They think they can control me. Puny humans, disgusting half-breeds. They are deluded if they think that they can best me. I am Illyria, god king of the primordium. I have commanded vast armies, ruled countless empires, whole worlds have crumpled under my feet.
I am Illyria, and I do not take kindly to weaklings.
I lie in the middle of the training room; the vampire, the leader, Angel walks up to me. His face is impassive as he offers me a hand. Rage bubbles within me. He dares to mock me, this insignificant half-breed, offering help as if I was some weak, unworthy creature. I look up at him through a curtain of blue-streaked hair, my eyes shining with rage. “Touch me and die vermin,” I hiss angrily, spitting the words at him in disgust.
He lowers his hand, looks me in the eye and turns away without saying anything more. I lower my head, shame and rage bubbling within my chest. To have been reduced to this state, a mere shadow of my former magnificence. I am beyond humiliated.
I take a deep breath, feeling my hollow chest expand under my leather suit. This was all wrong. Something needed to be done. I could not go on like this.
I am Illyria. I am not weak. I am strong.
I AM ILLYRIA!
Groaning softly, I slowly get to my feet. I survey the room around me, my eyes missing nothing, my sharp nose and ears picking up anything unusual. The room is clear, the human’s are gone, I can hear the half-breed and Wesley talking in the other room but I pay them no mind.
I walk out of the training room, letting the door swing shut behind me as I stalk down the hall. A scientist scuttles past, his eyes lowered and his back hunched as he hurries past me. I can smell his fear and it pleases me greatly. He has a right to fear me. I lift my head, a small imperious smile on my lips as I look around. I stalk through the building, entering the fire escape and heading down towards the labs.
I step into the lab that once belonged to Fred Burkle. The name of the shell I now inhabit. Everything is white, microscopes, beakers, a whole rack of test tubes line my vision. I walk past the white bench and down the metal steps into the lab below.
There lying proudly in the middle of the room is my sarcophagus.
I stare at it, running my palm lightly over the ancient stone tomb, my former home.
I have been here since the very beginning; there is not a time in this planets history that I did not exist. For over a thousand millennia I ruled this dead planet. Killing and torturing all who dared defy me. It was pleasing; I had hundreds of thousands of followers, slaves and pets. I was feared and loved, hated and worshiped.
I was Illyria.
I was invincible, a god among Old Ones, I ruled supreme. I bent and twisted time to my every whim. I travelled the astral plains; I could hear the plants whispering in my ear. I had power beyond imagine.
But I was…complacent. He was younger then I, no Old One, not by a long shot. He was strong and ambitious. I was stronger and faster, but I was curious. It had been much to long since anyone had challenged me, and I was feeling…indulgent.
I didn’t expect him to put up much of a fight, but I was wrong. Even the best generals can make one wrong move. This was mine.
He took me by surprise, using magic’s that were new and unexplored as he hid behind his followers. I was angry and tore into the demons protecting him, but before I could reach his snivelling hide he bound me.
It was the last thing I was expecting.
Screaming, I fought. I tore at the very fabric of time, but it was no use. The magic was strong, so strong that he destroyed half the world trying to tie me into that stone tomb. One minute I was fighting, enjoying myself immensely, and the next I was struggling as I was buried deep within the earth.
I do not know how long I lay inside that tomb, I think I lay there until time itself held no meaning, even to me.
At some point I felt my body shift; I was being moved, dragged out of the earth and placed inside an ancient burial ground.
I felt the shrieks of my kin deep within my being. We were all entombed in this place, me and the others that were just as old. I could feel the pull of the deeper well, the soft mellow whisperings of the demons around me and vowel to myself that someday, one day I would be free.
And I, Illyria would rule this rock again.
Again I lay still, my essence trapped by time and space and a great deal of magic’s. Time passed and I began to feel something I had yet to experience. I began to feel old. It did not amuse me, I was eternal, I could not die.
Not when I had so many brilliant plans
When I felt my slumber finally disturbed those few months ago I could not believe it. It had been a long, long time since I had any conscious though. I awoke slowly, digging my tentacles into every space they could reach, my mind expanded, blinking back into existence, seeking….knowing.
I wanted to know about this shiny new world
I heard the whisperings of the filth around me, human’s… puny being’s, tiny…they would tremble at my feet. They would cower before me. I would make sure of it.
“Whoa, what’s this,” a voice had asked above me, it was male, his harsh scent burning my nose. I felt his body move as he ran his hand over my home. His touch was loving, gentle. I shivered under his palm. Interesting.
I knew then, he would be my pet. My Qwa’ha Xahn. My guide in this new world.
Another voice answered. “Special Delivery.”
“Ancient Relics is two floors down,” the voice murmured again.
“Invoice reads: Science department, Winifred Burkle,” I hear a pair of footsteps walk away.
“Er…don’t you need to sign,” the Qwa’ha Xahn asked again.
“Been signed,” the other man had called from a few feet away.
As the door closed I hear the man move away, soft shuffles of fabric, and the steady beat of a heart. I tilt my head, thinking and analysing the words I had just heard. Winifred Burkle, I think to myself. What strange names the human’s of this world now have.
The room grew silent again. I become impatient. Eternity is a long time to wait, and I am anxious to rule again. To feel the bones of my enemies crush beneath my feet, feel their blood run down my chin.
I wish to be free.
After a short time I hear another pair of footsteps, softer, a woman. She smelled fresh. I hear her muttering to herself. “Ok, lets find out what you are,” she stepped towards me, her hand running over the sarcophagus and I sensed her moving forward. I bide my time. Her hand touched my crystals and I hear her write a few things on her notebook.
She leaned closer again; and a soft whiff of lavender shampoo filled my senses. It’s time again to rule.
With a quick burst of strength, the most strength I have trapped into during my time in this infernal prison, I let the iris at the top of the tomb open. Briefly I see/feel her looking down at me, with no time to react I push all my energy forward, out of the sarcophagus and into her face. Her hair fluttering around me as I enter her body through her nose and mouth.
At last, I am free.
She is small, her shell no match for my power. I can feel how weak she is, how tiny, and I worry slightly. But her mind, oh…her mind is enough to rival my own. Equations and numbers flow past in rabid succession as I touch the back of her brain and start to anchor my essence to her form.
Knowledge of physics and space, time and molecules, fill my mind. I marvel at the knowledge held by this mere human, of the thoughts and ideas that fill her waking thoughts. I see her theory’s of evolution, of travelling through portals, of molecular manipulation.
I am in awe; with this mind I could manipulate the galaxy. Change and bend the world to my will. Maybe this earth could be my stepping stone to the planets beyond.
But her form is worrying, she is weak.
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,” a voice called from a distance.
“You make me happy…” I feel her sing happily.
I twist digging my tentacles into her stomach in anger. She cried out, I feel her body shudder and fall.
She will be mine
Body and soul. This insignificant human is no match for me. I will hollow her out, and when she is dead I will be able to fully take her form, bending it to my will hardening her shell to my armour-like skin, turning her, until she echoed my true form as much as she could.
I feel her body being moved and shift restlessly, not long to go now. I begin to quieten, biding my time as I lay in wait.
It’s getting darker now; I can feel her mind starting to go. Her organs are failing and I know my time is almost here. I can sense more around me now; hear from her ears, see from her eyes. Right now her eyes are closed, sleeping, her breathing still regular.
Slowly I feel her stir, and I let her. I am curious as to how she will react now, knowing her demise is close, knowing that I am so much stronger then she is. Will she fight when the time comes for me to at last rule again?
Her eyes flicker open, and through her mind I see a tall, male human sitting at her feet, an ancient book in his hand. His face is scruffy and full of hair, the scent coming from him is musky and sweet, full of the scent of old books, the metallic tang of the metal at his belt, and the scent of salty tears. Wesley I pulled the name from her mind, his name was Wesley.
He turned his head and smiled at her/me. “Hey,” he whispered, “You’re awake, you dozed off…I didn’t wake you did I.”
“No, I need you to keep me here,” she took a deep breath, her lungs shift painfully as her skin is starting to form into a hardened shell.
“Angel and Spike are on their way to finding your cure, and I shouldn’t like to be the thing standing in their way,” his voice has the barest hint of a smile.
Cure? This amused me greatly. There is no cure for my essence, the soul inside this shell will die, go to the place it is that humans go to. There is no cure.
“And book man?” she asked quietly.
He smiled painfully. “Book man came through, I think I gave them everything they needed.” His voice is confident.
Suddenly I feel her start to panic, her heart starts pounding in her chest and she sit’s up. “Feigenbaum,” she whispered in a panic. I smile to myself, feeling her brain start to shrivel and shift. Not long now.
“What?” Wesley blinked in surprise.
“Where is he, he should be here!”
“Who is Feigenbaum?” the man asked again.
She sniffled and started to sob. “I, I can’t remember,” she wailed in sorrow. The man soothed her quickly and scooted across the bed to take her in his arms. I feel his body around hers, soft against the hardening flesh of the shell. It is a strange feeling; I wish to break his arms. It would amuse me greatly.
“Could you read to me?” she asked quietly, “Just for a little bit?”
He looked over at the book on the side of the bed, I read the words. ‘The Dreadhost’s Compendium of Immortal Leeches,’ on the spine.
“Can that be any book in the world?” she whispered quietly against his shoulder.
“Name one,” he said.
She smiled, the title of the book that flowing over her tongue sounds strange to my ears, but I can feel the happiness this brings to her.
The man smiled indulgently, and opened the book. He leaned back against the headboard, pulling her against his chest. He began to read softly and the shell closes her eyes. “She was such a little girl that one did not expect to see such a look on her small face. It would have been an old look for a child of twelve, and Sara Crewe was only seven. The fact was, however, that she was always dreaming and thinking odd things and could not herself remember any time when she had not been thinking things about grown-up people and the world they belonged to. She felt as if she had lived a long, long time.”
After a time Wesley fell silent and she/I looked up at him, she was beginning to worry now; I could feel it in her body. She was tense and scared. “Why did we go there?” she murmured, “why did we think we could beat it? Its evil, Wesley. It’s bigger then anything.”
He leaned in close. “I don’t believe that,” he said quietly, raising his hand and touching her cheek.
“I can’t, I can’t leave you now. I can’t leave you now,” she whispered, “You won’t leave will you?”
“I will never leave you,” he said, his voice thick with feeling.
She leaned back, exhausted and looked up at him. “My…boy’s save me from the monsters.”
Wesley took her hand and blinked back tears, “I… walk with heroes, think about that…” she murmured rubbing Wesley’s arm soothingly.
He choked back tears. “You are one,” he told her fiercely.
"Superhero,” she whispered, “I won’t let them take me! Not me.” her breathing started to become laboured.
“That’s right,” he said defiantly.
“Not me…” she murmured again.
When the time finally comes I know she is surprised. She gasped, screaming in pain, her whole body convulsing. She started to shake and shudder as I feel my essence becoming stronger. I smile to myself as I seep into every fiber, every molecule of her being. She threw the man across the room and fell off the bed.
I felt her mind start to go, trying to hold on. But I am stronger then she is. With a small grunt of effort I fit myself into her body, pushing her soul out.
I felt her leave, a soft golden presence that flickered in defiance as it goes into the beyond.
The shell became limp, and I realised I’m lying on the floor. For the first time I open my new pair of eyes and looked around, it is different being in control, I can see more clearly. There are many different colours. I hear a groan from the other side of the room and very slowly get to my feet.
I looked across the room, seeing Wesley looking at me in horror. I glance down, spreading the shells arm out, turning my palm over and inspecting my new home.
“This will do,” I smiled in satisfaction.
I pull my hand away from the sarcophagus, twisting my hand and curling my lip in disgust. Turning away quickly I walk back out of the lab, stalking through the building until I reach Wesley’s office. I enter the room without knocking, standing imperiously in the middle of the room.
He looks up at me through blood-shot, red eyes. Books and stacks of paper all around him, a half empty glass of scotch by his elbow. “What do you want Illyria?” he asks quietly.
I cock my head, curious. “How do you stand it?” I ask quietly.
“What?” he mutters, confused.
“Being this, this shell, being human,” I ask. I couldn’t stand being so…weak, feeling so inadequate after the supreme being that I had been.
He blinks in surprise. “I cope,” he murmurs before ducking his head and starting to read again.
I frown at that. “I do not like it,” I tell him.
He looks up at me again, his eyes hard as they look deep into my own. I know he wishes to still see Fred, instead of just her shell. “Well, your in luck aren’t you,” he almost growled at me, “You have the rest of eternity to get used to it.” his eyes flash and he grabs his drink and drains the rest of his glass before slamming the empty glass back on the table, getting up and stalking out of the room.
I glare at his retreating form, unable to think of anything to say.
I am Illyria
Whoever that is now…