Epilogue. The Weird of the Suzerain
I speak with a unique perspective, honed over innumerable lifetimes. I have beheld riches and ruin. I have worn the raiment of a king and a beggar. I have been an iterant outsider and a beloved compatriot. I have brought weal and woe alike to a thousand worlds. I have bent galaxies beneath my might, and I have conquered universes without number. I have crowned myself with the nebulae of sundered galaxies. Yet I have had many foes in my time, but few so deplorable and insidious as the Sedni Order.
Their Order spread like a cancer across a galaxy I conquered and peopled in antiquity, yet left when greater conquests beckoned. While I reached adulthood on a long-forgotten system with four habitable worlds, I nevertheless periodically returned to see how events transpired in my direct absence. During one such homecoming, I crossed one such galaxy of my unknowing subjects to find interlopers devouring galactic civilization like a brood of botfly larvae.
These usurping upstarts sought to consign my own name into the half-mythic eras preceding their own corpulent rule. Like a bloated carcass washed ashore, they inflicted countless travesties and turpitudes upon the sapient entities of the galaxy. They sacrificed to black gods under obsidian altars, engaging in debauched rituals alongside their intimate collaborators. They ripped apart the rules of physics with impossible machines that they manufactured through shell companies. Yet political power, ritual murder, and sybaritic pleasure were merely a means to their ultimate goals.
The Sedni Order offered truths about the cosmos to unwary supplicants, which utterly dispensed with the pretense of natural science. On the surface, answers offered by the Sedni were low-rent mysticism and logical conundrums meant to provoke thought. To those in the Order's higher echelons, they were the merest silvers of far more devious, sanity-rending perspectives. As I came to recognize the threat the order presented, I resolved to annihilate it in a suitable fashion.
My actions with the cult on Atmur, helping Efri and Exar and assisting Salo's efforts were steps to that goal. As a favor to him, I conjured Erto from beyond the grave. He was one of the untold trillions I resurrected in the aftermath of the Sedni Order's destruction. They'd smothered the lives of untold numbers of sentients, so it was the least I could do to make amends. As the protector and Suzerain of the galaxy, it was a trivial task for one of my power.
During my previous travels the galaxy, I was the Grand Unifier. I brought the ancestors of modern humanity and its offshoots behind me, as I sought to consult with the Great Race for access to their libraries. In my current travels, I went under the guise of Engineering Officer Lon Kastun to escape the notice the Sedni Order and their masters. In my home system, I was known as by a different title, the Suzerain of Four Worlds, and I took the name Mallon Kas Tun. As my work in his galaxy is completed for the time being, I continue my incognito travels across the multiverse. Pray you do not cross me, for I am the iterant emperor of dreams.
Devoted to the memory of Clark Ashton Smith's 126th birthday.