Brennus Files 04: Monsters of Yore

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These are the monsters that make the Dark seem not so bad.

Dread Roger

The very, very first S-Class metahuman, Dread Roger was a supervillain of the late twenties and early thirties. Little is known about his past, other than his Nationality – he spoke with a Dutch accent, though he did use the English language. A self-styled “Heir to Blackbeard”, his powers allowed him to terrorize the world for seven years, before he mysteriously vanished – the world simply wasn’t ready to deal with someone of his abilities.

His powers were multilayered:

  • He was tough enough to go toe to toe with a normal-sized Kraquok and shrug off even military rifle rounds of the time. His strength matched his toughness, and his reaction speed allowed him to cut bullets out of the air.
  • His Captain’s Uniform gave him the ability to fly, and his cutlass could cut through solid steel and his flintgun could blow up cars.
  • His main power created a pirate ship that could fly – and, as he put it, “sail across the oceans of reality”. It was self-repairing, self-flying, had cannons that could take down buildings and could evade most pursuit by escaping into other dimensions (one theory as to his disappearance is that he ran afoul of something even he couldn’t deal with, in some other dimension). What was most terrifying, though, was his crew. He could make deals with people, taking them into his crew. His crewmembers were empowered by him, becoming monstrous and immortal – no matter what happened to them, they would be reborn on his ship, after a while. The only limit was the maximal capacity of his ship (around 100 people, no one ever got the exact number out of him).
  • The top three reasons for joining his crew, back then: Terminal Illness, Greed, Flight from Enemies
  • Estimates put about four thousand deaths to his name, and several million dollars of damage (at a time where that was an incredible amount of money).


Queen Bee

Queen Bee surfaced in the late fifties in Southern Iran – at least that’s where her first colony was stationed. She was a monstrous being, a twisted bee-woman the size of a horse who implanted her eggs into the bodies of her victims. The eggs hatched, and her children worked their way up into the brain of their host, taking over their bodies. Depending on their caste – worker, warrior, spy or bodyguard for the queen – they developed different mutations and powers, and shared a hive mind with her as the center and master controller.

Ironically, Queen Bee did not meet her end at the hands of any hero – but at the hands of Weisswald. In 1958, she attacked and killed a whole division of his metahuman army near the Turkish border – as she was quite unwilling to negotiate with him, he set out to take her down. The following battle – which he won, if barely – contributed greatly to giving the PATO and the Sovjet Union time to recuperate, gather their forces and plan how to strike back. Despite the terror she caused – nearly a hundred thousand people are supposed to have died at the hands of the Queen Bee and her “children” – she is considered one of the main reasons for the allied victory (apart from Lady Lights near-legendary rampage after the death of Brightchild).


The Nightmare Sun

In 1983, a glowing figure appeared over the Vietnamese city of Hue. Within three hours, the city had been entirely depopulated, and the Nightmare Sun flew out onto the ocean.

Three weeks later, it appeared at the coast of Ecuador and flew in a straight line towards the Atlantic Ocean, before swerving South to enter Brazil, and continuing towards the Southernmost tip of the continent.

Whomever its cruel light touched saw their own shadow come to life, rise from the ground and become… something. Whatever they feared mosts, monstrosities that embodied their each and every fear and shame. Many died simply from looking at them, their hearts ceasing their function from the shock. Many more died when the monstrosities went on a rampage – even the death of their creators did not stop these monsters, and each of them was hard to put down to say the least. The more powerful the person was that spawned them, the more powerful the shadows were. They also seemed to react strongly to powers that related to creating or intensifying light – shadows of such people were even more powerful.

The Nightmare Sun itself was a being made of pure light. There was no body, nothing to attack. It did not even seem to have a mind, or at least it was utterly immune and undetectable for mental powers. No one, not even Lady Light and the Dark, were able to so much as slow it down – only mitigate the damage its spawn caused (they did prove to be some of the few people immune to its power – fortunately, the world never had to find out what the shadow of Lady Light would have been capable of).

A week and a half after it appeared at the South American shore, the Nightmare Sun vanished. There was only a single, unreliable eye witness report – a small child that had escaped its light until the last moment – and when its shadow rose, it was immediately crushed underfoot by what it described as “that funny mirror man”. She went on to describe him punching the Nightmare Sun so hard “he punched it into another world”. Neither the Nightmare Sun nor the mirror man were ever seen again, as far as the world knows.

The final death toll of the Nightmare Sun’s rampage is estimated at about two million people – and the only reason it wasn’t more was because it didn’t specifically target population centers. In fact, to this day, it remains a mystery how and why it took the route it did.

The Iron Dragon

The Iron Dragon held, for the longest time, the distinction of being the oldest operating supervillain, second only to the Dark, with the Matriarch close behind. A mastermind of a villain, he got his start in LA’s Chinatown. His power was rather simple – he could always tell when someone lied. Always. He levereged that into taking over the triads, becoming the first great superpowered crime boss (the Dark was still flying solo at the time, save for his sidekick Kraquok).

At first, the man who called himself the Iron Dragon (it’s not known if he was actually of Chinese descent, despite his style – he always wore a mask) simply took over the local triad and profited from normal crime.

Then, two years after he first came to power, a group of superheroes managed to take his operation apart, and he fled the country when the government came after him.

For five years, no one in the West heard of the Iron Dragon, and he was thought either dead, or retired on his substantial private coffers.

Then, rumors came in of a new mastermind in the Chinese Empire, which was then still independent of the Sovjet Union. Many dismissed them out of hand – the Emperor did not tolerate supervillains, and the empire was, at the time, the most powerful police state in the world, even more so than the Sovjet Union. And these stories spoke of a man calling himself the Iron Dragon, who was leading a war against the Emperor, demanding the throne for himself.

A year later, the Iron Dragon had taken over, declaring himself Emperor. What follows is sketchy, at best. There were stories of Eugenics programs, of him trying to breed a new race of pure metahumans. There were stories of rape camps, where normal women and metahuman women who opposed him both were used by metahuman men to breed more children with the “metahuman gene”. But no one in the West cared much what happened to a bunch of Chinese people.

It wasn’t until the second world war that people payed attention again – because his ideas seemed quite similar to Weisswalds, and no one wanted Weisswald to get an ally as big as Imperial China. Thus, a team of metahuman spies known as the Dragonslayers were sent into the empire to find out what exactly was going on.

What they found was worse than the rumors. Whatever madness had befallen the Iron Dragon, it had driven him to rework entire cities into breeding camps, under the then still widely believed theory that metahumans were genetically different and could pass on their powers. He had drummed up an army of metahumans – almost all of the lowest level, but still more than anything anyone had known at the time – and was preparing to assault Korea, in order to incorporate the population in his program.

What followed is one of the most legendary and highly fictionalized acts of covert warfare in history, a five year campaign that ended with more than two hundred thousand Chinese dead, and the Iron Dragon slain by one of his own lieutenants. China was so weakened after the “Dragonslayer’s War” that it was easy for the Sovjet Union to absorb it – and the countless metahumans left in the wake of the Iron Dragon’s terror – after Weisswald’s fall, thus contributing in large parts to their modern-day power.

The Godking of Mars

Emyr Blackhill. An author of science fiction novels and short stories. Born to a baker and a professional dancer from London, emigrated to America at the age of twelve. Straight A student, but too lazy to really do much with it apart from writing stories. His parents died in an accident when he was eighteen. He had no close friends. When he was twenty-two, he vanished.

Five years later, scientists were elated when they observed activity on the surface of Mars, using Earth-based telescopes. People couldn’t believe it, but there seemed to be intelligent life on Mars, after all. And it was building something big on the surface. Bigger than any human city, and it seemed to be a single building.

A mere five months after construction began, a structure could be seen. A single grand building, a palace, perhaps, bigger than the State of California.

Five weeks later, the Martian Army invaded Earth, striking simultaneously across the globe, their ships appearing out of strange rifts in space.

Five days later, Emyr Blackhill, self-proclaimed Godking of Mars, had conquered the Planet Earth, with only a few pockets of resistance left (the biggest led by Lady Light and the Dark).

A desperate final plan was hatched, and Lady Light and the Dark attacked the Martian headquarters on Earth (stationed in Roswell, New Mexico) – but it was only a distraction. A small, elite team of heroes and villains hijacked a Martian ship and took one of the rifts to their homeplanet – and to their god’s palace, Gran Gyagas, a building so massive it dwarfed any mortal construction in history.

Five hours later, his people began to fade, their impossible technology falling apart, their very bodies turning into… nothing.

The details of the battle are shrouded in myth, for there were no survivors, but this is known: Gungnir, a young supervillainess under the command of the Dowager, managed to penetrate the Godking’s defenses and slayed him, paying with her very life.

Nothing remained of the Martian Empire but the massive, sprawling palace, and the Godking’s corpse, transfixed, to this day, to his own throne by Gungnir’s spear.

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78 thoughts on “Brennus Files 04: Monsters of Yore

  1. I can’t guarantee that I’ll finish a full chapter this weekend, so here’s something to tide you over in case I don’t.

    Hope you like this look into the truly monstrous beasts that ravaged the world.

    Naq guvf nva’g abguvat pbzcnerq gb Unaavony Fgbez.

    • Very interesting, so these are the worst monsters the world wide public has ever seen, save for Weisswald who was introduced previously, and DiL and the Savage 6

    • By the way, that last line in your comment was an entire phrase anagram or it just doesn’t have any meaning? I don’t want to try to solve it if it turns out you just wrote a bunch of letters for the sake of doing so

    • There’s a “highest security in the world” class prison with some of the most feared and powerful supervillians in there?
      I bet 97 mutant penguins that there’s going to be at least a prison break arc, or a “consequences of an offscreen prison break” arc

      • And that’s further proof you were indeed planning on a prison break attempt at least, while it would be a nice change seeing a prison actually living up to its name, I must warn you, the penguins have been crossed with snakes, so they are venomous, scaly and a bit territorial, extreme care must be taken in handling them, also currently are in experimental facility in The Citadel, so unless we get a Mass Relay, delivery is going to be a sick bitch in her period

      • That’s right, the Journeyman could do that, but is he safe against mutant snake penguins? Though considering what happened with the nightmare sun….

      • Yeah, those fangs are adorable…. What about you, do you have a sort of immunity against the poison or an antidote that works on mutated poison from all times of snakes known to man?

      • Thanks for correcting me, some of them are really fast acting though, so I recommend you have him work on a sort of vaccine so you at least get resistant enough to actually use the panacea in the worst cases, also, multiple bites from different Snakeguens could cause nasty sidefects so my recommendation is that you treat with only one at a time, or find some way to pacify them, or neutralize their poison generating capabilities( I think 6 of them don’t have any sort of poison).
        Also, wasn’t Heretic one of the Savage 6? Why would both Heretic and Journeyman work for you? Why would you work with him?
        Ties, you’re one of the good guys right?……

      • So, all this time, you have been the mastermind between the Savage 6, Hastur, Dusu, Weisswald and the other monsters? I can’t post my horror without an image…. It’s cool though, so long as Jouneyman doesn’t allow them into pur world
        …. Speaking of which, in the morality scale, does Journeyman have a black and white, black and grey, grey and grey, grey and white or blue and orange morality?
        My money is on blue and orange

      • Hmm, so it is bacon and scotch morality? I think it can be thought of as a branch of blue and orange but who am I to judge
        That said, I hope the we get the next chapter soon, fever gives me a lot of free time I don’t know how to use

  2. The only ones that I would concretely agree to be worse than the Dark are Queen Bee, Nightmare Sun, and the Godking of Mars. He must have been the greatest contriver ever along with whatever other powers he may have had. Would you like to tell us in a comment, or is this being saved for some future plot point?

    • On a somewhat different note, has Ember ever met Journeyman? Has Macian? I realize that these are potentially spoiler questions, and you are free to answer as vaguely as you wish or not at all.

    • Wouldn’t it be fun if he was a Gadgeteer? But alas, real technology and armies don’t simply fade into nothingness with the death of his creator……unless he pulls off a non-harmful mass dead man switch

    • The Godking was neither a contriver nor a gadgeteer, though his power resembled the former. He was of the same kind as Ember.

      Not gonna talk about who’s run into Journeyman and who hasn’t

      • If he was kind of like an Ember, does that mean that he could resurrect himself if the spear came off? Seeing as his palace and his body have yet to crumble and fade

      • Hmm, how often does that happen that somebody turns up with a super power that doesn’t really fit any category except their own? So far we have Ember, Godking, and probably The Sleeper (just making a guess that it’s power won’t really fit into any typical category, am I right?), which makes three (for now) out of how many metahumans to ever exist? I think you mentioned the meta population before, but I forget.

      • remember, the classifications are not part of the background system I use. they are an abstract model created to classify the most typical powers and provide a frame of reference.

        so it happens, betimes, despite the broad scope of the classifications

      • Huh, so since his power was that special and eh co quered the world, wil you touch upon his legacy some moré in the future? Or he himself if he’s still alive?

      • Does that mean that the God King was another sun? So far, there’s Ember (gentle sun), DiL (lonely sun), the Sleeper (sleeping sun) and possibly Basil/Macian (blazing sun).
        Also, will we ever get confirmation on the God King’s powers in-story?

      • The nightmare sun is a pretty good candidate for another sun too, and so the Journeyman, Ll and the Dark and Gloomy, really, I don’t think being a sun would be that weird if we look at it character wise instead of comparing it to the meta human population in the entire world

      • lady light, the dark, and gloomy were all seen during Ember’s manifestation. They are all among the 8 or so largest stars, but the suns dwarf them in size.

      • Wait, Gloomy was seen? I must remember incorrectly then, because I was sure that Gloomy was born WAY after Ember manifested

    • Mind you, Dread Roger was a trauma. A single man with a comparatively small crew, responsible for thousands dead (and many, many more harmed) worldwide, and millions in damage. A global threat that was a single man, and was never defeated (as far as anyone knows).
      He may pale in comparison to many modern villains, but the weight of history alone has turned him into a bogeyman

  3. So that last storie, made me feel sooper sad, earth defeated and enslaved, a small band of capes go to mars and attack the big bad and against all odds are successful. But the cape who gave their life. Their tale has never been told.

    If i died saving the world , i would like to think that people would know of my final moments, unless holly wood got michale bay to make a movie about it, in that case id perfer anominity.

    But im still sad

    • If I die saving the world there had better be a huge statue me being all heroic and uh, a holiday! and put my face on money, and Michael Bay isn’t allowed to make film adaptations anymore, and there had better not be any any more of that midi-chlorian bull shit in the new Star Wars movies!

  4. Well it seems that we now know what the “FUCK YOU” power levels can do. My favorite is either Dread Roger or the nightmare sun. The Nightmare sun because I just like a good horror story, and I would love to see a story set during that time similar to how I wanted to see the story of what happened to the people in Nilbog’s town. Dread Roger, I like because pirates are a very old school problem that has been romanticized. Pirates of the Caribbean is probably a horror series in your universe if it exists.
    I love data dumps. Now we can see just how the population of the world is much lower than ours is. I have to ask though, is it theoretically possible for a person to get such power and not go batshit? I mean imagine if Dread Roger’s star connected to mild mannered reporter clark kent. Still good interlude, and I wouldn’t mind more world building. Just voted for you again.

    • it’s possible to get such power and not go batshit crazy – just look at Ember (maybe not the best example) or Journeyman (though his powers are special in a different way). There are a few other examples I haven’t introduced yet (like Quetzalcoatl)

    • And if you REALLY want to get nitpicky, the proper English name for the country isn’t “Netherland” (singular) but “the Netherlands” (plural, even though it is of course only one single country, there are historical reasons for that though). Not that it would matter if the sentence was rendered correctly, which should indeed be “with a Dutch accent”.

      • My mistake. In Germany, we just say “die Niederlande” and “niederländisch” for the language. Sometimes, I slip

      • I am aware. I was born and raised just 40 km west of the border in “die Niederlande”. Though I barely speak German, with terrible grammar and a dreadful vocabulary, having grown up that close to Germany I understand it well enough.

      • purely out of curiosity Ties but do you write a german version of this novel also? I’m also curious about whats your native or perhaps dominant language if thats not too personal or anything

      • This novel is written purely in English. I shudder to think of the work it would take to write it double in both languages! Not to mention it’d bore me to death.

        My “native” language is… confused. I was born in Germany, but my entire family comes from Greece. I spent my childhood in both places, so I can’t really say whether German or Greek is my native language. German is my dominant language though, seeing how I live in Germany and all.

      • I DID notice both Vasiliki/ Hecate(stated in universe) and Polymnia(not sure if stated in universe) had Greek origins in their name, I thought it was weird at first that 2 characters with no relation to each other at the time of their introduction had such origins in their naming, since usually the norm in stories in general is that foreigners are from different countries or related in some way, at least to my knowledge.
        Most writers that I know of who use contemporary earth as a setting usually use the capital of their home country as the main setting for their stories as well, so it picked my interest. Kudos for originality.

        By the way, Hecate was a Titan or a Goddess in the mythos(hope I’m using the word well)? I haven’t read up on it for a long time and forgot most outside of the main gods, heroes and myths.

      • The Titans WERE Gods. Just a different generation.

        Progenitoi (kind of eldritch abomination proto-gods) were the first. Uranos, Gaia (NOT Titans, and certainly never locked up), Nyx (Night), Erebos, Tartarus and several others (including Day, Dawn and such)

        Then two generations of Titans (among them Kronos and Rhea, the parents of Hades, Poseidon, Zeus, Hera and others), as well as Helios (who was not overthrown and sealed, but continued driving the sun chariot)

        Then came the Olympians, led by Zeus and Hera.

        Hecate is kind of a mystery. Goddess of magic, crossroads, the moon, ghosts and necromancy, she is described as one of the most powerful gods, but barely features in any myths. She is also known as the Saviour and the Mother of Angels.

        Her most well-known role is that of helping Demeter search for her runaway daughter Persephone. She was neither Titan nor Olympian, but rather a pre-olympian Chthonic goddess, like Gaia and such. Think of her as a kind of benevolent (if you appeased her) eldritch abomination in three bodies. she did not appear as a crone, mother and maiden, but rather in three identical, beautiful bodies at the same time.

      • also, Kronos was NOT the god of time – he was a god of rulership.

        CHRONOS, the protogenoi, was the god of time, a sibling or child (family trees get confusing in these myths) to Chaos, the original being (though sometimes Nyx is even older)

        Fun fact. Zeus – the guy who supplexed a freaking mountain on Typhon to defeat him – was so scared of pissing off Nyx, he let her son get off scott-free even when he caused mischief on olympus itself

      • and since I’m such a big myth nerd, another clarification:

        Kronos is pronounced with a hard “k” sound, Chronos with a soft “x”/”ch” sound. In Greek, they would be spelled “Kronos” and “Xronos” respectively

    • Wow, I knew that Chronos and Kronos were different beings, but I thought there was only a single generation of Titans after Uranos and Gaia, incidentally their children, also I thought only Uranos and Gaia belonged to the first generation after Chaos, I also was under the belief that it was Chronos, not Kronos, the father of Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter and a third goddess and also the eldest/youngest(don’t remember which) son of Gaia and Uranos. Then there’s Tartarus, to my knowledge, Tartarus was a place in the underworld, where those condemned by Hades and his 3 judges were eternally tormented. I knew about Nyx being the entity which ruled or represented the night, but I didn’t know whether she was a Goddess or a Titaness, and I thought the protogenoi were Titans, needless to say I didn’t know the Titans were also gods, I thought the gods started with the Olympians. And on Erebos, I knew his name and I think he was related to the underworld in some way too…..

      I realize I’ve been rambling for quite a while now, sorry.
      Also, that’s what I get for basing all my knowledge of the origin of the universe according to Greek myths in mythology books for children I read a decade ago, and some videogames.

      • Ah yes, mythology. Most fascinating, regardless of whose mythology you’re looking at, but for something that originated as a way to make sense of the world it can get confusing as hell.

      • mind you, the main reason it looks so confused is because we only see the sum total. most people at the time only knew a tiny subset of these characters, with their own myths and stories built around them. it’s only by trying to fit ALL of them into a kind of meta-plot, so to speak, that things get confusing

  5. Always happy to hear about the S class threats. I’m still wondering about the S Class threats from Worm that were mentioned but never had anything other than names revealed.

    • I think Wildbow mentioned he (wildbow’s a he right?) planned to make a sequel after pact, which brings me to a question, how is Pact, I haven’t read it because in the description it said horror, and I can’t stomach that genre

      • imagine worm at its darkest. that’s how pact starts.

        It gets worse, FAST.

        The protagonist is MUCH more sympathetic, though, than taylor.

      • Oh god! I am way to sensitive for stuff like Pact but at the same time it’s so good. personaly I tend to read it in chunks (I’lll read some till i need to decompress wait a bit then reapeat). As to how it is …horror is not an accurate enough description think old school lovcratian fuck-you-up-in-your-headspace horror where basically every chapter you will be certain somthing really horrific is about to happen, except maybe for the chapters where somthing really horrific DOES happen.Alot of suspense and creeping horror and it is REALLY very good though.

      • I think I’ll just save me the nightmares and patiently wait a couple of years for Worm

  6. I think that Dread Roger is my favourite. He’s got that great myth of the sea thing going, like Blackbeard crossed with Davey Jones with a bit of Bermuda triangle mystery thrown in. If you wanted to hear tales of him, you’d buy a drink for an old man with a hook for a hand at a seaside pub, and hear of Dread Roger’s crew and the fabled hiding place of his treasure, hidden on some otherworldly island (if there wasn’t actually treasure, someone would have invented it by now).
    And on mysty nights, some swear they still see his ship… Arrrrr, me hearties!

    I just kinda wish you’d given more dates. Some have them, but others don’t, which annoys me slightly. Still, great worldbuilding.

    • Specifically, you don’t tell us when Iron Dragon (but I’m guessing 40s to 60s) and the Godking of Mars lived.
      Although if you want to leave it a mystery, like so much else, I’d understand.

      • the martian invasion took place in the mid-sixties, the Iron Dragon was killed during the early days of World War two and he was active since shortly after point zero.

        Do the math😉

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