The party, now with two new Sorceresses in tow left the Carcass Mountains. Ogden could not help but point out how one sided in magic the party had become. During their adventure back to Solaris it was discovered Rhulan could summon the evil spirits from Hellena's crystals and command them in battle just as Meredith summons various monsters. It was like having altered versions of the very dark generals they had battled fighting alongside them.
Upon returning to the castle and before the king they are welcomed, word has reached ahead of them about the Advisor's betrayal, and that they had bested the Dragon of Cataclysms. Maximus is loyal to his king, however how could he begin to say, what he does not himself fully understand, that the woman traveling with them, this sorceress was the dragon rather he states to the king that Rhulan, this sorceress was a prisoner of the dragon, held sleeping within the beast much in the way the ancient gods were said to swallow one another, so that it could obtain her wisdom.
"So then," says the king, "she is the secret of the Millenial Sword?"
"Yes," says Maximus with a tone of solemness that the king picks up on.
"What is the matter Sir Maximus?" asks the king.
"The sword," states Rhulan who did not bow before the king like the others, save for Claire who stood as she does, equals or betters in their minds before the king whose kingdom is not unlike a newborn hatchling before them, "is called the Thousand Year Sword, or Millenial sword as it takes a thousand years to create, it is not a weapon that is to be made only when it is needed, but held and kept as an artifact."
"Do you, in your ancient wisdom know of one such blade?" asks the king.
"Unfortunately," says Rhulan, "only in the hands of those beyond our reach or ability to reason with."
"All is not lost," interjects Claire, "I myself as well as this Sorceress from the age of mythology have agreed to help Payne and his party, with my alchemy I can enhance their weapons and armor to enter the empire of shadows, and with Rhulan's ancient arcane arts we may best the demon lord yet."
"Is this true?" asks the king turning to the ones who had bowed before him.
"It is true sire," says Maximus, "we have seen that Claire the Alchemist lives up to her name and reputation, and this Rhulan the ancient sorceress, her powers are unlike anything I've ever seen or heard of, she bends the very darkness against its self in battle."
"I have no reason to doubt you," says the king, "very well, you may continue to accompany them against the empire of shadows, as we launch our own attacks. General O'Mallas will fill you in on the best way to execute this strategy."
[the party learned that the army would draw the main forces towards them as the party snuck into the empire of shadows through the mountains. It was not without peril as the mountains were filled with dread and evil. As they fought their way past the skeletal hoards they came upon the black castle, behind which was the black obelisk that had descended to their world and started this whole mess. Here they came face to face with a king, who in the start of the battle slew Ogden the thief. The king transformed into a great eight headed black serpent. The battle was fierce, and it was defeated, its dark heart pierced.]
As they party stands over the dissolving body in the ruins of what had been a castle, demolished during the battle, Hellena turns to Rhulan, "well? Aren't you going to claim
Rhulan says, "Perfect Sphere!" and raises a barrier over the party just as a dark energy bolt blasts over the area, the castle, the corpse, gone, leaving only a crater, upon the edge of which Rhulan lowers the sphere.
"very clever," comes a hissing voice from above them.
Meredith *gasps* loudly as Ogden's body hangs limply in the air as though nailed there.
Escaping the dead lips he says, "truly the dragon of cataclysms is a dangerous foe indeed. I however am Og'Daga, the terror of the timeless abyss. I shall devour this world."
"Impossible," says Payne, "you…your bandit gang was wiped out by the very thing you're claiming to be now."
"Fools," hisses the corpse, "I could not free myself from the obelisk, I needed an outside source, that traitorous king figured out a way to use my power without fully freeing me. So I possessed the body of one of the slain bandits, I think his name was Billy, a mere pickpocket nothing more. Thanks to you fools, and your battle the obelisk was cracked, I traveled with you only to come here and damage the seal…thank you…now…as a reward you will be the first to die by my glory, your deaths shall be painless. The rest of your world however will burn in the agony of madness, spicing up the flavor of their collective souls!"
Payne leaps into the air, his blade shining with golden energy thanks to Claire's enhancements as he slices through Ogden's body. It falls to the ground, the lack of blood and rotted interior betrays the true nature of the corpse's age.
A moment later the ground shakes as red cracks come over the obelisk, it falls away revealing something…something strange. The stories to be written about this in the future may describe this thing as a creature made of black smoke, black smokeless flames, or a dark cloud, none of these descriptions does it justice. It is like millions of points of darkness all vibrating, rotating, trying to be free from some unseen spherical cage. As the moving mass ascends from the shattered remnants of the obelisk it changes slightly, two antenna made of threaded and splintered wire, or at least that is how they appear emerge from the top of mass, from the sides five gnarled ebony branches, arranged in length, thickness, and placement like human fingers, if there were a palm it would need to be inside the mass. There is no sign of a core or that the parts protruding from it are connected to anything.
"We have to attack!" yells out Payne.
The party unleashes their attacks, summoned beasts from Meredith, arcane spells from Hellena, elemental forces from Claire, holy waves of power from Payne and Maximus' enchanted weapons, and dark powers from Rhulan. Their attacks cause flashes or red on the main mass. The antenna swoop down and slice into the land attacking them, the fingers shoot forth dark energy bolts as well as dark organic cones that turn into lesser demons that contend with the summoned beasts. Focusing on a single finger or antenna looks to do damage, making them vanish in red bursts. It is impossible to tell if Og'Daga can even feel their attacks.
Just as it seems they've won, making all the fingers vanish and the antenna, Og'Daga rises up and laughs. Its body grows inside a thousand fold, the appendages reappear.
"Enough of this!" yells out Rhulan flying into the air. Her cape becomes shadow wings, darkness flows over body as she summons a black cyclone.
"We have to get back!" yells Claire.
Before their eyes its back, the Dragon of Cataclysms; not only their eyes but that of the king and the army as when Og'Daga emerged it devoured the energy of the beasts summoned from its energy. The army was quick to march into the empire of shadows. What they see now is a sight that will live on in living memory for all their lives, passed down for countless generations. The Dragon of Cataclysms digs its claws into the massive moving mass of Og'Daga, sparks of red energy dancing from its claws. The dragon tries to drag Og'Daga back, with great flaps of her wings, and smashes her tail into the side of the Eldritch Abomination.
Without a word Og'Daga's fingers lengthen and splinter into a thousand branches growing rather than reaching out ripping into the dragons wings, shredding much of the membran. She roars a thunderous sound, summoning bolts of lightning that dance across the expanding branches but seem to do no damage. She rears back and blasts her chaotic red energy breath attacks straight into Og'Daga, the un-natural red energy sizzles, as best it can be described, the millions of moving points of darkness, the entire mass shakes the first clear sign of pain. The next being the antenna merging together into a drill and stabbing into the left side of the dragon's next and slicing outwards, spilling much of the dragon's blood. Red bolts dance inside the gaping wound as her breath is halted.
"We have to help," says Claire, "that is it…chaos energy is the only thing that can really hurt it."
"Ruby fire burning bright
Darkness that glows in the dead of night
Ancient force beyond the seal
Mother of madness
Queen of despair
Eyes that shine beyond the twilight
Ender of all, mother of destruction,
Queen of the ancient flame
Give no quarter to those who stand before your might
They are thine enemies as they are my own
Grant thy strength my humble frame
Thy power to my soul
With my vacant heart I pledge myself to your embrace
To destroy without mercy or sorrow the fools before me
A red aura envelops Claire, just as the branches grow around the dragon, digging into her flesh, as the antenna wrap around the dragon's neck. Claire unleashes the great red blast of energy, the same as the dragon's breath, blasting Og'Daga right in the point where the branches connect with the body. The branches vanish in red light. Her arms freed the dragon cups her left claw over her wounded neck, her claw glowing white with a healing spell. As she heals she blasts out another chaos beam. Og'Daga is now being struck on two sides by power that can level entire cities. Its body burns.
Suddenly a massive curved branch shoots from beneath the dark mass and stabs the
dragon through the gut.
"No!" screams Hellena, "damn, desperation time!"
She places her hands on the gold ornament on her head and says, "Kara'ra come forth!"
The sky darkens as a black portal appears, from which a massive red jewel, with black spider like legs connected to it, very similar to the branches from Og'Daga.
"Another one?" asks Payne.
"This is mine," says Hellena, "a forbidden act, Kara'ra…attack that eldritch abomination!"
From the tips of its legs many red bolts fire into Og'Daga, its starts to lower down and actually shrink a little.
The voice is inside the dragon's head,
The dragon's eyes shoot open and it grabs the spike that has run it through.
*that creature is a beast of madness, not true chaos, use my power*
Red bolts fire between the dragon's teeth, the rips in its wings, and the eyes glow with a great red glow.
Claire's spell stops, and she falls over.
"Claire!" yells out Meredith.
"I…" says Claire weakly, "kept the Chaos Blast going for much longer than any mortal could ever make it last…my mana…is completely spent, I have to…sleep now…wake me when…it's over."
Claire falls asleep.
Og'Daga unleashes a dark energy wave shoving Kara'ra back up into its portal and damaging it greatly, a sudden red flash stops it short of destroying it as the dragon's body glows red. In a scene similar to when the dragon vanished before its body turns to dark mist and waves around a central point. As the darkness swirls a black and red light, with other colors flashing here and there can be seen within.
Rhulan's words can be heard, echoing through the thunder and their minds.
"I call the seal to loosen,"
Og'Daga ignores the ship and unleashes thorny vines, smacking through the mist and against a barrier inside that moves around doging.
"I call forth that power which is locked with-in"
"No!" says Og'Daga, speaking for the first time since its emergence and speech.
"By that which sleeps at the center of all chaos at the center of the Netherworld
By the power of the mother of chaos"
"You cannot know that spell," says Og'Daga as black inky skulls form over the moving mass, the body now a black inky ball covered in a hundred skulls, red energy bolts shoot from the eyes. The black swirl is dissipated, and inside Rhulan moves about in an impossible manner. Her body encased in a red light, she moves stiffly like some statue guided by an unseen hand as she casts the spell.
"I call forth the forbidden energies into the this world"
"NOOOO!" screams Og'Daga, now throwing inky smaller skulls from the mouths of those on its body, they fly madly in all directions. Payne and Maximus slice into those that come towards the ground with their holy weapons. Many of the soldiers in the distance are not so lucky as some go their way. Those skulls that land turn into black sludge horrors, those killed become venomous undead, a new war now wages in the distance.
"To destroy all that stands before me, to bury it all in darkness and chaos"
Hellena touches her ornament again, "Kara'ra, continue attack"
The vessel once again fires downwards hitting many of the skulls flying out, targeting them as enemy projectiles, and allowing Rhulan to stop needing to dodge.
"Lay waist the land and corrupt the sky, in the embrace of the mother of darkness!"
Rhulan's aura changes blood red, as dark as her hair, as a sphere of darkness, an aurora of darkness forms above her head.
She holds the sphere forward and it blasts out, blackness, dark red, purple, green, a darker blue than anyone below imagined possible, beautiful yet disturbing is this aurora of darkness.
Og'Daga tries to move aside, the blast envelopes half its body, swirling, drawing the rest in and turning it red. Those parts of it far away vanish as quickly as they came. Just as the last of its body is about to be drawn in it shoots a single spike out towards Claire. Payne moves just in time to catch her up and roll out of the way of the spike.
Og'Daga is drawn into the darkness, which with a few sparks, implodes into a tiny black vibrating dot.
Rhulan in a trance throws from her cape a large red orb.
"Supreme Soul Catcher Crystal." says Hellena leering up at it.
Suddenly the spike lashes out tendrils that wrap around Claire, the top opens up as a fangy mouth
Above them the black dot explodes, into a dark mass around the orb, the cone vanishes
as mist just as Payne is about to slice the tendrils with his sword and Maximus smash into the cone with his hammer. Above them they see the dark mass try to reform weakly into Og'Daga as it is drawn into the orb.
Rhulan grabs the orb when it is finished and places it through the dimensional folds of her cape. She floats down and stands before them.
"Rhu…lan?" asks Meredith, stopping as she sees Rhulan is still in a trance like state. Her eyes come back to normal..however her clothes suddenly start ripping, gashes appear over her body, a big one in the left side of her neck, showing signs of partial scarring from an unfinished healing spell. Her gut and back begin to bleed, and she starts to fall over.
Payne catches her before she hits the ground.
"Healing spell," says Payne.
"On it," says Meredith, placing her white glowing hands on Rhulan, slowly making the bleeding stop.
Hellena walks over, her summoned vessel vanishes back into the sky.
"She got it," thinks Hellena, "Og'Daga's soul, and hid it away beyond my reach…that cape…is that Suihrai technology?"
"I stopped the bleeding," says Meredith, "but we need to get her and Claire to a proper healing tem…ah!"
A bright white sigil appears under Rhulan and lifts her into the air, moving her through them like a ghost. Another appears above her. The one above her changes into a portal. A light connects the two, much like a tube. The sigil lifting her up rises her into the portal, both vanish.
"What?" starts Payne.
"Emergency escape spell," says Hellena, "just a bit delayed I think, guess all that chaos magic in the air prevented it from activating sooner."
Hellena looks off in the distance and thinks, "I guess that's what that was…not like any emergency escape I ever saw though."
[There was much rejoicing in the land, to Maximus' surprise the king did not hold it against him that the sorceress was the dragon, what a great secret weapon to unleash on the enemy as the king put it, and after the incident with the advisor no telling who was listening in, in the castle. Payne and Meredith became heroes in their home lands, the people who were transformed and survived returned to normal. Great Monuments would be built to commemorate the lives lost. Hellena would vanish during a ceremony at the castle in their honor, disappearing through a portal to the inside of her ship, which she had to take back to her own world for repairs. Claire would leave as well, no trace of her was to be found again, her cottage even vanished, she left behind only a singing stone that activated when Payne went to the site where her cottage had been, the ghostly image told him the incident spelled out to her that there was much more and greater magic for her to learn out there, and she had learned all she could for now on Volca.]
Elsewhere, Rhulan's eyes would open for a brief moment, her outstretched hand on the orb, somehow not where it should be, and standing over her performing a healing spell was Xin the Cat Witch, and someone she had never seen before, a young girl with long green hair.
The next Rhulan awakens she finds herself in a bed in an old looking house, the sunlight outside shining in her face. She gets up to see she is on some Steam punk type world.
"I brought you tea and cookies," says Xin cheerfully entering the room.
"How…" starts Rhulan turning around and seeing her orb just sitting on the table like a paper weight, the nature of the orb and its contents undermined to an unbelievable, unfathomable degree by the sheer fact its next to a vase of flowers and a teddy bear. The sheer sight of which makes Rhulan laugh despite herself.
"I love laughing," says the green haired girl entering the room.
"and who is this, a friend of yours Xin?" asks Rhulan.
The girl suddenly changes to a woman of Rhulan's own stature.
She smiles as she says, "I am the Sorceress Misaline."
"She rescued you," says Xin.
"I loved it!" shouts out Misaline clasping her hands together, her arms squishing her giant boobs that dwarf even Rhulan's ample bust, the wide smile on her face kind of creeps out Rhulan, not as much as seeing the teddy bear roll its eyes out of the corner of her eyes.
"I've never seen anyone fight a Lovecraftian horror hand to hand before," says Misaline gleefully, "it was so much fun, oh and chaos teaching you a spell right in the middle of battle was just so awesome, I had to go get popcorn."
"Love…craft…?" says Rhulan, "is that some kind of magic joke?"
"I'll show you the books later," says Misaline, "right after the tour, you are fun, I can tell, I can't believe you and Xin actually hang around those stuffy amateurs in the Society of Sorcery,"
Rhulan looks back at the smiling Xin as she follows Misaline, or rather is dragged by the arm by Misaline out of the room into the halls.