Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic.
Authors Note: This is an alternate universe with an alternate time line.

Birth of Darkness

Temporal Location: Unknown
Universe: Zero
Reality: Zero

In the beginning there had been the void and nothing else. Then a planet had appeared and with it a being known as The One, who would become The Creator of the Universe. The Creator had possessed the ability to take control of the volatile energies running rampant throughout the cosmos and had pushed them outward, shaping how he wished existence to appear as the power descended through the many layers of existences from where The One sat on high. His will and power laid the foundations of the new reality. However, creation turned out to be a demanding and ongoing task that required his will and concentration to continue. Until existence stabilised everything he did was fluid and prone to reverting back to nothingness the moment he he diverted his attention. He was so busy holding his outline of existence together that he could not divert his power long enough to finalise his creation.

But HE was not alone in his campaign to create something out of the void. The vast energies he had directed to the task were as much a part of his will and essence as he was a part of them. And just as he was prompted by their volatile and ever-changing nature to build and renew, so they responded to HIS needs. The energies created agents that would take his place and finish the construction on his behalf. The agents were what others would consider to be alive, but shared a part of his essence allowing them to fulfil his will. They laboured on his behalf, finishing the dimensions and realms he had formed, filling them with matter and most importantly: life. For life drew upon the power and in doing so helped him in his goals.

Many races were created, beautiful creatures of every shape and form. Luminous beings, physical beings, some made of thought and others of spiritual mass. They lived within the many realms upon the different planes of existence that had been crafted for them. Some travelled, making the void their home while they explored. Others loved their territory so much that they refused to leave it. It was beautiful and strange, but all was not perfect.

The problem was that while The One had accomplished great deeds, It was still evolving and struggling to understand its surroundings. For a long time it had looked upon creation as a child, enjoying all the pretty lights and loud noises, but as it grew older its mindset also changed. The One wanted to known more about the universe and the beings it had allowed to live there. It was aware that it was worshipped by those beings his agents had created in his name, but failed to understand why they would worship him. And it needed to find the answers.

The power he controlled responded to his needs, creating two beings similar to himself. They were a part of him, but independent; subservient to his will, but enjoying a freedom his previous creations did not possess. While they would follow the path of discovery he had set them on, they would enjoy the freedom to investigate anything that caught their interest. And as they uncovered new knowledge, so he too would learn about the cosmos even as he pushed creation to grow larger and more beautiful with each passing moment.

To assist the two beings with their task and to ensure that the Creator’s other needs were satisfied, more beings were created. They would serve the two beings, carrying out their will to uncover the secrets of reality and to protect The One.

For a time all was well. The two beings explored the cosmos while the lesser beings spread across existence, integrating themselves into the many realms and dimensions. As the children of the Creator, they had no problem being accepted and some came to be worshipped alongside him.

The One learned much as his children studied the simpler beings. He was especially interested in emotions, something he had been unfamiliar with in the past. It was however a mistake when he tried to alter his children to feel emotions and emulate the lesser beings. He did not realise that in doing so he had exposed them to the possibility of corruption.

The One’s biggest error was that he did not gift his children the same emotions. Instead he gave some of them the ability to feel happiness and contentment while filling others with rage and greed. His two most powerful children were left unbalanced because of his actions and despite his partial success in reverting them to how they had been before, his mistake had corrupted one of his offspring enough that he would turned against its own father. He gave it a sense of superiority over all other beings including its creator and coupled that with a fiercely logical belief that the inferior beings should bow down to those that were superior. The son now believed that as it was superior, its creator should kneel and accept a new role as its servant.

Unknown to The One, he had been feeding his emotions into his creations since he had discovered them. In response to some unknown need understand what he was witnessing, he had accidentally poured all the negative thoughts and feelings he had encountered. His power had altered it to embody everything dark and evil about existence, filled it with the deep need to spread its wickedness and extinguish anything that opposed it including its creator. His subconscious had increased its powers until it was almost as powerful as The One that created it. In effect he had made it the single and dominating force of evil within His dominion.

The cosmos had responded, anticipating his need for their to be a balance. Even as one of his children was altered to become the embodiment of everything that was wrong, so the other was changed to stand defy it. However, the universe could not bestow the powers equal to the Creator, only The One could do that and He was distracted while trying to cure the corruption of his other son.

And so The One had accidentally created a being of darkness that was almost his equal and believed itself to be his superior. And it was a being that was growing more and more powerful the longer it was allowed to believe such a truth. And although the universe had responded with a being of light that was almost the equal of the dark being, the darkness continued to grow more and more powerful, soon eclipsing its brother. Although brothers, his sense that he was superior and that all others should bow before him, coupled with his brother’s refusal to do so, led him to hate everything the other stood for. The dark being wanted to take the place of his father and knew instinctively that to do so he would need to dispatch the brother sent to oppose him – for the other felt a need to protect his father and the universe at all costs, even if it meant slaying his wayward kin.

Even as The One’s attention was drawn further ad further away to oversee the continued pattern of the universe, his sons sought each other out, desiring battle and victory.

The Dark One as the corrupted being chose to be named moved against his father, only to find his brother standing in his path. His brother had chosen the name Paladin and while weaker than his brother, had had the forethought to recruit the Creator’s other children as an army of light. The Dark One was stronger, but he was outnumbered. He was also clever enough not to attack without first attempting to recruit some soldiers of his own. He possessed the ability to detect the darkness in others and to turn it to his advantage. He reached out to those Paladin had recruited, claiming those he believed belonged to him and ordering them to fight their brothers and sisters.

As they sensed the presence of The One’s presence fade, the two sides began the first battle in what would once again prove to be an eternal war. The two brothers were determined to erase each other from existence. To begin with the struggle was a war of words, but soon they turned to physical violence. Their blows had little effect on each other for they had been created as equals, however their battle echoed through the rest of existence, drawing the attention of the cosmos.

The conflict between Paladin and The Dark One rapidly escalated beyond battles into all-out war. Both had inherited The One’s ability to create new things using the power. They changed their followers, giving them the tools needed for victory. And while neither could influence the beings sent forth to finish the construction of the universe, they were both capable of tainting their younger siblings.

As the battle between them raged, they recruited armies to fight for their cause, corrupting them with promises of power and glory. Those that agreed were granted access to levels of power they had only witnessed from their creator.

But mere armies were not enough, they required weapons on a larger scale. To that end Paladin and his dark foe crafted giant beasts and filled them with the power to destroy the enemy. Larger than anything previously created, these creatures lacked sentience instead possessing only an overwhelming urge to destroy their enemies. They were bred to battle and to destroy anything in their path as they stormed through existence.

While Paladin at least thought to grant control of his monsters to those that followed him, The Dark One allowed his beasts to run amok, not caring about those innocents that got caught up in the conflict.

Soon both sides tired of using their father’s creations to fight on their behalf and instead created their own warriors. The Dark One sacrificed his followers and then used the remains to create his new elite.

Meanwhile Paladin sought out those follower that he felt reflected his beliefs and elevated them to new levels of power, granting them a place above the rest of his army to stand against The Dark One’s chosen. They were intended to act not only as warriors, but as leaders and messengers to his forces. Warriors of body, mind and spirit, the fighting shifted between the many planes, realms and dimensions, spreading destruction wherever they appeared.

Unfortunately Paladin had failed to grasp how much influence The Dark One had gained within his forces. While many had defected others had remained seemingly loyal until the time came for them to strike. And a number of those secret traitors lurked within the ranks of those he had chosen to be a part of his elite. He had gifted them with his power, elevated them in ways that The Dark One could not, meaning that when they eventually revealed their true colours and received the gifts The Dark One bestowed, they were far more powerful than those they betrayed.

The commander of Paladin’s new group which he called the Covenant was called Protos. He was a noble warrior very similar to Paladin in the way he commanded his troops. He carried a sword that glowed with the light of a newborn star Light had placed within its hilt. There was little it could not cut. With an energy matrix bound deep within his chest, he was capable of channelling the raw power of existence, which made him the equal of The Dark One’s vilest servants.

The others had their own attributes that made them vital assets to Paladin’s forces. Though different they were united in purpose and dedicated to ending the evil of Dark One and his army. Collectively the group was given a final gift: the ability to recruit others as Paladin had done, allowing them to create the next generation of guardians, the next line of defence against The Dark One’s hordes.

However, nothing that Paladin did could prevent The Dark One from corrupting those lacking the will to fight his influence. They were vulnerable to The Dark One’s twisted promises. He whispered in their minds, allowing them to experience the nature of darkness. And few were capable of rejecting his offer to change sides and share his glory.

Many ignored him, dismissing his empty words for the lies they were. Others listened but did not accept his offerings; their failure to completely reject him though only diminished their usefulness to Paladin’s cause and sewing mistrust through the Covenant. One not only listened, but accepted The Dark One’s offer immediately, turning against the rest of the Covenant.

And then The Dark One turned his attention to the army that was waiting to be recruited to his cause: the beings that had been created by The One’s first servants; the so-called lesser races. Although they would always be inferior to The Dark One’s elite, those that followed him bolstered the power of the dark army, making them even stronger.

Though they were imperfect, the Covenant were powerful enough to take the fight to The Dark One’s forces, slaying many of the creatures he spawned. And with their help, Paladin was able to drive The Dark One back to an uninhabited plane of existence for a short time and used a great deal of his power to hold the villain there. Without The Dark One to lead them the army he had created began to fall apart. The beings he had corrupted though remained and continued to fight in his name.

Meanwhile the followers of the Covenant grew into tribes watched over by one of Paladin’s chosen. Their numbers swelled as they prepared for the day when Paladin would be forced to release his hold on his wicked brother and the evil being would return. But things did not go well and as time passed the tribes started to fight amongst themselves. The Covenant tried to calm the tensions, unaware that one of their members was secretly undermining their efforts.

The upheaval meant that the Covenant were distracted and failed to noticed when the traitor broke from their ranks under the pretence of checking on Paladin. They were not at their lord’s side when he was stabbed in the back by the traitor, forcing him to release his hold on The Dark One. By the time they realised what had happened, The Dark One had already attacked a weakened Paladin and with the traitor’s help, had defeated him.

The news that Paladin had fallen put an end to the infighting as the reborn Army of Light was mobilised to destroy The Dark One and the traitors that followed him. But the traitor had selected his tribe from those that were susceptible to Darke’s teachings and at his command they had attacked the other tribes, sowing chaos in the ranks.

Without Paladin to lead them, Protos assumed command of the Covenant and their remaining armies. The traitor and his forces had taken them by surprise and had severely diminished their numbers. The enemy outranked them and had been bolstered by the addition forces the traitor had provided. Still, inspired by the courage of the Covenant, the Army of Light fought on, preventing The Dark One from claiming victory. To force a shift, both sides started to use the lesser beings of the universe as cannon fodder. For eons neither side was able to hold an advantage. For each warrior cut down on one side, so a member of the opposing army was slain.

In the end though it did not matter whose army had the most fighters; Protos was more powerful than most of those he met in single combat and was capable of fighting four or even five opponents at a time without problems and the rest of the Covenant were valiant fighters. Together the chosen warriors were almost equal to Paladin himself. Unfortunately without the traitor they were only able to fight The Dark One to a draw and when the traitor was at his master’s side, the Covenant was always at a disadvantage.

One by one the Covenant fell to The Dark One’s power. For they had been so focussed on avenging Paladin that they had forgotten the others that had joined with The Dark One. The Dark One’s forces used underhand methods to draw the Covenant into a trap and isolate one of their leaders. The traitor would then lead the rest of The Dark One’s warlords against the lone warrior, overpowering and dispatching him. And as the Covenant’s numbers dwindled, so their armies also found themselves routed on the many battlefields. It appeared that Dark One would triumph as he set his focus upon his original goal: The One’s throne.

Paladin had survived. Somehow he had clung to existence as The Dark One and his newest general departed, but his wounds were beyond the healing abilities he had been granted by his father. In desperation he did the only thing he could think of in the circumstances, mustered his remaining strength and sent a message to The One, knowing his father was the only force capable of stopping his wayward brother.

The Covenant was finally broken. With The Dark One’s power at their command, the traitors had devastated Paladin’s warriors. Only Protos had survived and having been forced into a confrontation with The Dark One himself, was on the brink of defeat.

The Army of Light had been reduced to only a few thousand soldiers, battling the Army of Darkness throughout existence. As te Dark One’s influence had grown, his armies had flourished. Those who followed The Dark One and his wicked practices were taught to channel power through symbols and written words. Later they would discover the ability to trap power inside an inanimate object such as a wand or to use the conductive properties of some atoms as a means of directing energy. As the final and ultimately the most effective means of focussing the destructive powers at their command, some of the older and most loyal followers allowed the arcane energies to corrupt their bodies, twisting them into sinister forms that could channel the mystical powers The Dark One offered his followers directly. Some could already direct such energy in their natural form and were rapidly incorporated into the Army of Darkness.

The forces led by Protos on the other hand lacked the ability to naturally draw on the power without a conduit. Those who could do so were limited in their strength. They were forced to find safe ways to channel the energies. Some copied the use of books and wands to contain magic whilst others discovered that gems and precious metals could also be used.

In the end though it did not matter whose army had the most fighters or which group could draw the most power. Once Paladin had fallen, the Covenant was the only thing that stood in The Dark One’s way. With Protos destroyed he would claim victory and then claim his rightful place as The One. The final battle had begun.

Protos, the last member of the Covenant, was injured. His body, made by the will of the Creator was failing. The once white plating was marred with dents and scorch marks; it no longer shone with light. It had been the traitor that had delivered the fatal blow, striking from behind when Protos had been focussed on The Dark One. Tossed through the dimensions, he had landed in one of the lower planes, a primitive part of existence that had yet to evolve. As he gazed up at the blackened sky he knew there was a chance that should The Dark One triumph, it would never have the chance to evolve.

He tried to reach out to the energy that had sustained him throughout the war, but his injuries were such that he found it impossible to focus long enough to use it. It was only stubbornness that allowed him to hold on as long as he did. He refused to give The Dark One the satisfaction if seeing him give up. He would fight to the end to protect his creator from evil.

The tide of the war had turned against him and the bulk of his army had either been destroy or drawn away from the front lines. Protos had been trying to rally his forces, any forces at all, when out of the smog had emerged three of The Dark One’s freakish followers. They were ugly brutes, powerful without question, but little more than fodder intended to tire Protos enough for The Dark One to hold a real advantage.

They had circled around him, just beyond the reach of his sword, neither attacking nor parrying, laughing at the rewards they would reap for destroying their master’s most hated enemy. He had known that they were delaying, he had seen it in their movements. They appeared eager to attack and take the kill, but in reality they were just there to keep him caged in while they waited for their master to savour the glory.

Protos had raised his sword, allowing his energy to flow through the skilfully crafted blade. The hilt had glowed brightly as he and the weapon became a single entity, moving with precision and grace. The sword had shone and caused his opponents to back up, ready for the attack. Instead of pressing his attack, he had made to retreat, knowing that like a pack of wild beasts they would sense weakness and move in closer.

Three against one, with those odds there was no doubt that they would attack. His sword moved swiftly and slew the first two with a single swing. But that tremendous move had thrown Protos off balance. And though he quickly corrected his stance, the third attacker had ducked inside his guard and lashed out with his own sword. The creature had brought the blade in low and caught Protos on the right knee. Protos had stumbled, surprised that the blow had affected him, but his sword had swung itself around and cleaved off the attacker’s arm.

The burst of dark energy had caught him by surprise and had torn through his side. The Dark One had been waiting for the opportunity to attack. The two warriors had clashed many times, but The Dark One had always been stronger than individual members of the Covenant and Protos was injured. Still the leader of the Covenant had managed to frustrate his opponent with his skill. It had been a cowardly blow, but one that was undeniably effective. The traitor had appeared out of thin air and stabbed Protos in the shoulder.

The Dark One did not waste the opportunity to savage his opponent, striking him repeatedly until Protos had fallen. And then together The Dark One and his warrior had loomed over over the fallen disciple, savouring the moment that had won the war. It was a moment’s delay that would cost them.

The Dark One and his brother were complex and powerful creatures, but they were not completely indestructible. Their bodies could be damaged and even destroyed with a great deal of difficulty. Paladin’s body had already been damaged beyond even the power The One had gifted his first children.

However, as powerful as Paladin had been, he was not as powerful as The Dark One. And as powerful as The Dark One had seemed to his followers and those that fought against him, there was a vast difference between being almost as powerful as the Creator and possessing the power of The One.

Paladin in his final moments had sent a plea for his father to intervene and prevent The Dark One from going too far. It was an earnest plea fuelled by desperation and devotion to the Creator. It was so powerful that for a moment The One turned his attention away from his eternal task and looked out in to the universe.

And when he did so, he saw both the destruction and the growing darkness. This was not a part of his plan and he would not accept it. For the first time, he left his throne and travelled to the place where Protos had fallen. There he defeated the The Dark One’s elite with a wave of his hand, unleashing the raw power at his command. The Dark One saw an opportunity to claim the throne while it was unoccupied and attacked his creator, only to find himself unable to move. He was a being gifted with powers that made him almost as powerful as The One, but The One was all-powerful and extremely angry. The battle lasted seconds before The Dark One was on his knees, beaten down by the anger of his father. His powers were nothing when wielded against the one that had granted them.

And it was then that The One chose to offer mercy. He gave The Dark One a choice: to be stripped of all his power and set free to wander the universe in a form nobody would recognise or to retain his powers and identity in a prison of The One’s choosing until the Dark One renounced his ambitions and admitted that he was wrong.

Although he had been offered peace, The Dark One was incapable of giving up his place or the power he had enjoyed for so long. He opted to accept imprisonment, but promised that he would break free and claim the the throne. The One did not argue with the decision because in his mind doing so would undermine the point of giving his wayward creation the choice. Instead he decided that if the Dark One was unwilling to realise he was wrong then it was better for him to be sealed away.

He looked out into the universe that his servants were still shaping to his will. By now the cosmos was no longer a simple construct. His servants had taken the raw material he had provided them and reshaped it to create layers of existence descending from his planet all the way down to the lowest depths of reality. And it was there, at the lowest point in creation, that The one created a small dimension to act as The Dark One’s prison. While still a part of existence it was intentionally made to keep The Dark One beyond the boundaries of the universe where he could do no further harm. And as the Dark One screamed defiantly and promised he would have his revenge as soon as he broke free, The One crafted barriers to keep him from doing so, erecting seals to keep him contained.

The Dark One’s most loyal generals tried to aid their master only to discover that against The One, they were powerless. The One barely considered them as they continued to defy him. He offered them a chance to renounce their master and they refused. And so he decided they should share The Dark One’s fate. He scattered them across the universe and sealed them in their own dimensions, albeit without the vast protections he had used to secure their master.

And then he turned his attention to The Dark One’s other servants and decided that despite their crimes, without their master to order them, they were of no further threat. He banished them back to where they belonged, chose not to undo the corruption for it was now a part of them and a sign of their treachery. He decided instead to allow those followers of Paladin that remained to keep them in check and gave them permission to hunt and destroy those corrupted by his son if they wished to. With one exception.

There was one being that the One could not bring himself to show mercy. Even though The Dark One had been to blame for the evil that had been unleashed, it was the last traitor that had been responsible for Paladin’s death. It was that traitor that The One refused to forgive. With a wave of his hand he tortured the unfortunate being, showing him all the anger he possessed. He stripped him of his physical form, forcing him to exist as a mere spirit of darkness. And then he had banished him to a distant part of the universe where he would live out his existence unable to interact with those around, an example of what happened to those that drew the ire of The One.

And finally he turned his thoughts to Paladin, Protos and the entire Army of Light that had fought to stop The Dark One. He released them from their duties allowing most to return to their homes. Those created to serve his will he allowed to return to his planet where their desire to serve and worship him would be fulfilled.

Protos and the other leaders of the Covenant were beyond his ability to save in their current form. He realised that resurrecting them as they had been would damage their minds and instead decided to reward them for their service. He used the power of the Morphin Grid to recreate them in new forms, infusing them with the raw energy of creation and released them to act as guardians of the Morphin Grid. In the future their wisdom, strength and spirit would help others in the fight against those that had followed the Dark One’s path.

And finally there was the matter of Paladin. His son had been on the brink of non-existence when The One had found him, yet his wounds had been healed and he would survive. Still, the betrayal by one he had trusted so much combined with the knowledge of his own vulnerability had changed him, robbing him of the ability to feel the strong conviction that had once defined him. And in the moments when he had been certain of death, the words of The Dark One had damaged him in ways that his father could not fix. The change was small, hard to see by any that did not know of it, but Paladin was no longer the being the Creator had created to serve as his Avatar of Light. Paladin’s soul no longer shone with the purity it once held. Now it was less perfect, more natural. Paladin had become a shadow of his former self.

And so it was with some degree of sadness that The One used his power to not only heal his son, but to also remove the heavy burdens placed upon his offspring. He released him from his original mission, giving him true freedom to go where he wanted and to do as he wished. And as a final gift, The One granted him the same power that The Dark One had once enjoyed, but not before protecting him from the corruption that had driven The Dark One to treason.

With his business concluded, The One returned to his planet where he found that in his absence the work had indeed continued only where it had previously been guided by his desire, creation had become random and unpredictable. A part of him found that he liked it that way and instead of undoing the work, he chose to sit back for a while and simply observe as the universe continued to grow, but not before he sent a command to those he had created long ago to oversee the formation of the cosmos, instructing them to erect walls between the many planes of reality. Never again would his creations enjoy the freedom they had once held. But they would learn to live with the new status-quo or they would fade from existence. Either way in his mind, all was well.

End of Part.

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