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Book 8, Chapter 41 - Fate Never Changes

 Cloudhawk examined Legion's change more closely. It was then he discovered that Legion wasn't the demon he thought he was. There was something special about him, a quality within his form that ordinary people could not see.

Cloudhawk's vision could pierce the constraints of his fleshy eyes. He saw beyond the physical and into the contents of one's mind and soul where the essence of what they were was constructed.

Legion was an entanglement of massive amounts of data. Contained within him was a trove of data orders of magnitude beyond any god, demon or human. Furthermore, with every passing second that information increased. What made up Legion was spilling out in all directions.

Say that the data stored in a demon's body was one unit of universal information - the equivalent to one kilobyte in a computer. The God King, by comparison, was more akin to ten megabytes. And Legion? Even as Cloudhawk watched he was surpassing a hundred gigabytes.

An ordinary mortal thing couldn't contain so much information. What he saw in Legion was nothing natural.

"You have always been another fragment of a Quintessence."

Legion hadn't moved at all until now, when with a wave of his hand the remaining demon elders all dissolved into ash. They all dissipated on the wind as meaningless specks of subatomic material. The data that made them up vanished from the universe.

With a mere wave of the hand Legion had erased the leadership of the demon race. It showed the Grand Elder now possessed mastery of universal law, like deleting files from a computer system. His oblivious victims had no way to defend themselves.

"The soul of my race is made from time, space and matter. The three elements in harmony."

Legion's brief psychic explanation was enough to reveal the truth.

When the Quintessence began its search for destiny's chosen, this super-intelligent creature began to suffer from confusion and contradictions. He knew that his goal ran in contrast to the natural order. It flew in the face of destiny's plan. Thus, within itself was born a seed - a seed of rebellion.

A Quintessence was a creature of absolutely purity whose form was beyond the grasp of mortals. When these contradictions were introduced, the being could no longer maintain its pure self and experienced a schism.

One portion understood that it should not stand in the way of fate, that to condemn billions of other races to death for its own was wrong. The other portion felt that its race deserved to continue. It wanted to live. The clash between these strongly held beliefs is what caused the fracture.

From the standpoint of humans and the other races of the cosmos, the former was correct. The quintessence should give up its pursuit of eternal life, submit to the will of destiny and return to the void. The latter fragment of will was not afraid to spit in the face of fate and condemn the universe to oblivion, all to discover the child of destiny and absorb it. A drastic effort to save its species from fading away.

All this time Cloudhawk had been wrong. So very, very wrong.

It was the God King that represented the righteous will. He was willing to sacrifice himself and his species, taking on the mission of fate. Yes, it's species was crucial in the dissemination and creation of creative elements, but it should not destroy the civilizations under its protection in service of his own continuation.

It was the Demon King would bore the selfish fragment of will. He refused to give up his grip on existence, for him and his people. So he worked tirelessly to destroy one civilization after another in search of destiny's child. Once it awakened this mote of data could be absorbed, breathing new life into an ancient and worthy race. It wasn't alone. The desire for survival and continuation was written into the code of all living things.

Thus did the strife between two parts of one will persist for untold years. Until at last the inevitable conflict arose a thousand years ago on the surface of Earth. For it was there that piece was discovered, that informosome that was the seed of destiny's child.

For the first time, the two halves of the Quintessence were forced into conflict. One split into two. The first remained loyal to fate and turned his back on his own people. The latter betrayed the natural order and chose to fight tooth and nail for the survival of its species. The first was the God King. The latter was the Demon King.

But it was the God King who was the stronger of the two. His demonic counterpart was overcome and fled Sumeru.

The Demon King could not flee with the seed. After the schism, neither was it capable of contacting others of its species and beseech their help. All it could do was abscond with this precious information, releasing many of the gods from servitude in the process.

Why liberate the gods?

Because the God King was stronger, and master of Sumeru. The so-called gods were puppets dancing on strings and if the Demon King could siphon them away, he could establish his own power base while weakening his opponent's. This was how the demons came to be.

The Demon King continued to try and reach out to other Quintessences. But under the oppression of the God King the efforts failed. Eventually the conflict came to a head a thousand years ago during the Great War and the Demon King was destroyed. But that little string of data, that primal seed, persisted. The God King knew that the universe needed a true god and had chosen not to stand in the way of its birth.

A millennia of searching and cultivation finally led the seed to a creature. A frail human, born among the ruins of a ravaged Earth. Cloudhawk.

This was why, although the God King had countless opportunities to snuff out his life, he chose not to. For all this time the fragment of Quintessence was merely an observer. A foil to judge Cloudhawk's growth.

But the God King underestimated even its own rebellious fragment.

Every Quintessence was composed of three elements; time, space and matter. Even after their schism both Kings possessed some measure of these. In fact the Demon King knew his eventual defeat would come. So, he took the part of him that was matter - the smallest most insignificant portion - and infused the first of the demons that he had created.

This demon was Legion.

Before his death the Demon King repeated this and left a portion of his soul within the Grand Elder. Legion was his King's most loyal subject and closest friend, but he also more than that - he was in fact the Demon King's brother.

In other words, although on the surface Legion appeared to be like any other demon, he actually bore a piece of the former Demon King. Matter, with a fragment of the will of space. Now that he had absorbed some of the God King he had stolen time - and thus, he was made complete.

Suddenly Cloudhawk understood everything.

Legion had become a true god, though weakly formed. Within his body was a frail spark of a Quintessence. It did not compare at all to the mature species, but it possessed their power. Power enough to eliminate the fledgling God Cloudhawk had become.

"When you were very small I told you once that everyone had their path to follow. There was no escaping it, no matter how one tried. From the instant of your birth destiny had a plan for you - you were the chosen Demon King, and the child of fate. And once you merge with us we will achieve true eternity.

"If you really believed in fate you wouldn't have done any of this," Cloudhawk challenged. "If I really believed in fate I never would have left the wasteland. In the end we're both fighting against our fate but it's the hand of destiny that pushes us forward. We've never changed it, and it's never changed us."

Legion paused. He was right. No one ever chose their destiny, and destiny didn't choose its marks. Everything was inevitable. There was no escaping it.

Legion said nothing. Time and space roiled around him like a storm, powerful and cunning flows of elemental power that surged toward Cloudhawk.

This would be the final battle.

A war of two true Gods.

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