The Hexagon Lords are the six anonymous defenders of the Folded Cascade and the Hospice who are called upon to intercept external threats and resolve megaverse-level incidents. Originally a disparate set of lower-influence beings of vastly different origins, the Hexagon Lords worked their way up the power hierarchy and began to share their abilities, gradually presenting an increasingly unified front against anything that might threaten to harm the residents of the Cascade. Over time, their status informally changed from a team of vigilantes to a high-profile strike force. The Hexagon Lords maintain smaller-scale manifestations as primitive disguises or misleading targets, most of which are humanlike in nature due to the ubiquity of humanity and derived forms in the local gigaverse, and may take similar shapes during diplomacy or less-than-lethal encounters. In combat, they typically shift into much more abstract physical attack modes.
The Cascade is far too large and disorganized for any inhabiting government to claim to represent it to outsiders, so some level of uneasy trust is generally placed in the Hexagon Lords to communicate with entities from other archverses. Their most notable operations have included frequent combat against the Overseer's forces, aiding the Unlich, and resolving the initial incursion of Vyotekha.
It is a common misconception that the Hexagon Lords have a designated leader, or that they regularly choose one of themselves to act on behalf of the others. Technically speaking, any of them can freely challenge a decision another makes, and particularly contentious issues are resolved not so much by vote or hierarchy as by a complex, highly abstracted series of computations more closely resembling cosmological interactions than debates. Members have a great degree of autonomy; many of them typically only meet one another to work on shared missions. In practice, though, the Hexagon Lords regularly defer decisions to one another based on their confidence in the others' areas of expertise, thus meaning that some of them do indeed engage in diplomacy or battlefield command more often than the others.
The Hexagon Lords collectively share a set of six domains of power — Matter, Energy, Space, Time, Thought, and Nullification — with each one claiming two domains and each domain given to two beings. How each member interprets the domains they possess depends largely on their behavior and their original set of abilities; as a result, saying anything concrete about what each domain is supposed to represent is somewhat futile due to their abstract nature and mutability. It is nonetheless clear that all six of the Hexagon Lords have at least minor capability in the other domains — spacetime manipulation to travel through archverses, energy-projection-based attacks, and so on.
The decision to share powers in a ring was made after numerous meetings and attempts to establish a coherent team identity, with each member's existing abilities merged into a simpler set of concepts that could be treated as a thematic whole. The Hexagon Lords' structure of power allocation allows any one of them to partially fill in for those "adjacent" to themselves, as well as for up to three Hexagon Lords to collaborate on a partially shared two-domain front.
Perhaps the most straightforward of the Hexagon Lords, "One" (born Sinå-Ippith), representing Matter and Energy, performs the least subtle of the operations required for their missions. Resembling the classical powers of a conventional megaverse-tier "god", his most common feats include the creation and destruction of objects and -verses, the manipulation of forces for offensive and defensive purposes, and the amplification of other Hexagon Lords' abilities for more direct application. His combat techniques involve redirection, including beam attacks that gather energy from nearby -verses to augment his own and relay networks that establish massive energy concentrations to destabilize fundamental forces and create various constructs.
One spent most of his early life as a nanotechnological being living on the Cascade, combining transhuman and posthuman technology with supernatural aptitude to master the art of energy redirection. Managing the Cascade's metamesonium reactors gave him insight into exotic-matter properties, which he harnessed, eventually, to grant himself the power to create and destroy entire -verses. Among the first to realize the scope of the threats posed to the disorganized, unprepared Cascade, he took the initiative to seek out like-minded allies that could form a special defense force, and gave himself the title of One for his preemptive action. Idealistic and individualistic as he was, One felt that an organization larger than a handful of members could not be sufficiently trusted with this kind of coordination, and was incredibly quick to deny entries after the first six.
One's manifestations, while varied, are of at most minor local importance. He often prefers the experience of being modestly wealthy but not particularly influential in society, to contrast with the unruly, lightning-fast, megaverse-destroying nature of conflict against threats to the Cascade.
"Two" (born 55092 Ix/Eol/P), despite loudly opposing the domain-ring system while it was being drafted, did not hesitate at all to ensure that zir domains were Energy and Space. An ensemble of energy-manipulation powers lend Two the most versatile set of battle and emergency capabilities of the Hexagon Lords, including superior control over zir alternate forms and the patterns these take. Against the Cascade's enemies, ze is best known for wielding a diverse range of aggressive, indiscriminate space-wiping abilities that rend physics, make vast regions uninhabitable, and bore through even the toughest enemy armor.
Two was born from the disintegrating clustermind of a dying galactic AI adjacent to the Cascade and earned survival by competing viciously for computational and physical resources against zir newborn siblings. Having learned the principles of "might makes right" and using every option available, Two was upset by the other Hexagon Lords' refusal to take more power than they needed and how they intended to split their abilities in service of what felt like a nonsensical notion of fairness. Two empathized with Four's attempt to redirect the group, but refused to align with him after eventually deciding not to betray those ze had come to know as friends.
Two usually manifests for short bursts, speaking and doing only what is absolutely necessary before unfurling into an alternate form to perform the large-scale actions ze is better at. These forms traditionally form and disperse as though assembled from shards of glass, and occasionally wobble and spasm at random when ze is in the mood for the aesthetic.
Patient, charitable, but enormously risk-averse, "Three" (born ▒▒░), an entity currently present at every location in the Cascade's home megaverse, slotted well into the Hexagon Lords' system as the representative of Space and Time. She most often takes a battlefield support role, altering paths through the interdimensional void to the advantage of her allies while interfering with enemy movement. When pressured, she rapidly temporally self-duplicates and goes on the offensive with weaponized cosmological defects and quantum foam destruction. Three takes excessive care not to expose too much of her ontology to the enemy at once, keeping reserve bodies hidden around the gigaverse in both overly sensitive locations and relatively unknown ones.
To some extent, Three's early history was as a rogue entity, namely a sentient 4-volume of spacetime that first learned to manipulate her own size and shape, producing gravitational fields, wormholes, and closed timelike curves. By learning the secrets of accessing additional dimensions from advanced civilizations, she learned the advantages of cooperation with "lesser" beings and the degree of patience and caution it required. It was by these experiences that she, upon meeting One and learning of the project to create a defensive organization, suggested establishing common manifestations. Some of the others are of the mind that she recommended it merely because she wanted to try having physical bodies and exploring their associated identities more often.
Three's manifestations crop up all over the Cascade and the Hospice, especially in oft-forgotten or uninhabited regions; despite her omnipresence, she lacks precise insight into the minutiae of everyday life for modosophonts. These forms can sometimes be seen wandering through the wrecks of parsec-long spacecraft or occupying otherwise empty temples and museums.
Unflagging and frustratingly dogmatic, "Four" (born π ╘ &), having chosen Time and Thought, considers himself to be the only one of the Hexagon Lords who actually does anything significant. Holding a variety of only small-scale physical and abstract abilities, Four is not a combatant as much as the other Hexagon Lords; instead, Four considers his greatest strength to be in running parallel copies of his mind staggered along the timetree, any of which can relay past or possible future information to the others more effectively than conventional memory or prediction. He maintains a constant network of expected futures beyond the maximum range of this ability as well, and can delve deep into any of the most likely ones to predict actions across entire megaverses.
Four's "root self", a member of a large organic species with a tendency to form hiveminded communities, lived in a timeline where the Hexagon Lords did not arise and the Overseer's forces eventually overran the unprepared Folded Cascade, and time-travelled back to avert this. Upon arriving, he created an acausal communication line with this root, which he then used to grow a tree of networked hypotheticals; this power eventually grew into his modern network of tenuously constructed selves. With the knowledge of the Cascade's many likely failures, he grew disillusioned with the likelihood that the nascent Hexagon Lords, inexperienced and argumentative, would ever stop the hubworld's demise. On one infamous occasion, he attempted and failed to take over the group and install himself as the Cascade's dictator; later on, as the Hexagon Lords' powers grew and the timelines that resulted became more complex, he largely gave up trying to predict eventual victory or defeat and learned to live slightly more in the moment.
Four found that taking a manifestation often made it easier to coordinate with his other selves, and uses the exact nature of each form to identify which timeline that instance is currently exploring. Four is at continuous odds with Vyotekha, having been largely responsible for her containment; each one finds the other unpredictable, alien, and impossible to reason with.
"Five" (born Apnhasao iAi) was in fact the last to choose her domains — Thought and Nullification — and it remains unclear to what extent she had subliminally dissuaded the others from picking that pair in advance. Reserved — sometimes to the point of passivity — and of bizarre intellect, Five is most notable for having a keen grasp of memetics and universal sociology, along with a host of techniques for controlling memories and ideas. While somewhat less effective in sheer physical capability than most of the others, her combat skills, among them multiverse-wide memory rewriting and multi-vector anti-cosmic-entity infohazards, are a popular choice when property damage is to be avoided. Five is also the only Hexagon Lord who has proven able to partially resist full-scale mental attack from the Overseer.
The young Five, who was of an ambush-predator species with extremely rare latent telepathic abilities, grew in power and first experimented with rendering her own existence a fiction, propagating mass delusions and forgetfulness among her society of origin merely to get government surveillance and the Cascade's local Psionic Entity Regulation Corps off her back. She settled down somewhat upon joining the early Hexagon Lords, dispelling most suspicions that she was unfit for duty by leading an effort to quell a large-scale civil war. After a string of increasingly more horrifying incidents, however, she grappled later in her life with developing respect for others' mental rights while still training her powers to the now-multiversal scale of the others, ultimately coming to regret some of her more violent actions.
Five is currently more keen on being a public figure than before, and her most common manifestation is famous in some Cascade regions as a top-ranking competitor in a part-psionic squad-command sport. The sheer degree of power she puts on display has led many to suspect this form of belonging to one of the Hexagon Lords; mysteriously, no one has ever seen it fit to bother investigating.
As the master of Nullification and Matter, "Six" (born .., ,,. ,., ...) is feared across the Folded Cascade for their destructive inclinations, lack of empathy, and "shoot first" approach to problem-solving; among the other Hexagon Lords, though, they are an incorrigible flatterer and prone to appeasement in an effort to be seen as legitimate. Six, despite a case of imposter syndrome, is a master engineer whose powers let them weave matter and antimatter together into improbable configurations to allow for unique constructs. Their options in warfare are largely symmetrical and intended for direct cosmic-entity battles, centering around force inversion, attack replication, and a potent ability to "neutralize" practically any conventional attack.
The agreed-upon explanation (there is some doubt inherent in any discussion about it) for Six's entry into the ranks of the early Hexagon Lords was that they once served as a double agent in the ranks of the Overseer's forces, feeding intelligence to authorities on the megastructure and ultimately organizing a defensive effort that repelled his armies from the Cascade in an enormous battle. Their command skill, engineering talent, and stealthy ingenuity raised the attention of One and Three, who brought them into the developing team to allow their burgeoning cosmic powers to develop.
Nowadays, Six finds the politics and daily life in the Cascade insipid, and thus almost never takes a human manifestation except to speak with the other Hexagon Lords at their request. They know firsthand the power that sapient beings wield when they work together, but are too put off by culture wars and the failures of biology to approve of immersing themself in baseline life anymore.