In the year 2650 The divine Empire of Iluthor was the most powerful empire in the galaxy. Their hegemony, encompassed over 80% of galactic territory. The empire was in a golden age with their technology having reached its peak. They had tamed the power of the stars with multiple massive dyson spheres, extracted the matter once thought forever lost from black holes, they had shipyards that could produce an entire armada in the time it took other empires to make a single ship. Their worlds were plentiful gaias and their capitol sat within the arc of a massive ring—its surface incrusted like a gem in all the luxuries possible. To the astonishment of the rest of the galaxy, Emperor Iluthor was even able to use his psionic strength to tame not one but seven space dragons. On top of that, through the mysterious plane known as the shroud, the empires psychics were able steal the secrets once thought solely held by known stagnant ascendancies.
All was good. All was safe. All was powerful.
Or so it seemed.
In the year 2653 echoes were heard within subspace itself. The empires scientists did not have to research them for long as the galactic scourge known as the unbidden emerged. Though they arose far from the core of the empire, God Emperor Iluthor understood their threat. The Unbiddens fleats numbered in the hundreds of thousands but so did the empires. They studied the defeated ships and learned their weaknesses. All ships that were previously designed to take down those of other empires were refitted with one goal in mind: the destruction of the extra dimensional invaders. The first, second, and third armadas of Iluthor all descended at once on the subspace rift where they had first emerged, firing every weapon at their disposal to break up the enigmatic entity. To no ones surprise, victory was theirs and the galaxy breathed a sign of relief. The armadas toured the galaxy mopping up any remaining invaders for the next ten years. Things were, on the surface, stable once again.
But no peace lasts forever. Soon after defeating the Rift letting in the Unbidden, empires allied to Iluthor reported that synths were going missing. This was no concern to Iluthor as it was likely a meaningless anomaly, especially as synths were banned within the borders of the Divine Empire itself. What worried Iluthor more was reports from some of his scientists that signals could be detected approaching from outside of the known galaxy. Some celebrated and anxiously awaited the empires first contact with extra galactic life forms but Emperor Iluthor grew worried after the recent events. He ordered all resources be reallocated to building a series of citadels on as many choke point star systems as possible. These citadels would be equipped with the most firepower the empire could fit them with. But before the project was even 50% complete the prethoryn scourge landed. By chance they emerged near the same area as the unbidden, much to the dismay of the Emperor. The fleets in the area attacked the clearly hostile invaders but their weapons and technology had been designed for a different threat. Despite seeming like an even match, the forces of the empire were nearly wiped out.
But the worst news was yet to come. Soon entire fleets began to disappear, star systems broke contact. And soon the empires of the galaxy were hailed by a new mechanized threat that called themselves the contingency.
At first the galaxy hoped that the two threats would wipe each other out and it was true, their initial skirmishes bought the galaxy precious time, but soon the contingency discovered the recently opened L-gates and began to quickly spread to every corner of the galaxy.
The Empire of Iluthor began to build as many ships as it possibly could. There was only one solution. They had to defeat this threat at its heart and fast. The fleet 500 thousand strong was sent towards the nearest contingency hub and in tow was the empires secret weapon, a machine they called the executor that was capable of destroying entire worlds. The armada defeated the local contingency garrison and with the executor, they cracked the contingency world. But this was just one world of many. There was no time to wait. The armada immediately set off for the next world. Meanwhile, the scourge was wreaking havoc on the other empires of the galaxy. Their fleets were completely ill equipped to deal with such a threat. Seeing this, two of the three fallen empires awoke from their stagnation to address the threat. This was exactly what Iluthor needed so his empire could focus on the contingency.
One hub, two hubs, three hubs, all fell before the might of the empire. There was only one known contingency hub remaining. But as the armada headed in its direction, alerts sounded. A scourge fleet had broken through the empires defenses and was using the natural wormholes to forge a path straight to the capitol. The attack on the final hub was called off and all fleets were retasked with defending the empire.
This was Iluthors fatal mistake. He should have realized that even the capitol itself could be a necessary sacrifice to defeat the scourge. But all things seem clearer in hindsight. The armada used its gateways to return to the core of the empire and vanquish the foe, but in this time the contingency expanded outward and successfully purged the fallen empire that had been helping to keep the crisis at bay. With no allied forces to keep the crisis occupied, the Empire of Iluthor found themselves beset unceasingly, from all corners of their territory. The forges of the scourge and contingency were endless. Their resources appeared limitless and in the wake of this new threat, the empires might began to wain. This was a new war unlike the ones they had fought before. This was a war of attrition and the scourge only seemed to grow stronger with every passing day. Iluthor knew the frontiers could not be saved but Perhapse there was hope for the rest of the empire. The empire decided that the core worlds of the ring and its supporting mega structures would be prioritized over all else.
Countless iluthori Worlds fell, billions perished and the empire did nothing to save them. They could do nothing. Their sacrifice would ensure the race of Iluthor could live on.
At first it was thought that the empire could hunker down and wait the crisis out. Perhaps in time the crisis forces would grow bloated, over extended, and weaken. After all, the empires core sector was well defended. Any invader would have to pass through at least four citadels before reaching the capitol now. And with the dyson sphere, strategic centers, mass shipyard, sentry array, and matter decompressor the empire had more than enough resources to wait out the storm. In fact, many less empathetic iluthori enjoyed their new found excess as “they no longer had to support the weaker frontier worlds.”
But there was a weakness in the armor. The empires black hole matter decompressor that they relied on to supply them with mineral resources was outside of the empires bulwark of defense citadels and as such, was vulnerable.
Most crisis fleets were only 150 thousand strong and the average empire armada was 180 thousand strong. Perhaps a divided force could guard both the capital and the black hole. Perhaps the empire would have enough time to build more citadels, more defenses. But it was not to be. Sentry arrays picked up a distant but massive combined scourge fleet, over 1 million strong headed straight for the matter decompressor. Iluthor knew there was nothing he could do to stop them. Iluthor tasked his fleet with delaying the invasion for as long as possible while the empires focus shifted to a new goal—evacuation. The shipyards that had once built the empires weapons were now building colony ships. As many as possible. Iluthor knew that threats were everywhere and most would not survive-but Perhapse a couple would make it past the scourge and to the hidden ring world deep within the L cluster.
98% of the colony ships failed. But three made it to the L cluster and settled on the vacant ring once intended to be a pleasure palace for the emperor. From here the Emperor could sit and watch as the scourge and contingency ate almost every star and world once in their great empire, save for a few. The once perceived invincible empire was now helpless as billions of souls were converted into fuel for the scourge. Nearly every world once controlled by the empire falling to wave after wave of attacks. Even the capitol, once thought untouchable, finally fell—its once great halls and temples left defenseless and reduced to rubble.
Three systems out of thirty were spared the initial onslaught. First was the ring refuge on which the empires evacuated citizens cowered and clung to dreams of their past glory. Second was a far off system, originally of little significance with an uncolonized Arid planet. And third was a relic of a long since past war, a single dyson sphere deep within the territory of one of the last six remaining empires, a former vassal of the Divine Iluthori Empire known as “The Dominion of Kzraak.” This once insignificant ally of insectoid merchants was now unexpectedly one of the empires last hopes.
Iluthor knew his peoples days were numbered but he would not go down passively. Using the transferred energy of the remaining dyson sphere Iluthor commanded that two new citadels be built. One above the ring, another above the sphere. From these he oversaw the construction of a single great final armada with one singular goal—buying the empire time.
The arid world once ignored would be his species last refuge. But he was not to leave it defenseless. His people had developed a technology capable of permanently shielding a world—locking its people within but also protecting them from the outside. But the arid world would not suit his people as they were not well adapted to any planet that wasnt a Gaia world. The energy and resources from the Dyson sphere and trade with the remaining allies were all spent on terraforming this last untouched planet into what would be a gilded cage.
Countless scourge and contingency fleets threw themselves at the armada guarding the ring, and countless allied worlds were consumed as the scourge inched ever closer to the dyson sphere. But the defenses held, and the people of the empire rejoiced as news of the completed terraforming project reached them. But they did not know what the emperor had in mind for them. All they were told is they would be safe. Colony ships were once again built and sent out with only a hand full reaching the terraformed world. Without delay the colony ship was directed to land. But this activity drew the attention of the crisis and their fleets began to make their way toward the new colony. There wasnt time. They needed to be delayed. All surviving colony ships were sent out to colonize every vacant world in the vicinity regardless of habitability. Their life energy would serve as bait to delay the scourge—and the plan worked. The fleets that had been all set to converge on the new colony now split off headed for the bait the emperor had laid. But all was not well in the empire. The armada that had protected the ring was waining in strength and soon if even two fleets attacked at once the entire empire could fall. The emperor needed to see his final act completed. The L gate that was once thought safe was now an easy target as crisis fleets from across the galaxy could enter from multiple locations. It was a doomed world. The armada and all remaining colony ships and construction vessels fled the ring and left the L cluster, thankfully not encountering any invading fleets at the exit system—as they made their way towards the dyson sphere.
The sphere was never meant for habitation. It was an industrial sector and no planets orbiting it were remotely habitable. But the empire did not need planets to survive, only technology. Construction vessels began building habitats floating within the void and once they were complete, all citizens on the remaining ring world were resettled. Non citizen refugees would have to be abandoned to fend for themselves against the scourge as these new habitats could not sustain a population so large. The evacuation could not have been completed sooner as shortly after scourge ships fell upon the ring world destroying it beyond repair and killing all of its remaining inhabitants.
The year is now 2714 and the colonization of the refuge is finally complete. It is named “Memory of Eru” after their original homeworld—now a scourge infested ruin.
the last remnants of the empire huddled around the dyson sphere like vagrants around a campfire. All their means of mineral production, strategic resources, all were gone. All they had now was the light of their star and the final hope of a distant colony.
As the colony was formed the Emperor immediately released them from his service. Failsafe mechanisms in the executor “colossus” prevented it from being used against the empire itself, should it ever fall into the wrong hands. This new empire was named “the refuge” and soon they began to accept the evacuees from all across the galaxy as world after world well.
In a twist of fate, chaos begets chaos and the territories of the scourge and contingency were large enough to overlap and thankfully this turned most of their most dangerous focus against each other. But there was another problem. The citizens of this new refuge did not wish to be imprisoned. They feared losing their access the stars and refused to submit to the will of the emperor. There was only one choice.
In the midst of this apocalypse there would be one final war. A war for freedom or for survival. But the empires diplomatic status was much diminished and the federation they belonged to refused to permit such an act of violence. So the empire left, and as they did the refuge joined in their place and war was declared. The empire activated its captured relic from the unbidden and the broken remnants of the last armada jumped across the galaxy landing immediately within the territory of the refuge. As a newly born empire their station was no match for the juggernaut and titans of the final armada. And as the federation fleets surrounded the now undefended Dyson sphere, the Emperor gave the order and the executor fired one final time. With a bright beam of white blue light the entire planet was encaged within the colossus’ impenetrable shield. Its population, a sampling of all the surviving races of the galaxy, but most of all the Iluthori, now imprisoned—but protected as well.
With this final act, his great but necessary sin, the emperor surrendered for the first time in his rule. Having larger threats the federation did not demand much, just a promise of peace. Perhaps they too saw the necessity of his actions as their remaining worlds all combined numbered not even 10.
But the emperor was happy. As the final allied world fell. As the scourge and contingency invaded his final space habitats and stormed the doors of his palace he was happy. Because he knew that on at least one perfect world his people would be safe. There they could live out their days in peace and the scourge could never touch them. And perhaps one day—eons from now long after the scourge had moved on to pillage another galaxy—his people in all their wisdom and ingenuity could find a way to break the shield and explore the stars once more.
And with that knowledge, the Immortal God Emperor of Iluthor allowed himself to take his final breath as the last living free Iluthori and joined the entities of the shroud.
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