Two powerful figures stood atop the highest peak of the City of Immortals and watched it burn.
They weren't powerful because they were big, or had any other grand physical attribute. Yet it was obvious. Like if you met a literal dickhead – many met will later be discerned to be such, figuratively - however, if someone's third eye is gone to genitalia it is immediately and unequivocally evident.
There was power in the way their cloaks flapped gently in the swirling atmosphere, but not exactly with it. In the way their faces, when briefly lit by an explosion below, seemed carved from stone - unreactive to the extremes of hot and cold, the ash laden winds or the stray shrapnel that never dared hit them. Power such that any sentient that had ever laid eyes on them would cut out their own tongue (or race specific body part) before ever calling them 'dickhead' or any synonym of. Power comes packed with fear and respect.
Motionless, they stood and bore witness to the last stand of the Ver'tal. A proud race of humanoids, the Ver'tal screamed their last defiance against the onslaught of the green and brown tide that engulfed them. No option remained. They had nowhere to run, nowhere to hide and there was no help coming.
The defenders had taken on the deadly grace and efficiency that can only be achieved by those who already consider themselves dead. Countless feats of heroism, all of which would have been remembered for generations in any other time, passed unnoticed and futile.
Dying with this city were the hopes and dreams of one silent watcher and the calculations of the other – many thousands of years work.
Running the tip of one elegant finger over the small scar on its face, as it always did when agitated, Yaku communicated, "we should never have let them name this city after us."
Slowly turning its gaze from the scene below the second figure replied. "Matters not, one name, one tongue."
Time passed, measured in local units unlikely to exist when the planets blue sun next rose.
"I would have us visit death upon them."
"To remind them to fear us. And to send a message to those I will not name - the war is far from won." Glancing sideways at Zita, Yaku knew that his companion didn't buy a word, the Philosopher King never did, but it would follow. "But mainly because my blood boils," it admitted.
Yaku rubbed his old scar so furiously that it seemed likely to tear open. Eyes cold as death, "because it reminds me."
A slight inclination of the head was all the response that Zita gave. It didn't like overt emotion from its leader. To distract itself it calculated the time since its last emotion, in local time. It's seemed appropriate. It wasn't very logical though – their language didn't accommodate large numbers well.
"They will release anti-matter. End all life."
"Yes. How long will we have?"
Glancing briefly upward at a tiny spec in the sky, the enemy command post, Zita replied. "High safety margin, 3 minutes and 46 seconds, local."
"OK. Prepare a wormhole on that hill in the middle of the filth." .
"Wherever they're headed next."
Zita briefly sifted through the mass of communications data embedded in various forms of electromagnetic radiation around them and responded, "local name, Earth."
"Unfamiliar. Empirical name?"
Yaku's head turned. "I know that planet. I planted there."
"Yes – planet seeded."
"No data. Analyse secondary sources. Data found. Negative. Interest - one scout mage repulsed."
Their destination determined they then returned to the matter at hand. Stepping slowly apart, their eyes suddenly looked hollow, as if no life resided within, this momentary disconnection from the sensors was the only visible sign betraying the changes occurring within. Slowly at first, then faster as more genes were recruited, more enzymes produced, a re-calibration of neural networks took place. Pathways long silent were up regulated and brought to the forefront of their consciousness. Hormones and other messenger molecules synchronized their bodies with the new mind state.
As the last stages of the organic cocktail took effect their muscles swelled, smooth faces contorting into the face that had earned them many a fearsome name throughout existence. Such names were normally considered to be in the realm of myth. Or divinity. As their eyes reconnected to the optic nerve, rekindling the indicative twinkle of awareness, only one name could be used to describe the look that now resided within – death.
The resultant monstrosities shook to the tune of a betrayal that echoed through the ages, of rage denied.
Finally, they embraced one neural pathway that had not changed in eons; once gift, twice curse, it was their power. Reaching to the heavens they were struck, from all sides, by a million tiny lightning bolts, some that stretched as far as the eye could see, others almost microscopic. More and more flowed in, twisting together, growing fatter, faster, they filled the two shaking monsters like rivers flowing into an unquenchable ocean. Then, with a scream like metal rent, a sword of blinding light appeared in each of their up-reached hands.
An image to shame the most wrathful human god, two steps took them to the edge of the tower's roof, which was pulverized under the force of their step as they launched themselves high into the air. Bursting with power they willed themselves higher until they reached a sufficient height that their trajectory would carry them into the fray between the first two great walls.
They descended with swords of lightning held behind their heads until the moment of impact, at which time they drove them forward into the ranks of their enemy. A blast of pure energy, many times more devastating than any of the artillery that fell around them, tore apart every single thing.
Beyond the radius of the initial blow, a shock wave surged forward, levelling rank after rank. With debris from the blast still raining around them they charged forward into the stunned beasts. The clock began to tick and they allowed themselves to briefly succumb to the pure ecstasy of blood lust.
Ignorant of the of the small missile that now sped towards them, packed with anti matter, the defenders cheered wildly as they watched two gods descend from the heavens to save them in their hour of need.
Bringing swift death to their enemies with swords of white fire. The two gods inspired awe in the Ver'tal that beheld the spectacle. Two rampant hurricanes, they tore through beast and machine alike, showering broken and twisted bodies in their wake.
The point of convergence of the two gods was now becoming hard to focus on, the light from it seemed bent and dull. Slowly at first, then exponentially faster, the air began the ripple, then the ripple turned into a circular, shimmering haze. One instant it looked like a super charged desert mirage, the next instant the haze cleared and a strange world was visible. Bright sunlight poured through, silhouetting the two alien gods as they ended their murderous rampage and stepped into the window in reality.
One paused and looked back offering two ancient prayers to darkness, one for the dead, and one for forgiveness. The Ver'tal had no way to understand, but the first prayer was for them.
Just after the window in space blinked out of existence a large amount of antimatter impacted in its place. The Ver'tal and large portion of their home world were removed from existence.