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The Dark Man slammed his fist into the bunker wall. The reinforced concrete cracked as if it was made of plasterboard. He drew back his fist to strike again, then restrained his temper with an effort that left him dizzy. His rage, while impressive, solved nothing.

Turning from the wall, he paced the small chamber restlessly, mind racing. His carefully laid plans were in jeopardy, one of his chosen in custody, part of his "Gift"  to the masses he would raise as an army under scrutiny in one of Cassandra's labs. Was fate conspiring against him once again?

How many times, in how many ages of this world, had he come close, so close, to the destruction of his eternal enemies? How many times had he nearly regained his rightful place, as master of this world, only to be thwarted by fate, denied by those very women he sought to subjugate once more?

The Dark Man sat abruptly on the ground, crossing his legs and closing his eyes as he enforced calm on his troubled thoughts. He needed to see the vision again, to see if it was intact or if he would once again be forced to vanish into the concealing cloak of history and pass more frustrating decades in hiding until another opportunity arose.

The Dark Man opened his eyes to a scene very different from the bunker interior. He stood under the open sky, beneath a full and bloodied moon. He was high above the world, in the mountains of his childhood. Before him was a great hill, crowned by a single bare and leafless tree.  The great tree's branches stretched toward the sky claw like, as if the tree would pull that sanguine moon down to earth.

Gathering his robes about him, the Dark Man began to climb. The path to the top of the hill was treacherous. The Dark Man focused his awareness on the ground beneath him, stepping carefully as he ascended. He did not look up until he stood upon the summit.

The Tree stood before him, dwarfing him with its power, its dark grandeur. This Tree had feasted on blood, grown strong on tears. As it grew greater, its shadow threatened to cut off the light, to shroud the world in darkness eternal. He had not planted the Tree, it had been old when he had discovered it. But he had nurtured it with the lives of those who opposed him, those who called themselves A'Thalanteans, the Daughters of Thalante.  

In return, the Tree had guided him, shown him visions, glimpses of a future where he would rule over this world and all who dwelt upon it. Troubled by his recent setbacks, he stood before it once more seeking counsel. The Tree whispered greetings and dark promises in his ear.

Tell me, show me what I must do to end this conflict and claim this world as mine?

He touched the bark of the trunk, marvelling again at how cold it felt. He need only step around the trunk to see if his vision still held true, if this was, finally, his time. Drawing back his hand, the Dark Man whispered a final prayer to Darkness itself, then stepped around the Tree.

What he saw gave him cause to smile, lips parting in a mirthless predatory grin.  En-Trance hung from a branch of the Tree , a noose tight about her neck, her hands bound behind her back. Her costume was torn in several places, and beneath her skin was bruised and cut from battle.

Her eyes were closed, her breath labored as the noose and her own body weight combined to slowly strangle her. He watched as she kicked and twisted, unwilling to surrender, desperately seeking a way out. He felt a stirring down in the dark pit where once his soul had lived. Slowly he reached out to touch her. Her eyes snapped open, he saw recognition, fear and pleading in those strangely alluring lavender orbs.

He did not help her, instead let his hands glide slowly over her helpless form, inhaling deeply and relishing the scent of her fear and desperation. The Dark Man looked up, his shadowed eyes meeting En-Trance' flickering violet orbs. He kept his gaze locked on hers as his fingers moved down her belly slowly, enjoying the feeling of her skin beneath her silken costume. His hand slipped beneath her costume panties, the one scrap of modesty the girl allowed herself. He began caressing her, exploring her as she bucked weakly unable to escape his touch.

She is the Key...Claim her, break her, and the House of Valenian will fall, this world will be yours

The voice of the Tree whispered in his mind as he continued  to ply En-Trance' bound body with unwelcome pleasure. He closed his eyes, listening to the wisdom of the ancient force of evil he had adopted as his only God. The Dark Man, the Wolf smiled as his path was laid out before him.

 The Dark Man opened his eyes, gazing up at En-Trance as he brought her to a body shaking conclusion that left her whimpering softly and struggling even harder for air. Mercilessly he began the cycle again. It was all so clear now, there was no need to rush things. He could place his pieces with care, knowing that when the time was right he need only claim En-Trance and he would claim the world with her.  He smiled, it wouldn't be hard to claim her either, not when he worked with her every day. He laughed softly, finally this world would be his.

Art by the amazing and wonderful :iconthe-she-cat:

En-Trance is my oc and may not be used without permission

Links to a recent/running story and with an indication of where the "Meta" gene originated from and why there are more Heroines than Heroes on Earth 18. Because yes...I do answer all those questions as part of the background :D


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:iconrook-07:
Rook-07 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Wow! Great art, great story!
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:icondevduck01:
devduck01 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much, I am glad you liked them both :)
Reply
:iconrook-07:
Rook-07 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
You're welcome.
Reply
:iconshadowhawkone:
ShadowhawkOne Featured By Owner Edited Mar 11, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
DAMN!! you had me on the edge of my seat with this one Duck! I loved how dark and foreboding this is for the future story.  the way you described the journey to the summit and the tree was amazing and the way he toyed with the vision of Trance if she were real and then giving that last little bit of a hit before ending it. Very Hitchcockish! 

I really love :iconthe-she-cat:'s cart work that goes with it. It has that great dark imagery that carries over from the story. You picked the perfect artist for this story.

 Thumbsup Emoticon II Thumbsup Emoticon II Thumbsup Emoticon II Thumbsup Emoticon II 
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:icondevduck01:
devduck01 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you sir. A little bit of foreshadowing..for those that bother to read :D

And yeah... :iconthe-she-cat: hit it out of the park, hope to work with them again 
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:icondangerguy01:
Dangerguy01 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very gripping opener!
Reply
:icondevduck01:
devduck01 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks..this one is going to be a slow burner...be dropping little chapters here and there.
I was worried that the Wolf's identity would be esily spotted, but since 95% of people don't read the stories...it should remain a mystery :)
Reply
:iconthe-she-cat:
The-She-Cat Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
I'm so glad to be a part of this.
Reply
:icondevduck01:
devduck01 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
And I am so glad you were willing to be a part of it :) :hug:
Reply
:iconthe-she-cat:
The-She-Cat Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
:heart:
Reply
:icondevduck01:
devduck01 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
:)
Reply
:iconcrimsonvlkyrie:
CrimsonVlkyrie Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017
An interesting piece with some great art to go with it. Interesting that out of all the powerful individuals that Trance is the key to whatever she is the key to...hehe 
Reply
:icondevduck01:
devduck01 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you...I have several "Arcs" for each of the main characters like Jessica, Trance and Lei and at least one "Arc" for the supporting cast like Valyn.

This one is tied into a few things, the "origin" of the meta gene in E-18 and the idea of controlling someone who can control others
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March 10
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