The Leviathan Raid Gear Lore, Collected and Organized

Originally posted on Reddit.

Calus: Emperor of the Cabal

I am the perfect loving god, and all will tremble to know me.

My imperial guard marched into the temple where the senate convened. They formed a protective circle from which I might bestow the gift of my address. "From this day forward, I shall take up all the empire in my embrace. For I am father of the empire, as I am father to all creation. I will suffer no tired institution nor petty bureaucrat to stand between me and my children. I am the perfect loving god, and all will tremble to know me." The imperial guard charged their rail guns in perfect unison.

My first act as emperor was to send the Consul into the wasteland. The golden sun would burn away his corrupt form—a fitting symbol for the revolution that was to be my reign.

I wanted a desert of pure white sand to stage my celebration. It took them three days to clear the wasteland of any stone or plant of offending color, but when they were done, it was a perfect canvas for the violet pavilion. We recreated my court in nearly every detail beneath the glinting sun. The first act of my coronation was to have the Consul kneel at my feet. He was a pathetic figure, stripped of title, rank, and clothing. He would never wield power again, and would beget no heir. I made sure of that personally. I had only a single word for him: "Run."

Life offers few greater pleasures than to humiliate the venal aristocracy before a crowd. I am father to the people, and they shall adore me above all others.

I never thought of my palace as the true court. The only throne that mattered to me looked down upon the public commons. From that seat, there was no barrier between me and the glorious, adoring mob. I was their father; they were my children. It was there that I brought the corrupt to suffer the people's justice. How they cried as I threw their riches to the crowd. It amused me to see the dawning of realization in their eyes—there would be no safety for them, as there had been no safety for those they had made to suffer. One by one, I tossed those weeping fools to the people. The mob let out a great cry of joy and stripped them of their robes, tore the jewelry from their bodies.

The Ghost Primus was strong because of his disfigurement, not in spite of it. He alone had the vision to share my dream of a new, perfect world. Ghaul was a creature of singular beauty, and I loved him.

Ghaul was an unexpected gift to my coliseum—a disfigured albino from the outer wastes who defeated opponents three times his weight. How could I resist such a unique creature? He fought with terrible discipline and patience. Most gladiators wanted to stand in the center of the arena and trade blows until the weaker one died. Not Ghaul. He never attacked from the front, never stood in one place. Frustrated and exhausted, his opponent would make a mistake. I used to play a game with those puffed-up aristocrats that would gamble at my arena. I bet on Ghaul, and anyone who had displeased me had to bet against him. It was fun for a time, but his talent was too valuable to risk in the coliseum. I appointed him Primus of the Red Legion and instead, set him loose upon my enemies.

Did Ghaul always dream of a republic? What terrible worm burrowed into his heart that he would betray my love and plot against me?

Ghaul spent too much time in too close communion with those I had humbled. No good would come of those hushed tones and sidelong glances. Did he think I would not notice? I dispatched a spy to follow him. To think that I felt guilt in that moment; one should never doubt their gut when it comes to trust in another. I realize now what I should have realized then. As I am like no other, then no other is alone as I. What a curse it is to be a god that loves!

The conspirators were too afraid to kill me—rightly so. I am the beloved father of the people, and the glorious mob would not suffer my death. My sentence was exile.

The conspirators came late in the night, skulking into my court while we caroused. Ghaul himself led the coup, and it was by his own Red Legion that we were arrested. Imagine my surprise to see the Consul stride into my court so puffed up with pride. He took cheap pleasure hurling spittle in my face. We were frog marched to the Leviathan under cover of darkness. There was to be no execution; Ghaul and the Consul feared the mob. They knew how tenuous their grip on power would be, and how the people adored their god-emperor. Ghaul dared not look me in the eye. What was the emotion on his face? Was it shame? How could he bear such hate for one who had been as a father to him? We were sealed inside the Leviathan and ejected into the furthest reaches of space, left to the same fate I had determined for the Consul so long ago. We were left to die.

What once was old shall be knew again, and history will have its revenge.

I weep for what the Cabal have become—a war machine forged in Ghaul's own image. His obsession with the ideal form has produced a hollow people devoid of culture, robbed of their history. The Leviathan is now home to the last of us true Cabal. We will remember the old ways, for I am the wellspring from which our great civilization flows. And when my empire returns, the traitors will see us as through a dark mirror. We will be a terrifying reminder of their former selves. In that moment, they will feel the shame of their betrayal. They will know I have come for my revenge. The Red Legion will not escape the sins of their past. They shall be consumed by them.


Jarus: Ace-Defiant

“The Sindu inhabited gas giants in the spinward marches. They refused my invitation at first. As with all things, they came to see things my way. The Sindu fly like surgeons operate, and the Ace-Defiants are the best among them. Only one Shadowed me. We armed the rest of the Sindu with a fleet of golden ships, and their interceptors are a shield for the Leviathan, as the Shadows are my sword." - Calus, Emperor of the Cabal

When his eyes finally opened, Jarus was staring at a fuzzy silhouette of something giant. The giant spoke. “Welcome home,” it rumbled. Jarus blinked rapidly. The room began to come into focus, shining like a temple. The giant spoke again. “My child, there is nothing to fear. I have rescued you. Welcome to my empire.” The feeling returned to Jarus' limbs. He was restrained. And this creature now towered over him. He was staring into the face of death. “Fear not, my warrior-to-be.” Jarus blinked slowly. What about the other pilots? His battalion? Did they escape? “You, the last star-pilot of the Sindû, will be my Ace-Defiant.” It was not a choice.

With a flourish, Emperor Calus lifted a hand. “My Star, a gift for you.” The theater had begun. The hangar door opened slowly, and behind it a row of purple banners dropped, one after another. As each banner snapped into place, a Psion fell to hands and knees, head bowed low. Jarus's shoulder disappeared in the emperor's hand. “Come, let us open your gift.” The two walked past the kneeling warriors. “I have named it for you,” Calus crooned. “I call it God's Will.” Jarus's chest fluttered. The ship was beautiful. A drum sounded. A Cabal emerged, delicately carrying armor, holding it as if it would break. Piece by piece it was placed on the floor in front of Jarus. The weight on his shoulder lifted. “This is yours. When you take it, you are mine.” Calus left. His procession followed. Only God's Will and Jarus remained.

“Jarus, you simply are wrong.” “We will agree to disagree, my lord.” “Your palate simply lacks the sophistication to detect the notes in your world's drink!” “I am Sindû. It was crafted for my palate, my lord.” “But you simply do not taste all of this. It's impossible.” “I do not currently taste anything, my lord.” “Well, we must fix that.” In the silence of space, a nearby explosion rocked God's Will. Jarus narrowed his eyes. “My lord, I have an issue to tend to.” “I shall save your drink for you.” The cockpit monitor flickered from Calus's face to a radar. Small red triangles blinked onscreen as an alarm took up its shrill cry. Jarus pulled a visor down in front of him and fired the ship's thrusters.

Shayotet's ship lay smashed and burning on the ground. A few meters away, Shayotet himself crawled from a pod. Jarus jumped lightly from his own ship, sent it rocketing back into low orbit with a tap to his nav-gauntlet. God's Will had done its part. Now Jarus must finish him. Jarus raised a pistol, another of Calus's gifts, and emptied its clip. Shayotet heaved and jerked as black pressure gel spouted from his armor, but he did not fall. He roared—blood and saliva spattered the ground—and charged. Jarus holstered the pistols. He waited until Shayotet was nearly on top of him before activating the energy blade. A gargling roar, a spray of pressure gel, and it was over. Jarus' fingers trembled as he summoned God's Will again. In the cockpit, Calus' face appeared. “My heart swells with pride. This drink is in your honor.”

Jarus left God's Will behind for his final mission. He needed a ship big enough to carry his fellow Shadows to Ghaul, and with enough internal shielding and anti-impact padding to ensure the plan they had developed would succeed. Under Jarus's control, the ship dodged, weaved, and carved a path through the Red Legion. His fingers flipped switches, rapidly changing the displays on the monitors surrounding the cockpit. In the hold, the Shadows waited. Jarus aligned the ship's trajectory toward the Dominus' ship. The plan was simple. “My dear Jarus,” the emperor had said. “We must deliver the Shadows to the Dominus at any cost.” Jarus knew what this meant. For him, the trip was one-way. But that was all right, so long as Ghaul's was, too. Jarus's fighter soared like a blade into the throat of the Dominus's command ship. They hoped it wouldn't matter. Jarus died on impact. The Shadows burst forth from his shattered vessel, the Fulminator leading the charge.

"The Ace-Defiant burned his mind to fly my golden ship. Being a Loyalist costs you, but being a Shadow costs dearly. With the death of the Ace-Defiant, the Leviathan is without a master helmsman. If I must wait another millennium for a replacement, I shall.” - Calus, Emperor of the Cabal

The Fulminator

“What was she? A creature of the Light? Or the other end of the spectrum? The Councilors never finished their analysis. Before my we could finalize her containment armor, the very presence of the Fulminator assaulted the senses. She was breathtaking. The Councilors devised a way for the Fulminator to escape her interstellar ark, to the outrage of her people. But how does one convince a creature of pure, sentient energy to pledge her loyalty? The agency to leave home is intoxicating for anyone.” - Calus, Emperor of the Cabal.

Calus gestured towards the crackling Arc storm before him. The energy mass shivered, tethered to a golden spindle in the center of the chamber. “You are marvelous,” he said to the Arkborn. His eyes drank in the flickering light, reflecting nothing. “You will cast a glorious Shadow.” A panel on the wall lit up in Cabal: THIS SHIP IS TINY. The emperor threw his head back and guffawed. “Compared to the interstellar conduits of your people anything would seem small. The Leviathan is formidable in its own right, I assure you.” LEAVE MY PEOPLE BE. I WILL SERVE. “Of course. You are all I need. Your very presence eviscerates flesh.” He gestured, and a metallic shell lowered from the darkness above. Now the Fulminator was free to walk the decks of her new flagship.

Statesman Tha'uul ran, and the Fulminator followed him. He was a minor diplomat who had played a part in the coup against the emperor. She wasn't certain of the details. The social dynamics of organics were difficult to grasp and she found them consistently irrelevant. He had no idea she was still there. He thought he had outrun her, but the Arkborn knew that bipeds rarely look up. She hovered far above her target, specific limiters on her armor disabled so that Arc could flow freely and lift her to the heavens. Below, the statesman had chosen a brightly lit street that led to a dead end on the left turn in front of him. She descended.

The charred husk that was Statesman Tha'uul had revealed several things before he expired. He had mistaken her for a “warrior of the Light,” one of their “storm bringers” who apparently bore a resemblance to the Fulminator. She wished to see one of them. No biped was ever anything like her. She felt something like regret when Tha'uul said his people were mobilizing to annihilate them. She made other reports to Calus, pertaining to the locations of Red Legion armories and fleet movements. He only cared about one. Now that the military was in power, in Calus's absence, military parades on Cabal worlds were commonplace. Ghaul's flagship would take part in one such celebration, on Resignation Day, in the fringes of the Sol system, in honor of a mythic Praetor. That was where the Shadows would kill the Dominus.

The Fulminator noticed a difference in her fellow Shadows as they prepared for war. The usual bickering, fostered by the multispecies makeup of Calus's enforcer group, vanished overnight as they faced the task they had gathered to complete: kill Dominus Ghaul. Calus had recruited them through bribery or promises of wealth and resources for their homeworlds. None of them expected to survive their mission. The might of the Red Legion had grown vast. This acceptance brought them together. The Fulminator didn't understand, or care. As long as Calus left the Arkborn to their interstellar conduits, she would do what she had done since the day she came aboard the Leviathan: destroy the enemies of the emperor.

Jarus's fighter soared like a blade into the throat of the Dominus's command ship. They hoped it wouldn't matter. Jarus died on impact. The Shadows burst forth from his shattered vessel, the Fulminator leading the charge. Every limiter on her armor was undone. The unrelenting fury of her being loosed onto the bridge would permanently disable her. She would still exist, but couldn't anchor herself or manipulate anything around her. She would scatter to the winds. Navigation displays exploded in a shower of sparks as she passed. The storm she had become reached an apex of intensity, and she reached out to scores of Cabal and swallowed them and she felt them die. She wrapped Ghaul in her light, enervated him in bursts of flaring Arc. She was fading. He would die. Wouldn't he?

"The Fulminator could directly afflict the nervous system of the organics around her. She was pain in all its shades. I will miss her.” - Calus, Emperor of the Cabal.

Rull: Gun of Kaga Clipse

“My planet was dead. The sky poisoned by war with an extrasolar enemy in a war that continued to rage. Then Calus came. He invited the Clipse to join his Loyalists. We refused, at first. So he sent a Shadow. Valus Nohr marched on our capital with a few thousand. For weeks we battered them. But the Valus... She broke us. Calus had won, but he took nothing from us. Instead he gave us everything we needed to end our perpetual war. He could not heal our air, and my planet is still dying, but as long as I serve, I have hope.” - Rull, Gun of Kaga Clipse.

The Clipse had only celebrated their first century of global peace when the cataclysm struck. A flash of interstellar gamma radiation killed every living thing in their western hemisphere, poisoned the atmosphere, and destroyed all technological civilization. As the surviving Clipse clawed back to subsistence cave farming, they met a new horror. The radiation had burnt a mysterious signal into the comets and asteroids of their system, and as this debris rained down on their world, it seeded hideous alien life. Millennia later, they had become a civilization that knew only war—a culture that revered the gun, batteries of planetary defense weapons holding back an endless poison sky-fall. The moon Kaga-Clipse bristled with interceptors, ready to fend off any threat. They were no match for the Leviathan.

The greatest warriors of the Clipse lay dead. They formed a bloody trail through the Leviathan. Only Rull had lived to see the throne room. Calus calmly sipped his wine and considered Rull from the height of his golden seat. "Are you hungry?" Rull stared dumbfounded, bleeding and exhausted. He didn't know what to make of a creature that would casually offer sustenance and slaughter in equal measure. "I offer you a warrior's paradise, Rull of the Clipse. Join me, and be counted among the lucky few that might see the end of this world." What could Rull do but accept?

Rull gathered his cloak around him tightly as he pushed his way through the teeming marketplace. All around him, Cabal stumbled and pushed their way towards the celebration. No one seemed to question his identity as a foreign merchant, but his heart still raced. Rull thought about the mission that Emperor Calus had given him. "I'm sending you to the Cabal homeworld, Rull. There's a celebration, and you are to be a bearer of my gifts—the finest wines and spirits the universe has to offer." Rull was disappointed. He wanted to bring down great beasts, not assassinate old Cabal aristocrats. "Oh, Rull. Don't fret. I promised you a warrior's paradise and you shall have it. The gifts will buy you access to some of my former friends. I haven't spoken to them in some time, and well, I'd like them to know I haven't forgotten."

He arrived at the estate of Iska'al, former friend and confidante of the exiled Emperor Calus. It took surprisingly little to convince the guards to grant him entrance. The Cabal must truly be crazy for the wine he offered up as a gift. It was a day of celebration, after all. Who knows how deep into their cups these guards were? Once inside, he spotted his mark. Rull wasted no time. He removed the sheath from the end of his staff to reveal a spear-tip. Iska'al fell backwards and attempted to crawl away as his guards were skewered. Rull grabbed a cask of wine and pounced on the terrified old creature, pouring the wine down his throat. Iska'al choked and sputtered and flailed helplessly. Rull delivered his message as promised. "Emperor Calus has not forgotten you." Rull didn't stop pouring until he felt Iska'al go limp. Rull was covered in the sticky black and violet of Cabal blood and wine. He dropped Iska'al's body to the floor with a soft thud. Just then, Moli the Celebrant entered the courtyard. When Rull realized that his second target had carelessly walked alone into a secluded space in the midst of a massive celebration on the Cabal homeworld, he thought, "Perhaps this is the warrior's paradise that Emperor Calus promised."

Rull activated his staff's secondary configuration and fired a harpoon into Moli's exposed flank. The barbs pierced deep, and the giant beast of a Cabal let out a monstrous howl. Blind with pain, he began to run, dragging Rull behind like a harpooned whale dragging a ship. The honored Celebrant Moli ran through the streets of the Cabal homeworld on celebration day, howling in agony and dragging Rull behind. It was such a spectacle that no one was sure what exactly was happening or what to do about it. Moli ran all the way to Dominus Ghaul's ceremony and right up the steps before collapsing at his lord's feet. Rull realized that he now faced a choice—try to escape, or finish the job. Rull yanked out the harpoon before shoving it through Moli's neck. He had just enough time to pull off his helmet and smile in Ghaul's face before he was killed. Truly, Emperor Calus had delivered a warrior's paradise.