Enslavers Redux Story Guide/Episode III: Twilight Falls
Episode III: Twilight Falls
Prologue: Set between the aftermath of Starcraft Episode VI (Queen of Blades) but before the events of Starcraft II (Wings of Liberty). Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades, having become the undisputed ruler of the Zerg and dominate power in the Koprulu Sector, has crushed all opposition to her above Char. The UED was decimated with the few forces still left having left to join mercenary outfits, Arcturus Mengsk and the Dominion became silent as it tried to lay low while rebuilding its strength on Korhal, and Artanis' Protoss fleet returned to Shakuras to focus on rebuilding its own civilization in peace. While Kerrigan had more than enough strength to decimate both the remaining Dominion and Protoss forces from beyond repair, something from across the void poised her to stay her hand of execution and gather more strength. Realizing she could not control all Zerg across the sector single handily, but not fully trusting using Cerebrates who may coalesce into a new Overmind again, Kerrigan ordered the purging of all known Cerebrates except one who served her during the Brood War while they began to complete experiments for designing a new Zerg hierarchy to assist with whatever the coming threat may be. At first, taking dozens of Terran's from the Omega battle from the Dominion and UED forces as prisoners, Kerrigan began to run experiments on them, although considered all failures. However, sensing a Terran orbital platform not far from Char with a power psionic aboard, Kerrigan ordered the platform be purged to find this human with the hopes it may provide to be at least a partial candidate for controlling the Swarm, and a new cohort in which to discuss her thoughts to...and just perhaps avoid being utterly alone....
Warning - Potential spoilers for the missions ahead! - Just a brief mission plot overview of each map. Specifics are not given away, play through all the maps to play unique A and B canon arcs! (A Canon is considered to be based on official lore for the Starcraft storyline while B Canon is an alternate take on history)
Zerg01- Chains of Command
Back on Char, after the Terran Amanda Haley was deemed another defect failure, Kerrigan became increasingly frustrated. Her Cerebrate, the last known, offered an alternative solution, to use zerg Queen DNA instead of using faulty Terran DNA to create a new intelligent creature capable of controlling Zerg. The Cerebrate warns Kerrigan there are still renegade Zerg on Char, seemingly too far gone from the UED's manipulations, that threaten the experiment. Kerrigan personally travels down to the surface of Char, near the outskirts of the acid marshlands, and defends the new queen chrysalis while renegade Zerg that were unable to be controlled by Kerrigan attempted to destroy her. Soon after, an unknown bio-weapon is launched at them which prevented Kerrigan's larva and drones from creating advanced strains. Kerrigan finds decaying remains of defilers on Char, revealed to be slowly dying off from lack of evolutionary change. She determines their bio-essence is still viable and finds additional remains to evolve her being. At the final struggle before the renegade Zerg was able to take control of Kerrigan's Hive, the plan becomes a success and the first Zerg Broodmother, Zagara, is born. As gratitude for the Cerebrate's loyalty and work, Kerrigan orders the extermination of the creature. The Cerebrate, however, is well prepared for such an act of betrayal and begins setting up it's own offensive against Kerrigan while it manages to re-control the remaining renegade Zerg in the area. It is revealed that the Cerebrate had been setting Kerrigan in a trap, creating both the bio-weapon and a new strain called a Baneling to be used against her. However, Kerrigan locates the source of the bio-weapon and quickly dispatches it, returning her Hive to full power. Combined with Zagara's abilities and Kerrigan's personal presence, she overwhelms the Cerebrate's renegade Zerg. Finding the remaining Baneling Nests that produced baneling eggs, she orders Zagara to incorporate its essence into her Swarm to produce additional nests for her Swarm. Reaching the Cerebrate's nesting grounds, the Cerebrate launches a final offense against Kerrigan and Zagara, but is ultimately defeated. The Cerebrate calls Kerrigan unworthy to lead the Swarm as she was never truly born of Zerg. Kerrigan responds that she will usher in a new age for the Swarm beyond what the Overmind could ever hope to achieve as she dispatches it and absorbs its essence, evolving to a new psionic level and becoming more powerful then ever. Soon after victory, deep in the volcanic plains of Char, Kerrigan comes across a feral unknown Zerg creature that attacks her. Calming its agressiveness, it is revealed to have sentience and speaks on its own behalf. Calling itself Abathur, he reveals to Kerrigan that he was the evolution master to the Overmind and had a personal hand in the Queen of Blades design. Seeing potential for Abathur to create a new vision for the Swarm and perhaps fix the failed experiment with Haley, Kerrigan lets Abathur live and incorporates him back into the Swarm. Soon after, Abathur is able to evolve Haley's failed experiment to create a being of almost pure Zerg essence. Kerrigan calls this new creature, Izsha. Kerrigan sees a new future for the Swarm and looks onward optimistically, yet still cautious of a lingering shadow on the horizon.
Zerg02 - Moth to the Flame
Three long years have passed. Kerrigan felt all her preparations and planning for her re-emergence into the Koprulu sector was nearly complete. Then, a sharp psionic call shatters Kerrigan's concentration. Shaken and disturbed by the psionic intensity of this, she orders the Swarm to a Terran mercenary port called Dead Man's Rock to locate the source, whether it be an ally to be gained or a foe to be destroyed. Eager to try her new evolutions to her Swarm including the Spine Crawler, the Roach, and the evolved Hydralisk, they descended upon the backwater terran criminal port like a plague, the Swarm lay waste before it got a heavily defended mercenary encampment. Seeing the port already battered, it appeared a small battle already took place prior. Surprisingly a small Dominion detachment was already at the planets surface. Kerrigan began systematically destroying both the Dominion and the mercenaries. Zagara's allies outside of the encampment were brought forth after Kerrigan destroyed gate controls before the Terrans could lock them down. Surprisingly, Kerrigan found ancient protoss artifacts being salvaged at the port and decided to keep them to study, improving her evolution. She destroyed the Dominion base, including the Grey Tiger battlecruiser and its admiral foolishly hoping to gain the Dominion's recognition of stopping Kerrigan. Kerrigan knew no one could know she was back, less her surprise re-emergence be jeopardized. She destroyed every single terran. Finally coming upon the mercenary base, she ordered her minions into the stronghold and reclaim the source of the psionic disturbance.
Zerg03 - Crossroads
Ethan Stewart, having been taken captive by Kerrigan after it was believed he was the source of the psionic call felt, was placed in a transformative cocoon to attempt once more to create a new infested Terran that was similar, but not an equal to Kerrigan. Abathur offered to assist once again and quickly surmised that the Terran had little psionic potential. It was instead revealed he was wearing a psi-screen at the time of his capture, which deceived his psionic potential. Nevertheless, he emerged as a near-perfect infested Terran with an equal portion of Zerg and Terran DNA, while retaining his independence and intelligence. Kerrigan claimed him as her new consort and agent of her Swarm. Stewart revealed that while he wasn't the source of the psionic power, he knew who was - Jacob Ramsey, a simple terran professor, accidentally merging with a powerful protoss preserver, Zamara. Together, they tracked the psionic emanations once again to Aiur. Kerrigan, allowing Stewart to lead the Swarm with the new Infestor strain and Zagara close by to monitor, watched from her throne on Char as they surrounded a recently opened ancient Xel'Naga cavern. There the two terrans Rosemary Dahl and Jacob Ramsey, along with multiple protoss including hero Ladranix, emerged, completely surrounded. Just as they were about to be captured, a Dominion fleet, also tracking them to Aiur, lay waste the Zagara's brood. A dropship was commandeered by Dahl, Ramsey, and protoss as they made their way to a de-activated warp gate. As they desperately tried to fix the gate to escape to Shakuras, Stewart and Zagara began preparations for their capture. Just then, the ultimate dark archon, Ulrezaj, also emerged from the cavern. Laying claim also to the preserver, he destroyed all those near the cavern and slowly began moving toward to the gate. Other protoss survivors, including ex-Tal'Darim Aldazar, ran to the gate to protect them while Ulrezaj continued his onslaught. While the Dominion and Zagara began attacking helplessly the dark archon, Stewart tried to reclaim more feral zerg by breaking the hold someone who was controlling them had over loose solarite crystals.
A Canon - After claiming enough zerg, Stewart launched his hive against Ulrezaj before it could reach the warp gate. Thinking he had achieved victory, Ulrezaj easily unleashed a wave of energy destroying all nearby enemies. Before all was lost, Ladranix and Alzadar decided now was the time to unleash both khalai and void energies to create a powerful psionic storm like Adun had achieved so long ago before he was consumed. Both templar's raced to create the storm, trapping and severely damaging Ulrezaj before the rest of the templar, including Ladranix, was consumed by the energies. Ulrezaj fled back into the cavern to recover while Dahl and other protoss escaped through the warp gate once activated. Ramsey/Zamara was the last to go... Meanwhile, Kerrigan was disapointed in Stewart and wondered if her experiment should be terminated. He vowed he would not fail her again and went to the gate, now de-activated again. The last protoss survivor, Alzadar, refused to give up how to use the gate, and died soon after. Unable to leave empty handed, Stewart guarded over the Xel"Naga cavern, hoping the archon would emerge again to question what it knew about the preserver...
B Canon - After claiming enough zerg, Stewart launched his hive against the protoss survivors at the gate. Cornering Ramsey/Zamara, Stewart ordered them to be captured before the warp gate suddenly opened. During the confusion, Ladranix led a last stand against the zerg while Dahl, Ramsey, and others escaped through the gate along with several zerg before it closed. Alzadar, refusing to give up how to activate the gate, led Stewart to capture him and flee the area before Ulrezaj approached. Stewart then brought Alzadar back to Char to face the queen of blades himself to learn more about this preserver...
Zerg04a - A Dark Path
Being unable to stop Jake Ramsey and the preserver of Zamara inside his mind, and the source of the powerful psionic presence detected, from escaping through the warp gate on Aiur attempting to go to Shakuras, Stewart guarded over the Xel'Naga cavern. Becoming impatient, Kerrigan ordered Stewart to flush the dark archon out. While the hordes of zerg rampaged through the caverns and eventually found Ulrezaj, he still had enough power to obliterate them and escape to a still functional Xel'Naga craft and left Aiur. Stewart with his remaining zerg on Aiur followed. Meanwhile, Kerrigan was greatly intrigued by what the zerg had uncovered while underground. Not being content on just sitting on Char, she went to Aiur herself to investigate the cavern for herself. Only taking a few zerg to avoid them being controlled like the feral zerg on Aiur and turning on her, she found more protoss, "The Forged" than she thought were still alive deep under the caverns. Using advanced weaponry, they tried to stop the queen of blades, but she rampaged through the caverns. Acquiring xel'naga artifacts of refined khaydarin crystals, she uncovered memories left behind by Ulrezaj's followers, telling her of the dark templar now dark archon's history. Breaking through the protoss' defenses, she eventually came to a huge chamber which housed a crystal of enormous energy. The energy was felt to be both zerg and protoss...disturbing both her and Abathur greatly. At the base of the crystal were terran holding cells, with something growing in them. Just then a being warped itself to the chamber. Calling itself Maar, the first Hybrid, it called forth more protoss to help destroy Kerrigan and push her from the 'sacred place'. Eventually Kerrigan overpowered the creature, but it did not die, claiming itself immortal. Pursuing further down the chamber, she uncovered more terran technologies, and another creature, within. Just then, a voice Kerrigan remembered, spoke through her mind. Duran welcomed Kerrigan and was glad she finally made it so he could show her the progress he's made. Kerrigan vowed she would destroy Duran for betraying her, yet Duran was undeterred by her thread. Revealing he had been using her all along to upset the balance of the sector and using Ulrezaj to manipulate zerg and protoss energies, he was on the verge of awakening his hybrid experiments and continuing to create the host body for his dark god even deeper within the caverns. Just then the creature broke out of its containment and began to hunt down kerrigan. Fighting her way against Duran's protoss allies and the hybrid nemesis, she escaped just before the creature approached her. The hybrid asked if it should continue to follow her outside of the caverns. Duran proclaimed no, and to stay and continue the work on Aiur. He would deal with the queen of blades himself...
Zerg04b - Into the Void
Although capturing the warp gate area on Aiur, Ethan Stewart's zerg nearly cornered Jake Ramsey and the preserver of Zamara inside his mind, and the source of the powerful psionic presence detected, but a distraction led from the hero Ladranix allowed them to escape through the warp gate on Aiur attempting to go to Shakuras. Before Stewart could follow through the gate, the gate shut. With Ulrezaj approaching from behind Stewart was left with no choice but to capture the last surviving protoss, Alzadar. Bringing him back to Kerrigan on Char, they learned that although he lived on Aiur, he was part of a group called "The Forged", or the Tal'darim. Learning that this group arrived on Aiur to offer them protection from the zerg in turn for their loyalty and subversion through a drug called the sundrop, they were able to extract the last known location of the Tal'darim, at the far edge of the Sigma Quadrant. Kerrigan personally led the strike to the Tal'darim onboard an ancient Xel'Naga worldship, hoping their leader could provide the purpose of Ulrezaj's motives and possible locations of the preserver. Using both the new flyer strain the Corruptor along with the new mutation of Brood Lords, Kerrigan was able to land upon the ship and setup a new hive cluster before pushing in. Exeuctor Nyon warped into the area from a Tal'darim gate using a powerful Tal'darim mothership being powered by nearby psi broadcasters. Kerrigan managed to destroy these psi broadcasters which allowed more zerg reinforcements to land as well as weakening Nyon's shields and allowing the queen of blades to capture the vessel. Before Nyon could escape through the warp gate again, Kerrigan destroyed it. Although captured, Nyon was unable to provide any details on Ulrezaj or where his people reside from. Realizing Nyon was not the leader of the Tal'darim, Kerrigan ordered him to reveal the secret homeworld of the Tal'darim. Refusing to do so, Abathur offered to try his hand at infesting and convincing the protoss otherwise...
Zerg05 - Interlude
Meanwhile...Rosemary Dahl and a few templar, including a young templar called Vartanil, originally under the guidance of the newly conscripted Tal'darim under Aiur from Ulrezaj's control, now pledging his allegiance to Dahl for rescuing them, was transported to Shakuras from the warp gate on Aiur. Fearing another zerg invasion, the protoss on Shakuras quickly re-directed the gate's end point from there to an unnamed frozen world. When Jacob Ramsey and the protoss preserver Zamara in his mind went through last, they found themselves alone on this icy world. Zamara contemplated their situation and realized the best person who might be able to help them now was a lone dark templar who has isolated himself from those on Shakuras - Zeratul. Remembering the coordinates of his private sanctuary he once told her about when she was in physical form, she and Ramsey embarked on a quest to find the elusive Dark Templar. Dahl met with Executor Selendis on Shakuras who elected to champion her quest to rescue the preserver and subsequently her friend Ramsey and they, along with Vartinil, approached the council on Shakuras, led by the newly elected Hierarch, Artanis. Meanwhile, Ramsey/Zamara arrived on Zeratul's sanctuary world, a pink skied world with lush forests and running water. They found an older dark templar craft and piloted it around the small world. Soon after, they were approached by Zeratul himself calling them thieves and asking them to leave his world. After revealing herself, Zamara called on Zeratul's help. He was initially relectuant to hear her tale and became ashamed and angry when the mentions of the Overmind's invasion of Aiur due to Zeratul's slaying of Zaaz and of the death of his matriarch Razagal. However, he eventually came to understand through arguments made by both Zamara and Ramsey that he could not wallow in self-pity any longer. Zamara then revealed a partial secret she had been harboring - The Xel'Naga endless cycle and the true plans for the Protoss and Zerg. She revealed a new dark presence could be threatening that, a twisted unnatural merging of the two races - The Hybrids. Zeratul remembered his encounter with Duran years ago and this stirred him to action. He agreed to take Ramsey/Zamara to a dark templar sanctuary that could break the merging of the two and place Zamara in her own crystal as the merging was slowly killing Ramsey. Meanwhile, Dahl and Selendis, against the bickering arguments of the council, convinced Artanis to send an expedition to find Ramsey/Zamara. Not knowing where to start, council member and dark templar leader Mohandar revealed a dark templar sanctuary world that Zamara would likely be heading towards, a place where her mind could be placed outside of Ramseys. And heading towards that same world, Valerian Mengsk and a large Dominion fleet provided to him by his father, flew through space, targeting the ship Ulrezaj left Aiur on....
Zerg05a - Heart of Darkness
After escaping the Hybrid under Aiur, Kerrigan became disturbed that Duran had been alive all this time and had been only using her and the zerg to accomplish her own plans, she vowed that she must stop Duran and his plans. Although both Abathur and Izsha protested against her taking action against an unknown foe, Kerrigan took the small zerg she had with her and targeted a hybrid psionic signature facility on an unknown moon. Breaking through she found Terrans helplessly serving their master. Abathur provided Kerrigan with new infestation evolutions including the creep tumor, to allow infestation of the facility. In addition, the new flyer organisms the Corruptor and Brood Lord were given to the queen to destroy the Terrans within. Finding dozens upon dozens of hybrids, only a few were nearing their awakening period. Izsha urged Kerrigan to destroy their capsules quickly before they could awaken. If they did, Kerrigan would battle an incredibly strong foe, both zerg based hybrids and protoss psionic based hybrids. Also finding ancient xel'naga receptacles, she acquired their essence to improve her psionics to their near peak level. Destroying Hybrid after Hybrid, Duran revealed himself as having acquired these Terrans from one of his past servants, Alan Schezar. Once all the hybrids were destroyed, Duran proclaimed he was very impressed with Kerrigan's newfound powers but wanted one final test. He unleashed multiple hybrids at once, including an incredibly strong Hybrid Behemoth. Even after Kerrigan destroyed them all, Duran continued to send more hybrids against her. She, frustrated at not having enough zerg at her command to stop them, was forced to flee the facility. Duran was pleased with his test. Kerrigan was more powerful than she had ever been with him years ago. He wondered if he could use the xel'naga artifiact he modified to absorb her new found psionics as her energy was still part of Amon's.
Zerg05b - Shadow of Darkness
After capturing the Tal'Darim executor Nyon, Kerrigan learned of the secret homeworld of the ancient protoss sect called Slayn through Abathur's interrogation methods. Although both Abathur and Izsha protested against her taking action against an unknown foe, Kerrigan took the small zerg she had with her and targeted the mysterious world with her consort Ethan Stewart. The Tal'Darim leader, Mal'ash, detected the swarm and ordered them to leave or be destroyed. Kerrigan was undeterred by the leader's presumably empty threats as she surmised they had never truly fought zerg before. Invading near the highlord's capital, they infested into a hive cluster on the surface. Mal'ash sent his recently promoted 1st ascendant Alarak to personally lead an invasion force against the queen of blades while he activated a barrier shield within his temple protected by three invulnerable underground generators. Abathur alerted the queen of blades that the generators could not be destroyed but could be infested with creep. He deployed the new creep tumor evolution to assist in infestation faster while the zerg defend these generators while being infested. Once the controls were disabled, the shield was brought down and Kerrigan finally met with the Tal'Darim leader to learn what they knew of Ulrezaj and Duran. To her surprise, Duran was already tracking her since Aiur, and appeared to congratulate her. Duran proclaimed he was very impressed with Kerrigan's newfound powers but wanted one final test. He unleashed his experimentations, multiple hybrids at once, including an incredibly strong Hybrid Behemoth. Even after Kerrigan destroyed them all, Duran continued to send more hybrids against her. She, frustrated at not having enough zerg at her command to stop them, was forced to trick her zerg general Stewart into leading a diversion while she could escape. Stewart became trapped and was unprepared for this treachery by his queen, and was killed by Alarak. Duran proclaimed Kerrigan must be dealt with and Ulrezaj must complete his task at eliminating the preserver. He ordered the Tal'darim to send a fleet to track the zerg swarm.
Zerg06a - Eternity's Void
Being defeated twice by Duran's hybrids, Kerrigan
Zerg06b - Eternity's Void
TBD - Plot details subject to change
After Ulrezaj's capture, the battle fell to the Dominion, which overwhelmed the Zerg and Stewart (A Canon, Zagara if B canon) A badly-wounded Stewart begged Kerrigan to save him, but she instead deemed him just another failure at finding a true equal to her and considered herself the only infested Terran that could ever exist in what she considered was a *perfect* form. Kerrigan took control the remaining Zerg on Ehina and departed the moon while Stewart himself was finished off by Selendis. (If B canon, she contemplates abandoning Zagara but realizes she still has use for her, and sends an overlord to rescue her, but orders her to remain on Char's defense and will never leave). She returned to Char and discussed with Izsha and Abathur her experiences with Ulrezaj, Duran, and deciphered the crystal's knowledge. She huddled with her acquired artifacts that had evolved her psionic powers to her peak levels and mused she was more powerful than ever, having powers of a god. She realized she would need to hunt down Duran down as he and his hybrid monstrosities were a threat to her Swarm.
Ulrezaj, within the Khaydarin crystal, was sealed buried by Selendis and Artanis who then proclaimed that the power of the Dark Archon must remain sealed and forbidden. They instead taught Dark Templar the secrets of merging into a Khalai Archon with their fellow high Templar, when the desperate need arose to defend their homeland once again. And Ulrezaj...the fallen Dark Templar turned into Archon by hatred, lay trapped, and screaming within the confines of the Khaydarin crystal. Fate's irony that the same crystals in which he used to enact his vengeance were now his prison. He raged within, his hatred becoming unfathomable. Should the ancient Dark Archon be released from his prison...nothing within the galaxy, not even the forgotten Xel'naga, will be able to stop it.