Resonant Fury Suit (Hunter)
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Resonant Fury Mask
Void. Bereft. There is a chasm where my fulfillment should live.
Today, you again gifted me purpose, my Witness. A rapturous day, by the old pattern, my fingers knitting finality once more. But now, this purpose is equivocal, serving not the glorious abyss. The race—the Ahslid, in their degenerate, clicking dialect—have never known the enemy's luminous caress, will never know that caress. They are unnecessary, destined to die in a paltry million years still orbiting the same blue-white star that gave them succor.
Irrelevant. And yet…
"Your presence shall raise no more concern than that of a speck of dust blown off course by a distant sun. And you shall bow this people to my service, just as I enlightened you. Your value shall be their value."
I was born in irrelevance, and yet, you cast me back down that well.
I keep your sacred commandments, even this, closer and dearer than my own pulse. In your name, I bring crushing embrace by flame and glaive, my Witness. Fleets of black to blot out suns and moons. The enemy flees, and I burn all trace of its passing. This is my supplication.
But I castigate myself. Nothing is immaterial that is in your sight. My prayers offend my Witness, and so, here and now, I tear them out. I shall learn to forge by night and whispers, and silence shall be your choir.
Resonant Fury Grips
They are liquid fear sealed within porcelain flesh, my Witness, these Ahslid whose service you require. I arrived as you bid, without ceremony or fleets, and for 14 journeys around their star, I have stalked them in the dark, testing them to find even one who may serve as a warrior. I offer them every opportunity to unleash wrath upon me and prove their worth, and they cower, then bleed. Is it the death of my ego you crave as you dispatch me alone against these insects?
But I comprehend the depth now of this commandment. Yours is a lesson in insight, and sweet as their hemolymph may be, it is folly to spill it all myself.
My violence inspires fear. Each new corpse come daylight substrates accusations. They need logic, a cause and effect that fits within their understanding of the universe. Even when massacre comes from the black depths between stars, they must lay its accounting at the tarsus of their most powerless.
They divide. They appoint authorities. They see lines in the parched dust that exist only in their minds, and they value these so, so dearly they will kill to define them. Achingly nostalgic. My gift of enlightenment. I am free of Lubrae, but I see its shape in these jostling masses, and this inspires me.
You have bidden me sharpen their fatuous minds into a spearpoint, as you did on Lubrae, but without showing my face to cow them. So instead, I shall press my shape into the dust of this world and cast a generation of Ahslid in my image. And they shall by my glaive.
Resonant Fury Vest
I am become circumstance, my Witness, the unseen whim of fate that shapes the lives of one score of infants in the same temper of luxury and hardship that honed my infallible edge. Where their families lack, I gift them with prosperity, opportunity, and the elimination of obstacles. Where they would know softness, I introduce suffering for which there is no salve, snatching away those who may carry them and nourish frailty.
My salubrious hand imbues strength, but far more critically. It weans them on immaculateness. They are self-made, they tell themselves, and grow strong for their suffering—should not all their kind be so capable? Is there—they conclude—any explanation for the failure that permeates their society beyond a sick sentiment for weakness? Their antennules quiver at the debility in their kind. Its stink disgusts them.
The youngest of my brood, I named him Uun, has taken his first life. Stoked on emotion, his craft is sloppy—the hand of a child—but I have removed the shoddy traces of his outburst and vanished those who might find fault with such a child. He shrinks now from the anonymous endowments I lay as laurels for his conquest. I have permitted too much softness for the offspring.
And I am left to ponder—did you so attentively hone me into your blade, my Witness, or did happenstance and my own tenacity ready a blade for you to draw?
Resonant Fury Strides
I find myself once more stalking the night, my Witness, unknown as their final gasps. But my sojourns are no longer otiose errands. I am no more a predator among the Ahslid than the weaver is a predator of flax. Death creates gaps into which my progeny rises and stokes paranoia to tighten their fists. Each carapace crushed winds the clockworks my hands assemble.
They no longer need my direct ministrations. My children have children—some bequeath my lessons. The favored spawn are those who learned my lessons well. They converge on my shape, and unprovoked, prepare banquets of wisdom on which their kin gorge. They craft weapons—little more than hurled rocks standing in the long shadow the Darkness casts—but enough to crack their world apart. Only Uun disappoints, frightened as he is now by his own potential for glory. I cut him free of my succor. Obscurity is the crueler fate.
You taught me the most precious lesson of irrelevance. Only purpose can be momentous. It is the moment of clarity that freed me from worldly soil. This final gift I withhold from my progeny. It is the most challenging lesson to teach, and I stand in awe of the elegance with which you revealed the truth to me. I cannot do the same without reflection. I have imitated myself all too well, but to imitate you, my Witness, it is the one challenge to which I find myself unworthy.
Resonant Fury Cloak
I have failed you, my Witness.
I taught the Ahslid to build a tower to heaven upon a foundation of sand. I hemmed for 10 long cycles over that final lesson in irrelevance, and in the end, my pupils exceeded my ability as a teacher. They tumbled. A sunset of atomic fire scrubs all but lichen from this arid globe.
But Uun stands before me, last survivor of his pointless kind. While he proved deaf to the lessons I taught regarding his people's worth, he devoured all I taught him of tenacity and made of it his core. He alone among his people saw the pattern in my killings, in the ascension of children whose backgrounds mirrored his own.
My duty to you failed. The greatest flaw in my handicraft stands before me. And yet, I find myself burdened with pride.
He levels a weapon on me, and it occurs that I never learned what they call their devices. It is as irrelevant as everything else that made up their culture.
But he is the first to stand and face me.
He dashes hate against me. And breaks.
He does not know my name. He does not know my purpose. And he demands. Then implores. Then begs. He prostrates himself on the floor, his carapace wracking with convulsions, as if mourning milks the sorrow from his flesh.
And I am weak, my Witness. I whisper, "I am Rhulk."
Devoid of context, it is as meaningless as any other aspect of his people's end. Something sacred within him dies, and he gazes up as I have gazed at you.
And only now do I appreciate your lesson.
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