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Before the beginning there was the Gate and the Gatekeepers, four boys one girl. It has been written… the night of everlasting darkness is closing in… the Gate is about to open… the Gatekeepers must return.
~ Saint Joseph's prophecy about the Old One's return.

The Old Ones are the main villains in Anthony Horowitz's science-fantasy thriller series The Power of Five. They are ancient incarnations of Evil led by the Demon King Chaos, who ruled Earth back ten thousand years in the past but were banished to another universe by the mysterious Five Gatekeepers. They now seek to return to the world and influence events from throughout the story.

The Old Ones are based on the Great Old Ones of the writings of H.P. Lovecraft.

Nature

The name Old Ones refers to each and every demon forming the court of their king Chaos. They are as such the mightiest and most influential demons in existence, implied to be born from the worst aspects of creation. All Demon Gods from all cultures are merely representations of Chaos and the Old Ones.

The Old Ones are Evil given life, who strive to exterminate mankind and claim the world for themselves, to turn it into a nightmarish hellhole fitting Chaos' awful designs. They hate everything beautiful or useful, which they destroy with implacable determination, and want to destroy the world as slowly as possible to feed on suffering.

They are able to control Dark Magic and to empower its practicioners, to shape-shift and to transform things, among others. All worshippers of Evil answer to them and they can bring the worst out of people through manipulation and corrupting influence, by appealing to greed and selfishness. They always influence things from afar, mostly through cupid followers who believe in their promises of eternal wealth, and only take action when they have no other choice.

Although imensely knowledgeable and dangerous, the Old Ones only know about Evil and cannot truly comprehend how mankind function. As such, even when taking a human shape, they are unable to fully pass as a human and people promptly notice that something is amiss. They prove too arrogant to consider defeat, and cannot fathom that some people would chose a seemingly desperate fight over a life of "luxury" that would unfailingly end in horrible demises or even more gruesome transformations.

There are several different ranks among the Old Ones, the weakest of them being little more than powerful and dangerous monsters who serve as Chaos' elite troops. The higher-ranked they are, the bigger and more horrible they get. It must be noted that being shape-shifters, their aspect hardly matters, and that humans can only perceive an approximation of what the mightiest ones do look like.

  • Demonic Knights: Seemingly the weakest Old Ones, they appear as hideous humanoid creatures in black armour, sporting poisonous spikes all over their bodies, their weapons, and even their demonic horses.
  • Fly-Soldiers: Enormous swarms of billions of demonic flies sharing a hive mind, who can assemble themselves to take any shape they want, whose size depends on their number, most often mighty soldiers. Conglomerated they are as solid as the real deal, but they can separate to let any attack harmlessly pass through.
  • Shape-Changers: Horrible hybrids between humans and animals, mostly grotesque mixes between man and beast, insect, bird or fish, with multiple limbs and deformities defying all logic. They can alter their appearance, mostly to assume a human form. They can talk and interact with humans, serving mostly as infiltrated spies, field agents and spokespersons, but prove deadly fighters under their regular aspects.
  • Scorpion Knights: One of the most dangerous types of Old One, likely the step above Shape-Changers. They resemble old men in monk robes when in human form, but they can shed this aspect to burst out under their horrendous inner form: giant black half-human scorpions with enormous pincers and stinger tails. The staves they use as humans become huge bloody spears and they can spit acidic venom.
  • Fire Riders: With little doubt the second tier of the Old Ones, they form a squad of thirteen knights looking like ten-feet tall humanoids with glowing red eyes moving like shadows, clad in black robes and shrouds, who can appear either as ghosts or skeletons whose real aspect (should they have one) is never disclosed. Their robes might in fact be the closest thing a human mind can relate to what they look like. They form Chaos' Praetorian Guard and have the fearsome power to burn everyone and everything into ashes through mere contact.
  • Demonic Beasts: Far and away the mightiest and highest-ranked Old Ones, apparently second only to Chaos himself. They are building-sized abominations too awful for the worst nightmare, that a human mind can only process as black-eyed dark beasts: A Hummingbird stirring a storm, a Condor vibrating the air with its wings, a poison spewing Spider, and an emaciated Monkey, as drawn by the Nazca Lines (one Gate of their jail.)

History

Background

The Old Ones bided time in the shadows, watching humanity first develop. Suddenly disaster struck when they arrived on Earth and came down in China, where they immediately took over, killing all the old humans in the region and enslaving the children and able-bodied. They took over business, promising the rich that once they followed them, they'd be rewarded, and they got rich humans to enslave the lower class. Then they set about estabilishing an empire, and warred with human freedom fighters for the next seventy years.

In the middle of the war, Five children were born, all with supernatural abilities. One was named Matt, the other was named Inti, two were named Sapling and Flint, and the final one was Scarlett. Their powers were precognition and telekinesis, healing, telepathy and weather control respectively. Then the Old Ones became aware of their powers and knew of the threat they posed so they hunted them down and cornered them when they became fifteen and escaped from the human overlords seeking to punish the Five for rebellion against the Old Ones. The Five played a trick on the Old Ones so that Sapling sacrificed himself, but his future self, Jamie Tyler, was sent back in time to fight the surprised Old Ones and banish them to Hell.

The Five won, and set about restoring the damaged world. Matt and Inti built a gate in the Nazca Lines and another in Yorkshire, England, where the first war ended.

Modern times

The Old Ones were imprisoned, but they were still alive, it was not their end. So, throughout human history, many evil humans fell to evil ways and tried to free the Old Ones. They were dismissed as sorcerors but the evil humans eventually formed an organization known as Nightrise, which, in the present day, sought to free the Old Ones by nuclear and astronomical designs.

An attempt was made by a cult of witches in Yorkshire, headed by Mrs. Deverill, who sought to free the Old Ones by sacrificing Matt, who had been reborn. This attempt failed dramatically, and the Old Ones were again banished.

Return

Matt's and Pedro's combined might repels the Old Ones. For now...

The Old Ones did manage to return through the efforts of Diego Salamanda, an industrialist and businessman, who chased Matt and Pedro, who was Inti reborn, through South America.

Eventually Matt faced Salamanda and killed him, hoping he had stopped the threat, but Salamanda's plan worked and his satellite unlocked the dimensional gate which was the Nazca Desert. Eventually, the Old Ones climbed out of the earth and Chaos himself came. He knocked Matt unconscious and fled. But Matt lived (through Pedro's healing) and he sought to face the Old Ones in Hong Kong.

Matt encountered Scarlett and the Old Ones in Hong Kong and freed Scarlett from their influence. Then, he managed to get all the Five together to face the evil. But Scarlett summoned a typhoon, realizing her power too late, and Hong Kong was destroyed. But the Five escaped in time, but, with no destination, they were seperated, and the Old Ones deemed this a great victory, and started the Apocalypse with signal from their lord Chaos.

Victory

The Old Ones now conquered the Earth, ten years in the future, and because the Five were using dimensional doors built into churches to travel the globe, the Old Ones did a clever trick and locked the doors, meaning the Five were stuck, but they did escape the doors and found themselves in a devastated and war-torn globe. The Old Ones had dropped bombs everywhere in England, had started a war in Egypt, had corrupted governments and turned good men evil. Then the Five reappeared in the height of this new war and managed to meet again, although without the doors.

Many businessmen joined them, hoping the Old Ones would reward them, but the Old Ones' "reward" was for their followers to be first in line in the great battle, and they betrayed their own followers.

The Old Ones seemed to win when they converted Scott (Flint's future form) into their ways and Scott became evil. This seemed to win because there could only be Five Gatekeepers, and with four there was disaster. But the Old Ones had not countered on Scott's repentance, and, when he sold Matt to Chaos and sold his brother and Pedro to the Old Ones, it was too much for Scott and he repented, by opening the doors, at the cost of his life.

When the Old Ones and The Second Chairman of Nightrise bought Richard Cole to see Matt's condemnation to eternal torture as "punishment" for wounding Chaos, Richard could not take it and he himself killed Matt with the ancient Incan knife, thus defeating the Old Ones' goal of torturing Matt forever. Richard had defeated and humiliated the Old Ones and they were infuriated with him, intending to kill him, but Richard killed the chairman before the chairman could murder Richard. He got Matt's corpse off the crucifix it was on and the sky burst into flames and an earthquake began which lasted several hours. This had the side effect of destroying what remained of their fortress of Oblivion.

So, Scarlett, Pedro and Jamie were the only living Gatekeepers. They were outside, gathered round Scott, who was dying from the cosmic power in the lock of the door. As Matt and Scott were now dead; and only three Gatekeepers remained alive, hardly any enough to defeat Chaos or the Old Ones. Despite their shock at Matt being killed, the Old Ones had presumably won now.

Final downfall

But the Old Ones had forgotten about the trick the Five had used to defeat them before: the Five lived in the past and present simultaneously. So, the past Matt and Flint came out to fight Chaos, and once again, they stabbed Chaos in the heart, and killed him. A third gate opened and sucked in all the Old Ones into the other universe; and at the end several nuclear missiles were fired into the gate too; and presumably these obliterated the Old Ones and ended their threat forever.

Trivia

  • The Old Ones like to keep themselves hidden and send human representatives such as The Chairman of Nightrise.
  • Despite being called demons in the first four books, in the fifth book they are compared repeatedly to aliens.
  • Jamie and other characters compare the Old Ones to "cancer" because of how cancer slowly kills its human host. The Old Ones wish to prolong human suffering as long as they can.
  • The Old Ones are so good at lying that even their associates believe outright lies.
  • The Old Ones end up being defeated by their own weapons. In the first place, they start by killing in cities, because in the city nobody notices. But by the fifth book, all cities have been destroyed. And the Old Ones use nuclear power to break out of the Gate and to destroy all cities. But nuclear power is the cause of their downfall.
  • Although the Old Ones are never named, these names have been given, from mythology: Hanuman for the Monkey, Guada for the Condor, Huitzilopotchli for the Hummingbird, and Unktomi for the Spider.
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