Meanwhile, the elfin heart of Astra is still reaching out throughout time (piggybacking on the very process that Myridden had been trying to use in his search of a timeline to use) and reaches forward.....and finds Fred.
Frederigo shakes his head, wondering what he was thinking, and comes to his senses. That is, kind of.
Slowly, but with growing force he begins to.....giggle in delight as a warm, soft, wild and fey feeling invades his heart! It fills him, and for a brief mad/sane moment.....Fred's eyes are unbound and he sees through the absurdity of it all.
He laughs and glares at the demoness....as the room shifts and changes back to the very place that he'd been. Astra is nowhere to be seen (yet a small part of Fred's benumbed mind and heart whispers that she's right here with him.....somehow). At the demoness' feet lays the charred and smoking corpse of the Mage/Scientist Vincent Priceless, as well as Bobo. Fred finds a small part of him is sorrowful that the befuddled man (though not the gorilla creation) is dead. As horrible as what Vincent had done in "repairing" Fred, the young knight knew within his heart of hearts that the eccentric old man meant well. Indeed, he'd even tried to undo the damage (only to die from whatever magical backlash that had done all this). The backlash had killed Vincent and Bobo. It had teleported Astra away to somewhere far away (but some part of her was right with him.....). It had also brought forth this very demoness, who'd found the unconscious (but restored) knight and had tried to trick Fred into damning himself with a pale imitation of Hell (Fred shudders at the thought of what the REAL thing must be like)!
Fred does not know how he knows this, but he knows!
For a brief moment in time, as Astra's heart reached out and ensared his, his human senses are augmented to rival that of an elf.
Elves are more alert....more aware of the reality around them than their human brothers. Thus is why Fred is able to see the falsehood that the demoness (?) had tried to use in her attempt at getting Fred to damn his immortal soul!
The apparent demoness pauses in consternation as she senses the ruse has been revealed. Her/his master will be less than pleased. RF isn't the most forgiving of demons.....
The demoness drops her disguise, and a eerily familiar man appears before the laughing Frederigo. The man appears strong and solid, but shows signs of his skin being ravaged by some strange plague! As for the face.....that is hidden behind a leering brass mask!
Despite the fact that Fred can't see the face, his eyes widen as he suddenly "sees" who this monster is.
It is himself....but not himself. An evil, twisted version of himself!
The Brazen Man quickly raises his hand to end this fools life and perhaps find something else to appease his master when Fred's sword seems to fly out of it's scabbard of it's own accord and slices through the protective magical shield.....and the demon's black heart!
This Fred's sword is a magical sword made of a certain metal that only Allarians know how to make. This Fred himself had used his skills will apprenticed to a dragonsbane metal smith and had forged the sword with his own hands. Then he'd had his mage brother, Dredrick (who was skilled in magic....but a bit odd in a strange fascination with fire) enscroll the sword so it would slice through the spells and wards of dragons. The magical sword, combined with the quasi-mystical nature of the metal dragonsbane, is enough to slice through the twice dead man's spells......and end the fell creatures life!
That is....with the help of an unexpected arrival.....
A magical backlash travels up the sword and knocks Fred unconscious as the Brazen man falls to the ground. He feels himself dying and makes a fumbling attempt to heal himself before the wound catches up with him (while vaguely berating himself for being complacent with this toy). He might have been able to even save himself, if another swipe from behind hadn't finished the job started by Fred.
The Brazen Man's mask leers up at the demon who's claws dispatched him from behind. The Demon (the form for today), licks his claws and savors the blood.
"With just a hint of plague.....I like it," the Demon smiles at his sour looking comrades.
"If it wasn't the fact that the Norms were making a bid for instituting her mythos onto the entire multiverse.....I'd go and lay in your department's corrections handling facility before I'd ever work with the likes of you!" The Elder Rule grinds out, disgusted with the Demon.
The others look at him strangely. A Rule passionate about something? Showing feeling?!
"OH, for crying out.....don't you people read the interoffice paper?" the Rules mutters before they disappear again.....with their trophies.
6/10/2000 4:20:47 AM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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