2021. September 27.
Prologue - Chapter 1
“The Supreme Archon of the House Novarchon demands your presence in the Capital…” Merrick Rand crumples up the invitation into his pocket as he exits the ship, unable to disguise his discomfort and the ominous feeling in his gut. More used to the dim light that falls on the outer worlds at the edge of Domineum’s reach, his eyes strain under the assault of the blinding suns. The sight of the flags of House Novarchon flowing proudly on the Palace Square always brought him the sweet feeling of being home, but now they only unsettle him - they are splashed with a dirty orange color that winds in patterns around the crest like snakes…
A familiar and altogether unexpected voice cuts through Merrick’s grim thoughts. “Merrick! Is that really you?!” A woman with auburn braids emerges from the mouth of the gate, greeting him with a warmth that belies the mood that hangs in the air. But then, Valerie Varis, First Ranger of the Iron Cloaks, could never effectively read a room. Recognizing the grim look in Merrick’s eyes, Valerie feigns over-affection, embraces him tightly, and whispers urgently into his ear: “The whole palace. It’s worse inside.” And then, more quietly, “Some say the so-called Voidborn is real.”
As they are ushered in silence through the gate and into the halls of the Golden Spire at the heart of Domineum’s empire, Merrick and Valerie finally arrive at their destination. As the murmur of the crowd dies down, they feel a million pairs of eyes on them, but none so piercing as the figure’s sat on the gilded throne. Engulfed in a ghostly ray of glow, the Supreme Archon never looked more god-like and inhuman - his robes and even the material of the chair seemingly fusing together with his body by what looked like living tissue… Then suddenly, his body jerks forward and he speaks the words in a raspy voice, “The Resurgence is upon us... You’ve done much for the greater good, and you shall be rewarded with the blessing of the omniscient Voidborn!”
Prologue - Chapter 2
Merrick winces at the Archon’s words. Voidborn… That name again…
“Consider yourself honored to be among the first representatives of the New Domineum, and prepare to embrace its divine favor: boundless knowledge, prosperity, and ferocious power” continues the Supreme Archon, his voice filling the ears and minds of the participants. As he utters the last words, a dull bang is heard coming from outside the palace followed by muffled shouts. Merrick’s blood curdles as he tries to imagine the source of the clamor, and he can feel his body switch into fight or flight mode—an instinctive feeling that has saved him many times during his intergalactic missions.
Coming up with a plan, Merrick pulls Valerie to him, tightly but unobtrusively, and mouths “We need to get out now.” The next moment, however, the Archon rises from his throne, raising his hands to the sky in prayer. As the Archon’s arms reach their peak, a flash of orange light cuts through Merrick’s sight. A vision emerges before his eyes: a flourishing, peaceful empire. But this peace disturbs him as he notes the people in the image seemingly moving to the same rhythm, the same blank expression on their faces... Merrick’s empty lungs bring him back to reality as he gasps for air, kneeling on the floor. The whole crowd is on their knees, most of them in divine worship, but some, like Merrick and Valerie, are gulping for breath. Recognizing that this could be their only opportunity, Merrick flies to his feet, grabbing Valerie’s arm and again pulling her beside him as he makes a run for the exit. The heads of the guards rise in sync from their trance-like state, following quickly in pursuit.
Expecting the glorious and radiant lights of the Capital, everything seems darker as they rush out of the Palace. “My corvette, that’s closer!”pants Valerie. She seems weak and dazed, and time seemingly moves slower after what happened in the palace. Merrick can feel the guards closing in on them and cannot deny the realization that dawns on him: they are not going to make it. Or at least, not both of them…
Prologue - Chapter 3
Seizing her hand, Merrick swings Valerie forward onto the corvette’s platform. She grasps at its edges to stabilize herself, climbs into the body of the ship, and pushes the “Door Close” button on the dashboard instinctively. But instead of the sound of Merrick’s footsteps behind her, she hears his voice from the ground as the door slowly closes between the two of them. “Listen, Val, and listen carefully!” shouts Merrick. “Everyone has to know about this. Every House. Every man, woman, and child across the Domineum. Let people know about what happened here today!” Hands tug at his cloak, and he cannot stand his ground much longer. The guards move swiftly, completely unfazed by every blow that Merrick lands.
As the soldiers twist back his arm and tackle him to the ground, Merrick hears the rumble of the corvette taking off, and raising his head slightly, he spots Valerie’s figure in the window of the corvette’s bridge. In the corner of his eye, he sees the sky split open into a dreadful rift from which gargantuan tentacles emerge, giving way to orange raindrops that begin to pelt Merrick’s skin. If someone can unite the galaxy against the Voidborn, it’s her, he reasons before his thoughts succumb to the emptiness of the overwhelming orange fog.
Valerie looks back in disbelief at the scene unfolding behind her. Her gaze is then stolen by the opening rift and the horror manifesting from it. The mission of uniting the Great Houses—and thus, the fate of humanity—is in her hands…
Voidfall is live on Kickstarter from September 28th until October 18th!