The Planewalkers War

The group hurried to the northeast, dashing through the road at an insane speed. Several birds were startled by their run and took off from the treetops in flocks before flying in all directions.
They eventually crossed a wooden bridge and two divergent paths, one of them leading further to the northeast and the other to a nearby village. They kept their course and came across rocky ground. They slowed down and looked around. They seemed to be standing on a granite formation with a few moss-covered spots. Some parts of it were cracked and wild flowers seemed to burst from within.

“Careful. The moss looks slippery and we don’t want to break a leg.” Elysium warned with the worried tone of a doctor.
They kept going for a few moments until they noticed a small hill. They looked upwards and beheld thousands of water orbs of different sizes, sparkling in the sunlight like giant gemstones.

“Amazing…” Arche said.

Everyone quietly climbed to the top of the hill and gazed upon the magnificent view. Beyond the hill was a large gap in the land, reaching as far as they could see. They could see the endless mass of clouds below and the water orbs, kept in the air by the power of Mana, floating in the vast sky right above it like ethereal spirits.

“Amazing indeed… Mana can work wonders, but this… The way the core keeps the continents and the water floating in the skies… almost as if it had a will of its own…” Helga said, after a few moments of thoughtful contemplation.

Angela looked at the larger orbs, which were in the center of the formation.
“Hey, look at that! Those things are huge!” she said. “One of them alone would be enough to supply the villages in the Desert of Scorching Heat for years…”

Elysium laughed a bit.
“Well, I’m glad we don’t have to tamper with them, since the Desert must have plenty of water by now. These orbs… they’re real masterpieces… Just look at them. A usually flowing substance, kept in place like this, probably as consistent as stone, yet still transparent… Almost like a fluid crystal…” he said in a respectful tone.

Sakura was quiet, looking in every direction with a piercing stare.
“Something’s not right… What about that disturbance Aeon picked up? Where is it? I can feel the energy, but why doesn’t it make itself manifest?” she asked herself.

As soon as she spoke, Angela’s eyes widened.
“Look at that!” she yelled, pointing at the center of the orb cluster.

“Well, Sakura, I think that answers our question.” Helga said, gripping her spear.

The water orbs started spinning, as a vortex appeared with a loud humming sound. Then, without warning, it grew larger, allowing them to see a blurred shape moving through it.

Each of them tried to imagine what could be coming from the other side. Could it be another mad Planewalker? Or something worse? A few seconds passed, and the blurred shape became more consistent as it entered Thezaria right before their eyes. Helga and Sakura gripped their weapons, Elysium activated his device and ignited an energy blade and Angela and Arche started casting spells.
“The other one got away, but this damn maniac is going down!” Arche shouted.

Then, they saw a golden dragon coming out of the rift, and on its back was a tall young man with green eyes, wearing a blue tunic with golden shoulder pads.

Angela and Arche looked at him and their eyes widened, as they recognized him.

“What the…?!” Arche said.

“Kyrenthal…?” Angela asked, incredulous.

OK people… I’m back, and that means you’ll get an update soon. Probably tomorrow.

Boy, I haven’t read any thing that’s been updated… I slacking off a bit. :slight_smile: :hahaha;

I like it Manus, keep it up. But take your time. :cool:

The robed man looked at the group and smiled, recognizing old friends. The dragon slowly descended, until it landed next to them. The others were happy and puzzled at the same time. As they surrounded him, countless questions flooded their minds.

Angela was the first to speak.
“Well well well… Look who’s here! You look great!” she said cheerfully “How long has it been? Three months?”

Sakura was next.
“Whoa! Now that’s quite a sight!” she said, looking at the golden dragon.
She then looked at him. He looked different, stronger, more confident. The rebirth of his homeworld seemed to have given him a renewed inner strength. He radiated an aura of confidence.

He looked at their faces and smiled again.
“You look great, as you did the last time we met.” he said, unable to hide an overwhelming joy in his voice. “Ever since you purged my homeworld from that vicious parasite, my people have been recovering steadily. Mythralia is a heaven once again, thanks to you.”

“Well, we only did part of the job. Your help was decisive to save your people, Kyrenthal.” Angela replied.

“We couldn’t have done it without you… In fact, my people miss their saviors. The old Temple where we once took refuge is now filled with grateful prayers.” he said. “To make things better, we found more survivors, hidden in a deep cave.”

“That’s great!” Sakura replied.
She then took a good look at the dragon.

“Where did you find such a wonderful creature? Golden dragons are the noblest and kindest of all dragonkind, but they are also very hard to find.”

Kyrenthal laughed softly with satisfaction.
“Well, with Mythralia’s rebirth, mana started coursing through it again. My people have recovered much of their old power, and as a mage and healer, I started traveling through the land, identifying Mana sources and admiring the miracle that befell it. For weeks, I explored a dense forest, and deep within it, I found a majestic tree. It was odd. I could feel its sheer purity and vitality. In the middle of its massive roots was an unusual earth-covered shape. As I moved in to investigate, I found this dragon, sleeping. His name is Varnak. I must say he’s got one of the brightest minds I’ve ever seen.”

The dragon suddenly looked at Sakura, examining her carefully.
Suddenly, he spoke with a strong and kind voice.
“Greetings, young one. You seem to carry the familiar scent of our kin… Could it be…?”

Sakura smiled.
“The Murasame Clan is under the protection of Hikarukhan.” she said calmly.

That name made the golden dragon’s eyes shine.
“The legendary Eternal Dragon… Ah, the tales my people told of him… It was no mere coincidence that we’ve met.”

Angela turned to Kyrenthal.
“So, what brings you here?” she asked.

“Well, I suspect it’s the same reason why you’re here… Disturbances in the Mana flow.”

Varnak took a deep breath and spoke again.
“I was born in Mythralia, in imemorial ages. Many centuries ago, my kin fought against a Planewalkers invasion that threatened to overrun many neighbouring worlds. The battle was long, and many of us were wounded and tired. Upon my return home, I fell into a deep sleep. Judging from what Kyrenthal told me, I overslept. I should have awakened to fight against the vicious beast that drained my homeworld from all its life force. I must thank you for having disposed of the creature.” he said.

Kyrenthal looked at Angela and Arche for a few moments, apparently trying to make up his mind. He finally asked a question that had been on his mind.
“Have you seen Lucca lately? Erm… I needed to consult her about a few… research projects of my own.”

Arche smiled. She remembered how impressed the mage had been with Lucca’s skills, and she could tell that he was sounding a bit embarassed.

Meanwhile, a universe away, a colossal spaceship was docked at a spaceport. It was a white battlecruiser, proud, majestic, like a sleeping titan. Its wings were marked with a golden seal, containing a hand with a cross on its palm and a sun symbol behind it.
The space station was crowded, filled with people of many different races, and many strange ships were docked there as well. Some of the creatures were tall and slim, with gray skin, large heads and big eyes and were wearing golden armors. Others looked like androids, but they were more advanced than anything the Earth had ever seen, intelligent and sensitive beings made of silver-like metal, with glowing eyes and cloven hands.
There were also many humans there, most of them wearing blue uniforms made of a strange lightweight fabric, thinner than silk, but tougher than kevlar.
Right in the middle of this moving mass of creatures were four young humans. One of them had blond hair, and he was wearing a teal cape and a golden armor and carrying a fearsome-looking sword and a shield. The other, slightly older, was red-haired and was wearing a silver armor, with golden marks, was also carrying a sword and shield, but instead of a helmet, he was wearing a metal plate on his head, strapped with a band. He seemed anxious to get a move on.
Next to them was a tall man, wearing a dark blue outfit, a cape and brown gloves. He had pale skin and long blue hair and was carrying a large scythe.
The last of the four was also intriguing. It was a girl with purple hair, wearing glasses, an orange suit and a helmet. She was carrying a strange gun and what appeared to be a large backpack.

The four were trying to move towards the white ship. They could see a white-armored humanoid robot standing at the entrance, waiting for them.

It’s aaalive :slight_smile: Lookin’ good, Manus.

The pale man was getting annoyed as he pushed his way towards the ship.
“Grrrr! Why don’t these idiots get out of the way?!” he snarled.

“Take it easy, Magus, we’ll get there soon enough.” the girl said.

The other two were snickering, amused with his bad temper.

Magus stared at them.
“What’s so funny?” he asked, with a vampiric grin.

The two burst into laughter.

“Duran, Cless, if we didn’t have work to do, I’d give you a piece of my mind.” he said in a deep, dark tone.

Duran stared at him in a provoking pose.
“Ah, pipe down, Janus. You’ve got such a bad temper.” he said, mocking the tone of an old teacher.

Magus mentally came up with a long list of insults and obscenities as his eyes started glowing red. As they kept walking towards the ship, he was very tempted to whack someone over the head.
He started using his elbows and his schythe to clear the path to the ship, and the group moved through the crowd, reaching the entrance.
The robot looked at them. His white armor was shining under the light, and he was wearing a horned helmet, making him look like a smaller and slimmer version of a siege golem from Azeroth. A lightsaber was hanging from his belt, but he looked powerful enough to do well without it. His green eyes were glowing warmly.

“Ah, you’re here. I was about to send a few probes to look for you.”

Lucca noticed the cloven gauntlets.
“Hey Aeon, what’s with the claws?” she asked.

“Hehe! Well, I know you’re curious, Lucca, but I’m afraid it’s going to be a surprise… This is just the beginning of the Punisher Project, that’s all I can say at the moment.” he replied, knowing very well that he was just making her more curious.

Magus looked at Aeon.
“So, how long until we get a move on?” he asked impatiently.

“Magus, I know you give a lot of importance to these matters, especially after your experience with the Scepter of Ages, but you should relax a bit once in a while.” Lucca said.

Aeon looked at them, laughed for a few seconds and opened the ship’s airlock. They stepped in, and looked at the light gray corridors, filled with golden lamps embedded on the walls. Lucca recognized the familiar glitter of orichalcum, that had fascinated her so much since the first time she had set foot on the ship.

Duran took a deep breath.
“This walk has made me kind of hungry. Hey Cless, wanna go grab a few snacks?”

“Sure!” Cless replied.

The two dashed through the corridors, heading for the large and well supplied kitchen. By now, they already knew most of the ship’s corners and moved around without getting lost.

I see I’ve missed out on a bit :stuck_out_tongue: Sorry about that. Well, now we can start to look at something similar to the hero army in When Heroes… ^^;;

Well, since this is a bit of a sequel, I think you’re going to see part of the previous group… :wink:
And I intend to throw a few surprises in, as usual.
(That reminds me, I should finish the other fic soon, it’s been halted for too long)

The ship was quiet, except for a few hammering and zapping sounds that were coming from a chamber in a deck below the entrance level.
Magus walked through the corridors until he reached a door marked with the same seal that ornamented the ship’s wings. As he touched it, the door opened, revealing a large cabinet, filled with bookcases and paintings. A large showcase was against the left wall, and it was made of an extremely resistant glass-like substance. He looked inside and saw a vast collection of artifacts, gathered during countless travels. Swords, shields, warhammers, bows and crossbows, small medallions, hundreds of objects with many different sizes and shapes, from many different worlds, both known and unknown.
He then looked forward and saw a wooden desk, ornametned with a small winged statue. A computer was on the desk, and a figure wrapped in a red cape was sitting on a rotating chair, with its back turned to the door.
As Magus approached, the chair rotated, revealing its occupant. It was a warrior, wearing an odd white armor, made of a metal unknown to all but a few. On his right middle finger was a ring, bearing the same seal that ornamented the ship’s wings and the door Magus had just crossed.
The warrior took a deep breath and looked at Magus. Through the helmet’s black visor, the wizard could see a pair of piercing eyes. He seemed tired, as if he hadn’t slept in days.

He spoke with a tired voice, and Magus detected traces of a concealed sadness.
“So, you’re back. Sorry for making you wait so long, but we had to be sure of what we’re getting ourselves into. I asked Aeon to run another scan. There is no room for doubts. As you know, the destruction of the three statues led to the loss of Mana in Terra’s homeworld. After our previous mission, I spent a few months trying to devise a way of returning that power through some other means. Tapping into her inner strength provides her with Mana, but still, these are troubled times, and if that world is attacked while her companions are away, I doubt its people would stand a fighting chance. Too bad we can’t implement the solution I thought of. But we’re running out of time. As you know, in my travels I came across the world of Shandalar. Through the extensive archives in it, I discovered the existence of the ancient Planewalkers. Unfortunately, as you know, Thezaria is a big temptation for any rogue Planewalker. With its core exposed, the planet could be in grave danger.”

Magus started ordering his thoughts. A few moments later, he addressed the warrior.
“So this is why you returned to the End of Time in such a hurry… I can’t say I’m surprised. But how much do you know of the current situation?”

“Well… two weeks ago, Aeon detected a series of odd power fluctuations in hyperspace. upon a closer inspection, he discovered that someone was attempting to cross between realities and reach Thezaria. A tome in the archives of Shandalar mentioned the existence of several rogue Planewalkers, who had taken over a few ethereal pockets. According to it, their origin is unknown, but, like the Guild Lords of that world, each of them is predominantly atuned to a specific mana color. They are mortal enemies, unrelenting rivals, and they are always seeking to destroy each other. Those power fluctuations made me suspect that one of them could have found Thezaria.”

He started going through a massive book, that looked older than anything the Wizard had ever seen. A few moments later, he found a page with the depiction of an odd planet, formed by several large islands, and with a great mountain formation running along its equator.

“This is the world of Twinsun. Legends tell that its core contains an overwhelming amount of magical energy. That energy keeps the planet alive, and empowers its Wizards. A tyrant once attepted to dig his way into the core and seize its power. If he had succeeded, the planet would have imploded. Now, a similar threat is looming over Thezaria, and even though its massive antigravity can make the core difficult to reach, a Wizard with enough power could eventually breach it.”

Magus pondered the situation and started thinking of a few plans, hoping he could learn more about this threat and maybe have some fun in the process. His schythe hadn’t seen much action lately, and he was getting bored. Staying in his castle days on end was dull, and the Guardian’s call couldn’t have been more welcome. Although he wouldn’t admit it, he was eager to rejoin his companions and blow some things up.

“What’s going on in there?” he asked, trying to hide his anxiety.

“Well, with most of the Ragnarok Force busy, sealing a few dimensional rifts near Kaltharzhad, I asked Sakura, Angela and Arche to investigate.”

Suddenly, a warning siren went off. The computer’s screen flashed, displaying a 3D map of Thezaria.
Aeon spoke through the machine.
“This is definitely not good. Another rift has opened!”

Back in Thezaria, the sky was blackened, as a massive distortion appeared right above the place where the others were standing.

Kyrenthal stared deep into the rift, and he saw what looked like a colossal black mass, seeping into the air.

Arche’s jaw dropped.
“What the hell is that?!”

“It looks like… a swarm…” Elysium replied.

The chaotic mass descended and scattered throughout the land. It was formed by billions of strange beetle-like creatures, with spiked shells and a fetid stench. As they moved, they devoured everything in their path.

Another shape emerged from the rift, slowly and ominous. After a few tense moments, it revealed itself. It was a grotesque glider, clearly made out of bones and a disgusting skin they weren’t sure they wanted to identify.

A pale and skinny figure was holding onto the glider. It was wearing a black robe and its face was practically skin and bone. Its deep eyes looked like two hot coals, incandescent and furious.

Arche was the first to react to this apparition.
“What the hell is that?! Don’t tell me that psycho has decided to call his friends…”

The glider turned and skimmed over solid ground with unnatural speed.

Elysium readied his devices.
“I don’t like the look of this. We’d better follow that wretch before we have another maniac on the loose.”

The creature headed to the south, followed by the swarm that had preceded it. Now restrained, the pestilent beetles had stopped their devouring frenzy. The group ran back into the forest and gave chase, with Sakura jumping between treetops, Arche dashing in her broom and the others running.
“Isn’t there a way we can all go faster? We need to track him down, but we can’t split up.” Angela said.

Then Helga suddenly remembered something.
“Hey, wait a minute… Where’s Kyrenthal?”

An angry shriek and the sound of flapping wings answered her question as a large form flew overhead. Kyrenthal was riding Varnak, relentlessly chasing the glider.

Back to the battlecruiser…

Magus looked at the computer’s screen, which was now displaying immense energy readings.
“Damn! What’s going on in there?”

“I wish I had remembered to make some X-COM probes before I left Shandalar… Oh well, I guess we’ll have to use the wristcoms’ feedback system.” the armored warrior said.

Aeon’s voice echoed through the chamber.
“OK… Uplink established. It looks like they’re chasing an unidentified flying object that’s moving at high speed.”

“Hmmm… Are you sure about this data, Aeon?” the warrior asked.

“Positive. What we have here appears to be a bone and skin glider, infused with Mana. Its occupant seems to be a necromancer, judging by the filthy air that surrounds him and by the swarm that preceded his arrival.”

Magus recalled the information Aeon had given him when he was hastily picked up from his castle. The people of Thezaria had been reluctant to use magic after the disaster that almost destroyed that world. The few wizards there were still trying to restart centuries of research. If the wizards at the Academy had been defeated with such daunting ease, then they wouldn’t stand a chance against two Planewalkers instead of one.

Chapter 3: The Black Talon

While orichalcum-powered machinery hummed to life and the Battlecruiser’s engines went off, propelling it at an insane speed, Kyrenthal closed in on his prey, followed by the others.
Helga hurled herself against the glider in a huge leap, while Arche and Angela prepared a few spells to toast the Necromancer. However, the fiend was more than ready for battle.
Suddenly, without warning, he jumped down and landed on a treetop. He then raised his thin hands and the glider crumbled to dust.
The Golden Dragon grabbed Helga, while Angela turned her attention to the Necromancer. As she raised the Ganvathein, the tree’s brances started growing like mad, constricting the fiend with a steely grip.

As they moved closer, the Necromancer snarled at them, furious.
“Do you honestly think this pathetic trap will keep me imprisoned? First I’ll drain this accursed tree lifeless, and then I’ll enjoy devouring your souls!”

Helga jumped to the ground and redied her spear.
“You don’t scare us. Now get the hell out of this world, and don’t come back!”

“Insolent little…” he growled.

A pestilent cloud erupted around him, forcing them to take cover. The fiend then broke free, pushing aside the melting branches, and summoned a vicious Bone Dragon.
“Destroy them! NOW!” he yelled at the undead beast.

The Golden Dragon was furious.
“I am simply sick of having your kind defiling the husks of my fallen bretheren, Necromancer. You will pay dearly for this!” he roared, before opening his mouth. Holy flames erupted from within, scorching the Necromancer’s skeletal face and the Bone Dragon’s wings. The beast looked at him with a hateful gaze and attempted to bite him.

The Necromancer tried to sneak away while everyone else was busy with the Bone Dragon, but Sakura noticed his move and hurled a lightning bolt at him.
“Going somewhere? I don’t think so.”

The Planewalker was furious. As the lightning bolt struck him, he pulled a dark wood staff from inside his bizarre robe.
“I’m tired of playing with you, foolish mortals.”

He raised the staff a bit, before Angela struck his stomach with a fireball.
“Take that, you clown!” she shouted with provoking tone.

That made the Necromancer mad. He started foaming from his mouth as his eyes flared. The heroes surrounded him, but he started shooting beams of dark energy, stalling for time so he could use the staff.

As he raised it, the rift he had crossed to enter Thezaria opened again and a horde of Bone Dragons and Revenants stormed through.
“Now you will learn that Death is the most powerful of all forces! Too bad I can’t stay here to watch. Busy, busy, busy…”

Arche looked at the mass of creatures that was heading their way.
“Damn! Why can’t we ever get an easy assignment?”

Angela gripped the Ganvathein.
“Because it wouldn’t be half as fun!” she said as she started hitting the creatures with Holy spells before they could close in.

“Yeah! You’re right! Let’s get them!” Arche replied, before taking off on her broom and blasting a Bone Dragon clear out of the sky with a heavy meteor storm.

At the same time, Helga and Sakura took the fight to the sky as well. The two jumped to the treetops and then performed insane vertical leaps, dodging the Bone Dragons’ foul breath, diving over the foul beasts and striking them with such violence their targets were snapped in half and slashed to bits.

The Necromancer vanished in a filthy cloud, cackling as he escaped. Despite the girls’ relentless assault, the Revenants were still closing in.
Elysium touched the device on his right wrist and a blue energy blade was ignited. As the girls decimated the Bone Dragons, he lunged at the Revenants, striking them with otherworldly precision.
“Who says nerds can’t fight squat?!” he said, laughing.

As the battle raged on, with Angela hitting the Bone Dragons with Double Spell and Saint Beam, Arche descended, frying a few Revenants with an array of spells that could scare many great Wizards. She was perfectly focused, and even though the attack had angered her, she wasn’t wasting her time throwing insults at their enemies.

After a long hour, most of the beasts had already been destroyed, and the remaining Bone Dragons gathered in tight formation. Helga had to make a quick jump, as the tree she was staning on was hit by their breath, melting away. She safely made it to the ground.
“You’ll have to do better than that!”

Sakura grabbed her blade and incinerated one of the creatures with a beam of light. She wasn’t going to take any chances after the fire-wielding Planewalker had escaped so easily.

The beam of light struck many of the Bone Dragons, but something was definitely wrong. The more beasts they struck down, the more seemed to appear. Suddenly, Sakura noticed a shape hidden in the shadows. As she dashed towards it, an earth-shaking shriek filled the air.
Varnak looked extremely altered and, without warning, he soared through the air and pulled her away.
“I sense something vile here… No… It can’t be…” he said, staring at the shadowy figure.

A fiery burst confirmed his suspicion. Dark flames narrowly missed him, as he hastily rose above the treetops.
“A Black Dragon… The shame of our kind.”

Sakura stared at the beast coldly.
“So you’re in with the Necromancer… Too bad for you.” she said, preparing one of the killer blows that had made the Murasame Clan legendary.
The creature showed no fear, only a steely resolve.
As she was about to swing her blade, something darted upwards, from under the trees. Several Revenants collapsed in that very spot a few instants later. The moving form then landed on a treetop. It looked as if it had come straight out of a nightmare. It was clearly a man, wearing a black armor, a cape and a demonic helm, shaped like a horned skull with fangs. Through the skull’s eye sockets, they could see his eyes, glowing with rage. Energy seeped through, in the form of a dark purple haze.

“Flexiplast Armor?! What the…?! That technology is classified… Who could that be…?” Elysium said, still finding it difficult to believe his devices’ readings.

The newcomer raised his hand and a a lightning surge erupted from it, spreading through the air and frying half of the Bone Dragons. He then opened his hands, turned the palms towards two of the beasts and clasped them in a gripping motion. The foul creatures were immobilized and vainly tried to break free, as if an unseen force was constricting them.
Finally, he violently moved his hands forward, and the beasts were hurled against the rest, bashing a few of them to bits and making the rest lose an insane amount of pieces.

Meanwhile, back to the colossal Battlecruiser…

Cless and Duran were sitting on a fluffy couch, furiously playing Jedi Academy against each other.

“This new skin editor is great! A few seconds under Aeon’s sensors and… instant life-like multiplayer models!” Duran said, as an exact model of him swinged a lightsaber at what appeared to be one of Darth Vader’s relatives.

Cless nodded. “Yeah, this is great! I really need to get one of these before I return home. But Duran… haven’t you been feeling anything strange lately?”

Duran paused for a moment.
“What do you mean?”

“Well… do you remember the last time we boarded this ship?” Cless asked.

“Of course I do… Locke teasing Havoc and Samus, the crazy stuff, that weird flower at the Greenhouse that made you and Mint go crazy with its scent… Hehehe!” he replied, lightly elbowing Cless.

Cless was a bit embarassed, but he tried to explain his concern.
“That… well, that… I’m talking about something else… Don’t you remember how this place felt so warm, so welcoming? I mean, it’s still very pleasant to stay in, and it’s a great ship, but it feels like something is missing.”