A Presentation (not on Powerpoint).....Part 2

The Never Ending Quest - Episode 14968

Continued......

Thinking of the cold reminded her of the words of the song that apparently only she had been able to hear. Winter kills? Was that a threat to make it colder yet? Did John have the power to do that from a distance, or was he down here in the caverns, one place where she had thought she would be free of him. Did the fact that she had heard the song, when Fred apparently could not, denote that she was now under some further spell?

Gradually, a feeling of unease took hold of Astra. She felt that something was not right, but for the moment she could not tell what it might be.

Astra realized that something was not quite right. It was a familar sensation, one she realized she had felt many times before. There was a tingling...a tingling somewhere in the back of her mind...

That's it! The only sensation Astra felt was tingling! The heat of the torch, the coolness of the stone floor...those sensations were gone! She was in a dream, a trance, a spell???
Astra jerked upwards. She had been laying on the floor of the cavern. The one with the drum. The water from above still beat on the skin. Making her tired...Astra's eyes fluttered and her arms relaxed, lowering her down to the floor...
She kicked, and the drum slid out from under the water. The drips hit the floor.

"Yes, it was a spell." she finished explaining to Velus and Fred. "We almost got hit by a simple booby-trap a child could figure out! Now, we will be more careful or we will be dead! Come!"

Suddenly a swift wind enters, deafening. Lights go out and several people are blasted off their feet and find themselves.....elsewhere.

Velus whines when the lights return...and he finds himself alone.

Story 3

(Author's note: this is taken in part from episode 4223 by Time Warrior)

"Well," said Astra, "it is fortunate that in the land of Aqularia, a woman may have more than one husband."

"Really?" said Fred. His face lit up.

"That's great," said Velus.

"So," Astra continued, "you do not have to fight a duel over me after all. But be aware that, although I may be married to several men, my heart can only belong to one."

"She's talking about me," said Velus. "I am the one who killed the dragon."

"No, thou dimwitted former canine, she is talking about me. It takes more than the slaying of a dragon to win a woman's heart. I have loved her truly, cared for her, protected her life, and given her friendship."

"Yeah, so what? You're a just a second-rate nobleman, while I'm the Dragon Slayer.

"Second rate?! Why you little..."

"Hold!" said Astra. "I have not finished. I love only Sir JH."

"What!?" said Velus.

"Sir who?"

"No, not Sir Who, Sir JH. Maybe you were thinking of Doctor Who."

"Doctor Who?" Fred asked.

"That's exactly my point. You see, I am a Doctor Who fan." She revealed a button on her armor that said "Paul McGann Estrogen Brigade." "And," Astra continued, "I had sworn since I was young that I would love only another Doctor Who fan. So I fell in love with Sir JH. He is my first husband, and the first in my heart. But he is trapped in the cave of the Witch of the White House. If you are to marry me, you must free him."

Fred and Velus....are suddenly blinded by a bright flash of light, as well as Astra. An arcane word is then shouted....and all black out. Velus awakes later, alone. Fred and Astra awaken in a pyramid that is red in color....

Story 4

(Author's note: this is taken in part from episode 14897, 14904, and 14917 by mr Qrygg and JH)

They pounded against the solid rock wall but there was no sign of the cave entrance they had come out through.

"Cursed be your name, foul dragon!" Fred shouted, but go no answer. "He must have strong magic indeed" said Astra, shivering, "What I don't understand is how wee could have come all the way up here. We hardly even felt the cold until we came out of the cave."

"Hmmm, you are right" Fred mused, "Maybe… Of course!" "What?"

Fred grinned "This is indeed magic, but an illusion! We are actually still down in the cave!"

Astra looked doubtfully at Fred. Fred held up a finger and said "Watch" as he triumphantly took a step of the cliff and…

Fred fell screaming to his death. Or at least, so Astra assumed for one sickening moment. But then she saw that he had landed in a snowdrift only about fifty feet below, and that there was a fair chance that he might have survived.

Climbing down the cliff was out of the question - her fingers were rapidly becoming too numb for that - but she saw that not far from where she stood there was a much gentler slope that would take her down to the gully where Fred lay. She hastened to his side, through thigh-deep snow, and found that:

He had suffered nothing worse than a badly sprained ankle.

Fred's pride was more hurt than anything else when Astra helped him to his feet.

"I… seem to have made a fool of myself."

"The important thing is that you're alive. Come on, one step at the time."

Supporting him on her shoulder Astra led Fred through the snowdrift and sat him down on a rock. Then she dug around in the snow until she found Velus and picked him up. She sat down beside Fred, holding the dog for what little warmth he could give.

"If we don't get away from here soon I'm going to freeze to death." she said.

"And I" said Fred "Metal armour is not something for keeping warm in."

Well, our heroes travel on....but soon are finding themselves unable to make really good progress down (bad trails and rough terrain hampering efforts in that area).

So, when a mysterious doorway opens in the side of the mountain on the trail they are shivering on opens and heat comes out.....the heroes run in. Much more of this, and they'll die of exposure!!

The door snaps close and they are facing a set of surprised people. Some look exactly like them (with different hair styles, height, and a few other minor things). Some turn out to be demifoxes (what they find out later). More isn't said because the vixen, also named Astra (!) cries out as her water....er.....breaks.

Right at the moment, some are having fun trying to aid in a multiple birth situation!!

Story 5

(Author's note: this is taken in part from episodes 38 and 46 by L.E. and JH)

Intent as he was on facing the dragon,Lord Fred couldn't help but be totally captivated by the gorgeous young woman he beheld.Tall,athletic,full-breasted...and wearing nothing but the chains that held her to the side of the tunnel.

She was no shrinking violet,in the circumstances she made no negative reaction to his gaze over her anatomy...she got straight to the point."Unchain me,please!Perhaps together we can defeat this Dragon of the Northern Caves...but with his magic powers he has toyed with me!"

"Er...he's the dragon of the Southern Caves."

"Not by the maps of Aqualaria."

Lord Fred pondered.He should have realized this woman was one of the fabled warrior princesses of his kingdom's southern neighbor,the border being the same mountain range as held the caves.And the dragon certainly had no reason to respect political boundaries.He was the son of one of the great dukes of the kingdom,or he wouldn't be Lord Fred,but it would certainly be a fine match if he could become a companion in arms,and in life,of this princess!

Checking that Velus the dog-teen was out of the way of his stroke,he aimed for the chain holding the Aqualarian princess's left arm to the cave wall...she carefully kept her arm clear so he could strike without hitting her.

The chains that held the maden were created with magic, and so were no match for the honest steal of Lord Fred's blade. As he struck each binding, it crumpled to dust, and soon the warrior princess was free.

Fred averted his eyes from the site of her glory, and serched in his pack for any item to clothe her. But a knight heading into combat must travel light, so all he had for her were a few strips of cloth that were intended as bandages.

The dog grabs the bandages out of her hands, wanting to keep a good thing going.

Apparently a teenage boy still only has one thing on his mind, ogling naked women, even after being turned into a dog. Velus ran off with the bandages, and returned a minute or so later, presumably having dropped them where they were unlikely to be found. He was wagging his tail and looking very pleased with himself. Fred apologised.

"Well, it wasn't your fault," said the princess. "And anyway the bandages wouldn't have covered very much. Actually, I'm not that worried about my lack of clothes, but I do wish I had my sword back. By the way, I'm Princess Astra." Fred bowed and kissed her hand. "You outrank me, Your Highness," he said. "I am Duke Fred. And this dog was a boy called Velus, before the dragon changed him."

Suddenly a swift wind enters, deafening. Lights go out and several people are blasted off their feet and find themselves.....elsewhere.

Velus whines when the lights return...and he finds himself alone.

Story 6 AND 7

(Author's note: this is taken in part from episode 38 by L.E.)

Intent as he was on facing the dragon,Lord Fred couldn't help but be totally captivated by the gorgeous young woman he beheld.Tall,athletic,full-breasted...and wearing nothing but the chains that held her to the side of the tunnel.

She was no shrinking violet,in the circumstances she made no negative reaction to his gaze over her anatomy...she got straight to the point."Unchain me,please!Perhaps together we can defeat this Dragon of the Northern Caves...but with his magic powers he has toyed with me!"

"Er...he's the dragon of the Southern Caves."

"Not by the maps of Aqualaria."

Lord Fred pondered.He should have realized this woman was one of the fabled warrior princesses of his kingdom's southern neighbor,the border being the same mountain range as held the caves.And the dragon certainly had no reason to respect political boundaries.He was the son of one of the great dukes of the kingdom,or he wouldn't be Lord Fred,but it would certainly be a fine match if he could become a companion in arms,and in life,of this princess!

Checking that Velus the dog-teen was out of the way of his stroke,he aimed for the chain holding the Aqualarian princess's left arm to the cave wall...she carefully kept her arm clear so he could strike without hitting her.

Suddenly a swift wind enters, deafening. Lights go out and several people are blasted off their feet and find themselves.....elsewhere.

Velus whines when the lights return...and he finds himself alone.


The images flicker, and still.

"The....next part is going to be hard to take, Champions." Rule 179 warns, "Believe me, all is not as it appears....not as permanent. Still, it was a shocking situation....especially to US, as you shall find out."

The Champions didn't like the sound of that one.. Considering what Rules and Agents actually were....what could shock them?

The images flicker again, starting to tell more stories...and it shocks them to their core!!

(Author's note: this is taken in part from episode 14962 by Y)

A slight drizzle had begun to fall since before dawn and the entourage of Captain Flynt Locke was just about to set off down the Longspeer. The Duke and Duchess Halifax of the Duchy Hindsight had already made their farewells and so the gates of the Iris Estate were the scene of horses, carts, soldiers and guardsmen, a chanticleer and a merchant from the south, the Lady Rowena of Suffex, the man Denom who claimed to be Lord Frederigo of Suffex, and the Captain of the Guard D'Honaire. Then, even as this troupe began to pull away from the guarded walls of the duchy manor, there appeared six forms, and not all were human.

Time seemed to contract as a multitude of actions and reactions occurred simultaneously.

Fred, who had taken the alias Denom, stared in shock at the tall red-head next to the man; she appeared to be Astra of Aqualaria, fully healed from both death and the effects of the crystallic! "But you're dead…" he whispered.

The Guard Halifax raised their swords while the bowmen on the parapets cocked their arrows.

Captain Locke drew his sword yelling, "Be gone you foul creatures!" while the remainder of the Guard D'Honaire likewise unsheathed their weapons.

The man, three of the women and the fox-creature stared in disbelief as the sight about them. The nude woman who had materialized also, too grew large eyes and exclaimed, "Would somebody mind telling me where on—" she didn't have a chance to finish her thought.

Imagine, if you will, being presented with a most shocking sight. Imagine seeing the land about you empty one moment and then full of people the next. Imagine that the only time you had ever heard of such a thing was in the nursery where bedtime tales were full of such things, and also in basic training camp where captains and masters-at-arms told of the working of evil mages. Imagine seeing a woman fully nude and knowing that no proper woman would dally about so, and being just materialized from the wisps of the sky, the most prudent conclusion is that she was a she-thing, a demoness, a succubus. Imagine seeing a monster the size of a man but wearing the form of a she-fox. Imagine all these things and it is not difficult to understand what happened next.

Many of the horses reared, the merchant and the Lady Rowena screamed, the soldiers advanced with metal poised to kill, the archers let go a volley to those farthest from the guardsmen; the man raised his hands in an act of magic as did the she-fox, while the red-head pulled out a handy staff and the dark-skinned woman a battle-axe.

Within fateful moments there exploded a smattering of blood and gut, of astral energy and raw power, of pain and fear and awe and surprise. And then it was over. The battle anyway.

The gates of the Iris Estate were a smoldering shambles. Three guardsmen of the House Halifax were dead, joined by five from the House D'Honaire. The Chanticleer knelt on the ground pouring drink from mouth to mouth into the wounded soldiers. The merchant Pall sat in a corner within the walls murmuring unheard things. The Lady Rowena lay flat upon the ground, dead, trampled by horses. Lord Fred lay by her side weeping, and next to him lay the unconscious form of the woman who bore the image of Princess Astra of Aqualaria. Captain Ridge stood in the courtyard detailing the bizarre event to Duke Harold Halifax of Hindsight.

Less than a league away, hidden within a copse, the man who moved magic sat weeping tears of blood. His name was Jarlath D'Honaire, but this world knew him not. This world saw him as an enemy and as such, worthy of death. He sat weeping for loss; the loss of a wife, the loss of a sister, the loss of an eye (for an arrow had pierced it before he could get his family out). His other wife, the woman Annafrid, held a bloodied cloth to his face. "Oh god, oh god, how could this have happened? Vincent never warned us about this." There was a growl behind them both, the she-fox called Andrea Two; "You got that right! I swear, when we get back home, I'll rip his throat out! But first I wanna kill these bastard barbarians! If you hadn't taken us out I would've continued to throw fire from the ether at them!" "And at what cost?" responded Jarlath. "Joan is dead, I saw her fall. And Astra was grabbed by that soldier in red armour. How he pentrated my magic I do not know, but something let him in." The three sat and wondered at this world in which they found themselves. They wondered and cried and howled their pain to the skies.

And as for the nude woman whom no one had known, well, she too was deceased. The bolt of a crossbow had pierced her throat; at least her death was swift.

....while a mystery woman lies unconscious in the Iris Estate, our threesome begins to reconnoitre this brave new world in which they have found themsleves


"How in Gods name?!" Jarlath whispered hoarsely, shaken at seeing his twin and the other twins plight, "Those analogs were from another Terra Prime? Where those particular analogs weren't Champions? Can we help them, somehow?!"

The images freeze.

The others burst into questions as well, only to be waved to silence by the Agent.

"Something, bizarre happened," the Agent sighed, "Up to awhile ago, those people.....were you."

"Huh?" Annafrid blinks, "I thought that due to....the speacial nature of Champions that unlike other people.....we don't ‘fission off' on a quantum level...... That While we are in ANY universe....reality, the creation of a new universe doesn't happen whenever a focal point of any type (due to taking one chose over another, chance, or what not)......"

"You are correct," Rule 179 said, "But the fact of the matter is that when an Altantian artifact, a nameless but powerful book that's grown more powerful (and impatient) over eons and eons since it's creation. Centuries ago, the Minestus of this world had found it and the book, never fully awakened by it's creator, imprinted on the vile drago. Minestus, in the book's view, is it's creator...and is slavishly loyal to him. The dragon is dead, but had set up a means that upon it's death as a means of revenge upon it's slayer and the multiverse at large to transform several hundred of it's loyal servants into Foresaken manimal lycanthropes as a warmup. Those made beastmen burst forth and are wrecking havoc amongst the countryside. Bad enough, that. But this world Doctor Vincent had to go and collect samples of the fowl beast (as well as this world's Malachi). Malachi did not leave a ghost, for her spirit found release after death...despite her body being desecrated. Minestus still wants vengeance, so came back as a ghost....and also terrorizes the countryside through his now limited spell ability with green flame...as well as a few other dire spells. But the worst news of all is that soon this book will complete it's task and start a dark magical ceremony where the bravest (as it's creator defined it) warriors it can find (namely Freds and Astras seem to be blessed with fitting the bill) will be consumed....and a curse will be cast on almost ALL of humanity on this world....turning them ALL into Foresaken."

The Champions blink, waiting for the next part.

"As for your other selves, when the book saw you all traveling to this realm.....it's magical readings confused Joan hear as the final piece of the puzzle due to your Vincent's magic/science teleporter," Agent 179 said, "Before, Joan's being it's potential final piece had been overlooked because.....it was looking for a Fred and Astra combination. The transformation done to her by RF through her Matrix hid it until now. The book tried to divert the teleport to it's location in the red pyramid, but caused havoc. Yes, the teleport would have worked correctly otherwise, but instead it caused you to land where you landed instead the first time....as well as...."

The Agent then goes into a rather involved explanation at what happened. Suffice to say, the House of Hindsight and a large area (several hundred miles) were temporarily created (a reality shard instead of the normal....healthy method of quantum fissioning). The shard was unstable and began to break down immediately, but while the others who'd been duplicated faded (to be given their Reward in the hereafter and such), your duplicates....ALSO being Champions were able to cling on and not ‘evaporate.' So, instead, they were dragged by residual effects of the books magical effort to the pyramid (naked and stripped of all arms and armor....but healed of all hurts)."

At least there was something in the last positive about this whole business that was positive for these "others."

"Uh, I don't like the sound of this," Jarlath mutters, suddenly seeing something. "Won't the book have a problem if it tried to consume that other Joan in the ceremony of it's? Will the ceremony or whatever it is.....work?

"No....it'll cause the magic to go berserk......" Jarlath blinks, suddenly remembering the likely magical results in a similar (if much MUCH less powerful) magic. "Would it spill over onto other realities as well....."

"Yes," Agent 179 says softly, "I know it would. We'd eventually be Allowed to step in to stop the runaway effect....since it's magical energies would start consuming universes eventually if left unchecked."

"Gotta just love those Atlantians," Andrea mutters, stomach sinking. "Even after death, they still cause problems."

"Agreed," Rule 179 nodded, having no love for Atlantians either.

"Okay, one last thing before you are off," the Rule ends, "As the magical flux swept up your new friend, Thelma (who....in a separate Interview by Us agreed to become a Champion when given the chance.......like her sisters) here, it also swept three of your House members to the pyramid as well. That is, Fred D'Honaire the Manfox and his two wives (Alicia 1 and 3)."

They had been on a needed romantic vacation AWAY from it all, out in the jungle (enjoying the feel of the wind through their fur as they ran in fox form) when the got swallowed up. Rule 1 had personally told Manbear Synizn and Loam the problem. So, at least, Loam was in charge of the Manimal Kingdom, keeping things calm (and praying for Fred and the Alicias return).

"We have a lot to do," Astra 9 said with a humorless chuckle, "And Lord knows what'll be facing us along the way. But just HOW do we get into the pyramid?"

"The other Jarlath has a Key that's somewhat damaged (can't signal for a return) but....." the Rule then sighs.

"Well, what you do next in this Task is now in your hands, Champions." Agent 179 says, "We hope you succeed so it won't get to the point were We can step in....else things will have become dim for MANY. You have a week....Good luck"

The Rule echoes that last wish and they fade from view as they, in parting, reveal to the Champions the existence of the new Champions (Malachi's bunch) outside the pyramid.....

That said (or transmitted as it were at the last....

  1. Rules and Agents might be able to stop the final ‘meltdown' but do nothing directly for it's victims in this situation......

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1/10/2001 7:37:16 AM

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