Upon a Star: Rise of the Unknowns
Trying to reason with Soner was becoming more and more difficult, as if his mind was degenerating as quickly as his body was regressing. The younger he looked, the more difficult it was to get to him. The worse part of it, as Reveen realized, was that without proper control, the child’s power would keep on growing and release it increasingly destructive bursts. Already, he had spent most of Demyan’s mana raising barriers that were being smashed apart by the boy’s mana-fuelled tantrums.
"I won't let you! Mother is mine! She's nothing without me!" Soner let out as he used the very wings that the older Planar had ripped off during the latest spell skirmish as projectiles, the bony structures moving about like boomerangs, but cutting the air like scythes.
Lupa was growing increasingly tired of dealing with the boy’s attacks. As much as she held a grudge against Progeny for having sentenced her to eternity upon the mortals, what truly rattled her now was how Soner was warping the innocent traits of the Childlord into something so menacing. "Mother is not some toy for you to play with!" she lets out before cleaving one of the fleshy sickles in half with the weapon she had stolen from the former body of the crazed boy.
For a moment, Soner’s adult voice escaped from the smaller form’s lips. "The world is my toy, and I'll do what I want with it!" he let out before firing another blast of raw mana towards the pair.
Reveen knew that the pillar remains would serve as protection from the blast, but as he looked about, he noticed one thing: all of the spells fired by the Unwanted Child never reached the half-demon body that still lay on the ground. Rather, the sickles would fly over it without touching a hair off its body, and any blasts stopped inches away from its flesh. This meant one thing: Soner was using Progeny’s body and mana, but still had enough restraint to keep his former body from harm.
Waiting for the first blast to rip through the Celestial Garden, the man looked at Lupa, then motioned towards the body. It took no time for the newly-reborn Planar of the Sun to figure what her father had planned. Moments before the child charged a new blast, she dashed towards the body and picked it up, using it as shield to protect her from the mana outburst.
The Magelord looked for any reaction from the child to the use of his previous body, and the child’s angry expression soon changed for that of pain as he clutched his chest. “That’s it.” He muttered to himself. “Soner is using his discarded body like a phylactery.” Turning towards her daughter, he pointed at the body. “Lupa, throw that at him!”
“Just gonna grab a souvenir first.” The fiery-haired woman let out as she snapped the ammo belt off the body before flexing her muscles and tossing the empty husk in the boy’s direction.
The Aspect of Magic had to act fast. Pulling out a handful of crossbow bolts from the larger pouch that Demyan had, he quickly enchanted the lot to float around his hand like the crosshairs of the gun Soner had first used, and unleashed a concentrated blast through the rotating arrows, turning the missiles into a magnification dish as mana was fired through the man’s digits like a cannon, blasting the body forward.
In Soner’s chaotic mind, he did not register the attempt at destroy the body he formerly inhabited, believing it was no longer of any use. His degrading mind forced another blast to surge out through the tiny child’s hands, catching the discarded carcass in a crossfire of contradicting mana, the chaotic outburst ripping it apart down to cellular level, leaving nothing but ashes behind.
The boy noticed too late his mistake, only to see Lupa’s sword slash downward at him, leaving a massive gash that nearly split him in half. “You spoiled brat!” she let out before reversing the grip on her sword and thrusting the pommel at him, knocking him back.
The child’s form was beginning to shed its former skin as it began to convulse, dark mana and fury escaping through every pore of his skin. "I'll... kill... you all!" he let out before letting out a high-pitched scream. Moments later, wings and feathers turned into blades that flew in a maelstrom that left no place to run for the two.
Even with Reveen’s barriers, the blades were slicing too close, cutting into armor, clothes and skin, forcing the two to back against the walls, hoping to side-step or barrel-roll away from the storm of daggers. "He's too erratic.” The Aspect of Magic said as he used his battle-staff to knock some of the blades away, having to constantly move to avoid being skewered. “The more he is wounded, the younger he becomes, but the younger he becomes, the more chaotic he grows..."
“Then the plan is simple...” the woman let out as she wiped a bleeding cut on her cheek, using a small amount of mana to close it, “…keep wounding him to he is a baby once more.”
The plan, while obvious, was definitely not going to be easy as the two watched a new set of wings- not as black as a crow’s – spurt from the body and wrap around him like a cocoon. "Die, die, die, die, die!"
The very air started to feel heavy as the blades and discarded wings were pulled in towards the protected boy in a centripetal rotation before vanishing into the mana-thick mass, the form turning into a spherical void. "He's lost it... he's turned himself the space around him into a black hole..."
Lupa hastily loaded a shot into the gun before firing, finding the bullet to be of no use as it vanished into nothingness. “What do we do now? “ she began to panic, the pull of the spell beginning to force her forward.
"If we don't pull away, we'll get sucked in... but if we can't stop him, he'll swallow everything...” Reveen said, feeling time itself distort around them. “Throw everything you have at him!"
This was no longer a battle to save Progeny, or even Medierth: it was a struggle for survival. Both Planars fired every ounce of mana into the blast, countering Soner’s black hole with the enough power to make a sun explode. The class between supernova and black hole ripped the room apart, causing everything that was not grounded to fly off from the impact, ripping the very fabric of reality in the room apart.
Both Reveen and Lupa felt their power waver as the mass of power launched at Soner’s attempt to annihilate them was not only negated, but ripped the dome that protected the infant apart, causing the barrier of wings to break away, leaving behind a child that seemed no older than a month old.
The room in itself was not void of matter, save for the two Planars and the baby. The Garden’s celestial roof was gone, replaced by dawning light of day. The floor had been so ravaged by the exchange of energy that it felt as though the room had been made on a crater.
Reveen slowly pulled himself up, feeling human exhaustion for the first time, his war-staff having disintegrated in the last magical skirmish. “He’s still…” he heard Lupa speak as the child began to bawl.
"The Unwanted Child... its first scream will bring the end of everything..." the worn-out and hurt Planar let out as he fell to his knees, too drained to raise even the slimmest of mana-barriers.
Lupa looked at the baby, not sure if she had the strength to keep her sword up, nor the will to strike down a baby. “I won’t let this world end… not now…” she said, trying to pull herself up using the blade, the object snapping in her hands, the overtaxed object unable to hold together after the last round of combat.
Fearing the worst, both of them closed their eyes, thinking it would be the end… until they heard a woman’s voice. A voice so familiar, yet like a dream within a memory. “It’s alright… don’t cry, sweetie…”
Rather than a Mana-Scar, it was a sliver of light that formed in the room, creating the shape of a woman. As soon as the form began to solidify, the baby’s cry began to weaken, toning down into a awe-filled tone.
The Planar of the Sun opened her eyes as she took in the sight of the woman, who looked so similar to Karyana, aside from the younger complexion, shorter hair with the faintest of red highlights, her eyes the color of perfect amethysts. “Mother…” she said, the word feeling so right as it escaped her lips, a gentle tear of pure happiness trickling down her cheek. “You’re back…”
The young woman picked up the child and held it gingerly in her arms, cradling him. “It’s okay… mommy’s here.” She whispered as the boy let out a chirpy giggle.
Reveen’s spirit took a moment to make sure Demyan was resting before leaving his body, a spectral form appearing before the mother. Rather than dressed in the Magelord’s outfit, the man wore clothes that seemed fit for a man of the old world’s military, though he kept the unconscious man’s mask and physical traits. “Melody…”
The young woman made a blissful smile as she recognized the being before her. “Remi…” she whispered before walking towards Lupa, kneeling down inches from her. “My little angel…”
The fiery-haired woman couldn’t keep her tears of joy from flowing as she gently wrapped her arms around her mother, being careful not to hurt the baby. “Mom! You’re… she did it… Josephine…” she muttered, too happy to express her words.
The Planar-Mage looked at her daughter. “You were right. The world will see a new dawn.” He said before looking skyward, watching as the clouds above began to part.
“Mom!” Sarah, Dawn and Asha raced towards their respective mothers as Josephine and Karyana landed on the ground, thankful that Devathion had survived the chaotic storm brought forth by the former Melothios.
“You… you did it, right?” the yellow-haired girl asked meekly, hoping for the best.
“It’s all okay? You beat the bad guys?” the young brunette added more questions.
“It’s finally over.” Josephine answered as she held her daughter in a tight embrace. “We all did it…”
“About time you showed up!” came a grumpy voice from afar as Onyx, soon followed by the others, walked over to the two women. “Where in the blazes were you? We were fighting our butts off to stop those rotters from-“
“Oh, pipe down, already.” Alban replied before knocking the dwarf’s helmet out with a tap upside the stocky man’s head. “Can’t you see those two pretty much wiped the most powerful evil in Medierth off the map?”
Karyana looked surprised at the ranger’s words, though her smile did not last. “You guys… you’re right.” She replied, looking apologetic. “I thought I could stop Melothios by myself. That was stupid of me.”
“Kary, don’t be so hard on yourself!” the Gonanese woman replied. “If it wasn’t for you, neither of us would have made it.”
“Speaking of making it…” spoke a voice that was faintly familiar to the black-haired woman. “What happened to Corlan?”
The Magelady turned about and recognized the street-smart elf, even though he was not wearing hand-me-down clothes found in Saberbia. “Olin?!? You’re alive? But, how-”
“OLIN!?!” shouted another voice - a young woman’s voice – as a short woman with steel-grey eyes and short black hair rushed over, nearly bowling the young elf over as she jumped into his arms.
“Elany?!?” the Citadelan woman added in shock. “But… but I thought you-“
“Don’t think so much.” Sayeth spoke as she walked over, Xelnos at his side. “You’ll mess that pretty face up.”
It took a moment for her to realize what was going on. Not only were her comrades there, but all those who had met her before and died had somehow returned. “I… I can’t believe it…” the black-haired woman muttered, even as she felt her children hug her tightly.
“Believe it.” Spoke a tall man as he approached the group. The man in question was somewhat taller than Alban and less imposing in terms of muscle, but what shocked Karyana the most was how old his chain vest and clothes seemed to be. Even more than that was the appearance of a petite woman, much smaller than the towering man, dressed in colors befitting those of a noblewoman, her delicate dress and gilded tiara giving her an air of nobility.
“W-wait a second…” Lady Xera blurted out as she looked at golden-haired newcomer, examining her from head to toe. “How is that even possible… L-Lady Alphea?!?”
Tecya and the elderly man walked over, followed by Baratus. “It looks like Mother and Father were really generous, today.” The former said. “Big sis… I bet she’s okay.”
“Something tells me that Reveen has a say in all this.” Turalyon thought as he looked at the newcomers. “First Olin and Elany, then Lady Alphea and Thivalt, and who knows who else…?”
The answer quickly arrived as Josephine let out a gasp, seeing a long-forgotten face appear amidst the crowd. The newcomer wore the colors of Gonan and was dressed in the tribal colors of the Gressik weyrs. Along her was a tall man with a short, well-kept beard, dressed in a set of hardened leather, looking at the Gonanese queen with wonder and surprise. “Meredith… oh my god! Cunon!”
“Cunon?” Turalyon wondered, not sure he remembered such a name. “Who’s that?”
“Josephine and Lupa’s first mate.” The savage-looking woman snapped back as he watched Sarah and the golden-haired woman run towards him, making a three-person embrace.
Karyana took a moment to look around, not seeing Demyan anywhere. “Where is he? Demyan?”
“For once, you didn’t call me Medy.” She heard from behind as a pair of arms wrapped around her shoulders, a rough kiss being planted on her cheekbone. “For a moment, I thought I’d never see you again.”
Onyx picked up his helmet and dusted it off. “Looks like Saberbia won’t have enough rooms for all the couples.” He said before looking around, spotting Kaina and Alban together, while Laurinya was talking down on Turalyon just before surprising the battle-mage with a kiss. “Great… they all have women… why can’t I find something for meself?”
The strange question Onyx shot out led to a general moment of laughter before Lily rushed over, carrying a crumpled piece of paper. “Lord Demyan! Vokram has escaped!”
It did not take long for the man to break the embrace before taking hold of the note. Unravelling it, he took a quick read before closing his eyes. “Damn it all!” he muttered.
The black-haired woman pulled the note out of her husband’s hand and read it out loud, having trouble making everything out due to paw smears: “You have no idea who you are dealing with. I am older than all the Planars and possess the power of the Black Eggs! I can wipe Medierth clean and start over. This will be my ‘Second Genesis’… and I will forge a new world, once where my power is law!”
“Vokram... That nimrod just won’t quit!” Laurinya let out, furious at the idea of the man she had destroyed ages ago not only alive, but bent on wiping the world’s slate. “Why I ought to…”
“Lauri, stop.” Karyana snapped back. “This isn’t your fight. At least, not anymore.”
“What? And you think you’ll do it?” the reluctant leader of the Order let out.
“No… but let’s do this together.” The Magelady calmly answered. “I know where there is a Black Egg, but this time, it’s not the duty of the Chosen to stop some great evil. It’s the world’s duty: we all have to make sure that none of this ever happens again. All those wars, they tore us all apart, but also brought us together as comrades, as allies, as friends. Vokram caused the world to suffer, but I think it’s time we take it back. Our world, our fates, our futures…” A long silence filled the area as Karyana realized she had just thrown a monologue like some hero from a children’s tale. “That came out a bit too strong, huh…”
“It wasn’t that bad.” Dawn commented, trying to be empathetic to her mother’s idea.
“At least you’re not calling yourself some big-shot savior-like title.” Sayeth added. “You know, it wouldn’t feel right if you hogged all the glory. I think we all deserve our share, right?” Looking around at the soldiers and warriors who aided in what an hour ago felt like a desperate war for survival, she looked around and cocked an eyebrow. “Has… has anyone seen Xelnos? I thought he was just there.”
Xelnos looked at the dilapidated remains of the Spire, spotting Vokram as he tried as best as his lupine form could to press buttons and flip switches to activate the Black Egg. “I knew you’d be here.” The former Planar of Destruction said as he approached the dark-furred beast.
“Xelnos… you betrayed me…” the former Exarch groaned, baring fangs as he turned around.
“Yeah, I did. But you also did, remember?” the grey-skinned elf replied, his axe in hand. “But you know, I learned from my mistakes, and I’m thinking of giving up my title of Planar of Destruction. Frankly, you’re worse than I ever was.”
The wolf leapt towards the man, only to be knocked back by the heavy weapon’s blunt side. “You know, it’s rude when you interrupt people when they talk. Let’s make a bargain, shall we? I give you my title and make you the Planar of Destruction, and in exchange, you turn that contraption off.”
The wolf snarled as he looked back at the Planar. “What would that make you, then?”
“I’ve grown fond of being a Greyskin, so I thought I’d be the Planar-Lord of Elves. Catchy, isn’t it?” Xelnos added as he walked over to the control panel. “So, how about it? Instead of being haunted for the rest of eternity, I’m giving you your own dimension to rule, with your responsibilities and your own powers. Sure, you’ll have to suck it up to the other Planars every once in a while but, hey, the world wouldn’t be complete without someone to represent evil, right?”
“You think being the ruler of a destroyed dimension is my idea of victory?” Vokram groaned before thinking things through. His powers had been sealed away by Reveen, and with the power he stole from the Chosen, from Panyus and from Xelnos himself, he could topple the Planars and rule supreme. “Hmm… if you think I’ll accept anything with such a body…”
“So it’s a deal!” Xelnos said as he pulled the Black Egg’s main lever. Rather than deactivate it, he watched as the gears whirred to life. “Oh, and one more thing…”
The former Planar of Destruction grabbed his axe and slammed the blade down against the wolf’s body, ripping a massive gash in the flesh before pulling Vokram’s human form out, like a butcher would pull the bowels out of a pig before cutting away the meat. The moment the blood-soaked body stepped out of the fur, the Aspect spun the axe in mid-air before slamming it against the ground, causing it to crack under their feet and under the immense mechanisms as the walls began to crumble, the metallic webs starting to snap.
“Enjoy your hell!” the newly-titled Planar of Elves shouted triumphantly as he discarded his axe before backing away into a Mana-Scar.
Vokram did not have time rush towards the portal before it closed, the ground caving in under his feet into a much larger portal that forced him into what felt like a thousand-yard drop, the debris of the former embodiment of the past’s mistakes – the scrap-metal Spire – fell in over him, the Black Egg falling down into the Underdeep with the newly-entitled Planar.