloted it. Nixia, an Alerian, could see through the ship’s sensors and feel what it went through. The melding gave the ship and pilot a perfect symbiosis and even though it could be piloted the old way, this gave Nixia the highest proficiency in controlling the ship.


Since Nixia was encased while she piloted, she used a holovid linked to the internal systems. One of Tristan’s screens switched to Nixia’s profile, “Captain, I am a little busy at the moment,” she turned her eyes away for a second, checking another screen before her. “And no, I won’t break MY ship,” she smiled without looking at the screen before switching off.

Tristan smirked as he turned back to his own screens, checking on the rest of the system. Each location in a solar system had a color assigned to it. Green dots were for planets; Yellow dots for orbital installations; White dots for astronomical bodies (i.e. moons, asteroids, space anomalies); Blue dots were for friendly forces; Red dots were for enemy forces; and Orange dots were unknowns. The new holographic technology that had been installed months ago had taken some getting used. Even though his hand could go all the way through the image, Tristan had quickly trained himself, and now felt confident that his crew had too. Holoprojectors and the latest sensor suites could pick out each individual ‘tap’ of his fingers as he moved them over the holoscreens.

The technology amazed the captain and gave him a headache at the same time.

This is not the time to be using these systems.

As if on cue several screens across the bridge, including his own, winked out causing an uproar. Curses and complaints rattled off across the bridge as Tristan reached for the comm. Controls in his chair arm, “Sabrine, the holos are acting up again!”

An irritated female voice replied, “We are working on it captain, just give me a sec!” After a minute or two passed, the screens winked back into existence.

“Sabrine, please get a handle on this, we are in the middle of a fire fight if you haven’t noticed.” Tristan shook his head as the ship shook and groaned in response to catching up to the fighters.

“Tactical, watch your turbo laser spread, it’s too thin.”

“Aye, Capt’n.” A brimstone scaled Muldarin grumbled.

Sabrine’s image popped up on his far right screen, “Captain Taugas, you wanted this tech throughout the ship as soon as you got your hands on it,” Her dark brown skin was offset by her emerald green close shaved head and curly black haired Mohawk that ran down the back of her head.

Tristan, without looking at her, rolled his eyes, “I know but you said you ran it through its paces.”

Sabrine’s face reddened even more, “You know we did, but until it’s put to the test in real life,” she pointed at him through the vid, “we just won’t know for sure.”

Tristan sighed, “I guess now is the real deal…”

“…Indeed captain, it is,” and with that she winked out.

“There will be the Abyss to pay later for that comment,” Nixia’s vid popped up for a moment.

“I know, I know,” his headache was growing, “But I didn’t expect to be facing the Skulvas here. It’s too deep into the Draconis Cluster.” Tristan pulled up the galactic map of the Cluster and all of its systems. “They should be west of the core worlds in systems like Bartook, Ragnok, and Hazenga. Not this far east in Helmhurst,” Several windows switched to show those systems he had mentioned. Information scrolled down the sides of those windows of how the war was going.

“Most of the war IS on the western front captain, but the Skulvas have made several surgical strikes across the Cluster.” Nixia’s hands zipped across her screens before she tapped an icon and it appeared on Tristan’s own screen. “Take a look at this.”

Tristan tapped the icon and his windows were replaced with several new ones. Several star systems and images of a Skulvas Fleet came into view.

“The same fleet keeps popping up. The Lantis Mining System, Hersk Fueling System, Hydras system, and before coming here they hit the Riza System.”

Tristan studied everything for a moment, taking it all in. “Why do you have this Nixia, why wasn’t I informed by Rhiena of this intelligence.” He was frustrated that his chief security intelligence officer, Rhiena, had not shared this with him first.

Nixia turned from her screens for a second to look directly at him, “We only put 2 and 2 together a few days ago when we arrived here. Since then Rhiena’s team has been compiling every bit of info they could find. I contacted several pilots that make runs in those sectors and learned what I could,” Nixia quickly turned back to her screens as the Kraken rushed dangerously close to the orbital shipyard ring. Several Skulvas star fighters shot past and the Kraken shook once more. “We were gonna present our findings to you on our way back to the Taugas System, but they struck first.”

Tristan grunted as he looked back over the information once more. Something was nagging him about where they were attacking.

It was as if…

“Their looking for something…”

Tristan quickly swiped his hand across the screen clearing it and then after a moment called up a map of the Helmhurst System. There was a large military presence here due to the Helmcross Military Academy and Training Grounds. Between the mining, fueling and hydroplants, Helmhurst System has become self-reliant. But, the crown jewel of the system was the Helmcross Orbital Shipyard Rings. Though no complete, the orbital construct surrounds two thirds of the hothouse planet. Built by Phage Industries, it was the brainchild of Cristiana Phage, Co-CEO with her father, Astrogus. With enough shipyards and factories spread across the rings, Helmcross could build an entire fleet at once.

“Is that what their after?” Tristan pondered as he scanned his screens.

Sirens wailed once again across the bridge.

“Captain, several ships are coming into range.”

On the holomap a group of 7 ships came into range. He tapped their images and a list of information scrolled down the left side of the screen.

“Of course…” Tristan shook his head.

“Well we know where the fighters came from,” Nixia’s face appeared once more. “That cruiser formation is nigh impenetrable for one ship and that carrier their protecting has plenty of fighter squadrons to throw our way.”

Tristan nodded in agreement as he reached for the comm unit, “Cristiana, this is Tristan, do you copy? Over,” he waited for a few moments then tried again, “Cristiana…Cristiana Phage…do you copy? Over.” Another pause.

“Helmcross, this is Captain Tristan Taugas of the Kraken, does anyone copy? Over.”

Suddenly, static sputtered over the comm before a voice bled through the noise, “…Tristan…Cristiana here…communications hit…fixing…” The signal cut off once more.

“Move us closer to the source, Nixia. And someone try to boost the signal on our end.”

“Captain, the signal is coming from the tram station in the manufacturing hub up ahead,” Comm Officer Corcas, a mud colored Eluvian, called from his station.

Thanks to Taugas Industries, Tristan had the best sensor sweeps and communications tech money could buy. On his vidscreen, a wireframe schematic showed the hub and its many levels. Red dots representing people were intermittently moving across his screen. Near the top of the complex where administrative offices could be found, a green dot blinked where Corcas had found the source of the transmission.

“Corcas, establish a tight beam comm link with that location,” he checked something on a side screen, “use authorization code CP411-26H.”

“Yes, captain.”

Rhiena’s picture popped up on his left side just then. Her long jasper hair seemed to accentuate the irritated look on her face; a fact that always made Tristan smile. “Captain Tristan, why are my vidscreens showing an unauthorized communicator from our own classified stock located on that hub station?”

“Because I gave one to Cristiana Phage, a close personal friend, and trusted business contact,” Tristan prepared to link up when Rhiena cut him off, “Captain that tech hasn’t been properly cleaned and amped nor was it properly transferred…”

The captain, irritated with the interruptions looked directly at her, “ I authorized it, I gave it to her, and will do it again when I see fit,” he placed a hand up to stop Rhiena from speaking, “and a full sweep and buffer package has been applied by Baracus, now excuse me but we have people shooting at us,” and with that he cancelled the connection as Rhiena’s eyes went wide.

“Sorry Baracus, I’ll make it up to you later,” Taugas whispered to himself as he concentrated once more on the task at hand.

“Captain, another wave of star fighters have launched from the carrier,” Nixia beat the tactical officer to the announcement, who growled in protest. She checked her screens as she continued, “estimated time, twenty minutes to contact,”

“Seems the other ships are holding back,” Tristan leaned in as he studied the screens.

“Probably sending in the fighters first to whittle down defenses and search for whatever it is they’re looking for.” Nixia pointed to something on her screen as she continued, “the merchants and freighters are starting to band together in small, tight knit groups.”

Tristan nodded, “Their feeble arms and shields aren’t a match for those fighters one on one, but in packs they have a chance, and perhaps…” Tristan thought of something, “Hold on a sec.” Tristan turned back to the station once more and fired up the comms, “Cristiana Phage, do you copy? Over.” There was static for a moment and then both sound and picture sprang to life on his main screen.

A woman with long ginger hair and jasper eyes, looking a bit disheveled, appeared before Tristan, “Long time no see, Cristiana,” Tristan chuckled as he checked the map of the star system.

“Not now Tristan, this is serious,” she spoke with someone off screen for a second before continuing, “Is this line secure? Your eyes only?” She grew more nervous by the second, “No games Taugas, its important.”

“Alright, alright. Give me a second.” He tapped a few commands as the systems swept the line and then a privacy field shimmered around Tristan’s chair. “Ok Cristiana, we are good. Now what’s going on?”

Cristiana took a moment as a field shimmered in the background around her. “The Skulvas are looking for something here in this system. That’s why they attacked.” She bit her lip as she looked into Tristan’s eyes. There was something more behind those jasper eyes, something she was holding back out of fear.

“Cris…” the captain spoke softly, “What’s going on? Are you in some kind of trouble?”


Cristiana closed her eyes as she bowed her head; a single tear slid down her alabaster skin. She wiped her face and then looked directly into his eyes again, “I have what their looking for, Tristan.”

Tristan’s mind began to swirl as he leaned in close.

“They’re looking for me….”


• • •


On the highest balcony of the Cathedral of Light on the planet Leima Sanctuary, stood the High Father, Father Alban. The planet was known by many as the “Shrine World” of the Galactic Church, and the religious center of the Draconis Cluster. A few small cities and monasteries are spread across the surface, but otherwise the landscape remains untouched. The planet was also known for several private retreats and a vast medical complex built over one of the largest hot springs in the Cluster.


Though night had come to the capital of Leima, the cathedral was high enough above the glow of the city lights that the High Father could see every star in the night’s sky. At that height the stars outshone all other light and it was that glow that Father Alban took solace in.

The tan traveling cloak the High Father wore protected him from the cold temperatures and high winds of that altitude. Still, as a light breeze picked up, Alban pulled his hood closer and buried his arms in the folds of the heavy cloak. The priest took in the view of the capital city below and the starry sky above. The serenity of space was broken up by passing starships and farther out…something altogether evil.

Faint flashes of light sparked brighter than the stars in random intensity.

“…And so it begins,” Father Alban whispered to himself. Behind him footsteps hurried across the balcony to silently slide to a stop. A ruffling of cloth and ragged breathing announced his faithful, though uncouth servant, Brother Alias.


The High Father slipped his hood comfortably down farther over his head before turning to address the young man. Smiling under the privacy of the hood low over his face, Alban noted the young man’s trepidation. His almond eyes kept darting down and away every time he thought the High Father was looking directly at him.

In a deep throaty voice, the best the priest could produce, Father Alban spoke, “What news does Brother Alias have for me at this late hour?”


The young acolyte had always been in awe of the High Father, head priest of the Galactic Church, and leader of the secretive group, the Sophecian Order. The things he knew, the power he wielded, and the close relationship he had with the Almighty Eschua was beyond anything Alias thought possible. Everyone who was sick or hurting found peace in the High Father. Every single prophecy he had proclaimed had come true.

It was that last part that scared the young man for his message was confirmation of another prophecy; a dark one.


Alias mustered as much courage as he could before speaking. He brushed the bangs of his charcoal hair back behind his ears, “I have an urgent message from Republic forces near the edge of the system. The hydro mining stations out in the ice rings are gone and an unknown enemy of 500 ships is racing toward the star and our mining colonies.”

The young priest stopped to catch his breath a second before continuing, trying to remember every word of the message and grasp what it all meant.


“Enough Alias, you have done well. I know the rest of the message,” Alban finally removed his hood, his expression giving the man some hope, “but you already knew that, didn’t you son?”

“The...the prophecy, High Father.” Alias’ half-hearted smile revealed his dread and dismay underneath.





“Recite it with me once more and all shall be understood, Alias…”


’500 Demons will blot out the stars,

Destroying water and earth and fire.

They will attack the blood of our people,

And destroy their heart.

But in the end, the Light will prevail…’


“Very good Alias, you remembered,” Father Alban began to walk toward the balcony door, “Come, there is much to do.”

Brother Alias fell into step beside Father Alban. His arms enveloped in the folds of his midnight blue robes, Alias thought quietly for a moment over the prophecy and the current events.


“Speak plainly Alias, what are your thoughts?” Father Alban stepped over the threshold of the door as it was opened by one of the Cathedral of Light’s Honor Guard. As Alias stepped inside and the guard closed the door, Father Alban stopped once more, waiting for the other man to speak.

“High Father, if this prophecy is coming true, then everything will change…” Alias tried to find the right words.

“Yes, everything in the prophecy will come true, which means there will be great sorrow across the cosmos.” Father Alban walked to the nearest wall, laid a hand on it, and bowed his head in silent prayer.


Alias stood where he was, but bowed his head in contemplation. Then to his surprise, the guard near him began the words to a prayer out loud.



“Blessed Eschua,

In this time of darkness, guide us,

May our feet be steadfast,

May our aim be true,

May our blade be swift,

And our losses few.


In this time of trial,

May our faith be strong,

May we never forget You,

May your hand shield us,

As we see this through.


Blessed Eschua, guide us always.

-Amen.”


“Amen…”

“Amen.”

Father Alban took in the guardsman at the door, deep in thought as he looked him over. He wore the typical uniform**But what Alban admired most was the faith and conviction he saw in the man’s eyes.

Finally he addressed them both, “People may love this building, I love this building,” he put his hand on his chest for emphasis, “but in the end, it is just a building. It can be rebuilt, ‘though we be knocked down…’”

“‘...We get back up and strive all the more.’” the guardsman finished.

“Forgive me for speaking out of turn, Hight Father.” He bowed low, his fist to his chest.

“You have done no such thing, young man.”

Brother Alias was shocked for he thought the guardsman surely would be chastised. The Honor Guard were there to stand ‘silently’ on guard and keep the vigil until Eschua comes.

“If more spoke from their heart and soul, I believe the galaxy would be a far better place.” The High Father winked at the guard who smiled before resuming his post. Alban scratched his chin for a moment as he thought about something. Brother Alias waited impatiently, though respectfully with his arms crossed.

“Time is of the essence now,” Alban finally spoke, “Guardsman...you are Jace Maligan,” he smiled as he saw the surprise on the man’s face, “Am I correct?”

“Uhh...yes sir, yes sir it is.” Jace was dumbfounded that the High Father knew his name among the millions of souls that come and go through the Cathedral of Light.

“Good, now I need you to hurry to your general and give him a message for me. Tell him to execute Order 500, and then come find me in the sanctuary when you are done.”

“Sir? You want me to leave my post? Forgive me High Father but I don’t understand.” Jace Maligan looked and sounded conflicted. He had a duty to the Honor Guard but an oath to the High Father and the Priesthood as well.

“Don’t worry son, when General Karthas hears your message he will understand. I am reassigning you to be my Sophecian Commander and liaison with the other leaders and commanders.”


Both men’s jaws dropped.

“But, Father Alban…”

“NO! Alias, I have made my choice,” he turned from Alias back to Jace, “Now hurry!”

Jace Maligan looked to Brother Alias who only shrugged and shook his head in resignation. So Jace saluted, albeit awkwardly to the priest for he wasn’t sure what to do in that regard, before hurrying off.


Father Alban turned back to Brother Alias as soon as the guardsman was gone and no one else was about, “Now, Alias I need you to hurry to the Brotherhood and have your Order prepare the Scriptorium and the Reliquary for transport to the Catacombs.”

“What about the Priesthood? Is the Holy Council to be assembled?” Brother Alias shuddered at the idea of meeting with the Patriarch, Sovereign Pius Clement; or the rest of the council for that matter. They may say the right things and make a big show, but in the end it was the power, the prestige that they held dear, not Eschua.

“I will meet with the Council, Brother Alias,” Alban smiled at his unease for he knew all too well how the Council operated, “I have a way with Pius and his followers.”

Brother Alias sighed, he knew all too well how The Patriarch and The High Father got along.


This is not going to be easy, he thought.

“Yes, High Father. May Eschua guide you.”

With that he began making his way down the long hall of the Cathedral to the nearest turbolift.


“With all due haste my friend,” Father Alban whispered as he watched the young man leave, “with all due haste…”

Father Alban didn’t take the turbolifts, but another, secret route, vanishing from sight and sound.


• • •


“Kartog, send the drones to disrupt the fighters and use the turbo lasers only on those that break through the screen,” Captain Taurel ordered as they raced away from the shipyard ring. The fighters seemed to sense their target was no longer on the ring and so began to hunt after the Kraken.

“Save...the heavy guns...for those other...ships?” the brimstone scaled Muldarin spat out.

“That’s the idea, but only if we need to.”

Kartog growled his assent.

Captain Taurel turned to his left to address his Bridge Engineer, “Jonathan how long until the cloak is ready?”

“10 minutes until full capacity for us to jump cloaked. Otherwise 3 minutes until we are cloaked for in system maneuvers.”

4 minutes until we reach the fleet, Tristan thought, It will be close.

“So 4 heavy cruiser class ships, 2 light cruiser class, 1 battlecruiser class, and then there is the carrier…”

40 fighters had launched so far, and between the Kraken, merchant ships, and ring defenses there were now 27.

“Rhiena?” Tristan suddenly had an idea.

“What’s up?” here jasper hair was as straight as ever as her image popped up on his left screen.

“What’s the best guess on how many fighters that carrier can hold?”

Rhiena looked off screen at something for a minute before responding, “Based on size of carrier and the size of their starfighters,” she checked something else off screen, “there could be another 60…”

“...She’s right captain,” Nixia yelled, “60 more fighters just launched. 2 minutes to contact!”


The 40 drones already released were tearing apart the Skulvas fighters pursuing them. Their armament besides the turbolasers comprised of a single plasma cannon and 4 photon torpedoes each. When dormant their oil black hulls collapsed into a tear shape. After launching from the Kraken 2 arrow shaped wings extend from the body exposing its hidden armory inside.

32 drones moved in a swarm like formation to swing around and overtake the remaining 15 fighters of the first group. The Skulvas fighters seeing the more of their kind had launched, turned to face the drones once more. The Skulvas starfighters were of a strange design, a design that had most shipyard builders stumped. **9 fighters took the lead creating, with the remainder in a straight line behind, a hammer formation. The 32 drones responded by moving into the shape of an open cylinder with 5 lines of 6 drones each for the walls and the remaining 2 closing the cap at the back.

The hammer flew right into the waiting maw of the drones. The lead fighters tried to adjust their aim since their targets weren’t in front of them, but to no avail. The drones unleashed their firepower from 5 sides, obliterating the lead ships. As the handle of the fighter formation entered into the open cylinder, they unleashed their torpedoes at the back drones. The rear drones flew right into the resulting explosion, as the cylinder wiped out the remaining Skulvas fighters in the first group.


“Captain...10 more drones...lost,” Kartog announced as he checked his screens, “remaining Skulvas...destroyed...from first wave.”

22 drones raced away from the expanding debris field, retracting their wings to achieve higher speeds. Within seconds the drones caught up to the Kraken and moved into a shield formation at the tip of the ship.

“One minute to contact with the new fighter group,” Nixia called out, “2 minutes to conflict with the fleet.”

“Launch remaining drones, Armok,” Tristan ordered, his drone engineer’s face popped up to his right on the screen.

“But capt’n, we only have 30 left. We have no backups!” His alien face scrunched in what Tristan thought was panick and dismay.

“Either they get destroyed in combat protecting us or they get destroyed as my ship blows up around us.” Tristan yelled, “Do it Armok!!”

The alien chittered something as the window vanished, right before the drones launched from their bays.


The 60 fighters broke into 2 spheres of 30 ships with a void between them just large enough for the Kraken to slip through.

“30 seconds…”

“Kartog, mirror their formation,” Tristan pointed at the screen, “Full spread!!”

“Nixia reduce engines ⅓, and aim for their center!”

“Hold on everyone!” Tristan gripped the edge of the armrests.


As the seconds counted down the drones unleashed every torpedo and fired a wall of laser energy at the Skulvas. The Kraken as it drastically dropped acceleration fell behind the drones as the 4 spheres collided. From the vantage point of the Skulvas fleet there was a bright flash across the sensors and screens, blinding all eyes and instruments. When everything came back online, the first thing the Skulvas saw was that the fighters and drones were gone, nothing but an expanding debris field.

The second thing they noticed was that the Kraken had vanished…





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