A X-06i Rapax transitioned out of hyperspace in the midst of the Space in Between the Cyrannus Galaxy and the Quadrant Galaxies. Below the vast void of intergalactic space gleamed the glistening blue planet of Carnthedain, home to many great mysteries alien to the inhabitants of both Cyrannus and the Quadrants. The Rapax fell below the white clouds of the planet as it made its way through the atmosphere. Though Carnthedain was officially under the jurisdiction of Rambo Nation, the stealth technology of the Rapax hide the occupant from sensors, allowing him to undertake the Empire's mission without prying ears listening in.
As the Rapax zoomed above the cold wastes, a dark silhouette appeared on the horizon, a vast Dark Tower and the home of the one the Empire sought. Touching down on one of the tower's ramparts, a dark robed figure emerged. The Phaedric LordVenatorius, his crimson face hidden by a frightening helm.
He was greeted by a dark armored individual, who he knew was the sorceror of Carnthedain, Morgandaûr. "Morgandaûr, I presume?"
It was a pleasantry, or at least the limit of the respect he was willing to show in a greeting. The sorceror raised his head in arrogance and replied with caution. "Why did thee come to Carnthedain, Mornûnendur?"
Venatorius placed his hands behind his back as the two figures walked toward the tower. "I come with news from the Dark Lord. News with potentially dire consequences for both the Dark Lord and the Sorceror of Carnthedain."
The sorceror looked surprised, but beckoned Venatorius to enter the tower to discuss the news. Venatorius noted in the corner of his eyes the moving shadows, probably servants of the sorceror tracking them to protect him in case of danger.
The Phaedric Lord was unfazed however, though knew to keep attentive of his surroundings. The Sorcerer was not an ally of the Dark Lord, after all, though his interests often aligned with those of the Mornûnendur. "No doubt, the recent Torment was your doing? How disappointing it must have been when the scheme was foiled. Still, the astropolitical map of the Quadrants may yet prove favourable."
The Sorceror remained unmoving, suddenly he spoke. "What did thee have in mind? An alliance between the dark tower of Carnthedain and the spires of Orbispira?". The Sorceror crossed his arms in front of him, though he was eager to learn what the Dark Lord of Cyrannus had in mind. After all, he was a rival.
Venatorius stopped walking as well, scrutinising the Sorcerer closely. "Have you ever heard of the legend of Aldár? A distant world of gleaming light, whence an ancient Order appeared to bring order to the galaxy from the shadows? You felt the rising power of the Light, have you not?"
The Sorcerer nodded in agreement.
Venatorius placed his hands on his hips. "Good. The Dark Lord has sensed the coming awakening of the Lord of Light. All of our plans may be torn assunder if that is permitted to happen. Aldár is the key. A band of rebels to the Empire have made their home there."
Venatorius reached into his robe and pulled out a holographic projector. A holographic representation of the Cyrannus Galaxy appeared, which zoomed in on the Unknown Regions and the small planet of Aldár. "We must act."
The Sorceror of Carnthedain smiled and looked intensely at the holodata before igniting his blade.
Chapter Two: Emergence
After several hours, Aoirtae Valaeris finally emerged from the cave on Aldár. Overwhelmed by her experience, she slumped down on the ground beside Master Du'utahrovin. Unfurling his massive wings, Du'utahrovin sighed. "You have done well, young one. Not many can say that they have survived the trial of the dark cave. Your training is now complete."
Aoirtae painted as she removed a strand of hair from her face.
Aoirtae: "My training? I wish Master Ryen was here. He was the one responsible for this crazy journey in the first place."
Ryen: "Oh, but I am here, my young friend."
Walking up the path to the mountain summit came Master Ryen and Kara Inviá. Aoirtae jumped to her feet and embraced them both. Kara smiled as she patted her on the back.
Du'utahrovin greeted the new arrivals by bowing his massive head.
Du'utahrovin: "It is good to finally meet you in person, Master Ryen."
Ryen: "Likewise, Master Du'utahrovin. But where is Master Aenaró? He told me he would be here."
As soon as Ryen uttered these words, the dimimitive Master Aenaró appeared. A relatively young Yodian, Aenaró wore a distinctive hat, hiding dark black hair, which reached his brown and green robes.
Aenaró: "A pleasure, it is, Masters Ryen and Du'utahrovin. Ordinarily, this would be an occassion of happinness, though I sense a darkness on the horizon."
Du'utahrovin: "Aya. It grows nearer and nearer with each passing day."
Aoirtae and Kara looked thoroughly confused, though Kara was the one to voice it.
Kara Inviá: "You mean this Dark Lord that you're always talking about? Surely you don't expect us to go up against him... at least not yet."
Du'utahrovin: "You know him as the Galactic Emperor Tyrómairon. I know him by his true identity. The Dark Lord—an Oikoumene of great malice and power."
Both Aoirtae and Kara were shocked to their very cores, though Kara, who met the Emperor on the Rambo Capital, somehow knew it to be true.
Aoirtae: "An Oikoumene? How do we defeat an Oikoumene?!"
Du'utahrovin: "Perhaps we cannot, young Aoirtae. Perhaps it is not our destiny to defeat him. Perhaps, all we can do is awaken the one who can."
Aenaró: "You jest, surely, master Du'utahrovin? A fairy-tale, that is what you speak of."
Du'utahrovin lifted his head up to the heavens, bathing in the light of the sun.
Du'utahrovin: "I speak of my father, Master Aenaró. As you well know, I am the last of my kind, a Child of the Lord of Light. Only the Light can stand against the Dark."
As she listened, Aoirtae was suddenly overwhelmed by the voice from earlier in the cave that only she could hear. "He speaks the truth, Aoirtae. Go to Aecor, find the Skull and bring it to the Temple of the Aldárae."
Ryen scratched his head.
Ryen: "But... if what you say is true, Du'utahrovin. What do we have to do to awaken the Lord of Ligh-"
Aoirtae interupted him, standing forward with determination in her eyes. This was her destiny, the will of the universe.
"We need to go to Aecor."
Aenaró approached Aoirtae.
Aenaró: "Aecor? Many years, it has been, since I heard that word. How do you know of such a place, young one?"
Aoirtae: "... A voice in my head told me about it... and the Skull. It mentioned something about a Skull."
The group looked at her wordlessly.
Aoirtae: "Like it's any more ridiculous than the stuff you people have been saying."
Kara: "She has a point, you know."
Ryen laughed, Aenaró seemed unimpressed while Du'utahrovin nodded knowingly.
Ryen: "I believe you, my student. Though the Rambo and the Cognatus do not allow visitors to Aecor. I doubt they'd just let us barge in and steal the most important artifact there."
Kara stepped forward.
Kara: "... I could help with that. My father still has connections on the Rambo Capital. Perhaps he could help secure the Auethnen Raptor passage of Aecor."
Aoirtae placed her hands on her hips and smirked.
Aoirtae: "Nifty. Guess we have a plan!"
Chapter Three: Senatorial Plea
Senator Apollo walked through the opulent corridors of the Royal Palace on the Rambo Capital, a nervous expression etched on his face. He had just received word from his daughter and while he was disappointed that it wasn't an announcement of an impending visit, he realised the utmost importance of her request to the future of the Cyrandia Cluster. Still, if Ramashe was still on the throne, he was sure that she would understand, though the same may not be the same for Rambarth, whom Apollo knew disliked from the moment they first met.
When he reached Rambarth's office, he knocked on the door and awaited the response. As the door opened by one of the Royal Guards, Apollo was allowed to enter. He saw the Lord Regent working behind his desk, and though Rambarth was old, Apollo found him bad looking, more so than normal. The Lord Regent stopped writing and looked up. A tired smile on his beak as he stood up. "Good day, Ambassador Cretacea, I wish to express my apologies for not telling the news of Ramashe in person, though the message was a swifter way of letting you know before the press revealed anything. I still hope you wish to be an appointed advisor for me on the High Council?"
Apollo, who had not expected such a question, was taken aback. "That's kind of you to say, Lord Regent. I would be honoured to remain on the High Council, though I must ask, why? I was never under the impression that you were particularly happy with my... relationship with Ramashe."
Rambarth looked concerned and sat down heavily on his couch in front of the desk, beckoning Apollo to sit as well and offering him a drink, Rambarth replied. "I know, though my niece trusted you blindly. Who am I to change such faith, plus I admit you are an honorable individual with a warm heart. Keeping you as the ambassador and appointed advisors honors her memory."
Apollo sat on the couch and accepted the drink. "Well, let us hope that she recovers. She holds a very special place in my heart. But I must ask of you a favour, one which I do not make lightly." Rambarth took a nip of his Serindia Wine, surprised that Apollo wanted a favor from him.
Apollo cleared his throat. "My daughter is aligned to a group dedicated to preserving order in the Cluster. They require passage to Aecor and a... loan of sorts, of the Zevian Skull."
Rambarth coughed as he almost choked on his Serindia Wine, spilling some of it over his armor. "You require WHAT?" the Lord Regent proclaimed in disgust and anger.
"As I said, I would not ask if it was not of the utmost importance. If you can trust the Cognatus on Aecor, surely you can trust my own daughter... Ramashe's gods-daughter?" Apollo held Rambarth's glare and did not flinch. Rambarth looked furious, though was the first to look away. Sighing he rose from the couch and crossed his arms behind his back. "Very well, for the love Ramashe holds you dear and I value your opinion as my appointed advisor as well. At one condition though, I join you to prevent a Cognatus incident."
Apollo raised his brow. "Oh, I didn't plan on going. But now that you say it, I welcome the chance to see my daughter. With your blessing, I'll ask the Chancellor whether or not my son can take a break from his busy schedule to join us."
Rambarth nodded. "Very well, I will ready the Quadrantia-Class at once for our departure. The travel shouldn't take long, and gives us to discuss some private matters as well, including that President of yours and the increasing Republica News interest in our professional relationship."
Apollo couldn't help but laugh. "Looking forward to it!"
Chapter Four: Aecor
The Auethnen Raptor dropped out of hyperspace above the mystical world Aecor in the Quadrant Galaxies. Sitting in the pilot's chair, Kara glanced over to her co-pilot, the Mon Nahdar Munalur. Munalur appeared quite stressed, much to Kara's amusement. "Come on, Munalur, it wasn't that bad."
Munalur frowned. "The entire map of the Quadrants has been rearranged! Someone could have told us about it, w-we could have flown into a supernova for all I knew."
Kara patted him on the back as she rose from the chair. "It was all over the HoloDomain and the Holonet, Munie. Not my problem you don't keep up. Anyway, transmit clearance codes to the Rambo authorities. But keep as far away as possible from the Cognatus warships. As far as I know, these aren't friends of Voro."
As the Raptor darted below toward the planet, Kara got her first good look at Aecor. The planet itself was clearly volcanic, with entire oceans of molten rock covering much of the globe. However, orbiting the lava from above was a vast Atlantican Ringworld, which completely surrounded the planet. As the Raptor approached, the distinctive crimson hulls of the Cognatus Empire's Battlefleet became clear, hovering distantly from the fleet of Rambo starships hovering over what appeared to be the primary complex on the Western Continent. Touching down on a landing platform, Kara instructed Munalur to remain on the ship and prepare for an immediate takeoff should things go south.
The ramp of the Raptor lowered and Ryen, Aoirtae and Kara disembarked. As soon as she saw her father and brother, Kara rushed forward at full speed and jumped into their arms, tears rolling down their faces. Apollo hugged Kara tightly before taking a good look at her. "My baby girl is all grown up!"
Kara smiled brightly as she looked at her twin brother, who wore a sharp lavender suit. "Laoi! President of the Republic yet?"
Laoi smirked. "Give it time." Apollo looked at his children with pride, "It's so good to see you both together. I only... I only wish your mother was here."
Kara's eyes filled with sadness, but she brushed such feelings aside for later. "So do I," she said, before indicating to her travelling companions. "But where are my manners. This is my best friend, Aoirtae Valaeris and, well, you know who Master Ryen is."
Apollo approached Ryen and bowed his head slightly. "Of course, I never got the chance to thank you for saving my life." Aoirtae and Kara looked at Ryen in confusion, though he merely smiled in response. "It's a long story."
Approaching forward as well was Lord Regent Rambarth, flanked by a large Cogsangui in white armor, Rtas'Shagili, who looked like he wished to be somewhere else at this moment. "It is my honor to welcome you to Aecor travellers. I hope the defense perimeter gave no problems for you passing?"
Ryen bowed his head in greeting. "None at all, thank you for asking. My name is Master Ryen, and these are my students, Kara Inviá and Aoirtae. Lord Regent Rambarth, I presume?"
The Serindia Lord nodded his head. He looked at Kara and smiled. "It is good to see you again young one. You are not a child anymore it seems."
Kara smiled. "I was sorry to hear about Ramashe, I hope she'll be alright." Rambarth smiled sadly. "So do I, Kara, so do I."
Without waiting for another reply Rambarth beckoned the others to come inside the main structure to study the Zevian Skull up-close. Waiting at the entrance to the structure was Doctor Dané Elenya, a Libertus from Apollo's childhood who had grown increasingly close with the Senator in recent months. Kara was amused to see her father's smile brighten upon seeing her. Without lifting her head from her datapad, she welcomed the three new arrivals and beckoned them into the structure. "Impressive, isn't it?" The Cogsangui in white armor snorted, he disliked Libertus entering the structure of those he honored as holy, though the Serindia Lord was not to be refused less he had a diplomatic incident on his hands, and for his race the fragile alliance and cooperation with the Rambo was important.
Apollo stuttered. "Y-yes, yes, impressive, I was about to say, Dané." Kara and Laoi looked at each other and laughed, much to Apollo's embarrasment. Though Dané was too busy in her work to notice. Suddenly, Aoirtae spotted an object in the distance.
"That's it! That's the skull!" The mysterious Zevian Skull lay before them, on a pedestal at the end of the corridor. Aoirtae, Kara and Ryen could feel the great power coming from the Atlantican artifact, which hovered at the end of the temple.
Ryen scrutinised the Skull closely. "I heard rumours of the hunt of the Zevian Skull. I always thought it was folly to chase an object of the ancients, but now that I'm in the presence of one... What was the purpose of the skull?"
"No one knows, Libertus. Now don't come too close, do not touch the holy artifact!" the Cogsangui commander warned.
Aoirtae looked at Rtas with disdain. "I was told to bring the Skull to the Temple on Aldár, mandible-mouth. I promise that we'll return it." The Cogsangui roared and activiated his blade.
Suddenly Lord Rambarth stood between the two and looked stern at both of them.
"That is enough!"
The Cogsangui lowered his blade and stood down. Rambarth looked at Aoirtae again before he spoke. "And you my dear might learn some diplomatic skills. You can approach the Skull and investigate it."
Aoirtae glanced at Kara and Ryen, who both nodded. "If you say so." Approaching the skull, Aoirtae looked back at the group with trepidation, before regaining her confidence and reaching out to touch the Skull.
The crystal eyes of the Skull flared up as a flickering of energy travelled over the glimmering skill. Suddenly Aoirtae's eyes turned white as the Skull emboded her with a vision and a warning: "Darkness hath found thee!".
Releasing the skull, she fell to her knees and breathed heavily, "Oh no, we can never reach Aldár back in time!".
The rest looked confused and didn't understand what she meant.
"Aldár is under siege!"
Chapter Five: Aldár Under Siege!
Before the group had the time to react, the Skull teleported them all the way back to Aldár. Doctor Elenya, shocked that such a feat was even possible, given the galactic barriers surrounding both Cyrannus and the Quadrants was utterly speechless while the rest of the group attempted to survey the surroundings. Laoi, Apollo, Rambarth, Elenya and Rtas had no clue where they had been transported, though Aoirtae, Ryen and Kara knew exactly where. The Temple of the Aldárae. In the distance, the sound of a marching army was heard as the Zevian Skull hovered motionlessly above the main foyer of the temple, away from reach.
Rushing to meet the group came Master Aenaró, who panted as he approached. "Excellent timing, this is. Though how did you get her-" He interupted himself. "Hmm, no time for idle chatter, this is. A great evil approaches!"
Rambarth got to his feet, swearing under his breath that he grew tired of these supernatural events that plagued the Cluster lately. Plus he was getting way too old for this. Rtas simply ignited his plasma sword and readied himself for battle. Aoirtae and Ryen followed, while Kara preserved her strength for the fight to come. She glanced over at her father and brother. She knew that neither of them were particularly adept at fighting, though Apollo unholstered her dual pistols regardless—a momento he kept since his days as President of the United Republic of Cyrannus.
With her blade in hand, Aoirtae glanced at Aenaró. "Who is attacking us, Master Aenaró? Did you manage to get a look?"
Aenaró nodded solemnly. "Two armoured figures command the fight, young one. I do not know of their identities."
From the smoke two armored figures emerged, with one igniting a sabre, a female humanoid known as Lana Yrel. She was joined by a goblin like creature, clad in golden armor and wielding an enormous axe, Trashnak. Without a word the two individuals launched forward to attack. Rushing forward with their blades in hand, Aoirtae and Ryen clashed with Lana and Trashnak respectively.
With her blade against Lana's, Aoirtae scowled. "W-who sent you?!" The humanoid female assassin smiled, "W-well curious aren't we eh? The Sorceror of Carnthedain sends his regards!". Lana pushed back Aoirtae and raised her blade and swung it forward. Aoirtae blocked the attack with her blade and with her free hand, telekinetically forced Lana back into one of the temple's walls. Meanwhile, Ryen battled against the brutish might of Trashnak, struggling to evade the strikes of his enormous axe. Trashnak, clearly amused by the bout, attacked with a primal savagery, though Ryen—trained in the arts of combat by the Krassio—managed to block every attack, sparks flying each time their weapons locked. Trashnak was unable to block Ryen's counter and was smashed into the wall as well. Both servants of the Sorceror gained their footing again, ready for round two. A deadly silent suddenly befell all present, the light grew dim as the Sorceror himself emerged from the temple. Raising his blade towards the two defenders, he began to speak, his voice sounding dreadful.
"Thank you for bringing both the Skull and the last great Lord of House Le Rambo to me! Now with one quick swipe I shall wipe out the line of Le Rambo, and the Quadrants will descend into shadow and despair!"
Two more figures emerged from the debris, with one of them laughing sadistically. To Aoirtae's horror, it was the corporeal version of the spectre she saw in the cave: the Phaedric Lord Venatorius. His face obscured by his intimidating helm, his deep and refined voice was distorted. "My thoughts exactly, Sorceror. Today will see the end of not only your foe, but the Masters of this Aldárae Order," he glanced at Apollo and his family, before indicating to his companion. "Oh and how wonderful, Lord Meketanor, the Cretacea Family was kind enough to join us." The huge, serpentine Marinox grinned at the sight as he narrowed his eyes. "Not only do I get to destroy this heretical place I also get my sweet revenge against the mortal who escaped me before."
Kara stepped forward and outstretched her arms, protecting Apollo, Laoi, Dané and Rambarth. "I'd like to see you try, ugly." Clearly, she was terrified, but did her best to hide these feelings. To look upon Meketanor was to look upon death itself, to say nothing of the horrifying Sorceror and Venatorius. Apollo attempted to get his daughter to back away, well aware of the power of the Phaedric Lord, whom he had once escaped from during the Great Cyrannus War.
Morgandaûr launched forward and engaged both Ryen and Aenaró, striking blows with these powerful figures send shockwaves of wind across the battle field. Aenaró, quick and agile managed to evade Morgandaûr' strike and hit he Sorceror in his right leg, sending him to his knees. Ryen saw his opening and used his magics to strike the Sorceror who was send flying. To their surprise, the sorceror got back to his feet. "Is this all you got?" he hissed. Before the two knew it they were striking swords again. Suddenly Morgandaûr unleashed lightning from his hands, striking Ryen who went down, breathing heavily he was unable to fight.
Circling, Aenaró and Morgandaûr were on even terms, crossing swords again Morgandaûr held Aenaró' strike while he unleashed another torrent of lightning. Aenaró had difficulties keeping it at bay, though blocked it with his blade while Morgandaûr kept firing. He felt a small breeze of wind behind him. "Surprise, surprise!" Lana Yrel said. Before the unfortunate Yodian could act he felt her blade piercing his left shoulder, with the blade down he was then hit by the lightning from Morgandaûr, sending the unfortunate Yodian flying and crashing hard into the ground. Morgandaûr looked at the rest of the battlefield. "Two down, start tearing down this temple!" he barked.
Meanwhile, Meketanor growled as he lunged at the Cretacea Family, his blade in hand as he hoped to thrust it through them in one swift blow. Apollo, Laoi and Dané were helpless against the powerful Phaedric Lord, though Rtas was an accomplished warrior of the Cognatus. He blocked the assault of the creature and launched an assault himself. Meanwhile, Apollo, Dané and Rambarth tried to take Laoi away from the battle field and headed for the trees nearby. The Cogsangui warrior's intervention saved the lives of the others, though the malevolent Phaedra eventually managed to land a solid blow, impaling Rtas's torso with his energy blade. The warrior spat up blood before his knees gave away. As Meketanor removed the blade from the Cogsangui chest, the lifeless body of Rtas fell to the ground.
"You monster!" Kara burst forward. Though she was without a blade, she closed her eyes, only to open them with a sense of purpose and determination she had never felt before. Meketanor answered by letting out a loud growl at the young Libertus, revealing his immense fanged teeth. Kara lifted up her hand, telekinetically raising nearby rocks and debris off the ground. Looking back, Apollo's eyes widened with fear for his daughter. "Kara!" Her eyes filled with fury, she unleashed the rocks toward her foe, though she knew she was wholly outmatched. The Marinox flinched as the rocks collided with him, though his highly advanced artificial skin left him unharmed as he walked at Kara's direction. "You're next, you petulant brat."
Aoirtae watched with horror as Ryen and Aenaró fell in combat, distracted by the apparent loss of her friends as Venatorius approached. The Phaedric Lord's black robes flittered behind him as he circled his prey. "Thus always is the fate of those who defy the Dark Lord, child." He outstretched his hand. "We do not have to be... enemies." Aoirtae was reminded immediately of her vision in the cave on the Peak of Ages, where the same words were uttered to her. "Come with me, join the Phaedric Order," he indicated to another part of the temple hall, where Meketanor had just impaled the Cogsangui warrior. "And know true power."
Brandishing her blade, she shook her head. "That's not going to happen." Aoirtae charged forth, blade in hand. In an instant, Venatorius ignited his blade in time to meet with Aoirtae's. Battling powerfully, it quickly became clear to Aoirtae that the Phaedric Lord was merely toying with her. Indeed, just when she thought she had landed a direct hit, he deflected it with a mere hand gesture, before grabbing her by the wrist and tossing her aside.
With tears in her eyes, Aoirtae rose to her feet. She attempted to remain fortified against his attacks, jumping forward with ferocity. With single-handed swipes, she met Venatorius' blade with her own, searching for an opening. With speed and fury, she attacked with more determination than ever before. The Phaedric Lord blocked each attack. His voice was emotionless and yet powerful. "You have much to learn, girl." With a single swipe, he sent Aoirtae's blade flying into the air, before slashing at her chest and telekinetically sending her flying into the air, before smashing into the wall of the temple, unconscious and gravely injured.
Chapter Six: Dragon Fire
Just then, when all hope had seemingly faded, a great roar was heard. Every figure in the temple still capable of moving looked to the heavens, where a massive burst of flame erupted through the roof, sending debris raining onto the floor. The flame suddenly materialised into a massive brown dragon, which swept over the battlefield beneath his outstretched wings. Meketanor stopped on his tracks as he looked at the new arrival with a look of confusion. "What is the meaning of this?!" With another great roar, Master Du'utahrovin landed with a thud, his sight fixed on Venatorius, Meketanor and Morgandaûr. "You have, all of you, made a dire mistake this day. Begone! Back to the dark embrace from whence you came!"
"I know not what you are, but you will die the same as all these insects!" Meketanor exclaimed before leaping at the dragon's direction, wanting to strike at him with his energy blade. Du'utahrovin flapped his mighty wings, creating a sound like a clap of thunder. Opening his jaws, bright yellow flames erupted. It was not fire, but rather a manifestation of star light itself. Almost fifty feet away, Kara felt the wash of extreme heat as Meketanor was engulfed in the flame. The Marinox was blown back, letting out a pained yell as his body was left covered in burn marks. He became hesitant in attacking again, instead beginning to step away from Du'utahrovin. "Venatorius! We have a problem!"
Du'utahrovin roared, the sound filling the temple. Snapping his head to Venatorius, who was about to leap onto his back with his blade in hand, Master Du'utahrovin spat more flame, bathing the Phaedric Lord in flame, before smacking him away with a lash of his tail. By the time he impacted against the floor, his robes had completely burned off, leaving him in his mechanical suit, though one charred like ash. Venatorius managed to rise to his feet and rushed over to Meketanor. "We... must go. But this is not over." He specifically glanced over to Aoirtae, who lay huddled in the corner, before turning to the advancing dragon. "Come, Meketanor. We are outmatched." Before they left, the Marinox made sure to taunt them at least one more time. "We know where you hide! Your Order will fall to our own!"
Morgandaûr watched all of it in wonder and surprise, he unleashed lightning upon his foes, covering the escape of Meketanor and Venatorius. "Well, well, who might we have here? Defender of the Light?"
The great dragon roared again and flapped his wings, launching himself into the air. "You will not consume this world, Sorcerer. You will be purged by star flame!" Morgandaûr braced himself when the dragon spat more flame, though the sorceror raised a magical shield. "Predictable, dragon!" Morgandaûr hissed back. Unleashing dark energies, he hit the dragon lord, causing Du'utahrovin to roar in pain as he crashed into the ground.
Shaking his mighty head, he shot more flames at the sorceror, who managed to hold it a back with his dark energies. Morgandaûr summoned more electric energies from the skies that hit the dragon, who bellowed in pain. Morgandaûr advanced forward, at one arm igniting his blade he moved in to kill the mighty dragon.
Du'utahrovin looked in agony as the sorceror advanced but the dark energies somehow kept him grounded, his advantage of surprise totally obliberated by the Sorceror. "You cannot extinguish the light, dark one. No matter how hard you may try." He noticed that Morgandaûr stopped his advance and turned around. The sorcerer raised his sword to block incoming blaster shots while he kept firing lightning at Du'utahrovin. Looking over his sword to his annoyance he saw Lord Rambarth and Apollo, the latter who had handed one of his pistols to the Serindia Lord.
"Fools, you think mere blasters can stop me?" the Sorceror roared.
"Probably not, Sorceror, but enough to delay you!" Ryen shouted from the other side while he unleashed his energies at the sorceror. Stepping alongside him was Kara, who unleashed volleys of rocks and pieces of debris at the Sorcerer.
The sudden attack broke Morgandaûr's concentration and Du'utahrovin broke free. Spreading his wings, the Master unleashed the full force of his dragon fire on the Sorceror. Morgandaûr tried in vain to raise a magical shield around him, though he felt his knee giving away. Falling to his knees, he concentrated and managed to raise the shield once more, though parts of his armor began giving away and melting.
"I cannot be defeated by mere mortals!" Morgandaûr proclaimed as he regained his footing and send all of his energies to block the blaster bolts, Du'utahrovin's flame and Ryen energy. Taken a back by the sudden appearance of Aoirtae in front of him he was unable to predict her action.
"Sorry, Mr. Sorceror, your days of sorcering are over!" she firmly said as she plunged her sword in the chest of Morgandaûr and jumped backwards.
Morgandaûr lost his hold over his energies and the protective shield dropped. Without the shields, Morgandaûr was hit by the energies and bolts he kept at bay. The impact of so much energy send and impact wave across the battlefield, shattering the front windows of the temple. Recovering from the blast, Aoirtae approached the kneeling Sorceror, as smoke rose from him. He didn't even had the energy to look up. Aoirtae dropped to one knee and looked in the eyes of the Sorceror. What she saw would haunt her for the rest of her life.
She removed her sword from the sorceror's chest and a sound of agony emerged from Morgandaûr. As he sat, his armor buckled and he disappeared in a scream and a bright light white energy. The Sorceror of Carnthedain was no more. Lana Yrel looked in agony and fled into the woods. Trashnak dropped his axe and approached Aoirtae and kneeled.
"I surrender, slayer of the Sorceror!"
Chapter Seven: Aftermath
The temple ruins had been utterly flattened by Morgandaûr's assault, though all but one of the defenders had survived. Though none had emerged unscathed from the experience. The survivors gathered in a circle surrounding where the Sorcerer had been destroyed. Doctor Elenya was, for the first time in her life as Apollo thought, utterly speechless by such an experience. As a woman of hard science, she would need several decades to explain what had just occured. With his children in his arms, Apollo, who was badly brusied by the experience, looked at Du'utahrovin and Ryen, who were tending to Aoirtae and Aenaró's injuries. "... W-what was that thing?"
Ryen sighed as he rose to his feet. "The Sorcerer of Carnthedain. I expect you and the Lord Regent knew him best as the Emperor of the Imperial Alliance." He turned from Apollo and Rambarth's shocked faces to Aoirtae. He smiled with pride. "I daresay, we have rid the Cyrandia Cluster of one of its greatest threats."
Du'utahrovin sighed contently as he turned to Rambarth. "The spirit of your niece smiles this day, as she wanders the stars."
Rambarth bowed in honor of the massive dragon, though looked tired, sad and in thought about what just happened. Looking at Aoirtae, it was perhaps in the best interest for Rambo Nation to keep in touch with her and this Order.
Laoi smiled awkwardly at Aoirtae. "You were amazing," before he turned to Kara. "So this is what you do for fun, eh?"
Kara shrugged and smiled, before sadly turning to the body of Rtas. Though the Cogsangui warrior did not serve Voro Acetenus and the Unified Order of Cognalorilos, she knew he had been an honourable warrior, willing to defend the innocent to his dying breath.
Du'utahrovin moved to the centre of the group, seemingly oblivious to Dané's attempt to scan him. As he outstretched his wings, he spoke. "Evë'nnaar Valin'uvalyë. It has happened again. It is as the Annals of Valin'uvalyë predicted." With his wings outstretched, the sound of crumbling buildings was soon replaced by the songs of nearby birds, while the distant shore of the lake could be heard. "In the deepest and most unknown texts of the Oikoumene, beyond the knowledge of most, lay a single verse in the guiding code of their civilisation."
He turned his head to face Aoirtae, who had risen to listen to the Dragon Lord, who began to recite the ancient Oikoumene verse. "Thus shall it come to pass, back in the stream that feeds the river that feeds the stream, destinies will be spilled out before him. A darkness will claw toward the home of the light, believing itself without sin when it is sin that will consume it. Intruders will swarm like flame, hope arising to be reborn as the children of the child of the one. Meaningless in the absence of time, what never was is never again. Reach out from the skull, slip the fair bonds of the home of the light and bring forth the harbinger of Light. It is through the eye that they will know themselves."
Even Ryen would admit that he had no idea what Du'utahrovin was talking about, though Aoirtae nodded knowingly. Du'utahrovin turned to face the Zevian Skull, which slowly began to descend to the ground of the ruined temple in front of Aoirtae. She hesitated for a moment, though found comfort in the smiling faces of her friends, both new and old. "Well... here goes..." Reaching out, she placed both of her hands of the Skull, only for her to teleport immediately to a vast plane of golden, soothing light. To her surprise, the orbs of light from the cave on the Peak of Ages appeared before her, bobbing pleasantly in the still, warm air. A voice emanated from the orbs.
"Ah, a visitor. An old friend it seems? Welcome to my sanctuary, young Aoirtae. You will recall, I once told you that "I exist where there is no future, no present and no past". A lovely place, is it not? Though I must admit, I tire of this constant light. You cannot imagine how difficult it is to sleep."
Aoirtae wordlessly watched as the orbs coalesced in a flash of bathing light into a large saurian figure. "I am Apolithanatár and it is a pleasure to meet you, my dear."