Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers; they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic.
Authors Note: This is an alternate universe with an alternate timeline.
Birth of a Conflict
The Dawning of the Second Age of Existence
In the beginning, there had been the void and nothing else. Then a planet had appeared and with it, a creature known as Entropy had been begotten to return the void to its previous state. Life had tried to appear on the planet, but the destructive force had prevented it for a long time. Finally, there had been an explosion and a universe had been created.
That had been the beginning of The One. From his dreams had come the conceptual beings, while from his body had poured energy and matter. She had given birth to the first true life forms and had sent them out to shape reality. His body had fed upon the Power Cosmic from which the universe had formed and in return had expelled other forms of energy and matter to help build existence; he had created new life to understand the nature of that energy.
Many races had been shaped, beautiful creatures of every shape and form. Luminous beings, physical beings, some made of thought and others of spiritual mass. They lived within the man realms upon the different planes of existence that had been crafted for them. Some travelled, making the void their home while they explored. Others loved their territory so much that they refused to leave it. It was beautiful and strange, but everything was not perfect.
The One had emerged from a tiny egg. The creatures that had surrounded the egg had been so tiny they had not registered as living until they had been evolved by the Power Cosmic. At the time he had emerged he had been the only true being in the new universe. He had been The One. Then she had given birth and suddenly The One had not just been The One. She had taken on a new role as the Life-Giver. And then from his mind and his body he had created things and earned a new title as The Creator.
But while the One had accomplished great deeds; it was mentally a child. And the child’s mind was overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions that it struggled to process. Emotions and concepts positive and negative played on its mind and in its dream. Slowly the conceptual beings it had mentally shaped were drawn together as he struggled to understand them. There were too many emotions, too many forces struggling for dominance. The One’s mind snapped, lashing out at the physical avatars he had created for the conceptual beings to use to interact with the physical universe.
He drew them together and used the remained to create a single avatar, independent from the Conceptuals. Into that being, he poured all the negative thoughts and feelings he had encountered. He crafted it to embody everything dark and evil about existence, filled it with the deep need to spread its wickedness and extinguish anything that opposed it. He granted it powers almost equal to his own and decreed that it was the single and dominating force of evil within The One’s dominion.
Next, The One created a second body into which he poured all the positive emotions and feelings that he had experienced. Just as his first creation was the embodiment of darkness, fear, hate and evil, so this was the beacon of light, courage, hope, and love. He gave it powers equal to the dark avatar and a mission to be the light that drove the darkness away.
Finally, to keep them from going too far in their struggle, he produced the third avatar, drawing him equally from the other two. Once again, he shared his power, but other than a desire for peace he left it alone.
Then, The One slipped into a deep slumber, so deep that he no longer dreamed, leaving the fate of existence to his final creations. The conceptual beings he had created before the avatars were left to simply dissipate or wander. They were no longer important.
The three beings developed just as The One had evolved. They represented the internal struggle The One felt between good and evil, order and chaos, and existence and non-existence. One being glowed with the near innocence The One had demonstrated and claimed the title Light. The second was so dark that he was barely visible against the sky. He chose the name, Darke. And the third represented the conflict between the others. Too dark to be Light and too light to be Darke, he represented balance and the resolution of their conflict. He was named Shadow.
Light and Darke unable to coexist and from the moment they felt The One’s presence fade, they tried to erase each other from existence. To begin with, the struggle was a war of words, but soon they turned to physical violence. Their blows had little effect on each other for they had been created as equals, however, their battle echoed through the rest of existence, drawing the attention of the cosmos. Whenever their conflict threatened existence, Shadow stepped in and either calmed the conflict or punished the brother he decided was to blame. But despite their best efforts the two beings could not find peace and after being on the receiving end of his punishments, both considered Shadow more an enemy than an ally.
The conflict between Light and Darke rapidly escalated beyond battles into all-out war. Both had inherited The One’s ability to create new things and while neither could influence the first children, those The One had sent forth to oversee the process of creation, they were capable of tainting those that followed. As the battle between Light and Darke raged, they recruited armies to fight for their cause, corrupting them with promises of power and glory. Those that agreed were granted access to the powers The Creator had made available.
But mere armies were not enough, they required weapons on a larger scale. To that end, Light and Darke crafted giant beasts and filled them with power. Larger than the beings created by The One’s original children, these creatures lacked sentience. They were bred to battle and to destroy anything in their path as they stormed through existence. While Light granted control of his creations to those that followed him, Darke allowed his beasts to run amok.
Light and Darke soon tired of using lesser creatures to fight on their behalf and instead created their own warriors just as The One had created avatars to carry out his will. Darke’s creations were simply extensions of his will, capable of carrying out simply orders but little else. Meanwhile Light crafted followers to represent him. They were intended to act not only as warriors but as leaders and messengers to his forces. Warriors of body, mind and spirit, the fighting shifted between the many planes, realms and dimensions, spreading destruction wherever they appeared.
The first of Light’s creations was Protos, a noble warrior birthed from a part of Light’s spirit and encased in armour made of the material The One had produced for Light’s own body. He carried a sword that glowed with the light of a newborn star Light had placed within its hilt. There was little it could not cut. With an energy matrix capable of channelling the spiritual energy of existence, he was the equal of Darke’s vilest servants.
The others had their own attributes that made them vital assets to Light’s forces. Though different they were united in purpose and dedicated to ending the evil of Darke and his army. Collectively the group was given a final gift: the ability to recruit others as Light had done, allowing them to create the next generation of guardians, the next line of defence against Darke’s hordes.
However, Light had made an error when he had granted them free will. Darke’s forces were tied to him forever and incapable of turning against their master. Light’s followers were free to make their own decisions even if it meant betraying their creator. That left them vulnerable to Darke’s twisted promises. Darke whispered in their minds just as he did to the other races that he had recruited. Some ignored him, dismissing his empty words for the lies they were. Others listened but did not accept his offerings; their failure to completely reject him though only helped to weaken the bond of purpose that existed between them. One however not only listened but accepted Darke’s offer, turning against the rest of the Paladins. strengthen while some listened to his words but refused to act against Light; one decided that Darke’s offer of glory was worth accepting.
Though they were imperfect, the Paladins were powerful enough to take the fight to Darke’s forces, slaying many of the creatures he spawned. And with their help, Light was able to drive Darke to an uninhabited plane of existence for a short time and used a great deal of his power to hold the villain there. Without Darke to lead them the army he created returned to the particles from which they were formed. The beings he had corrupted though remained and continued to fight in his name.
Meanwhile, the followers of the Paladins grew into tribes watched over by one of Light’s chosen. Their numbers swelled as they prepared for the day when Light would be forced to release his hold on Darke, and the evil being would return. But things did not go well and as time passed the tribes started to fight amongst themselves. The Paladins tried to calm the tensions, unaware that one of their members was secretly undermining their efforts.
The upheaval meant that the Paladins were distracted and failed to notice when the traitor broke from their ranks under the pretence of checking on Light. They were not at their lord’s side when he was stabbed in the back by the traitor, forcing him to release Darke. By the time they realised what had happened, Darke had already attacked a weakened Light with the traitor’s help and together they had defeated him.
The news that Light had fallen put an end to the infighting as the united Army of Light was mobilised to destroy Darke and the traitor, but the traitor had selected his tribe from those that were susceptible to Darke’s teachings and at his command they had attacked the other tribes, sowing chaos in the ranks.
Without Light to lead them, Protos assumed command of the Paladins and their remaining armies. The traitor and his forces had taken them by surprise and had severely diminished their numbers. The enemy outranked them and had been bolstered by the additional forces the traitor had provided. Still, inspired by the courage of the Paladins, the Army of Light fought on, preventing Darke from claiming victory. To force a shift, both sides started to use the lesser beings of the universe as cannon fodder. For eons, neither side was able to hold an advantage. For each warrior cut down on one side, so a member of the opposing army was slain.
In the end, it did not matter whose army had the most fighters; Protos was more powerful than most of those he met in single combat and was capable of fighting four or even five opponents at a time without problems and the rest of the Covenant were valiant fighters. Together the twelve warriors were almost equal to Darke himself. Unfortunately, without the traitor, they were only able to fight Darke to a draw and when the traitor was at his master’s side, the Paladins were always at a disadvantage.
One by one the Paladins fell to Darke’s power. The Avatar of Darkness would draw the Paladins into a trap that isolated one of them. The traitor would then lead the rest of Darke’s warlords against the lone warrior, overpowering and dispatching him. And as their numbers dwindled, so their armies also found themselves routed on the many battlefields. It appeared that Darke would triumph.
But what of Shadow? While Light and Darke had set out to destroy each other, Shadow had shown little interest in their squabble. In the beginning, he had tried to stop the fighting by separating his brothers and punishing the offender for breaking the truce – for Light was often the one that attacked first due to Darke’s goading. When their feuding had escalated to all-out war, he had given up trying to bring peace and had instead watched from a distance as they destroyed the wonders of existence The Creator had built.
From time to time he intervened, when he felt that they had gone too far or that their fighting endangered those that were under his protection; those that did not care about the war or valued peace above all other considerations were worthy of his protection. More than once he had sent one of his own creations to destroy both sides in the hope of ending the violence. Often it worked and the Army of Light and Warlords of Darke had come to fear the mighty Daijinryu whenever it appeared.
When Light had trapped Darke, Shadow had chosen not to intervene. He had realised that Light had been caught within his own prison, forced to constantly use his power to keep Darke from escaping. When the traitor had struck Light, breaking the spell and allowing Darke to force his way free, Shadow had watched as the evil duo had defeated the Avatar of Light. They had left him for dead but had failed to make certain.
Light had survived. Somehow the avatar had clung to existence until Darke and his new underling had left. It was then that Shadow had approached, seeking to heal his brother as he had done for Light and Darke on previous occasions. This time though there was little he could do to repair the broken avatar. Instead, he restored Light’s strength and allowed him to decide what would happen next. He was unsurprised when Light decided on a final act that would bring the victory of his forces.
The Paladins were decimated. With Darke’s power at his command, the traitor had devastated Light’s warriors. Only Protos had survived and having been forced into a confrontation with Darke and his army, was on the brink of defeat.
The Army of Light had been reduced to only a few thousand soldiers, battling the Army of Darkness throughout existence. As Darke’s power had grown, his armies had flourished. Those who followed Darke and his wicked practices were taught to channel power through symbols and written words. Later they would discover the ability to trap power inside an inanimate object such as a wand or to use the conductive properties of some atoms as a means of directing energy. As the final and ultimately the most effective means of focussing the destructive powers at their command, some of the older and most loyal followers allowed the arcane energies to corrupt their bodies, twisting them into sinister forms that could channel the mystical powers Darke offered his followers directly. Some could already direct magic in their natural form and were rapidly incorporated into the Army of Darkness.
The forces led by Protos on the other hand could not naturally draw on the power without a conduit. Those who could do so were limited in their strength. They were forced to find safe ways to channel the energies. Some copied the use of books and wands to contain magic whilst others discovered that gems and precious metals could also be used.
In the end, it did not matter whose army had the most fighters or which group could draw the most power. Once Light had been overcome by the dark powers, the Paladins were the only thing that stood in Darke’s way. With Protos destroyed Darke would claim victory. The final battle had begun.
Protos, the last of the Paladins, was injured. His body made from the pure matter emitted by the Life-Giver himself was failing. The once white plating was marred with dents and scorch marks; it no longer shone with light. It had been the traitor that had delivered the fatal blow, striking from behind when Protos had been focussed on Darke. Tossed through the dimensions, he had landed in one of the lower planes, a primitive part of existence that had yet to evolve. As he gazed up at the blackened sky, he knew there was a chance that should Darke triumph, it would never have the chance to evolve.
He tried to reach out to the energy that had sustained him throughout the war, but his injuries were such that he found it impossible to focus long enough to use it. It was only stubbornness that allowed him to hold on as long as he did. He refused to give Darke the satisfaction of seeing him give up.
The tide of the war had turned against him and the bulk of his army had either been destroyed or drawn away from the front lines. Protos had been trying to rally his forces, any forces at all, when out of the smog had emerged three of Darke’s freakish followers. They were ugly brutes, powerful without question, but little more than fodder intended to tire Protos enough for Darke to hold a real advantage.
They had circled him, just beyond the reach of his sword, neither attacking nor parrying, laughing at the rewards they would reap for destroying their master’s most hated enemy. He had known that they were delaying, he had seen it in their movements. They appeared eager to attack and take the kill, but in reality, they were just there to keep him caged in while they waited for their master to savour the glory.
Protos had raised his sword, allowing his energy to flow through the skilfully crafted blade. The hilt had glowed brightly as he and the weapon became a single entity, moving with precision and grace. The sword had shone and caused his opponents to back up, ready for the attack. Instead of pressing his attack, he had made to retreat, knowing that like a pack of wild beasts they would sense weakness and move in closer.
Three against one, with those odds there was no doubt that they would attack. His sword moved swiftly and slew the first two with a single swing. But that tremendous move had thrown Protos off balance. And though he quickly corrected his stance, the third attacker had ducked inside his guard and lashed out with his sword. The creature had brought the blade in low and caught Protos on the right knee. Protos had stumbled, surprised that the blow had affected him, but his sword had swung itself around and cleaved off the attacker’s arm.
The burst of dark energy had caught him by surprise and had torn through his side. Darke had been waiting for the opportunity to attack. The two warriors had clashed, but Darke had always been stronger than individual members of the Paladins and Protos was injured. Still, the leader of the Paladins had managed to frustrate his opponent with his skill. It had been a cowardly blow, but an undeniably effective one. The traitor had appeared out of thin air and stabbed Protos in the shoulder. Darke did not waste the opportunity to savage his opponent, striking him repeatedly until Protos had fallen. And then together Darke and his warrior had loomed over the fallen disciple, savouring the moment that had won the war. It was a moment’s delay that would cost them.
Light and Darke were complex and powerful creatures, but they were not completely indestructible. Their bodies could be damaged and even destroyed with a great deal of difficulty. Light’s body had already been damaged beyond even the power The One had gifted his three children. Shadow had failed to heal the broken body but had strengthened the spirit within just enough for a final attack. For if there was a way to permanently destroy an avatar, it was to trap them within their physical form at the time it expired.
Although weaker than Light and Darke, their creations, especially Light’s Paladins, could also survive the loss of their physical bodies providing they could escape the ruined shell. Darke had ensured that escape would not be a possibility. The traitor had positioned himself in front of his fallen enemy and charged a ball of dark energy. At the point when the armour opened, there would be a brief period during which he could blast his opponent’s soul. To do so would have ensured Protos’ demise. And while survival was possible even nanoseconds from the death of their adopted forms, remaining in the body once it expired meant certain doom.
As Protos looked up at his enemy, he knew that regardless of his actions he would not leave the battlefield. Darke had been clever in his handling of the Paladins, striking them down in a way that meant they could not return. That did not mean that Protos had lost; there was still one option available if he was willing to give up everything to achieve it. In the very core of his being he knew that he was.
He waited as the traitor gloated, much to Darke’s annoyance. He watched for the moment of weakness when the traitor’s attention was drawn away by Darke’s demands for him to hurry. And as the traitor looked away, Protos unleashed a single burst of energy, directing all his remaining strength into a single blow. The traitor was unconcerned and mockingly stepped out of the way, allowing the blast to shoot aimlessly into the sky.
At that moment Light used a similar technique to direct a final attack of his own at Darke’s forces. A golden wave of purity swept across existence, obliterating any servant of Darke it found and devastating the Army of Darkness. Those it could not destroy it forced into a dark realm where they would cause no further harm, sealing the dimensions as it did so. When it reached the planet where Protos had fallen, the golden wave tore into the traitor, reducing him to the same condition as Protos, before bombarding Darke with the remainder of Light’s strength.
At that moment Darke realised that the traitor had failed him. Protos had not missed, he had maintained control of the energy blast the entire time and while Darke was trying to prevent the golden wave from negating his existence, Protos pulled the energy wave back to the planet and directed it at Darke. There was no way for Light and Protos to destroy Darke, they were too weak. Instead, they used trickery to push the Avatar of Darkness into the planet, trapping him within an icy core cut off from his power. Light’s energy then transported Protos away as the planet was thrown into a dark dimension for all eternity.
By that point, Light had exhausted his strength and could not return to his previous state. Instead, the golden wave continued to travel, spreading Light’s essence through existence, ensuring that there would always be some light in the darkness. Eventually, the golden wave vanished, leaving the universe at peace.
Protos had been moved to safety by the golden wave, but he had not been healed. He would not call the result a triumph, for he knew that while Darke was trapped somewhere, Light had extinguished himself to gain the victory. Protos managed to stand but was unable to summon the strength he needed to clean his sword or open his mangled helmet. After a short time, he collapsed. His existence was all but over; he had spent too long inside his dying shell. His energy was exhausted after his final attack to the point where he could not repair the damage enough to abandon his crippled armour. His time had come and all he could do was ensure that his legacy would live on in the hearts of all good beings. His sword, shield and armour would be left for those that could use them, but to ensure that only those worthy of doing so claimed them, he provided them with the sentience needed to judge them worthy.
He smiled once again as he felt his body turn to the particles Light had used to craft it. The universe loved the balance and he was a part of that balance. He would not survive to see the universe evolve, but Darke was forever sealed where he could not cause harm. The Paladins of Light were at peace.
The Second Age of Existence continued.
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