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The Eternals - Judgment of the Fifth Host, ch. 3

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All main characters are copyrighted by Marvel Comics. This is a story of the Bronze Age Eternals.

Previous installments: Prelude, ch.1, ch.2

Chapter 3

“Scales?!” Sersi cried. “What is the meaning of this? Where have you taken us?”

The Eternals stood on a wide sea of ice. A moment ago, they were falling from the clear skies over Olympia. Now, they stood arranged in neat ranks facing due south. Directly before the first row of them stood the gleaming purple feet of a Celestial.

The figure towered over them like a skyscraper carved from ten ton blocks of amethyst. The smooth arcs of its arms, legs and featureless head gleamed and sparkled in the angled light from the sun that hung low to the northern horizon behind them.

The Celestial made no sound or movement. Instead, it projected a shifting black field before them. The field was two-thirds the height of the Celestial and wider than it was tall. In it slowly spun a single three-dimensional image, a two-pan scale with its sides in balance though they wavered slightly.

It is Ikaris who first recognized the surroundings. As a Polar Eternal, he felt at home. The feet of the space god stood squarely on the South Pole.

Sersi screamed again, “Speak, Celestial! Where are we? What is all this? We are not without power to defend ourselves and do not take manipulation lightly.”

Ikaris put his hand on her shoulder.

“We are at the South Pole,” he said with all the calm he could muster. “As far from my halls at the North as it is possible to be. What this means, I don’t know but I do know that Celestials have never spoken to the races of Earth.”

Brusquely, Ajak shouldered through the group and strode in front of Ikaris and Sersi. “To races? Never. But they speak to me. I was the Chosen, who received the word from the Third and Fourth Hosts[1].”

He moved closer to the silent Celestial. Solemnly, he lowered his face and raised his arms, palms outward.

“Hail to you, Celestial of Space! We, the reflections of your image, await the meaning of your new mission to this world!”

Nothing happened. Ajak raised his arms higher, bowed his head lower.

“Welcome, Great Celestial, descended among us! Had we known of your coming, the ceremonial pylon would be raised. Speak your will, that I may tell my brothers and sisters.”

Again, nothing happened. The scale spun slowly before them. The Celestial was silent.

“Great Celestial! I gave voice to your predecessor, Arishem of the Fourth Host. Tell me your name. Where is the great ship in which Celestials tour the galaxies? Where are the others of your host? We are eager to know your mind.”

More silence.

“Hah! Chosen no more,” spat Sersi. “And you’re lucky to be spared their company. How dare they sweep us away! How dare they draw us from the Uni-Mind without warning!”

Khoryphos strummed a soothing chord and answered Sersi.

“Celestials dare nothing. To dare, you must have some fear. The Celestials see nothing to fear here. If I understand the sign before us right…”

“What do you know of them?” Ajak asked. “I shall read their signs.”

Khoryphos ignored him. “If I understand it right they come in judgment, as Mentor had warned.”

When Khoryphos spoke the word, the scales brightened, then began to shimmer and fade. Soon after the black screen too faded, like a storm cloud blown off by the icy wind. The Celestial stood silent.

And so he remained, with the Eternals debating at his feet. Ajak had stalked back into the middle of the group and said nothing. Some proposed defending themselves by force, but given the power of a Celestial this effort would most likely be wasted. Others proposed negotiation, but the figure’s silence made it unclear how that could happen. Finally, Sersi’s impatience overtook her again.

“I won’t remain here, freezing and foolhardy, simply because this purple mute intends it!”

She began to levitate up and away from the plain and several others rose up with her. At the point that they were above the head of the Celestial, they turned toward Olympia and began to streak away.


The massive horn blast sounded and the flying group vanished. Then all the Eternals vanished, only to reappear on the plain in the very same spots where the Celestial had put them initially. Before any could speak, the black screen reappeared.

It showed all the Eternals levitating as Sersi’s group had just done, and beginning to fly away. Behind them, the image of the scale reappeared, glowed like amethyst flames and the left pan of the scale fell. In the next instant, all the images of the Eternals seized up in flight, as if grasped by invisible hands. They writhed and shrieked in pain for a few seconds before they were torn to particles and destroyed.

The screen went blank again. Ikaris turned to his people, raising in the air just enough for all to see him.

“The message is clear. To leave this judgment is to be judged. The punishment of judgment appears to be our extinction.” He turned to face the Celestial. “What would you have us do, space god?”

The screen shifted, swirling away the scales into a field of moving black clouds. Slowly, a new image appeared.