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To Never Die and Conquer All

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In her years wandering the Earth since being reborn in quasi-mortal form, Illyria had begun to wonder if all life beyond the planet had been rendered unto dust, like the forces she had left behind to guard the halls of Vahla ha'nesh. But humanity had walked the stars for longer than the planet she stood upon had even existed; so before declaring her millennia-late victory, she had walked the world with a wary eye, searching for evidence of those who had been the true cause of her downfall.

When House Abrasax had seeded this world with the sparks of life that would one day become yet another mewling incarnation of their race, they had not realized it was a nexus point between their reality and several others. But nor had Illyria and the other Old Ones realized at first the size of the empire they had encountered. From the devourers, they and their worshipers had quickly become the devoured; and in the end, Illyria had been banished to sleep away the centuries in the Deeper Well.

But now she had been reborn-- and so, it seemed, had her oldest and strongest foe.

Illyria tilted her head as she observed the shell before her, fragile flesh wrapped around a soul as ancient and fierce as her own. Seraphi Abrasax had not recognized Illyria in return; she apparently still believed the lie that she was only a recurrence of her forebear. But Illyria had learned by experience that memories did not change a being's true nature-- only the shape of their goals.

Before her incarceration, she would have ripped the spine from the matriarch's temporarily vulnerable form, and stripped the winged bodyguard's feathers for ornamentation. But the taste of mortality had taught Illyria another form of winning. And what better monument to her magnificence-- and stepping stone to future conquest-- than to assist 'Jupiter Jones' in destroying everything her former self once spent endless lifetimes constructing?

"To never die and conquer all-- that is winning," Illyria insisted, shaking her head at the young woman.

Jupiter wrinkled her nose at the remark, but despite the naiveté of her opinions, her dark eyes were as shrewd and watchful as those of the woman she had once been. "I know it's a big ask. But I refuse to maintain a system in which some lives will always matter more than others. I've been the life that doesn't matter, and I'm not going to let it happen to anyone else. And if what you say about Seraphi Abrasax is true-- if I hear one more person compare me to her, I swear-- I would think you'd want to see me fail, anyway."

Illyria curled her lip. "The ooze that eats itself-- that's what we called your House when we first met. You sparkled and you stank. Your servitors walked as nightmares and daydreams made flesh." She glanced at the bodyguard again, pleased to see him bristle defensively under her gaze. "And you brooked no competition. Perhaps I would see that power broken, before it can threaten my dominion again."

The young shell set a calming hand on the bodyguard's arm. "Hush, Caine. She's not threatening me. But I don't get it; if you don't think I can take down Regenex in a mortal lifetime, but do expect me to win... How can I...? There's something you're not telling me."

Illyria tilted her head in acknowledgement, and let Fred's form fade away, shedding the illusion that she was another dissident Entitled along with the semblance of humanity.

"There's more than one way to live forever," she said.