Books of Prophecy

The Council


By Corwin

Commentary (and advisory): These are the authentic texts that chronical the beginning of our third age. They contain acts of violence that characterized our second age, particularly under the reign of The Tyrant. Novices and others not of age or of an appropriate disposition shall not read these words. -- The Council of Masters

The planets are aligned, it's written in the stars. It's time to solve the mystery of who you really are. You're the alpha and omega. You've been sent to heal the world, And you can't deny the power because your spirit must be heard. Don't let smiling faces try fool you with their lies. You can see they're jealous, just look into their eyes. Don't be locked in bondage, don't be blinded by your fears. The chains of insecurity are going to break right here. Come -- Martha Wash

From the Journal of Lawrence Morgan, September 25

Mr. van Dyke, thank you for this project. I need to write this, to sort out my feelings about what happened. No, what is happening. It's not over yet. I don't know how I know, but I do know that.

I wonder how do you know if you have a destiny? I'm beginning to think that maybe I have one, that there is something preordained for me to do. In the past month I've begun to travel a path. Where that path leads, I don't know. All I do know is that I must travel it to its end. Maybe I am deluding myself, but maybe not.

I came to belive about my destiny as we read about Claudius in Wayne's trailer. As we read, I felt them approach -- the two goons that the Council sent. I felt their anger and I knew they were coming for me. I didn't care. I was too enthralled by Claudius, about Julius. I knew them. It was like a dream, but I could see the events in my mind as clearly as if they were happening today. I felt Julius's death as if it were my own, and I felt his need for vengence. I think I am the instrument of that vengence.

When the goons imprisoned us, Mr. Rothman urged Frank to break us out. He wanted Frank to take on Wayne's or the Council's goons and to let us boys escape. Todd seemed a bit scared, but Ric was calming him. No one seemed to notice me. No, maybe they did. I wasn't noticing them. I sat down and closed my eyes. I thought about Julius, Wayne, Frank and the rest. I thought about Joe and Ric. I felt the goons carrying us and I sensed the Council and the others. They were waiting.

In the care Frank had told me that I didn't have a choice. This wasn't about wanting something, it was about what was and what will be. As we got closer, I knew he was right. I guess this is what I mean when I say that I have a destiny. But as I was sitting there, concepts like destiny and karma were the furthest things from my mind. Instead, all I felt was the anger, hatred, confusion and fear of the others.

I opened my eyes. "Frank," I called. "Tell me about Wayne." It wasn't a request.

Frank had been talking with Mr. Rothman, but he stopped. He looked at me. I knew I wasn't smiling. I felt stern and I hoped he could sense that. He walked over.

"What do you want to know?"

"Where did he come from? What type of leader was he?"

"Well, you have to understand that I was young when this happened. It was a long time ago," Frank said thoughtfully, pulling up the old memories from his mind. "Our leader was a man named Lucus. He would gather us together once a decade in his village in the Italian Alps. There, we would meet and discuss events. Things were different then. We were more concerned with hiding from the vampires and staying alive. Lucus wanted us to build an army of morphs and batteries. He wanted to find the weakness in the vampires so we could attack and defeat them once and for all. Lucus was about strategy, not strength. Some would challenge him, but he was strong. Lucus was a big man, hard rippling muscles covered with rough brown hair. He was easily as strong as I am now. Anyway, Lucus always won."

Frank went on, "It was at one of these meeting that a new morph appeared. He argued with Lucus, saying that Lucus's way was making us weak. We needed to fight, to weed out those amoung us who were too weak for the ultimate battle. He wanted us to be strong. He didn't care about mind games, as he called Lucus's reliance on strategy. His only strategy was that the strongest should survive. He challenged Lucus. They fought."

Frank's expression changed, as if remembering this brawl with vivid clarity. "As Lucus approached, the newcomer revealed his massive physique. He was clearly bigger. They charged at each other, smashing muscular bodies together with incredible force. No one had ever stood up to Lucus's power, but this time the new man stayed standing as Lucus was thrown backward, unable to overcome the the young man's might. No matter how much power Lucus threw into the fight, this new morph was uneffected. It only seemed to make him bigger. His body seemed to grow in size as they fought. His muscles rippled and absorbed every assault. Every time Lucus tried to gain an advantage, the new morph pushed him back and made advances of his own. Lucus's muscles grew and strained, pumping incredibly in a futile effort to overcome the brute strength of his challenger. Lucus suffered through brutal attack after attack, unable to overcome the man's superior power. In the end, Lucus lay battered and beaten as the victor stood over him gloating. I remember his last words to Lucus, 'Don't you get it little man. I'm twice as strong as you. You've never met anyone who could take your most powerful blows and still fight you back. Your feeble attacks bore me. Now, feel my power unleashed. I'm done holding back. Stength rules.' He threw a massive punch into Lucus's skull, crushing it. No one could withstand the power of such a punch. Lucus was dead, and Wayne was the new ruler."

Frank's voice changed. "Wayne changed things. We'd no longer be so dispursed. He demanded that we meet often, to fight each other. There would be no respect each other. Instead, the only thing important was strength and power. The stronger were to kill the weaker. All challenges were to be to the death. Other things changed too. Wayne watched us. Those who opposed his leadership were challenged in fights and killed, or they vanished. He knew when new morphs appeared. Some, like you, clearly had power. Others might try to train these new ones, hoping they would take on Wayne, but either Wayne beat them or they vanished before they could try."

Frank sighed. "Some of us knew Wayne was responsible for these disappearances. We suspected he had made an alliance with the vampires." Frank looked at the book. "The vampires know about the prophecy, and they fear it. We suspected that Wayne made a deal with them. They would help him preserve his power and he would make sure the curse was never fulfilled. We suspected, but we never had proof."

"Until now," I said.

"Yes," Frank agreed.

"Wayne's people know we have the book. They want to kill us." I knew this. I could sense it.

"Look, when we get there, I'll take care of them." Frank cracked his knuckles. "Just get the book to Joe,"

"No," I said, but it seemed like it wasn't me talking.

Frank looked at me. "No?" It was not the answer he expected.

"This is my fight." I felt like an onlooker in my own body. I felt something surge inside me, pushing away any fears and demanding respect.

"Larry, look, you're just a kid."

I glared at Frank. "I've killed. When I did that, the child died in me. This is my fight and you will support me."

Frank looked at me. He nodded. I think I saw a smile on his face as he turned and went back to Mr. Rothman.

"Are you going to let him..." Mr Rothman started.

"Yes." Frank's voice let him know there was no arguing. It had been decided.

I felt the goons put the trailer down. Actually, they dropped it. The Council was outside. They were with other morphs and batteries. I could sense them. Joe was with them too. I could sense it all without even looking. "It's time," I said, getting up and walking to the barred door. I turned and looked at everyone. Frank was behind me, then Eric, Mr. Rothman and Todd. I put my hands on the door, felt the power in my arms and chest, and I pushed. The steel bars holding the door flew out as the one side of the trailer blew apart.

I looked around. We were back in the old warehouse, but it was no longer a carnival. Instead, 10 hooded, robed figures stood, shielding themselves from the debris flying from the trailer. Beyond them were a crowd of men arranged in a semi-circle. They stood there, watching, looking at me.

I jumped from the trailer toward the ten. "What is the meaning of this?" I demanded, looking at them but addressing myself to the audience.

"Silence!" The hooded man in the center came forward. "You do not make demands of the Council. You are here to answer to us for your crime."

"Crime?" I questioned. "As I understand it, I am your leader. I am not a criminal."

"Wayne was our leader, and until this Council acts..."

"This Council has no more power!" shouted Frank.

The hooded men turned toward Frank. "Silence. We know of your part in this criminal conspirarcy. You trained the usurper to kill our leader. Take him!" ordered the hooded man.

Five huge, shirtless morphs came forward and surrounded Frank. Each man was a wall of muscle, and must have weighed 500 pounds. Frank punched at them, knocking one back but the other four descended on him. Frank struggled, tried to throw them off. Two grabbed each of his arms, pulling them back. Suddenly Frank pushed his arms together, knocking the four off balance. They recovered quickly. Frank ripped his shirt off, and assumed a defensive stance, his thickly muscled body anticipating their next moves. They attacked again.

The attention of the crowd turned toward the fight with Frank. I was watching it too, deciding whether to come to Frank's rescue. What I didn't notice was the ten robed figures encircled me. That's when Frank came to my rescue. He charged one of the men attacking him, catching him by surprise. He picked the man up, holding him over his head. He tossed the man towards me, hitting one of the hooded figures. The man fell into another, the dagger in his hand stabbing into his robed brother. The stabbed man screamed as he fell to the ground convulsing.

"Cowards!" Frank yelled, still fighting with three remaining men. "They seek to divert your attention with a trivial fight while they use weapons. Wayne's law was 'Strength rules! Look!'

Two of the Council lunged toward me, poisoned blades glittering through the darkness. I dodged one, grabbing the other's arm. I twisted. Eventhough I could feel the substantial thickness of the man's forearm, I cracked the bone like it was hollow, shoving the blade into the man's side. He fell to the ground, convulsions marking his death.

"It's true. They are using weapons!" shouted someone from the crowd. "They have no honor!" shouted another. "They violate our law!" shouted a third.

The council members seemed stunned. I felt one move behind me, but I was too fast. I grabbed his arm with the knife. He struggled, but I was too strong. I forced his hand up, showing the knife to the crowd. I turned around making sure everyone could see as the other cloaked figures stood and watched, afraid to move, afraid what the crowd would do to them now that they had been exposed.

"The Council calls me a criminal," I shouted to the audience, "but it is they who violate the law." I raised up the man that I held with my one hand, his feet dangling from the floor. With my other, I grabbed his neck. I felt his muscles tense as I dug my fingers into his flesh. He struggled, but I felt his windpipe snap in my grip. His face turned blue.

A spray of blood came from Frank's direction as Frank got one of his assailants in a bear hug, crushing the man's ribcage with his powerful arms. Another now lay on the ground, his legs broken. Frank threw the bloody body on top of the crippled man and jumped toward the remaining attacker.

"Wayne is dead," I continued, "and his Council challenges my leadership. I now challenge his Council, but by Wayne's law. A test of strength and muscle! Fight me as a man and I shall prove my leadership." I tossed the corpse from my hands, and he lay at the feet of the remaining Council members.

"Strength rules!" shouted someone from the crowd. Then again. It became a chant as the robed figures stood confused. Finally, their leader dropped his dagger and the others followed. He removed his robes. The man was massive, with moutainous traps, melon-sized delts, and round pecs tapering to a thin, ripped waist. The man's lats pushed his thickly muscled vascular arms from his sides. He wore trunks that were stretched tight by his muscular glutes and tree-thick thighs. "We accept!" he shouted.

The other six Council members disrobed. Like the first, they were muscular men. Several were covered in thick hair that failed to mask their dense, ripped bodies. Others where not hirsute, either having shaved or were simply hairless. All looked no older than 30, but I knew that they were older than that. They had survived many challenges and had proven their ruthlessness to the satisfaction of their leader. I understood the sadistic character of this Council, and knew that I had to destroy them completely. There would be no survivors.

I tore the clothes from my body and stared at the remaining seven. I felt their strength, taking it into my body. I raised my arms parallel to the ground, moved my forarms toward my body til they couldn't move further -- blocked by my growing bicep. I flexed, flaring my lats, my pecs pushing into my chin. I tensed my abs, feeling my midsection tighten into granite hardness. I flexed my legs into rivers of muscles. My calves ripped into diamond hardness. The men were big, but I was stronger than any of them. I roared with power, causing several in the audience to jump backwards.

I put my hands to my sides as they charged me. I let them get close, punching me with their feeble strength. With a sudden jerk, I raised my arms. The three nearest my mighty limbs went flying. I grabbed another's head, lifted him and began to turn in a circle. His body became a battering ram, hitting the others as I slowly crushed his skull. Like a discus thrower, I tossed his body to the side and dove toward another.

He tried to attack, his punches unable to even dent my muscular armor. I punched his midsection. Even though he had flexed, my fist shattered his muscle and several internal organs. He threw up blood as he fell to the ground, clutching his broken abs. Bile and blood oozed from his ass as his life force whithered.

The remaining five circled, trying to coordinate their attack. I noticed Frank standing to the side, having vanquished his attackers. He was smiling, an impatient look on his face like he was taunting, 'what's taking you so long?' Through the crowd Joe came forward, joining Frank.

The Council attacked. Two jumped towards me, feet first. One was aiming for my back, the other for my stomach. I flexed. 1000 pounds of muscle crashed into either side of me. They felt like bugs. My body that had defeated Wayne had the strength of tens of men, perhaps thousands. These parasites were barely worth my time. Unphased by their attack, I picked them up and pushed their heads together, squashing them like melons. I have to admit, I felt like I was in a rut. Squashing skulls was efficient, and Frank was waiting, but I needed to add to my fighting skills.

I approached the remaining three. With a sudden punches, I knocked two down. I grabbed the other in a bearhug. I squeezed, feeling his ribs crack and pop. How had Frank done it? Duh -- without mercy of course. The man was flexing, but his muscles were soft compared to the strong hardness of mine. He gasped as I felt lungs burst and his heart implode. The fight went out of him. I tossed his limp body to the ground.

One of the remaining two had recovered, but barely. With incredible speed, I punched at his body. Blow of after blow drove him back. His skin turned red as another blow hit the same spot, welts and bruises having no time to form. Bones and organs shattered as the man was unable to defend himself from my rapid-fire attack. Within seconds, tens of punches had rendered him close to death. He fell to his knees. As he kneeled before me, I grabbed his head and twisted, snapping his neck.

The final man lay on the ground, still not recovered from my punch. With my foot, a flipped him over and stared. I put one foot on his chest. With a swift kick, I rammed my other foot into his head as if it were a football. His head flew through the air, torn from his body that shuddered under my foot. They were all dead.

I stepped forward, looking toward the crowd. I struck a crab pose and roared. None of the Council had even been able to hurt me. My body was huge, muscular and powerful. I knew that, and now they knew it too. "Does anyone else challenge me!" I screamed. I knew no one would. "Then from this day forth, let a new age begin! No longer does Wayne and his Council Rule. I, Larry Morgan am your leader." I signalled to Frank. He, Joe, and Ric came forward. I nodded for Todd to join them. "These men shall be my Council. We shall try to lead you wisely, but know this. No longer does strength rule for the sake of strength. There shall be honor too. Meet back here in one month and we, as a parliament, shall begin to decide our fate and our future!"

I heard mutterings from the crowd. Someone shouted their approval, but most needed time to understand the changes I was intent on bringing. My friends came forward, patting me on the back, telling me they knew I could do it. They knew I had it in me. Now, I knew it too.

There is something I didn't tell them, though. Not yet. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw several shadowing figures leave. They skulked out, unnoticed by most. I saw the face of only one, but I knew him. It was Claudius. I recognized him from my dream. I knew that today's battle was only the beginning of a larger war that I had to fight. •

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