Introduction One

"It is living and ceasing to live that are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere."
Andre Breton

Zalchis is the incredibly ancient and thoroughly rotten core of a mostly dead universe that is on the very last throes of its prematurely terminated existence.  Composed of a scarred and pitted ring accumulated from the debris, detritus and dust of countless lost worlds and forgotten solar systems, Zalchis encircles an intensely compressed and eternally ravenous inverted-star wreathed in the whorls of a decaying Maelstrom that grows more diffuse with each passing decade.

Time is coming to an end in this accursed and doomed place.  Less than a thousand years remain to it.  Everything is finite here, fleeting, ephemeral, ending.  The universe of Zalchis is not only dying, but the final foretold date of its ultimate collapse into nothingness is known by all who remain in this place.  The calendar of Zalchis counts downwards to zero as this doomed, damned and mostly abandoned cosmos contracts and collapses bit by bit into oblivion.

There is no hope here.  The end is a certainty.  A known thing.  Measurable, palpable, assured and as inevitable as death itself.  Those who could escape, have left.  Only the lost or the forlorn linger in Zalchis.  It is a cursed place, a fantastic nightmare and an fatal abomination.  What beings have any business traveling to this realm -- aside from the victims of the Mechanisms of Ludenja--those unfortunate heroes dragged screaming across the trackless gulfs of fractured space to serve in a pointless and forgotten war that ended millennia ago?  Who would brave the unnameable horrors of this penultimate sepulchre of a black void, this festering cesspit of cosmic horror--what fabulous and terrible things do they seek amidst the jumbled ruins of ten thousand-thousand worlds dashed to bits by the vortexes and aethyric currents that seethe and swirl just beyond the turbulent and dangerous skies of Zalchis?

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