"En Taro Adun, Executor. Though we all grieve for the loss of mighty Tassadar, we must find the resolve to carry on. He sacrificed himself to destroy the Overmind, but many Zerg still rage across our ruined homeworld. Without the Conclave to lead us, or the protection of our great fleets, it seems we must fend for ourselves."

—Aldaris, Advisor to the Koprulu Expeditionary Force

A Dying World Abandoned

Zealots and Dragoons tear through the dark canyon. Monstrous waves of Zerg fly overhead, patrolling the ruins of a dozen cities. It is an eerie atmosphere. The warp gate is located. The refugees mass in one throng and pour through the portal, all of one mind to abandon their once majestic home. It is their only choice. A brave Terran and a stalwart Dragoon stay behind to safeguard the rift. The air crackles with energy. The deed is done. All are safe. All have been evacuated. All have been accounted for.

All, that is, save for a small group of Templar standing in silent vigil, looking up out of a deep valley, the glow of floating pylons in the night illuminating the slanting stone faces of a temple as ancient as time itself... the Temple of Jepok. A form emerges from the shadows, ink-blue and shimmering. A being of light glides toward it. The Zealots on guard turn, hearing the acrid utterances stab into the night like black, sharpened blades. The shadow stalks off. The Archon turns, lost in thought. All is not well.

High in orbit, a band of battle-hardened Terrans toil in the construction of a new harbor, a bastion of steel overlooking a dying world. They have visitors. A small Protoss escort flies in, cloaked beside a vessel radiating powerful psionic energy. The ship is an Arbiter, and the being responsible for its action is a Judicator with much on his mind.

The Second Stroke

Solitary in his hunt, the dark figure moves silently, called to the west of the valley. This presence he has felt grows vaguely stronger. It is only a matter of time. It cannot hide. It cannot leave. It has made itself conspicuous to him—to a being of shadow already attuned to dark energies. It is only a matter of time. He has almost discovered the truth.

It is only a matter of time.

The Antioch Chronicles™ © 1998, Eric Dieter & Ruben Moreno. All rights reserved. The Antioch Chronicles™ trademark and associated logos are the exclusive property of Eric Dieter & Ruben Moreno. Characters and distinctive likenesses thereof, character names, item names, place names, named events, artwork and all other related material not disclosed herein are protected under the laws of the United States of America and other countries. Any reproduction, retransmission, or unauthorized use herein is prohibited without express written permission.

StarCraft® is a registered trademark of Blizzard Entertainment. All rights reserved.