SCALEBEARER BIO PART 1
The Uurd have fallen. I leave behind a garrison and military governor to shape their future as another cog in the Greiss war machine. The Drikt Sector campaign nears its end; this campaign may be my last. Perhaps the time has come to return to the Greiss Dominion, to consolidate my conquests and rule rather than expand, to cement my position in the Empire. But I’ve time yet to consider. We have one more world ahead of us, though it should yield even more readily than most. A soft, weak place controlled by a race called the Melem.
SCALEBEARER BIO PART 2
What sort of cowardly, fatherless egg-clutchers have my soldiers become? Has this campaign gone so easily for them that they have forgotten what it means to be Greiss? The Melem are nothing! Weaklings! Pacifists! Yet every report I receive is defeat after defeat, burbling some nonsense about “phantom enemies.” As if we’d never before dealt with stealth technology! I had planned to supervise from the command ship, but clearly I must take a personal hand. And I’ve not decided yet whether the Melem or my own incompetent officers shall suffer the worse for it!
SCALEBEARER BIO PART 3
“I stagger through the wreckage of our siege engines. I’m dizzy; one of those cursed phantom warriors passed through me, and my mind feels as though they left something within it. The smoke burns my eyes, but I welcome it. Without it I would be forced to stare at the incoming holographic message instead of only hearing it. The Dominion is taking my command from me. They call it reassignment, but I know exile for what it is. Shame. Disgrace. But I could bear that if I knew how it happened. Damn the Melem, I will know how!”
SCALEBEARER BIO PART 4
“I must know. I will know. Been here … Five days? Six? Too busy to keep track, to sleep. I’ve read every single report, every communique, from the Melem theater. I was wrong. Not stealth tech, no. So very far beyond mere stealth. Penetration of physical barriers, of defensive shields. Phase-shifting? Dimensional transfer? The Melem should not be so far advanced. This is far beyond anything the Greiss have created. How have they done it? I can take it all back, grind them into dust, spread the Dominion over a thousand more systems once I know!”
SCALEBEARER BIO PART 5
“I have seen it! Fatigue finally took me, and in my dreams I have seen it! A great orb, made of plasma and power and the desires of they who dwell between worlds. The Melem did not create this wonder, they merely harnessed it. And I will have it! I have told Doctor Auvor and Commander Thrrim of my revelation, described it in detail, demanded they recreate it. They doubt. They mouth reassurances between nagging queries about my mind’s wellbeing. As though I were some deluded invalid! But they will understand. They will succeed, and they will believe.”
SCALEBEARER BIO PART 6
“Another failure. And these fools call themselves scientists! Yet, we were close. Even amid the sparks and strobes, I saw them through the walls of this reality: Things reaching for us, watching, wanting, needing. I saw them, and they saw me. I wonder why Doctor Auvor and his people insist on lying to me. They claim the machine produced no effect at all, that they cannot even fathom the technology of the orb I’ve described. They tell me I cannot have seen anything out of the ordinary. Until I know the purpose of their deceptions, I pretend to demur.”
SCALEBEARER BIO PART 7
“The dreams come nightly now. Black cities of impossible angles, built on foundations of broken universes. And within them dwell gods, their eyes turned in our direction. It is because the scientists’ partial failures have linked me with the Melem’s orb. I know it, and I know the wisdom and the power within that orb must belong to the Greiss. To me. Auvor and Thrrim speak against me, tell the others I’ve gone mad with vengeful obsession. They want this power for themselves, but I am not concerned with their ambitions. The hidden gods know who is worthy.”
SCALEBEARER BIO PART 8
“As I anticipated, the gods within the Orb have made their preference known. I have awakened from my dreams to halls stained with blood and shredded flesh. A pity they slew my entire team, rather than merely the traitors Auvor and Thrrim, but no matter. I do find it curious that the hidden ones chose to use my weapons to cull them while I slumbered, but I will know their ways and reasons in time. To Melem lands, then, for in these new dreams I have seen the Opener of the Way. I know how to enter the Orb.”
SCALEBEARER BIO PART 9
“The guardians of the shrine fall before me. The wards fail in my presence. I see it now, greater even than I dreamt, flashing and phasing before me, and I wonder: Why accept the aid of gods when I might become one? Why settle for conquering star systems when I might sit upon the throne of a universe? I will enter the Orb. The Melem will take their rightful place beneath my feet. And I will take from these alien gods their supreme power. I will expand the Dominion, I will be the Dominion, and realities will bow before me.”
SCALEBEARER LORE ARTIFACT
A cracked medal of service to the Greiss Dominion, with shredded ribbon: a sign of defeat—kindling to stoke the fires of revenge.