Update on 06/09/2013: After several rejection letters and a few critiques on , I'm re-doing the first few chapters of the story that has hopefully improved it and gives a little more "oomph" to the beginning.

Author's Note: Welcome, readers! I would like to thank everyone in advance for taking the time to read my story. Before you start, I think I should give a short explanation. This story is the byproduct of an epiphany I had during one of my college English classes a few years back. We were going over different terms and devices used in dramas, one of which we touched on was the deus ex machina, which, as I'm sure many people already know, translates from Latin to "God in the machine." At that time, my wandering brain wondered, "What would it be like if it was literally a God Machine? A machine that was programmed to think like a god?" Also at that time, I was deeply engrossed in my Shakespeare class, and already wanted to write a story that included a large cast of the bard's characters spanning over many of his plays. The two ideas merged together: Shakespeare. Giant robots. Throw in some giant city-eating monsters for kicks, and hey, this story was born. It made perfect sense at the time. I still can't tell you why.

I am hoping to achieve one of two things with this story: I hope that people who enjoy Shakespeare will appreciate the nods to his works entwined through the story, but I also hope that people who aren't so familiar with his works will still be able to enjoy this as an action-packed, sci-fi/fantasy adventure. That being said, I hope that no matter which side you're on, you'll enjoy the story for what it is and that this was a risk worth taking.

Enjoy!

Prelude

Wave after wave broke crushingly over her head, barely giving her the chance to grab a fresh lungful of air before the next one came crashing down, sending her spiraling into the ocean's black abyss where up and down became the same direction. To say the water was cold was an understatement; the freezing temperatures closed around her like an iron fist, sucking away what little strength she had left as she fought for life. Bubbles rasped against her skin before the current caught her again and swept her up until she broke the surface, though it felt more as if she was being thrown bodily through a sheet of glass.

Lightening flared across the sky, and in that instant she saw the roiling underbellies of angry storm clouds and the wrathful, churning black waters, but amongst the chaos she spotted a godsend: a wide plank bucking against the waves, one of the last remnants of the ship that had been claimed by the typhoon, large enough to give at least one person a shred of hope for survival. Her arms felt like leaden weights, yet somehow she managed to summon the strength she needed to swim over to it – or, at least, what she could pass off as swimming in these circumstances – pulling herself through the waves and over to the plank, only to have it heave out of her reach at the last moment. She tried again and again. On her last attempt the board reared up, threatening to strike her on her head, but with a final burst of desperation her frozen fingers locked around a rivet and she clung as she never clung before. The sea was not happy about her new chance of survival. It writhed like an enraged animal, determined to throw her off her lifeline, but each effort only encouraged her to hold on tighter.

She didn't know how long she rode her makeshift raft through the watery hell. Time lost all sense and meaning as soon as they knew their ship was going down, but at least she could cling to the knowledge that all storms, even those as evil as this one, would eventually blow themselves out. As long as she could manage to keep hold of her raft, she could wait it out.

Lightening cracked again, so bright that it hurt her eyes, but in its blinding intensity she saw a towering line of cliffs rising before her, their black rocks gleaming like an army's worth of swords and daggers. The sea threw itself again the cliff face relentlessly, dashing apart with deafening roars of fury. She clung to the raft, not allowing herself to be afraid. She had come this far already; she would not let a wall of rocks intimidate her now. Each swell of the storm-driven current brought her closer to the cliffs, and each time the lightening raced across the sky she could see more clearly the cracks and caves embedded into the stone, weeping salt water as the sea receded. She estimated that it would only be another three or four rounds before it would be her turn to be dashed against the rocks. The sea rose again…

And rose…

And rose…

And rose until in a flash of lightening and an answering rumbling of thunder she realized that she was looking down onto the cliffs and the land they were attached to, the sea reduced to a frothing white and iron gray carpet. Towering higher still above her were two great eyes, far larger and brighter than they had any right to be, narrowed like a predator's.

Watching her.

Judging her.

For the first time since the ship started to go under, she was gripped with real fear, so tangible that she felt as though she was choking on it. The fear overwhelmed her first, and the darkness was not far behind it.