Into the Heart of Darkness

Days of Fire


I often recall the events that led to the Sacking of Technopolis. It seems so long ago, yet the memory lingers in my mind, constantly. They say that time breaks down all things! 125 years have but polished my recollections of those terrible days.

I was a squire back then, and had only just gained access to the King´s Table. I was assigned to Svanhilde´s Household. She was the Morkintul´s spouse and it was considered a position of great responsibility to organize her affairs. I had great respect for my Lady. She was patient and dignified, and had an aura of mystic about her. This office also gave me access to the Morkintul himself, King Aun, who was widely recognized by his peers as a magnificent leader. At the time he had lost his helm, the honourable knight “Magnat”, in a violent joust against one of the House Morbius “Bloodknights”, Prince Gyaos. The tension between the prime Knight Houses on Cydonia were high after the “The Red Tournament” (a competition where all Houses involved tended to actually loose either knight chassis or scions) and this tension rapidly elevated to cold mistrust. This was true, particularly amongst the Houses Morkin, Dagon, Morbius and Altaire.

Lexx used this climate of mistrust to strengthen their own leech on the Knight Houses of Cydonia, but their true intent, particularly towards House Morkin, became apparent later when it was too late.

In those days, Lexx supplied and maintained much of the Cydonian knight-stock. This was rigidly looked over by the overseers of each Knight House, and the Lexxian Envoys, powerful Magi present at each House Government. For a long time this was a bountiful endeavour for both worlds and all involved factions, but the Regina Scientarum, the council of Lexxian Arch Magi, wanted more. When King Aun lost his knight, somenone in the lexxian hierarchy must have seen a silver lining, for shortly thereafter, the Vendigo was offered to the Morkintul as an act of good-will.

The formidable knight-chassis, a Cerastus pattern Styrix, blessed with archaic Lexxian tech, was carried to Cydonia. Little did we know that the Vendigo was a Trojan Horse of sorts, with a sinister intent hidden in its Throne Mechanicum.

When a Morkin chosen connects to the Throne Mechanicum for the first time, all of the scions assemble. This is a time of celebration and feast, and the initiate is properly welcomed into the midst of his or her new peers, through the “ritual of howling”. Not only is this individual introduced to their knight, but they are also allowed access to the pathweb, the collective communications frequency only Morkin Scions can utilize.

On this particular occasion, when King Aun was to connect with the Vendigo, a series of unfortunate events unravelled. The dignified ritual ended abruptly when the Morkintul sat down in the Throne Mechanicum and, for a lack of a better word, was instantly enthralled by its power. His agonizing expressions when the Vendigo connected to his mind, through the umbilical chords in the back of his head, was heart wrenching to behold. He made no sound in the hall, as everything was dead-quiet during those chaotic seconds, but screamed through the pathweb, resulting in several scions leaving their own thrones to aid their King.

It was to no avail. By the time anyone could reach him, King Aun´s Throne Mechanicum was already descending down towards his new confinement, which was the cold innards of the Vendigo. The Throne Mechanicum sealed shut, and the Morkintul was rendered incapacitated. Nothing could be heard through the pathweb and all communication with the knight was cut off. This led to the “Morkinhall stand-off”, where 123 scions, along with their squires and accompanying Yomen and Fay, drew their weapons and turned them towards their own Sacristans and tech-adepts (The Magos Envoy was also targeted). They in turn, along with their accompanying servitors, drew their own arsenals. Only the Magos Envoy sat calmly on his seat. Morkinhall was on the brink of becoming a battleground when a monotonous voice echoed from the nozzle of the Magos´ mask, “Lexx has your King. You will now service us!”

In hindsight we can thank the pathweb that the situation at Morkinhall didn´t spiral out of control. Someone must have made a strong appeal to calm the Scions down during the decisive seconds after the Magos Envoy performed his coup. The thirst for blood was momentarily quenched and both factions lowered their arms. Only after a while did it dawn for everyone affected that disaster in the Great Hall had been averted. Both the Household Sacristans and the Tech-adepts had no part in the plot, and where furious with the actions set in motion by Lexx. Since the Magos Envoy held the “Dead-man switch” to the Vendigo helm, the King´s men had no choice but to play docile while information about what had just occurred was gathered. The following evening, the Magos Envoy proclaimed himself Lord Protector of House Morkin and Lexx Secundus in Absentia. He did not leave the hall, fortified it with pro-Lexxian Thrall forces, and appeared to be stalling for time.

Information about the King´s state started to circle during the night and the House Sacristans worked hard in the shadows to learn what they could. King Aun was held in an artificial coma, and any attempts to disconnect him from the Throne Mechanicum would kill him. The device quickly received the name “the Thraller” and a growing hatred started to fester amongst the Scions. To risk killing the King was not an option for the King´s Hand and other means to solve the situation had to be presented.

I followed Svanhilde the entire time. Not once did she show any emotion about what had just transpired. She went from Scion to Scion to gather information or give orders. One of them was that no Scion was to utter a single word other than through the pathweb, not to her, not to anyone, once she left each of them. She also demanded closed hearings with the Sacristans in charge of collecting data on “the Thraller”. She stayed with them for a long time.. It was only late in the night that her, seemingly aimless, plan came to fruition.

How I regret my actions that night.. They haunt me still..

Morkinhall was in a sort of silent state of emergency and paranoia slowly ate away what little trust was left. I ordered two of the Household Yomen too stand guard in front of my Lady´s quarters when she finally retreated. I had affairs to settle, in case such an event should happen (that is to say, if anything happened to my Lady´s life partner). Since I was young and inexperienced, I chose to follow protocol, not my instinct. As I stood at my post, noting down all the formalities and responsibilities a spouse has in case of the death of a Scion Life-partner, it dawned on me that she had not asked me to do so. I suddenly panicked and ran towards her dorm.

When I entered the hallway, the two Household Yomen lay stunned on the floor outside her quarters. The room was empty. I ran towards her cupboard, punched in the code and opened the doors. Her Power-suit was gone. I sounded the alarm and ran as fast as I could towards the hangar where the Vendigo was located. When I reached the platform, I saw two servitors and a suited-up Scion on top of the chassis. The servitors had just cut open the top-hatch (the edges were still glowing and burned the flesh of their hands as they pried it open), and the silhouette of the scion was climbing down through the hatchway. I screamed, “My Lady!!”, and just then, when she looked at me, I understood what she was doing. She looked away and disappeared down the hatch. I ran down the metal stairs, over the bridge along the scaffold, but I was too late. Just when I entered the top armour of the Vendigo, the searing hatches melted away the servitors´ hands and slammed shut. I fell too my knees calling for my Lady. I remember how my hands were scorched by my feeble attempts to open the hatch.

Svanhilde had chosen to take her spouse´s place inside the hated machine. When she climbed into the control room, she had found her comatose King enthralled in the mystic energies of the Vendigo´s Thorne Mechanicum. She had sat down on his lap, and voluntarily connected to “the Thraller” to share the burden. The feedback immediately sucked the life out of her, but King Aun regained consciousness and control of his own mind. I was the only one on top of the Vendigo at the time, and I could do nothing else than cover my ears due to the King´s heart breaking cries. I had to become a grown man, sitting in my own Throne Mechanicum, before I learned about the experience everyone had in the pathweb during those agonizing moments. The result of them, however, spoke for themselves.

The King was still locked forever in the deadly grasp of the Vendigo, but Svanhilde´s actions had severed the Magos Envoy´s control. Immediately, the Great Hall was flooded with Scions and Household Yomen, fighting down the Thralls guarding the Magos Envoy. The Scions tore him from his seat and gave him to the Tech-adepts. They disassembled him, until he was only a heap of parts and a nourishing liquid tank containing a brain. They piled him in a box, fitted a highly functional life-support system to his brain´s containment tank, sealed it shut, and shot the box into the sun.

The following day, three fourths of the House forces were already massing to leave for the long journey to Lexx. Light was sent to the other Leidangs spread through the Morkin sphere of Influence, and no less than eight months after the Magos Envoy´s coup, House Morkin´s capital ships encircled Tron, Lexx´s orbital space port (For hundreds of years, House Morkin had had an entire Leidang at this station. The Lexxians had simply not managed to overwhelm them on that dreadful day, eight months before). So began the sacking of Technopolis, first with a fire-rain from their own orbital station, followed by a ground assault of about 200 House Morkin Knights and all of their Household forces. Leading them was a vengeful King, helming the very instrument the Lexxians had believed would give them influence at Cydonia.

It saddens me to think of those days. I miss my Lady.. And King Aun. He died shortly thereafter due to the strain of taming the Vendigo. The dormant knight had to be towed back to Cydonia, and was not awoken again for many, many years. “The Murder Knight”, it was called. A fitting name for a knight that kills whoever is sitting at the helm. It later became part of Morkin rule and now goes by the title “Lord Protector”. It will only be helmed by a willing chosen when demand is most dire. How I hope the day of need will not come again, and that the Vendigo stay asleep forevermore.

- The personal log of Falkvor, King´s Bard, Helm of Caballarias, Keeper of the Long Song and Scion of Morkinhall.



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