The Staff of the Time Warrior Near the beginning of the Universe, before most stars had begun to burn, the Thalkudians simply became. The record of their evolution has been lost to the chaos of those early times, but the beings themselves live on. A head taller than a man, though remarkably similar in appearance, the Thalkudians were at first defined by their exceptionally long lives. Tens of thousands of years is the rule more than the exception, and with this time those first generations watched as dust became stars and rocks became planets and the Universe became more stable, more peaceful. With reverence toward this great beauty, the Thalkudians gave themselves a purpose: to understand all they could of what secrets the Universe contained. This is the story of their self-destruction. Though they only intended to be peaceful students of the Universe, as other life evolved and began to travel through space, the Thalkudians were forced to defend themselves. Over millions of years, they became fierce yet reluctant warriors, and took control of the Seven Systems, six solar systems that formed a wide perimeter around the system they had originally called home. Still, conquest was never their intention, and even enemies they had faced time after time were given mercy and ignored, a naĂŻve trust in the ability of other beings to leave war alone. One such foe, their most troublesome, was a collective horde known as the Rak. They had determined their purpose was to breed and conquer until nothing else remained. While the Thalkudians had developed a stable society early on and ceased to evolve, furthermore, the Rak continued to become the fiercest versions of themselves, making each war the Thalkudians fought against them more dangerous than the last. Finally, after a million years of silence, and just two thousand years ago, the Rak attacked again. They had evolved into even more fearsome warriors, as the Thalkudians might have expected, but the Rak had also focused on expanding their numbers. While the Thalkudians were nearly a trillion strong, they found themselves outnumbered a hundred thousand to one. Despite their skill, better technology, and uncommon bravery, after a millennia of war it was apparent that the last of the Seven Systems would soon fall. It was only by chance that it didnâ€™t. Inspecting a celestial impact, the Thalkudians discovered a magnificent sphere, deep emerald in color and the able to be held in both hands, though no one dared to do so. It was soon apparent that the sphere contained enormous amounts of energy, and the Thalkudian leader, Regnu, made its study a priority. The study led to only one conclusion: the sphere came from the tenth dimension, the singular point in which all that ever was, would, could be or have been existed. It was, literally, a piece of Infinity, which infinite energy to match. Regnu knew this was the key to saving his people, and he constructed a staff that would house the sphere and allow its energy to be directed by the thoughts of its wielder. With infinite energy at his disposal, the staff could be used to literally change the laws of physics as they existed, create bridges to parallel universes or alternate dimensionsâ€Śthere was no limit on what they could achieve. Regnu was concerned, however. Such power was dangerous if used without consideration, and even with thought the repercussions might be too great for even the Thalkudians to anticipate. Yet they needed to use this power to win the war, so Regnu settled on a compromise, using the staff to give all his people, forevermore, with a limited version of this power, reined in by what he termed the Great Limitations. Laws of physics could only be bent, not broken. Parallel universes and higher dimensions were inaccessible. Time travel was banned.
The dead could not be brought back. Only Regnu’s staff remained unrestrained, in case the Great Limitations needed to be adjusted or had not avoided a catastrophe. Limited though it was, the power each Thalkudian now possessed was more than enough to turn back the Rak. Yet progress was still too slow—too many Thalkudians continued to die. Regnu, desperate to end the war, traveled alone to the Rak homeworld, marching on the leadership with only an observer with him, instructed to remain hidden and to retrieve the staff if he had failed. It was the fiercest battle of the war, Regnu against tens of billions of the Rak. By its end, Regnu had won, but at a terrible cost—every time he had been dealt a killing blow, he had used his last breath to have the staff take him back to the moment before, so that he could save himself. It did not wipe the memory of the event, however, and Regnu’s mind collapsed over the weight of dying millions of time. With help from the observer, he returned home, but as a catatonic mess, reduced personally to nothingness but remembered as a legend among his people, the first ever Time Warrior. The Thalkudian that had ended the war. With the tenth dimension energy at their disposal, the Thalkudians worked to restore their lives and better understand the power they now possessed. Over the next six centuries, they transformed the Seven Systems into a powerful civilization, one beyond any technology possible otherwise. Planets that the Rak had turned to ash and magma were reconstructed into magnificent forests, deserts, jungles—a purer version of what they had been before. Led now by a council, on which sat Regnu’s son, Artavius, it was more than the end of a war, it was the beginning of a new age for the Thalkudians. The greatest leap in their advancement since the founding of their species. The shadows of war, however, would not go away. Every Thalkudian left alive had known many people who had perished at the hands of the Rak. The more the Thalkudians learned how to control their new power, the stronger they felt the binds of the Great Limitations. A group began to vocally call for lifting them, so that they could bring their loved ones back. Artavius, who had been the observer that had traveled with Regnu to fight the Rak, had seen firsthand the power of the staff without limitation. With his intervention, the council refused to yield. The result was an attack on the Silent Observatory, a scientific institution where Regnu’s staff was kept. The aggressors were led by a Thalkudian named Equintos, who was the most vocal opponent to the Great Limitations. When Equintos’s followers clashed with Artavius and others, it was the first instance of civil war in Thalkudian history. Having mastered their powers, the two sides fought more brutally than even at the height of the war with the Rak. Many were literally torn apart atom by atom. Culminating in the Staff Chamber, Equintos and Artavius fought each other to a draw before Equintos gained a momentary advantage. Desperate, Artavius grabbed the staff and used its power to send it away—where, not even he knew. Angry, Equintos disappeared, vowing to search the Universe for it and to return as its master. Concerned about the civil war still raging across the Seven Systems, the council vowed to seal them off from the rest of the Universe so it did not suffer with them. Only Regnu’s staff would be able to reverse the process. Before they did, Artavius left, determined to find the staff before Equintos, in order to settle the war and bring about peace. That was four hundred years ago. Even now, with the Thalkudian race locked out of normal space and time, Artavius and Equintos continue their search, one for peace, the other for gain. Whoever finds it will control not only the fate of the Thalkudian race, but Infinity itself.
When they cross paths, they attempt to destroy each other to eliminate their simultaneous threat. Many have died in the conflict. Worlds have been torn apart. No one knows when they will appear, or where. They only know what they seek. The staff of infinite power. The Staff of the Time Warrior.