JUNE 24, 2018 - Introducing Infinite Dreams newest member group, the X-Factor.
OF WOLVES AND MEN
James Howlett, Katherine Pryde & Kurt Wagner
DREAMS OF MIRRORS
Emma Frost, Sigyn Iwaldadottir & Monet St. Croix
Thaddeus Ross, Lorna Dane, Kurt Wagner & Sigyn Iwaldadottir
INTO THE FIRE
Natasha Romanoff, Wanda Maximoff & Loki Laufeyson
IT ALWAYS ENDS IN A FIGHT
James Buchanan Barnes, Lorna Dane & Scott Lang
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Posted: May 25 2018, 06:56 AM
DANCE OF DEATH
The Universe was full of beauty... of horrors... of wonder... of routine... of shattered dreams and never-ending nightmares... But most of all, of changes. Yes, that last part right there was the perpetual cycle, one of birth, death, and rebirth... always repeating itself, always arriving no matter how much the inhabitants of the cosmos tried to avoid it. Change was inevitable. As hard as it was to imagine it or to grasp it, change was how the Universe corrected itself, no matter how chaotic sometimes it appeared to be. Stars were born and stars died. Worlds flourished and then they faltered. Life began and then ended. That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death and time someday may die.
The most merciful thing in the Universe was the inability of the mind to correlate all its proportions, which opened up such terrifying vistas of reality... of time... of space... of power... and of the soul. If one was to actually understand the designs of the Universe, it's revelations could drive any lesser being mad with fear and dread. But he was not a lesser being, far from it. Some might called him the Mad Titan and perhaps there was some truth in those assertions. Madness was, after all, another cog in the machinery of the mind. So he asked the question: Was it madness to understand how the cosmos ruled? How it decided to balance itself out? Was it madness to desire, to strive, to reach out for that equilibrium in order to help the Universe in all its magnificence correct itself?
The oldest and strongest emotion of every inhabitant of the Universe was fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. People and races suffered under the boot of dread. Their decisions clouded by the horror of complacency. They lived on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of the black seas of the infinity. They lacked the will and the power to take the actions that were necessary, regardless of the cost. The emptiness of their minds and souls, never allowing the real architecture of the Universe to give them enlightenment. The ignorant and the deluded were, he concluded, in a strange way to be envied. That which was not known did not trouble them... an imagined but insubstantial peril did not harm them. Him, however, was not that fortunate nor he had the luxury of closing his eyes and pretend that nothing was out there. He carried the burden of knowing the truths behind reality.
Thanos has harnessed the shadows that stride from world to world, from star to star, from life to life. His desires were to sow death and madness in the purpose of order and harmony. Perfectly balanced. It brought him no joy, no satisfaction, no delirium to do the things he has done. It was not personal or sadistic or evil. He had a purpose that was not his own, but instead set upon him. The Universe decided that he shall be the instrument to correct once again the instability that did not allow for the cycle to continue. It was his burden and his pain to carry. It was his duty to make it happen. He was the only one who could. It was no honor... it was his duty to comply with the wishes of the eternity. If I am mad, then it is mercy! May infinity pity those who in their callousness can remain sane to the hideous end!
Since he started this journey, it has not been an easy task. Worlds has been culled, one by one, harder and harder as time passed by. It was inefficient. But then the Universe, in all its wisdom, decided to give him a hand. Six gems, created at the moment of creation itself, harnessing and controlling the six pillars of the cosmos: The Mind, for it was the most perfect creation. The Soul, where the most basic desires lie. Reality, which was everything and nothing. Space, with no beginning and no end. Time, the destroyer of everything. And Power... the only true constant in life. Those six gems were scattered so one day someone worthy would bring them all together and brought forth the order and the balance the Universe needed. It was time to gather them... He was that person. It shall be done.
Seated in his throne, he stared down at his children. He had so many, some sired by him, others adopted from worlds that had been culled by his forces. They were his tools, as he was the tool of the Universe. They were as dedicated to him as he was dedicated to his goals. He supposed he cared for them, in his own way. Only one he truly loved... as much as someone like Thanos could love. She was no longer with him and although he wished to one day find her, that would not distract him from the task at hand. Love was an empty emotion if it did not bring forth anything but feel good moments. He was too pragmatic to allow it to dictate his actions. “Well?” His voiced boomed, like a thunder during a massive storm.
“My consort and I... we searched every ruin, every pile of rubble, every single inch of the planet. Nothing, my lord. The Space Stone is no longer in Asgard.” Said Proxima Midnight, knelt in front of him, her spear at her side. A formidable warrior and a loyal servant to his wishes.
“Yes... I can see that. So we destroyed them for nothing.” He said with a thoughtful and serene voice, his face resting on the palm of his hand and looking with neutral eyes not only at Proxima but also at Aldrif Odinsdottir, an Asgardian in his service and very much connected with what has transpired in the surface of her planet. “Somewhat disappointing, would you not say, my child?”
“I am at my lord's disposal. Give me your just and deserved punishment.” Proxima said, brave and regal as always, but he could detect fear... just a smidgen, but it was there.
“And why would I do that? Failure is nothing but the preparation for success. As disappointing as it is not to get the Space Stone when we almost had it in our grasp, this has not been the first time it has happened. I certainly need to have a long and candid talk with our friend Loki for that first failure. And I suppose, for his involvement in this fresh one. It is not a big deal, however. I still have one piece of business to conclude before I can even use them.” He said patiently, like a parent teaching his child a valuable lesson, staring at her now with a bit of compassion... just a bit.
“Do you mean...?”
He nodded lazily. “Yes... the Gauntlet. This one is not the real one.” He looked at the 'Gauntlet' found in Asgard's vault and scoffed. “Asgardians are... were... full of surprises. Without it, it would not matter if I have all the stones or not. I have placed upon you, my children, a heavy burden. It is time that I do it myself...” He leaned back on his throne. “Tell Maw to set course for Nidavellir.”
Posted: May 27 2018, 09:14 AM
DANCE OF DEATH
Wherever he went, death and destruction followed. It was part of what made him, although he would be the first to admit that it was a very wasteful use of his time. Fortunately, however, this recent stop in his quest would fix that. His forces, commanded by his Black Order and Aldrif Odinsdottir, made quick work of the Dwarves of Nidavellir. His 'children' needed the distraction, not to mention the opportunity to improve their already impressive skills, so he let them have their fun as they tore through the whole place, careful, oh so careful, very careful not to damage the furnaces of the weapon forgers. Once that was taken care of, Thanos arrived, his imposing figure striding leisurely across the dead-fill hall, like a visitor arriving for a cup of tea.
Most beings in the galaxy didn't seem to grasp when struggle was pointless. Didn't fathom that no matter how far they ran, how much they hid, how much they dreaded it... destiny always arrived. It had arrived at Nidavellir and the Dwarves found out the hard way that you could not stand against the tide of history any more than you could stand against the power of the sun. The Universe's will shall be done and Thanos would do anything in his power to carry it out. His Black Order and the Asgardian traitor surrounded a Dwarf on his knees, bruised and battered. Thanos reached him and looked down at him. “Greeting, Eitri, Dwarf King and master weapons forger of Nidavellir.” he said, his voice booming across the wasteland of death.
“You killed them all!” Eitri, the Dwarf King, screamed, clearly in anguish.
“Not all... you are still alive, are you not? I apologize for my actions and those of my children... I gained no pleasure in doing this, but I needed you to understand that I am determined in my mission. Now... whether you remain among the living or join the others in their fate, is up to you.” He said in a pleasant manner, like speaking to a good friend after a nice dinner. “I wish, for your sake, that you followed my Black Order's instructions and completed the work.” He said, turning his gaze toward Proxima Midnight, who nodded. He returned to Eitri, who was almost on the verge of tears. “Well?” Eitri, Thanos noticed with satisfaction, seemed to have made peace with his fate and nodded, motioning with his head to a section of the furnaces, where a box sat. The Mad Titan walked past him and opened it, revealing...
...The Gauntlet. The real one, this time.
He took it and placed it in his left hand and closed his eyes, feeling the power it held... the power that would hold once all the stones were in place. By itself, the Gauntlet was a weapon... but with the gems, it would become an instrument of total power. An instrument he shall wield to fulfill his task. He returned to Eitri, as his Black Order all knelt. “You have done well, Dwarf King. For that, you have my undying gratitude.” There was no gloating in his voice, no arrogance, no sarcasm. He had won this particular war, there was no need to boast about it. He raised his left fist, the one wearing the Gauntlet, and looked at his 'children.' “The time is at hand. Go forth and collect the gems. We have a pretty good idea where they are, so it's time we make sure. But first... one last business to attend to...”
He looked down on Eitri and smiled sadly at him. “Your craft in forging weapons is legendary and I am at awe with what you have accomplished for me. For that, you shall live...” He paused and saw the relief in Eitri's face. “However, I hope you understand that this one shall be your last. You shall live, but you would never forge a weapon again.” He began to walk away from Eitri and the Black Order, with one last command over his shoulder. “Take out his hands.” As he walked leisurely back to his ships, Eitri's screams of pain could be heard all across the desolated Nidavellir.
Posted: Jun 14 2018, 06:14 AM
DANCE OF DEATH
The screams of those dying were deafening. They tried to put up a good fight and the Mad Titan respected them for it. He expected nothing less from them. It was also part of the cycle of the everlasting universe to try and cheat death as much as possible... he understood that and did not held any grudge against them for doing just that... try. There was no escaping it, no way to go around it, but they tried nonetheless. His forces had come down on the unsuspecting planet like a cataclysm and had wrecked havoc and destruction on its inhabitants. His Black Order had decimated the defenses and all that was left was to round-up the survivors and culled the population, as it was always the way this things went. But Thanos did not consider them victims or even enemies. Their deaths would have meaning. Those dying were laying the foundation for a better, more orderly and self-sufficient universe... they should be considered heroes.
Once again he meditated on his actions. He derived no pleasure, no joy, no happiness from doing any of this. This was a chore for him, a burden, something he wished he did not have to do. However, he also knew that he was the only one with the knowledge, the power, and the will to do what must be done. He failed his home planet, Titan, once and for it the planet paid its price. He promised he would not fail again. The universe and the millions that would survive after he was done were counting on him to fix things, to put the universe back on track. He knew it was a thankless job. They would not be grateful... they would hate him for it... but deep down they would see reason. He looked forward to a time when he would just retire to a quiet and peaceful place and enjoy the fruits of his labor... an universe perfectly balanced, with its remaining inhabitants living a life of peace and prosperity, all thanks to his foresight. A job well done by he who had the will to see it through.
Was that madness? To do what must be done for the greater good? To understand ones role in the machinations of Infinity? If this was not the plan eternity had... then why the Stones? The six pillars of creation themselves? They were there so one day someone... him... gathered them all and use them for what they were created. Power, he wanted none... Wealth, he wanted none... He didn't have any personal animosity towards any of the billions that would perish... in fact, you could say, he was doing all this out of love. To save the rest. To fix what was wrong with existence. And he was tired of culling planets one by one... it was cruel and inefficient. With the stones, he could do it mercifully. No more screams of agony... no more senseless destruction... no more tears from those who had lost love ones. With just the snap of his fingers, his life-long mission over, compassionately.
He strolled across a damaged building, his imposing figure moving leisurely amid his Chitauri as they round up what was left of the survivors. He could feel from the Gauntlet in his left hand the sensation of yearning, of knowing that one of the stones was close. It send electrical currents up his arms, he felt it calling for it. He reached a vault, its door ripped open and kneeling there were his 'children', his Black Order. Proxima, Maw, Corvus, Dwarf... and Aldrif, the Asgardian renegade. They had performed magnificently, but he had no doubt they would. He smiled softly at them and then reached a containment field. Foolish of them to think that would prevented him from sensing the stone's location. He destroyed it with his Gauntlet and there it was... the Power Stone... the first of the six he needed to fulfill his goal. He picked it, looked at it in mild wonder. How did something so little and non-threatening looking could be so important in the grand scheme of the universe?
He placed it in one of the sockets in the Gauntlet and immediately felt its power course through his body. He closed his eyes, taking it all in, the stone shinning ever so bright in its place on the Gauntlet. Any lesser being would have felt exhilaration and a sense of accomplishment... but not him. He knew the road ahead was a long and arduous one. This was just the beginning. He looked at his Black Order and then walked out. “You know what to do. Make a tally of the survivors and culled those who exceed the number.” He ordered and closed his eyes, a bit... just a smidgen... of sadness in his face.
It had to be done...
This post has been edited by THANOS: Jun 14 2018, 06:14 AM
Posted: Jul 13 2018, 09:21 AM
DANCE OF DEATH
For any lesser being, all this was taking too long, but Thanos was not a lesser being. He had time. He had all the time in the Universe. Important endeavors required patience and he was diligent. One by one he would track down all the Stones and then his task would be accomplished. His children... his Black Order... weren't that patient but they understood that what was an eternity for mere mortals was just a fleeting moment for the Universe. And Thanos, as the hand of destiny for that Universe, could see the ebbs and flows of time. No... he could not predict the future, but he understood that it was always in flux and that eventually he would control it. Again... just a matter of time.
Reality was an illusion. Living beings perceived their own realities as facts, when in actuality it was just images of possible outcomes, not set in stone. It was easy to change by introducing a new one, a new illusion, a new viewpoint. It was like an infinite dream, never-ending, never finishing, as if in a loop. To a lesser being, their world around them was their reality, not considering that there were others in the vastness of the universe. It was, ultimately, a part of said universe and like with anything else, it was subject to change at any given moment. To control that perception, to manipulate it, to make it bend to one's will was the ultimate power. Well... at least one of those powers. The six Stones controlled one aspect of the universe and reality was as much a part of it as it was the Mind, Power, Soul, Time and Space.
He had found the Reality Stone...
It was asinine for the Collector to think that he could hold that which did not belong to him and pay no consequence for it. That was folly, but then again, Thanos has always considered the man to be a fool. Almost as foolish as the Asgardians for trusting the Reality Stone to someone like him. Almost as foolish as his brother, with his stupid games. It was just a matter of time for Thanos to pay a visit to Knowhere and take what the universe has granted him. What was rightfully his. Their puny defenses and their attempts at escaping were pathetic, and yet... Thanos felt pity for them... for the Collector himself. Foolish as he was, it was a shame that Thanos would have to end his existence, but could not be helped. Let the Universe's will be done...
Holding the Collector by the neck, he stared at him with sorrow in his eyes. All around them destroyed... in flames. “It is a sad state of affairs, my friend, that it has to end this way. But you should have known that this was how it was going to be. You shall be remember as nothing more than a wasteful existence.” And with that, Thanos squeezed until the Collector's neck snapped in two. Dropping the lifeless body to the ground, he motioned for Ebony Maw to bring a cylinder containing a dark 'ether' inside. Thanos took it and crushed it, realizing the dark substance, which immediately turned itself into a gem. Picking the small stone, he dropped it into one of the slots on the Gauntlet and felt the power rush over his body. He closed his eyes, savoring it.
Two down... four more to go...