The thunder in the distance did little to abate the recent heat wave. If anything, the increased humidity of rain on a hot night was going to make the residents of San Angeles grumpy the next morning. And don’t forget about the commutes on a wet freeway. The stuff of nightmares.
But among the many souls who rested calmly in their homes and apartments on the south west side of San Angeles, none dared to think that a dark figure would soon break their peace.
A single mote of light shone in the dark, carried away lazily by an unseen breeze. Or perhaps an unseen hand? The mote landed craftily on a high branch, overlooking the expanse of a small park, neatly nestled between several streets and homes.
The mote inched closer to the edge of the branch, and finally let go of a single spark, which fell from the tree and landed on the dry grass below. The dirt dried and blackened, cracking by the lack of moisture. A fire arose, purple of light – a circle of violet darkness. Out of nowhere, more purple motes of light appeared, as if drawn from the ether itself, breaking through the barrier of dimensions, and dancing with delight at their new-found freedom.
Soon, dozens of lights scintillated in the night air, and together they took shape. A fierce purple fire now blazed where the first mote christened itself. A pair of eyes looked though it.
At first observation, the eyes seemed human. They looked around, exploring and gazing, measuring the surroundings and taking it all in. Strange houses, lights in square windows, metal contraptions moving on black wheels. It was all new to him. Finally, safe in the belief that no one would see him, Oryx stepped out.
He was just over six feet tall, and dressed in the manner of his people from so long ago: robes and knife. He barely remembered the last time he had laid eyes on the mortal realms, much less on a human being. He wondered if they still looked the same.
As if answering this question, a young couple appeared around the closest bend, sitting on a strange contraption with two wheels, made of what looked to be forged iron. They were laughing and merrily going their way. Their language was like nothing he had ever heard before.
He crossed the distance to what he understood would be the spot they would come closest to him. They were traveling on a trail paved with dirt, perhaps to allow the contraptions to not break one of their… legs? It was difficult to tell how they went about at all.
The couple spotted him. They stopped. They addressed him with a question. He didn’t understand. They looked at him askance, and furrowed their brows, perhaps as surprised to see him as he was pleased to see them. He raised his hands, palms facing them. A blue ribbon of light flowed from his left hand, wrapping itself around the woman, picking her up in the air and bringing her close to him. A bolt of red fire flew from his right hand, and struck the man squarely in the chest. Where before had been eyes and a mouth, now only held hollow sockets of soot and ash. The body collapsed before the light within extinguished. There was barely any sound to it at all. Except for the almost imperceptible struggle of the woman.
He brought her down gently, and unwrapped her eyes. She looked at him with fear, unable to move, and not understanding what was going on. He could hear her attempts at speaking, but her voice was suffocated by his power. His eyes locked with hers, and she stopped struggling. A green haze began to arise from his eyes, and crossed the distance with hers. She passed out. Blue fog emerged from the wrappings, while his form increasingly ceased to be real, and steadily turned translucent. He stepped into her body, and she sighed heavily and stopped breathing.
History and knowledge, memories of laughter and sorrow, growing up, parents, siblings, lovers, victories, defeats. All of the remembrance of Monica Alexandra Harris passed on to him. Now he understood. It was the year 2014. He was in a city. San Angeles. The time of his return was not as he had expected. He had missed by over 2500 years. How did this happen? His measures and spells had been neatly crafted over decades, just for this eventuality. He was supposed to sleep only 50 years, enough to ensure that his enemies would die off before his return, with nary anyone remembering his name. A spectacular failure? It didn’t matter. He was going to enjoy his rebirth. Whether 50 or 2500 years later, Orix, Scion of Tragan, Disciple of Ramaran, Master Sorcerer, and Emperor of Hyperboria, would once again breathe the world air, and master all of its people.
He was, after all, immortal.
He was, after all, Emperor.
This land would be his.
But first, he needed a fortress, an army, and the restoration of his former powers. Rest would do well. Tomorrow would be a brand new day.
Orix whistled as he walked towards the closest house. With a wave of his hand he unlocked the bolts and opened the door. As he crossed the threshold, the door closed behind him. No one heard or noticed the struggle within.