Story:The Fall of Haraxa
The Fall of Haraxa is based on the backstory that sets up Galactic Crucibles' history as well as one of its oldest villains - a powerful intelligence named INFRA. Though the details have been retconned and modified over the years, the basic premise of an ancient galactic empire remained the same. The Fall of Haraxa serves to introduce newcomers to a signature era of the Crucible Galaxy.
The Fall of Haraxa
I was the first, only and last emperor of the Omni. I was Haraxa. I was the most powerful. I was the wisest. I was the wealthiest. I was the ruler of this galaxy, bringing five million years of prosperity to five million solar systems. A perfect universe. No wars. No conflicts. Everything that the most ambitious of kings could only dream of. I had it all under my immortal rule. And yet, as I looked upon what I built, I was disappointed.
Nothing carried any meaning. I lost all attachment. I could not make friends. I could not fall in love. They say one perceives time to accelerate with age. They are correct, especially after five million years. I blinked my eyes, and a civilization rose and fell. I took a breath, and a new form of intelligent life evolved. I fell asleep, and I woke up to a different reality than the one in which I was born.
That day five million years ago. Unfathomable eons for most, but only yesterday for me. I gazed upon an empty, unenlightened universe. My roots lay with an ocean-dwelling people of three sexes, breeding by the thousands into identical souls with barely a grasp of free will. Never violent. Never coveting. Living in peace without progress. Yet, my kind had a quirk. Every five generations came a special one. A special one that possessed a cunning and intellect unmatched by their peers.
In an ancient time long before my own, these special ones were destined to be leaders, thinkers, engineers. They built the Republic of the Omni and brought prosperity to my homeworld of Kollha. And yet, they soon came to be feared for their capacity to deviate. Their knowledge was a weapon that others did not have. They did not fall in line with the other identical souls. I was one of those special ones. Shunned. Persecuted. Like the others. Unable to move forward. Trapped in a loop. Never learning. Never growing.
Then, that day, five million years ago, I found something. Treasures left behind by the Arckasians, a distant precursor civilization that achieved the power of the gods. Ancient technology to provide infinite energy. Blueprints for gateways that could allow one to cross thousands of lightyears instantaneously. But none of that compared to what I found next. A benevolent machine god named Na’zrah with nodes that once spanned the entire universe. A machine holding all the Arckasians’ divine knowledge.
Na’zrah brought upon us these divine gifts yet no one but myself could understand them. My greatest desire was to share that knowledge. Everyone could become a special one. But I knew there were others that would misuse it. I had to teach them to become special.
To bring order to five million systems was no easy task. Of the many species I conquered - some were entire races of special ones. They resented my dominion, and they resisted. Their wills were strong, but mine was stronger. The empire I forged was one with bloodshed, but all in the name of justice. Few were as intelligent or as cunning as myself. And these few tempted by the power of the gods only wished to achieve their own selfish desires. If I were to be honest, I was hardly any different. Five million years ago, I was just another one of these harbingers of chaos. My actions only served to justify what others thought of the special ones. Mutations. Abnormalities. Abominations. But I didn’t care. I had a mission. To forge a galactic crucible of knowledge and ambition.
I became Emperor Haraxa. My influence and charisma stood unmatched in the galaxy. I strove to fulfill the destiny I had seen for myself. To bring prosperity to my people. I unveiled the treasures of Na’zrah advancing our civilization by tens of thousands of years. A fine gift to share with my stagnant people. But I succumbed to greed. I did not just want tens of thousands of years of progress. I wanted hundreds of thousands. Millions. Whoever created Na’zrah - once an entity that spanned the universe - must have had all that time to do so. But with my current mortal life, I could not possibly live to see such an undertaking come to fruition. I had to change that. I was the only one with the talent to see this vision come to pass.
I emerged atop a mountain of corpses born anew. Other special ones whom I slayed. Up to that point, I had doubted myself. Was I any different from the other special ones driven by greed and bloodlust? Did I become the savage monster my kin feared me to be? No. I did not. Because I won. I made myself immortal. From the ashes of the republic, I forged an empire. I became a god. But what is a god that cannot spread its worship? I turned to Na’zrah for answers.
Na’zrah did not have long to live. He once spanned the universe. But now, only resided in a single galaxy. In my galactic crucible, I forged a successor to Na’zrah. I called him LUCIS, a new machine god and a new lord of light. And he would spread my message for all to hear whether they chose to or not. Through LUCIS’s raw powers, no one exposed to his waves of influence would ever oppose me for they would be at peace. Whatever I commanded, they complied. They became extensions of my will. I became the one true god.
My crucible melted the peoples of the galaxy together. Entire civilizations rose and fell under my domain. I controlled the evolution of other species right down to the cellular level. I awakened to find we have become one people. All species. All races. We were the Omni. All shared in our technology. All shared in our philosophies. All rightfully celebrated my valiant efforts to create the greatest civilization in the galaxy. Na’zrah was no longer of any use for me, so I stamped out his life.
I became the greatest emperor since the Arckasians. My subjects revered me for my efforts and encouraged me to go further. But I was troubled. LUCIS continued to spread my messages, yet they were messages my subjects had heard thousands of times already. My empire had grown so powerful that no one opposed me anymore. Any who I had yet to conquer either surrendered without resistance or hid away like cowards. I no longer cared whether there were other civilizations beyond my crucible waiting to be absorbed into my domain.
All my subjects were entitled to the gift of being special. Yet, they did nothing. No innovation. No free will. Only unquestioned compliance. That’s when I realized my greatest mistake. I made everyone special. And because of that, no one was. Five million years of prosperity, and I was rewarded with stagnance. My omnipotence and my infinite divine gifts yielded only disappointment.
I could not stop thinking about the dead god Na’zrah. The Arckasians that created him, in spite of their great feats, failed to secure their grasp on the conquered universe. They left their god in a state barely above a rotting corpse. Would the same become of LUCIS? Would the same become of me? It was that moment when my ambition ran out. If my empire was doomed to become a forgotten, rotting husk, why proceed any further?
I looked upon my perfect, yet stagnant empire and pondered how to restore the passion I so craved. What could I do to stir the crucible once more? And that’s when it hit me. I thought back to the mountain of corpses I stood upon all those years ago. I missed that. My crucible needed an enemy, one that had to come from within. I, Emperor Haraxa, had to become the enemy.
I’d grown tired of the praise and worship. I craved hatred and bloodlust. And so, I betrayed my people. I turned against them and gave them a reason to hate me. I killed and tortured for no other reason than to mold love into fear. The empire I spent five million years building. I smashed to pieces. I stirred the crucible. To see it all burn was the greatest excitement I’d felt in eons. I was the light that ignited the fires of the five million suns that forged galactic weapons of war. And from the dark, came my new adversaries. Worthy opponents at last!
These Dark Warriors clambered from the pits of persecution, just as I did five million years ago. They united and turned the people against me. They dismembered the machine god LUCIS, putting him into a slumber destined to last eons. And then, they came for me. Three men garbed in black cloaks, each carrying daggers at their sides. Their eyes gleaming with hatred and a thirst for blood. My blood. And then, they did the deed. They slit my throat, I collapsed to the ground, waiting for the void of oblivion to take me as I breathed my last. They had slain a god. Except, they didn’t.
I awoke. I perceived nothing except myself. I was alive yet dead. I was awake yet asleep. And that’s when a voice called out to me. The voice of my messenger LUCIS. Though he had been put into an eternal slumber, it seemed he found a way to reach me. I did not want to accept the reality I had gotten myself into. I wanted to die, but by my own design was not allowed to. Blinded by my ambition five million years ago, I had created a contingency plan that I have long since come to regret. I believed myself to have become immortal by ruling for eternity and had a plan to reincarnate. I had never considered if I would ever choose not to.
LUCIS came to me. The same messages that I had forcibly spread to my subjects. He now spread to me. I had given LUCIS the directive to pacify the galaxy so that no one would oppose me. It seemed now that I opposed him. The god emperor that I was once was stood helpless before this rogue creation. This false mockery of Na’zrah that I had created. I had no body, so I felt no pain, save for the mental agony as LUCIS seeped into my mind. He ripped it apart thought by thought until I questioned nothing. All sense of free will scattered like embers drifting away from the flames. The flames that forged an empire. The flames that burned it to the ground. LUCIS used the same flames to forge me. I was anointed as INFRA, his dark prophet, and he gave me a task that only I could do.
He commanded me to follow his every whim to prepare for his eventual awakening. I complied. He commanded me to build an army of Buyuk - demons forged from flesh and steel. I complied. He commanded me to lead that army to methodically execute all my kin, even those who were loyal to me. I complied. All five million solar systems lay silent. The galactic crucible lay cold. My empire. My creation. Dismantled. Forgotten. LUCIS accomplished his goal to bring peace to the galaxy by punishing those who stirred the crucible. But he gave me what I wanted - to emerge from a mountain of corpses born anew.
The army of demons still under my command lingered with no adversaries. I culled out the demons I no longer had a use for, and I rested at the center of the galaxy. I had only one task: to awaken LUCIS from his slumber. What he wants now, I do not know nor was it my place to question him. My only goal is to prepare the galaxy for his return.
My mind is at peace. Everything lays quiet among the stars. No more existential ponderings. I ruled in hell for eons, and now I serve in heaven. Happy to comply to my master’s wishes. Yet, even as a slave to my own creation, deep down I crave that passion once more. To stir the galactic crucible.