Note: This chapter contains violence
that some might find disturbing.
A Test of Power
The possession of unlimited
power will make a
despot of almost any man. There is a possible
Nero in the gentlest human creature that walks.
Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Ponkapog Papers, 1787
3,000 years ago...
It was a brief, shining moment in Egypt's history -- a time
of epochal change presided over by a Pharaoh named Akhenaten
and his beautiful wife Nefratiri. During his 17-year reign
the old gods were cast aside, monotheism was introduced, and
the arts liberated from their stifling rigidity. Even Egypt's
capital was moved to a new city along the Nile called Aketaten.
But like Camelot, it was short-lived, and its legacy was buried
in the desert sands.
When Amenhotep II, as he was originally called, ascended
the throne in 1353 B.C., Egypt was a flourishing empire, at
peace with its neighbors. Yet there were troubling signs.
His father Amenhotep I had already challenged the most powerful
priesthood by proclaiming the sun god Aten as foremost among
Egyptian deities and himself as his living incarnation.
His son, an even greater revolutionary who was propelled
either by madness or by great vision, murdered thousands hoping
to gain favor of the invisible dark deities he venerated.
The young Pharaoh never succeeded in attaining the notice
of any of the Egyptian Gods he feverishly worshipped. Instead,
he managed to attract the attention of a man who was sometimes
worshipped as a god -- and who took a very personal interest
in the Pharaoh's destiny. Amenhotep would later implore any
divine being to deliver him from this fate.
He stood at the crest of a large sand dune, unnaturally still.
He gazed down at the ruined city, his eyes shining with intensity
unsurpassed by even the desert sun. Virtually motionless,
he more closely resembled the immense monoliths raised to
honor the great Pharaohs than any living man. Although these
edifices were built carry their images throughout eternity,
his flesh and bones were more impervious to the eternal elements
than any rock-hewn structure or statue. He would outlast them
Unrecognizable, Amenhotep's crushed and bloodied skull fell
unnoticed from his hand. It silently rolled down the face
of the dune, a trail of blood and gray pulp momentarily marring
its unblemished face. The parched desert sand drank ravenously,
its primordial appetite unquenchable, yet briefly pacified
by the bloodletting. Perhaps the desert had some elemental
awareness that this being shared its longevity -- and would
nourish it more often, and in greater volumes than anyone
before or after him. His rage temporarily mollified, the man
who would be known as the immortal mutant Apocalypse closed
his eyes, his thoughts mired centuries in the past.
2,000 years earlier
He emptied the remaining contents of his stomach onto the
burning desert sands. The open wound on his head was almost
already gone. The blood had quickly congealed and hardened
and a scab would soon fall from his scalp. Within minutes
of receiving the wound, there would be no trace of the injury
his father had been kind enough to bestow upon him. If another
member of the tribe had received a similar wound, it was doubtful
that they would ever recover. His seemingly miraculous healing
ability along with his freakish appearance was just another
thing that set him apart from his fellow tribesman.
He wiped Nur's blood from the blunt edge of the huge cleaver
he always carried and rested it on his shoulder. "You hesitated,
why?" his father demanded.
"I did not hesitate. I saw no reason to kill the woman or
her daughter," he snapped back defiantly. He learned very
early on that his father did not tolerate hesitation arising
from fear from anyone...especially him. He might be punished
for his insolence, but the castigation would be short-lived
and comparatively mild. "If I am to become the great leader
you say I will be, why should I concern myself with the life
of a woman and a child?"
The backhand slap from his father's huge hand only stung
for a moment, and he managed to maintain his balance. Although
he had anticipated the blow, he did not flinch and firmly
stood his ground. He had received far, far, worse from his
"A woman can wield a sword or a knife just as easily as any
man. The child is younger than your seven seasons and is probably
far more adept with a weapon than you are," his father said
disgustedly. "Leaving these dependant and pathetic creatures
alive diminishes us all. What little the desert offers cannot
sustain both the strong and weak alike. Does the lion spare
the hyena or share the pride's kill with its competition?
It is no different with men. The weak and the infirm have
no place in this world. Pity and compassion have no place
in mine -- and they will have no place in yours," his father
said with a ruthless stare.
His father motioned to one of the tribesman. Hidden from
his view behind several of the tribe's horses, the same woman
and child he had spared were brought forward. They stood in
front of his father, their heads bowed in submission. He was
surprised that they were still alive and although his expression
betrayed nothing, he was uneasy about what his father might
have in mind.
"They will be your personal slaves. You will be responsible
for all their actions and see to it that they serve the tribe
well. Should they fail to fulfill any of their duties, or
cause the slightest of difficulties, you will be punished,"
his father said in a severe tone.
His father mounted his horse and began to ride away but then
stopped, turning abruptly to face him. "You will be
disciplined for sparing their lives Nur, -- but not today,"
he said ominously. With that, Baal of the Crimson Sands, ferocious
leader of the Sandstormers, held his sons eyes for a second
more, and then savagely yanked on the reins and drove his
horse out into the open sands.(1)
Nur swallowed dryly. He was very familiar with his father's
assurances of punishment, and the undeviating fashion in which
he mercilessly carried out all his promises.
The other members of the tribe, satisfied, began to go about
their business or returned to their temporary shelters. His
humiliation at the hands of his father had once again provided
them with entertainment they seemed to crave. He had no idea
why Baal had spared the woman and her child much less why
he had given them to him as slaves. He was a warrior and had
nothing in common with these women. Although the look of pure
hatred the woman had given Baal, did not go unnoticed. He
had seen her raise her head slightly, her eyes blazing murderously
as his father rode off. Perhaps he did have something in common
with them after all.
3 years later
He returned to his tent, his hands and chest speckled with
blood. He had just returned from another raiding party. The
tribal settlement they attacked was completely caught off
guard and offered little resistance. They had killed everybody
and had taken anything that would be of use to help sustain
their own tribe.
Baal's relentless campaign across the desert of winnowing
the weak from the strong had earned the Sandstormers a fearsome
reputation. The only thing more fearsome than the tribe was
Baal himself. Under his leadership and rigid unflagging doctrine,
they had prospered and thrived. Survival of the fittest was
the tribe's credo and Baal, fanatical and intolerant in its
pursuit, mercilessly slaughtered anyone to adhere to that
Fatima dampened a cloth and began to wipe the blood from
his body and clothes as she had done countless times before.
She would always be waiting for him to tend to both his body
and his soul. Although there was never any reproach in her
eyes, he could not help but feel shame in her presence for
"The desert is a harsh and unforgiving home," Fatima said
tenderly, recognizing Nur's expression. "The tribe that you
raided today would have done the same to our tribe if they
could. We have spoken about this many times before. You are
just a boy Nur," she said gently -- "despite your father's
expectations and demands. You do what you must to survive.
There is no shame in that." Fatima sighed, shaking her head.
"You are not like the rest of the bloodthirsty animals who
call themselves warriors. You are not like them Nur," she
repeated softly, her voice filled with compassion.
Time and again she had comforted him when he returned from
another of his father's 'training' exercises. None of the
other male children his age would participate in the raids.
They were still much too young, -- too weak to be of any use.
His unnatural strength and endurance granted him the honor
of butchering the other weaker tribes. Strangely enough despite
his reluctance to kill, the other children despised him even
more and were jealous of his participation. He was quite certain
that the contempt the others felt for him pleased Baal to
Ironically, he doubted that he would have been able to suffer
the guilt and revulsion he felt about killing others had it
not been for Fatima and Tara. His father had unknowingly given
him a reason to endure, a reason to go on living -- even a
reason to continue killing. He had given Nur that which craved
most of all -- a family.
He knew he was different. He knew by the way younger children
would stare at him saucer-eyed with fear, and the way children
his age would laugh and taunt him. He knew he was different
by the way woman would look away from his face in revulsion,
and make warding signs mumbling things about him in hushed
tones. He knew he was different because no one would truly
speak to him -- ever. Only his father would speak to him,
and that was usually to berate or punish him -- that or his
ceaseless pontification about survival of the fittest and
his role in molding him into its greatest proponent.
In the past, he had borne all the pain and torment his father
and fellow members of the tribe visited on him on almost a
daily basis stoically, never admitting to the internal anguish
it caused him. He had secretly watched other children of the
tribe at play -- had seen friendships form. He observed families
sharing affections, children loved and cherished by their
birth parents. Even in this harshest of environments, he witnessed
that these things were possible. He longed for a friend, someone
to share his pain, even the few joys. He wanted an end to
the aloneness -- someone, anyone to just speak with him. He
yearned for something more than his father's promises of greatness
and immortality -- and astonishingly enough, it had been his
father of all people who had given it to him.
Fatima was amazed at the boy's strength of will. She knew
all to well at what desert life did to little boys and the
men they would have to become. But Nur bore things -- tortures
that no man let alone a child should bare. No indignity was
too great or too harsh. Baal was unremitting in his punishment
and isolation of Nur. The boy had suffered an alienation,
a lack of companionship that was unbearable to watch let alone
endure. Fatima could not imagine a more desolate or empty
existence, yet somehow -- somehow knowing nothing but pain
and torment, the boy had still retained a gentle soul. Yes,
he was capable of extraordinary violence, but always after
being provoked or to defend himself. The boy didn't possess
any of the petty cruelty that was a common trait in members
of the tribe. He was ugly beyond description, and strange
in ways beyond his appearance, yet she had grown to love him
as her own son.
As far as their status as his personal slaves -- in truth,
he expected so little from them and her duties were not very
much different from their original tribe. After Baal had killed
her husband -- Tara's father, in front of both their eyes,
she thought Tara would never recover -- she had become so
completely withdrawn. But Nur -- Nur had become her protector,
an older sibling to look up to, a playmate even. He was so
gentle with her, so caring and loving. He catered to her every
need, tireless and seemed hungry for her affections and adorations.
Ever so slowly, Tara had come out for her shell. She had
feared him at first, they both did and his appearance certainly
didn't help. But Nur was patient. He began by bringing her
a different flower each time he returned from the open desert,
secretly searching the desiccated landscape until he found
one. He insisted on serving Tara all her meals and would sit
and speak to her while she ate. He would do this day after
day even though for a very long time, she would not respond.
But Nur never seemed to get discouraged. He would draw pictures
in the sand with his fingers or a simple stick -- none of
which were any good. Eventually, these poor likenesses brought
a smile to her face -- and finally laughter. Nur, a child
himself, who had been the object of scorn, fear and hatred
since his birth, had been the one to heal Tara. Nur had made
her whole once again and for that alone; she would always
She believed that Tara was just as beneficial to Nur as she
was to him. Fatima had never seen another boy as happy as
Nur was when he was with Tara. She beamed brighter than the
sun when she was in his presence and he beamed brighter still
if that was possible when they were together. The boy needed
a family, someone to love and someone to love him so desperately,
She was a survivor as well. His well-being insured both her
and Tara's survival. Slaves, especially female slaves, were
extremely vulnerable and had no way or even the right to defend
themselves. Two drunken warriors had one night stumbled into
their dwelling and had attempted to have their way with her.
She had fought viciously, tearing and screaming at the men
in an attempt to free herself. She had awoken Nur and the
rest of the tribe. No one had moved to help her -- no one
except Nur. With a single swipe of his sword he had beheaded
both of them. She still remembered how the sword had whistled
through the air and not slowed at all when it had impacted
both bone and sinew. Such was the force of the blow.
She had feared that this action would betray the feelings
he had for both herself and Tara. But Nur had threateningly
warned everyone that they would befall the same fate if they
attempted to touch his property again. Property -- no different
than his sword or his horse. The boy was clever. His voice
and face had been devoid of emotion but contained enough menace
to get his message across. His father seemed to accept this,
as did the rest of the tribe. Maybe it had something to do
with the fact that a boy had just easily killed two fully-grown
and seasoned warriors. Nur had scared her that day. He had
also scared the rest of the tribe -- battle hardened survivors.
She had seen the fear in their eyes. Not fear of dying, but
fear of Nur.
Of course Baal could not let it end there -- he would somehow
always find a way to punish Nur. As they all returned to their
dwelling she heard Baal snap out some instructions but was
unable to make out what was said. She asked Nur if had understood
what his father had commanded. She could still remember Nur's
vacant expression and numb response. Baal had ordered that
the wives and children of the two warriors that Nur had just
killed be brought forth and put to death. Uncharacteristically
Baal provided his reasons for his decision. He told the assembled
warriors that in the morning, the tribe would be moving to
a distant location and could not be burdened with woman and
children who no longer had any provider. Nur did not emerge
from his tent until the next morning.
Baal had ordered Nur and two other Sandstormers to scout
a few miles behind the tribe as they moved across the western
region of the Valley of the Kings. They were instructed to
look for any signs of pursuit from the Pharaoh's soldiers
and report back to Baal. They had found nothing. It was mid-morning
when they had caught up to the rest of the tribe, and Nur
was surprised to see that that they had stopped and set up
an encampment. He quickly scanned the temporary settlement
and became alarmed when he was unable to locate the tent that
he shared with Fatima and Tara. He then noticed that none
of the other male warriors were anywhere in sight. He looked
around wildly and felt an icy chill run down his spine as
he pulled his sword out beginning to panic.
His eyes caught the silhouette of a group of people at the
top of a large sand dune that overlooked their encampment.
He brought his forearm up to his head to shield his eyes from
the glaring mid-morning sun and his heart began to race at
what he saw. Two warriors held Fatima and Tara, large knives
pressed against both their necks.
Nur bolted up the side of the dune his pulse racing madly,
his sword waving up and down pacing his stride. Nauseating
spurts of adrenalin coursed through his veins propelling him
up the face of the dune at inhuman speed.
He stopped abruptly at the top of the dune ten feet from
Fatima and Tara. He felt a knot form in the pit of his stomach
when he was able to recognize the two warriors that held them
-- Hassim and Mamut, two of his father's most ruthless and
sadistic henchmen. Baal had entrusted them with instructing
him in the use of different weapons and hand to hand combat
at a very young age. They had taken great pleasure in punishing
him repeatedly for the slightest mistake. He had received
savage beatings from the both of them for no other reason
than to determine how quickly he could recover from a variety
of wounds and broken bones.
Baal stood a few feet away from Fatima and Tara, his face
a mask of cold-hearted brutality that made Nur's throat gulp
spasmodically. The remaining warriors were well behind him,
their nostrils dilated, and hands twitching at their sword
hilts. Nur had seen that look many times before. It was the
look of hungry bloodlust -- whenever the Sandstormers anticipated
"Father, why?" Nur asked, his voice shriveling in his own
Baal did not answer but posed his own question. "What are
they to you Nur?" his father asked, his tone and facial expression
"They...they are my slaves," Nur stammered. "I may do with
them as I see fit," he said with little confidence.
Baal snorted. "Is that all they are to you Nur?" his father
said distastefully. He gestured to Hassim who pressed the
knife painfully against Fatima's neck.
"No wait!" Nur yelled as he moved forward.
Baal drew his sword blocking Nur and motioned to Hassim to
stop. Hassim reduced the pressure against her neck. Nur could
see beads of blood well up where the wicked blade had cut
her skin. But she did not cry out. She looked back at Nur,
unafraid, her only concern was for her daughter. Nur could
tell that if he were to do anything, Fatima wanted him to
help Tara first. They had come to know each other so well,
he could tell this all from her eyes. But he wanted her to
speak and tell him what to do. Things were moving much too
Baal stared at Nur threateningly. Understanding, Nur stopped
and took a step back. Baal returned the sword to his sash.
"Have you grown fond of the woman and the girl? Do not hesitate
Nur," his father added quickly, snarling.
"Yes," he barely murmured.
"Hand me your weapon," his father commanded.
Nur quickly acquiesced. "Please father, do not hurt them,"
Nur pleaded, not knowing what else to do.
His father had an odd look on his face, one he had never
seen before -- genuine disappointment.
"You are helpless and unarmed," Baal stated very matter-of-factly.
"You would do anything I asked -- betray the entire tribe
-- anything, just for the lives of a simple woman and child."
His father shook his head. "Do you think I spared their lives
many years ago on a whim? And do you think I am blind Nur?
Or am I a fool who is easily deceived? Do you not understand
the lesson I've tried to impart?" Baal screamed in exasperation,
his eyes bulging from their sockets.
Nur could not answer, his voice was paralyzed by fear.
"As a leader, the leader of all people that you are destined
-- the leader you will become in the distant future -- the
leader I was entrusted to mold and shape by the Gods themselves,"
Baal's voice ascended to a murderous falsetto as the veins
in his neck stood out in livid ridges. "You must always walk
alone, always!" he thundered. "You are special Nur, chosen,"
Baal said, his eyes transfixed manically on his son. "Look
at you Nur -- weak, vulnerable, defenseless, all over them!"
his father said incredulously, questioning how Nur could possibly
behave this way.
"You must never be fettered with the things that can make
even the greatest warrior weak, cowardly, ineffectual -- a
family, loved ones," he spat out the words contemptuously.
"They are for lesser beings. Not for you Nur, never for you!
I will drive this lesson into your skull, imprint my words
onto your brain with my bare bloodied hands if I must," Baal
ground out the words through clenched teeth.
Suddenly with brutal detachment, he heard his father's voice
as if he were speaking from far away -- "kill them."
With a look of malicious glee on their faces, Hassim and
Mamut slashed the necks of both Fatima and Tara.
Nur felt disembodied as if in a dream; events appearing to
move in slow motion as he saw two gaping maws open and grow
wider and wider in both their necks, as their heads lolled
to the side at an impossible angle. For a moment, he could
see the interior of their throats with utter clarity, wet
purple-ridged tissue. Then suddenly, his vision was quickly
obscured by a wash of red spray -- thick warm blood. He could
hear their blood gargled screams pierce his consciousness
as he saw them drop lifeless to the sand.
He crossed the ten feet and leapt toward Hassim. Hassim,
who was extremely adept with a dagger, slashed lightening
fast at his chest. Nur was faster. He ducked underneath Hassim's
attempt to cut him and grasped his wrist, twisting his arm
and the blade toward his raised chin. He plunged the blade
into the soft tissue between his jawbone, then upwards through
his tongue, penetrating the roof of his mouth and finally
through the bridge of his nose. For a second, the point of
the blade was clearly visible, protruding between Hassim's
wide-open and fear filled-eyes. A piece of Hassim's forebrain
clung wetly to the tip of the blade -- until Nur savagely
yanked it out in one twisting motion.
Nur was still in a crouched position, and facing away from
the other knife-wielding warrior. Mamut used the opportunity
to drive his blade right into Nur's exposed back.
Nur turned and locked eyes with Mamut. Mamut released his
grip on the handle of the dagger and froze because of what
he saw in Nur's eyes -- blind murderous rage, and death. Seemingly
unaffected by his mortal wound, Nur drove his knife between
Mamut's legs forcing it upwards with such strength, that Nur's
hands and arms entered Mamut's abdominal cavity. Mamut let
out a bloodcurdling scream as Nur once again twisted and savagely
tore out the blade. Mamut's viscera and entrails spilled out
of the cavity Nur had opened. Mamut remained standing for
a second, his lips pulled back in a grotesque rictus, and
then fell face first dead into his own bloody innards.
The others looked on, eyes watching with fascinated horror.
Nobody moved as Nur dropped the dagger and stumbled over to
Fatima and Tara. He dropped to his knees beside their lifeless
bodies and reached out with trembling hands, and gently caressed
both of their faces. Even in the desert sun, their skin was
already cold. The only thing his mind allowed him to see were
Tara's terrified eyes -- while she was still alive, questioning
why Nur did nothing to stop these men from hurting her.
He threw his head back and began to scream uncontrollably
-- a high and hysterical cry, shrill with horror. It then
became guttural as Nur felt something well up inside of him
and break. The screaming changed even further, becoming impossibly
deep, monstrous. The Stormriders could feel the scream rumbling
inside their own stomachs, so low and bottomless, that their
bellies actually began to feel raw.
They started to back away in fear and became terrified as
Nur began to glow slightly, a golden aura surrounding him.
He suddenly stopped screaming and mercifully passed out, the
The Stormriders did not move or speak, their faces ashen
and eyes numbed with fear. Only Baal moved forward, his expression
awed as he reached out to help his son.
10 years before
They were driven out into the desert night without a drop
of water or a morsel of food. They would not kill his wife
or his newborn son outright, but instead chose to banish them
to the open desert without any supplies -- a certain death
Three previous pregnancies had resulted in their children
being born devoid of any life, and all horribly disfigured.
They both so desperately wanted children that when their son
was born, they could almost ignore his appearance. When he
entered the world and took his first breath, crying so fiercely,
so full of life, they were overjoyed.
The tribal elders were of a different opinion. One look at
his strange skin coloring and disfigured face and they had
immediately decreed that the child was an abomination. He
was thought to be an evil omen and would bring about the ruination
of the tribe if he were allowed to live. They attempted to
remove the child from its mother but he had shoved the elder
to the ground. He would not allow them to touch his son. Striking
an elder was virtually unheard of, yet he reacting instinctively.
Although he was an incredibly large man, powerful and possessed
exceptional fighting ability, he could not successfully fight
the entire tribe. Individually, he could kill any of the other
warriors, easily, and they were aware of this. But who would
defend his wife and his newborn son while he was fighting?
He had attained a very high standing in the tribe and had
many friends among the tribe's warriors. He did not believe
that they would shed their blood, but they would not go against
the elder's decree. Tribal law had been ingrained into the
children at a very early age and for so many generations that
it was unthinkable to dispute the elders. But they also could
not kill him or his family in cold blood, so a compromise
He supported his wife with one arm moving slowly, letting
her set the pace. She was very weak due to the birth of their
son. In his other arm he carried his newborn son, quiet despite
all the commotion. Several of the tribal women tried to sneak
some food and water to him as he left the settlement, but
they were unsuccessful. The elders had expected this and had
chosen select warriors stop the women. The elders were a superstitious
lot, and could not allow anything that might help the child,
-- the abomination survive. The warriors reluctantly did as
they were told and watched as he and his family set out into
the desert night.
He knew he had to find water and food quickly before the
sun rose or they would perish. He could travel much faster
on his own but could not leave his wife or his child alone.
There were dangerous scavengers about, and other predatory
tribes. He also thought that the elders might change their
minds and convince a few warriors to venture out and kill
Thankfully it was a clear moonlit night and as chance would
have it, they came upon a lone stranger. The stranger was
an old man traveling slowly on horseback and was headed directly
towards them. He quickly noticed large water pouches, filled
to capacity on either side of the man's horse. He intended
to throw himself on the mercy of the stranger but would kill
him if necessary. He had little desire to do this but would
not let his family become another victim of the desert elements.
He had his weapon at his side. At least the elders had allowed
that. The old man had seen them as well and did not alter
his course or his pace.
He gently lowered his wife to the sand into a seated position,
and placed his son wrapped in heavy cloth into her arms. She
gratefully accepted the boy anxious to hold and feed him again.
She graced them both with a warm smile; hope creeping back
into her eyes. The stranger stopped, dismounted his horse
and was peacefully approaching them, a broad smile on his
face. He could clearly see that the old man had no sword on
his person. If he had a dagger, it was of little consequence.
He could easily overpower the old man even without his sword.
He walked to the stranger as well, a genuine smile on his
face, believing that possibly good fortune had favored them
and that they had happened upon a kind old man.
"Stranger, will you help us? My wife has just given birth,
and we are alone without food or water. Could you spare something
The stranger smiled. "Of course." The stranger stopped ten
feet from him. "May I ask, is the baby -- did your wife give
birth to a son?"
"Yes...yes, it is indeed a son," he smiled proudly.
"Excellent," the stranger said smiling more broadly. He removed
an odd looking object from his clothing. He pointed it directly
at his wife.
"What are you doing?" he said more curious than alarmed.
A thin blinding white beam emerged from the object and struck
his wife directly in the head. A smoking, perfectly round
hole appeared on her forehead. She fell onto her back, dead,
the baby still clutched protectively in its mother's arms.
His mouth fell open. "What manner of God...? His words were
cut off abruptly as the stranger fired his weapon a second
time, killing the boy's father instantly.
It would have been more prudent to kill the male first but
he wanted the man to see his mate killed. He truly enjoyed
punishing these simple-minded simians whenever he could.
He approached the female. The child was lying on her chest
quietly sleeping, oblivious that its parents were dead. He
reached down and removed the covering that partially obscured
its face. The child awoke instantly and let out a piercing
and obscene wail that cut through the desert night. The
child was ugly, he thought, even for this primitive race
that had evolved from apes. Evolved, he mused. He supposed
he was in a generous mood. He wondered how his brother
could stand to watch these animals, let alone come
to care for them.
He attempted to remove the child from its mother, but could
not pry her hands from the covering. No matter. He discharged
the energy weapon twice more, severing both her hands, freeing
the child. The child howled louder if that was possible.
He roughly shoved some of the covering in the child's mouth,
its head and neck jerked spasmodically as it fought to get
air. He picked up the child, pleased that he had muffling
most of its cries and smiled. "What seems to be the problem?"
he cooed to the baby. What was the human expression and word
they used to describe those who were different? "Does a cat
have your tongue...mutant?"
The child struggled harder. Aron smiled shaking his head,
and spoke to the child once more. "You are not known for your
sense of humor in the future, Lord Apocalypse," he
said mockingly. "As a matter of fact, according to my brother,
I believe you are a rather dour individual. We can't have
He threw the baby onto a collection of stones...exactly where
Baal would find himself shortly. The child was silent -- and
still. "Nothing to say dread lord?" Aron called after the
child. "I am sure you will be fine. From what I have learned,
you are a resilient little fellow. And don't fret -- your
new father will be by shortly. He is a rather uncivilized
brute, even for your kind. But rest assured, I have instructed
him on the proper method to raise you. He seemed quite eager.
You have such a wonderful life ahead of you, I am almost envious.
I must confess to feeling a bit guilty, passing myself off
as a god as it were." A reflective look crossed his face.
"In retrospect, compared to your kind, I suppose I am a god,"
he said with some conviction.
"I would love to stay, but 'time waits for no man'."
He chuckled. "You humans have so many quaint expressions,
but that one isn't quite true, is it?"
Aron laughed even louder, pleased by his own wit. He then
disappeared from that place... and that time.
Continued in Chapter
The Rise of Apocalypse #1
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