- Help From Afar
- Severa embarks on her second journey through the multiverse, this time with a focused goal of stopping her mother Vera.
- Course Correction
- Severa is forced to abandon a world that is doomed to defeat at Vera's hand. She ends up in a crossroads of realities, and speaks with a future version of Lia Chiaria.
- One Last Trick
- Sirius does the right thing, and releases Bernard to the afterlife, but Bernard takes revenge immediately, releasing the prison locks on Ratnis' pocket dimension cell.
Help From Afar
Sirius Fulmaren, Laboratory, Day 3
“Davus is probably there by now. Bernard, send a message to Lia so she knows he’s incoming. Request she repeat the message to everyone that won’t immediately go into a murderous rampage at the mention.”
Sirius stood over a sprawling ocean map, watching as tiny little toy ships moved across it. They resembled the ships he’d played with as a child, one of the few sentimental items he kept around from when he still lived a mortal life. He was simulating a great battle on the sea that he’d once glimpsed in another reality, one of the last times the ocean was seen in Vera’s world.
(“One more thing, Sirius. Jeskai and Kondoru showed up on the psychic net. They’re dead. Again.”) Bernard’s voice had a hint of sadness. Sirius quickly put him in basic mode, stripping the emotion from Bernard’s voice. (“Successfully reabsorbed their souls into the lab systems. But they seem to be linked to something else. Something I can sense Lia in.”)
“She’s connected to them, using their power along with Ithan’s. Like a portable battery.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
Severa Fulmaren, An Alternate Reality (One of Many), Time Unknown
“Severa Fulmaren, daughter of Sirius Fulmaren and Vera. Thirty years old. Been running from our forces for almost five years now. It appears you are guilty of trans dimensional interference, and numerous war crimes. You will be coming with me to your fate now.”
Severa Fulmaren, the one being spoken to, suppressed a smile. Her accusers name was Tyresius, an interdimensional bounty hunter employed by a woman known only as Vera. Severa feigned struggling against the rope binding her arms and legs. It was a show she had put on before, to countless versions of this idiot. Tyresius, or as he had called himself in the past - Ty, considered himself rather clever. Or at least this one did. Ty was a peculiar fellow. Peculiar fellows, really. Severa had crossed the boundaries of multiple realities, and in most of them, a version of Ty had eventually shown up to try and capture her. His name, face, height, weight - always the same. Yet, his personality, his intelligence, his skills, and even his voice never stayed constant. He was terrifying yet pathetic all at once, capable of being your worst nightmare or nothing but an afterthought.
Every single version of Ty had the same basic instructions. Find Severa, restrain her, deliver her to Vera. So far not a single one had deviated from his orders.
“Do you finally realize that this is the end of the road?” Tyresius asked. He was a rather stocky fellow. Five foot five, unkempt and unruly dark brown facial hair that tried to form a beard but looked more like a patch of weeds. His clothes were standard issue for all servants of Vera, a pair of black pants and a black jacket, absolutely basic and unremarkable. He had no visible weapons, though Severa never knew what tricks he would be hiding.
“You should be honored, only three of you have used that line.” Severa casually stretched her arms, breaking through the rope with ease. It wasn’t a very clever trick, she was magically inclined, a special form of light magic derived from the Sun and the Moon. Though she typically channeled the magic through her Solluna Gauntlets, it was something she could also use freely on command. The ropes fell to the ground, and Severa’s hands were upon Ty’s neck. He thrust his hands on top of her hands, but she was already bringing a knee up, hitting him in the stomach and bringing him to his own knees. With one swift motion she slapped her open palms against his head, channeling light magic - and quite a bit of force - resulting in immediately knocking him into a coma he likely wouldn’t wake from. She felt remorse for only a moment. The path forward awaited.
Severa’s ability to cross between worlds was a curious one indeed. It had been granted to her seemingly as a birthright, a skill bestowed from her mother, and curated into something useful by her father Sirius. Beyond that, the true origins of the power, of where her mother got it, were a mystery. She placed a hand up to the air, as if upon an invisible door. She traced the doorframe and the air opened up. A sound not unlike water pouring suddenly and harshly into a drain filled the air. Severa stepped through the doorway, and it shut behind her, without a trace left behind that she or it ever existed.
She emerged into a new place, and her heart began racing. This was a mistake. She wasn’t supposed to be in this world. The ground was sickly, the torn up landscape where a great ocean had once sat. Skeletal remains strewn about. Some kind of wolf-like howl in the distance, if the wolf was possessed by a screaming mob of undead that were also on fire.
Severa had entered her mother’s universe, a place constantly bleeding its very life force. Dark magic kept it alive, as Vera’s evil machinations fed upon adjacent realities. Severa could see great jets of water emerge from anomalies in the air, crashing upon the land and being quickly absorbed as if every inch of ground were a plant being watered. Occasionally more exotic matter would appear but the end result was always the same, with the energy being absorbed by the land. Severa’s tensions were eased only slightly when she did not feel the piercing gaze of her mother, meaning that she was likely elsewhere at the moment.
She pushed onward, heading towards what looked like a small settlement on the horizon.
Severa, Alternate Universe, Time Doesn’t Matter
Severa knew the heavens well, the literal ones, not the gods and goddesses that were supposed to exist somewhere behind them. She was still torn on that one - enough evidence showed that something of goddess level power made the land, but seemed to have taken an extended break since then, leaving the underlings to watch the door.
She stared up at the moon, curious about its size. In this universe, it felt closer. Almost too close. It wasn’t a dire situation of course, not like the world’s she’d briefly glimpsed where the moon was hell bent on crashing into the world. The one in this world was merely larger and a bit more overwhelming, though hardly threatening.
Her gauntlets derived magical charge from the sun and moon alike. The net effect was roughly the same regardless of either, but Severa could still tell which celestial body was doing more work, and in this world it was undoubtedly the moon.
Her path brought her across a small stone monument. Enchanted with something to keep the elements from wearing down its inscribings.
Rest in Peace, Would-Be Saviors
We dedicate this space to those that perished in the fight against Evil. Your names are honored for your sacrifices.
Kaimu Kotaro IV
Severa stopped reading after seeing enough familiar names but the list was seemingly unending. She’d met multiple versions of many of them. Most of the time they were more or less similar across worlds. Heroic, often selfless, unending resolve. But this world seemed to be especially cruel, with the deaths of so many protectors of light. She glanced again at the monument, noticing that the text seemed to scroll with her eyes, having been enchanted to display more words than one initially saw.
It seemed to also be a tribute to the enemies of darkness that fell, for being responsible for balance in the universe. Whoever made this clearly had not sworn allegiances to a single side. Vera. It had to be her doing. Some tiny part of her had felt enough remorse, or at least respect, to erect this stone slab.
She was nearer to the small village, and would be on its border within the hour.
Severa, Alternate Universe, Small Village Area
The village was empty. Just filled with more memorials and tributes to the dead. But curiosity pushed Severa forward, and a voice in the back of her head urged her on.
One particular house stood out. It looked worse for wear than the rest, rotting wood and smashed windows - like it was trying to scare you off. But to Severa that was a giant glowing arrow, a place she had to explore. She pushed the old wooden door open, and it fell straight off the hinges.
Torchlight filled the room, and she gasped as the outlines of dozens of familiar faces came into the light. The building was another memorial, a space larger on the inside than what the exterior suggested. The faces were shimmering, not quite ghosts but nevertheless still echoes of the dead. They had bodies of a sort, but those too were translucent and incorporeal.
They began speaking, at first all at once, immediately overwhelming Severa. She covered her eyes and shouted for the room to shut up. Astonishingly, they did.She lowered her arms and started again.
“I want the oldest one here to speak first. Tell me where I am.” Severa realized that none of the faces mouths were moving, and hadn’t been at any point. The voices were coming from motionless faces. They seemed to disregard her command, but had switched from speaking in unison to taking turns.
“We aren’t here.”
“This isn’t anything.”
“She killed us, but he killed us before we ever lived.”
“The cycle of the world is broken, it never ends and is always ending.”
Severa wasn’t a fan of cryptic messages. She felt like there could be something behind the rambling of these not-ghosts, but just as easily it could be the result of some perverted magic, no doubt from the hands of her mother, Vera.
“You are the next.” That voice was familiar. Severa looked upon the face of who she knew to be Elizabeth Bryce, the one of this reality. Elizabeth’s specter lunged towards Severa, and she braced for impact, also shutting her eyes. When she opened, the lunging echo was gone, as were all the rest.
“I hate mysteries.” Severa said aloud, continuing the time honored Fulmaren tradition of lying to one’s-self.
Severa - Alternate Universe - Run Down Old Village
It had been several hours since the strange apparitions had assaulted Severa with verbal nonsense, and she had begun to question what she was doing. It always happened if she stayed in one world too long, the questions started. Questions of whether it was worth it chasing her mother when she could simply lose herself across a thousand realities, ignoring the one that spawned her. Guilt always kept her from that path.
Severa was no longer alone in the old house, but it wasn’t the ghosts from before. A man stood before her, eyeing her suspiciously.
“Are you Severa?” He asked. Severa, feeling no real threat from him, answered.
“Yes.” He smiled at her response and handed her a letter. Severa opened it and scanned it quickly.
I need your help again. Aberria is under siege by Vera. And somehow she has Ratnis with her. I don’t know how, he should be gone. Please, help.
She looked up and the messenger’s face had changed to one she knew. It was the face of a man several decades her senior, who in this land was the leader of a group similar to the Sheikah of her world. He stood relatively short at five foot seven, but his posture alone made him appear ten times taller. His outfit was a strange modified design of a Sheikah outfit, featuring the eye of truth, and underneath it, a green version of the Triforce.
“Stryver?” She asked, steadying the surprise in her voice as best she could. She had never expected to see this man again. Her entire previous visit to his world had been an accident that shouldn’t have been possible.
“Come on, the council needs us.” Stryver motioned for Severa to follow, and walked straight towards the nearest wall, vanishing as he made contact with it. Severa took a deep breath, and stepped through after him.
Severa, The Northern Forest Region, Alternate Universe
Severa’s normal method of traversal between worlds was instantaneous. But this wall she’d followed Stryver through had taken them to some kind of hallway, branching off in all directions. She kept up with Stryver as best she could, concerned at least one point that she’d lost track of him completely.
Though it felt like hours, Severa’s gut told her only minutes had passed. She exited the hallway at last, emerging into a vast forest unlike any she had ever seen.
“This isn’t how I remembered things.” Severa marveled aloud at the forest north of Hyrule Castle. It was filled end to end with deku trees in various states of growth. None were fully grown, but Severa felt immensely safe in the presence of so many sacred objects. She turned around, and realized that there was at least one fully grown tree. The one that had held the alternate universe portal.
Severa turned her attention to the group of individuals standing in front of the tree. The group was entirely composed of a portion names she’d just read on the memorial in the previous universe. It was Cara Kondoru, a Zora whom Severa had not interacted with many times, who stood forward. Cara was extremely odd for a Zora, being bright pink and having an elemental attunement to fire. The one previous version of Cara that Severa had interacted with had not been on pleasant terms. That Cara had tried to kill Severa under the command of a deranged Senshi, who had gone mad with power through unknown means. It was a long enough story that Severa found herself getting caught up in the mere memory of it. She snapped out of it, as this realities Cara seemed perfectly pleasant. Though still extremely weird.
“Severa, I don’t think we’ve met. Though from what I’ve heard about you, perhaps you’ve met me?” Severa laughed a little and shook her head in response. Cara continued on. “I suppose whoever you met wasn’t really me. In any case, I’ve been asked to speak for the group. Your last visit here, I don’t want to sound accusatory, but you helped route out your mother’s influence, and then left us with the mess. We understand you may not have been fully responsible, but why has it taken so long for you to come back?” Cara’s words were mildly accusatory but her tone was much more hurt than anything else.
“Time is relative.” Severa replied. She wanted to show sympathy but the reason she had to run was not something she felt like revisiting and explaining to this group. Cara seemed somewhat taken aback by the response, but continued on with her rehearsed request.
“Well, you’re here now, and it seems like your mother has turned her attention to this world yet again. That letter that Sintar sent you, for us that was sent two years ago. Sintar is gone now, used the last of his energy to preserve this forest from the calamity happening to the rest of the world.” Cara motioned for Severa to follow her, and the two walked to the tree line, which was covered in a thick layer of vines, such that it was impossible to see beyond it. Cara summoned a small pink flame, which burned away an opening that could be looked through. Severa, for all her years of interdimensional travel, was horrified by what she saw, even if not surprised.
“The ocean…” Severa trailed off. There was no ocean. “I’ll help you.” She said to Cara. “What do you need first?”
Severa, The Northern Forest Region, Alternate Universe
Cara spent over an hour detailing the damage caused by Vera and her ally, Ratnis. Severa wasn’t the least bit surprised by any of it, as was a growing theme for her dimension hopping life. Regardless, it was still devastating to hear. By the end, Cara seemed near tears, having finished explaining the story of what had happened to her mother. Severa had known Cara’s mother. One of the founders of the Kondoru clan, she’d also died at the hands of the man who nearly ended the clan. An outsider named Polaris. Severa hadn’t known any of this before, since Cara’s mother had been alive and well during her last visit. She of course knew the name Polaris, but this particular version seemed especially bloodthirsty. Severa briefly pondered the fact that Cara was pink. She wondered for a moment of the reason for that, but quickly silenced the thought.
“I’m here for you.” Severa said at last. “I only have one request.” Cara’s expression lightened up.
“Some of you need to come with me when we finish saving your world, so we can save mine.”
Severa, Northern Forest Region, Alternate Universe
Cara was ecstatic with Severa’s offer, and immediately returned her to the leading council of the group. It was composed of the oldest surviving members of the world leadership, plus a few latecomers with exceptional talent. Cara was the Zora member, there was a Goron named Damanri, a Tokay by the name of Majin, a human by the name Senshi, a Rito by the name Horus, the only remaining Kokiri known as Koro. It felt incomplete to Severa, there had been multiples of each race the last time she was here. One by one she reintroduced properly to the council members, hearing them offer condensed versions of what Cara had just told her. It was a short meeting capped by Severa’s agreement to travel with a small attack force to a place where it was believed Vera had a power source keeping her armies alive. It was a jungle, one that hadn’t existed before. Vera had somehow created it from nothing when first arriving, filling it with an impossible gauntlet of traps and guards. But Vera had never once emerged from it herself, being spotted only once when first arriving. She wouldn’t be the only group headed in, just the first, to clear a path. The council was out of options and planned to send every powerful ally they had left, in waves. Including the council itself.
Unfortunately, Vera appeared to be ahead of schedule. Severa heard the thundering crash and rushed outside to see an entire group of tree frozen solid and cracking apart. And in the center of it all, the silhouette of something wolflike, but ten times larger. It’s fur seemed to be sharp edged, and the tips had a subtle shine to them, surely poison. She knew this creature. Made by the now deceased Sirius of this reality. It was a terrifying experiment attempting to enhance the powers of Davus Fulmen, Taden Hothnight, and Isaac Telmar. The experiment was a disaster, turning them into this singular wolf creature. She could see the sparking lightning off its fur, and it left a small trail of flame wherever it stepped. And of course, ice breath.
“I guess this is technically better than them individually.” Severa noted, as the creature approached. “How have you been, Chaemerus?” She called it out by name, catching its attention. Chaemerus roared, chilling the air even further, and leapt towards Severa, bolts of lightning surging into the ground alongside it as it raced forward. She braced for impact.
Severa, Alternate Universe, Northern Forest
Severa was ready to try her new trick. Solluna Gauntlets at the ready, she threw both arms forward, extending out her palms. A brilliant silver barrier shot across in front of her and everyone that had already gathered behind her. Chaemerus collided hard with the barrier, but quickly recovered and stepped back. The barrier held solidly. And then the second wolf hit it. And the third. Chaemerus had been cloned. She could see more coming in the distance, and the three already present hit the barrier again. It buckled and so did Severa, dropping to one knee. Severa realized at that moment, there was no hope left here. She had to abandon this world. To abandon these people. She had to. She knew because she had lived through it a hundred times in her travels. The preceding events always varied, this time it being Cara and the council, but ultimately it would always lead to this. She always hoped it wouldn’t. If she risked staying longer, it would mean she would die and fail her mission. Because the one true constant across all those realities was Vera’s appearance, and it was always the same Vera. Severa had to leave.
“I’m sorry.” Severa said, not daring to look at Cara. Severa formed a doorway beside herself, and stepped through. She made the small hand gesture that would close the doorway, and fell to her knees. She had no tears left anymore, just hollow meaninglessness. It was ages before she even assessed her location. and when she did, the inevitable curiosity crept back in, somehow filling the void long enough to bring her to her feet again.
She was in another memorial type room, names listed along the walls from top to bottom. It was unsettling. Vera seemed obsessed with showing respect to the dead, despite having the disrespect of creating so many dead in the first place. Severa began walking to the edges of the room, finding that from it led several hallways, each seeming to be nearly a mile long, continuing the memorial. She couldn’t tell how far, and so, after picking a hallway at random, began heading further in to see if she’d been to this place before.
Severa, Alternate Universe, Memorial Dimension
“It’s good to see you again, Severa.” A voice at last, and a familiar one at that. It was a woman, Liandra Chiaria. A rare sight. Most Lia’s rarely spoke to Severa, and the majority had been dead or missing in the world's Severa had visited.
“When did we meet?” Severa asked, engaging in the never ending task of pinpointing when and where she met someone. “You meet me very soon. I met you long ago, after leaving my world behind. Though I think for both of us, it will be time to return home soon.” Severa’s heart began racing. It was not common to run into people from her home universe, and she knew without question that this Lia was from there. But Severa had never met this Lia, and from the way Lia spoke, it was obvious why. Time Travel.
“What happened to me?” Severa asked, showing blatant disregard for any chance of changing her future. After all, destiny had proven so far that it was more than capable of adjusting that which needed adjusting in the timeline. Lia seemed to agree and responded without hesitation.
“You helped us in the last fight, for just a few moments. You saved my life when I was ready to surrender it, but we were both banished from the world as a result. You are very close to this happening. I don’t know where you went after the last battle, but I ended up here.” Lia glanced down at her hands and Severa’s eyes drifted down as well. They were ghostly, translucent.
“What is this place?” Severa ran her own hands along the wall. It was perfectly smooth, made of some kind of white stone with the names of the fallen etched along it in black. Her hands stopped on a set of peculiar notches on the stone, and she felt something click. A panel slid back, and a small book popped out. It wasn’t a memorial, it was a library. But surely it wasn’t the library Severa thought it was. Lia of course, had not lost her penchant for reading minds at exactly the right time.
“It’s the library you think it is. It’s changed. When I was sent here, the original librarian was leaving. He was called back to the world of the living?”
“This is...this is my father's library.” Severa said aloud. “Did he finally do it? Did he change the book into a portal? Where is Bernard?” Severa referred to her fathers Lunar Notebook. Once upon a time it had been an enchanted object, the container for the soul of Bernard Kotaro, and metaphysical library. But since then it had transformed, become a doorway to its own dimension entirely. And it was not the only doorway, making the book less unique, and one step closer to being obsolete.
“As I said, Bernard was rescued by Sirius, given a life again. A real one. No longer a soul stuffed in a body that does not belong to him. Sirius found a way to steal a single moment in time, and I convinced him to give Bernard a life again. The trade was that I would watch over this place, and wait for your arrival.”
“Sirius knew?” Lia smiled at Severa’s question.
“He wants us to think he did, at least.” Her smile faded. “Darkness approaches. You are going to be needed soon by the last of the heroes standing against it. This way.” Lia walked down the hallway further, and Severa anxiously followed.
Severa, Alternate Universe Memorial Dimension
Severa recognized the devices strewn about the room she and Lia stood in. Sirius had versions of them throughout his lab, he called them Rune Processors, but she had heard other terms throughout the multiverse. Computers were the most common one, though they came in so many forms it was hardly a descriptive term. Some were almost like tiny pianos in how you interacted with them, while others felt more like steam engines, covered in levers and switches. Sirius of course tried to be more impressive, with invisible panels and floating runes that required complex hand movements to operate. Sort of like a built in security system.
These systems however were much more simple. They had a simple panel where the hand was placed, and they took telepathic instruction, as if they were more like creatures than technology. Lia put Severa’s hand on the panel and a rush of information come flooding in.
Severa was being taken into Lia’s memories at a blistering pace. Seeing her childhood, growing up with her family as they moved from community to community, being ostracized each time their psychic abilities were revealed. She saw glimpses of Ithan’s involvement with the self proclaimed warriors of light, and the confusing magic that seemed to have muddled Lia and Ithan’s growth into adults and general timeline. She saw them tracking Polaris Eridanus through time, ensuring that he reached his intended destinations in the timeline. He was a crucial piece to many events, and whole universes had collapsed from errors in his timeline. Ithan and Lia had known that, and Ithan’s very life had been ultimately sacrificed in those efforts, though none besides Lia, and now Severa, would ever know that.
“Lia, you are actually alive?” Severa had to ask. Lia looked more like a ghost than a living being, but seemed tangible. Though it wouldn’t be the first time a spectre so easily interacted with the world of the living.
“I don’t know.” She replied somberly. “I’m trapped here, that much I know, though I’m told I can leave if I find a suitable replacement for myself and the others.” Severa felt a twinge of nervousness by Lia smiled to allay her concerns. “Don’t worry, this is no trick. I have no plans to leave anytime soon.”
“I suppose asking when we are is a foolish question.” Severa pondered.
“It’s not a relevant question, though I would not say it is foolish.” Lia replied. “This place as it exists now, it doesn’t have a place in the timeline, not anymore. If you know the right door, you can exit where you choose. For all the efforts of those in the epoch era, time travel is hardly a lost art. It’s merely become much better hidden to those that would seek it deliberately.”
Severa turned her line of questioning to another comment Lia had just made.
“You mentioned others?”
“Yes.” Lia replied. “This place is too large now for just one watcher. There is a place where the minds of the telepathic get to rest in death, and Sirius has bridged that place to this one.”
“Hello Severa. It's nice to finally meet you.” a male voice this time, another one Severa recognized.
Severa, Alternate Universe Memorial Dimension
“Hello Severa.” Bernard Kotaro stood before Severa. He was definitely not alive. Unlike Lia where it felt vague, Bernard was partially translucent, hovering inches off the floor, and had a distinct distant echo to his voice, like he was speaking across the void. For as long as Severa had known, Bernard had been bound to the lunar notebook, then briefly injected into a cloned body, and then finally integrated with the lab itself as the core processing system. Sirius had backups but preferred Bernard for his unmistakable unique qualities, namely being a spirit and not just programming.
Severa understood this place to be the natural extension of the library, but it was more than that. It was like a graveyard.
“Sirius found a way to steal a single moment in time, and I convinced him to give Bernard a life again.” Severa parroted Lia’s words from mere moments before. “So what you are saying is, Sirius gave Bernard a life to live in, and then his soul just ended up here anyway when he died naturally?” Both Bernard and Lia gave a silence that seemingly confirmed Severa’s guess. “What IS this place?” Severa repeated her earlier question. She was inpatient now, she needed answers.
Lia remained calm in the face of Severa’s rising anger. “It's as I said, no deceptions. This is a gateway to the realm where psychic minds rest. Bernard as you see him now is merely a projection into the gateway. His true spirit still resides there, along with my family and countless others. My fate is to be here because I am neither dead nor alive.”
“Severa. Your role in the world is to help stop your father.” Bernard said, his voice beginning to grow distant as his body began to grow dim, fading out of the world. “And until you have to stop him, you have to help his cause. To save all worlds. Go back to his world, and help them fight a great battle.”
Severa, Memorial Travel Hall
It didn’t take much for Severa to accept that she would have to stop her father. He had good intentions she believed, but it was inevitable that his creations would someday grow so out of hand that they threatened the whole world and not just Hyrule. But Bernard’s words felt more desperate than that. He talked as if Sirius had dropped all pretense and taken up the mantle of his creator. It seemed fitting that discussions of Sirius’ own personal demise would take place here.
She followed Bernard to a hallway that seemed to have no end, where the floor moved independently of the walls. It felt like the endless room was scanning her mind, and given that this place was a creation of Sirius, it probably did.
The floor propelled them to a set of three doors. Bernard opened the first for her, and Severa was witness to what looked like a watercolor painting of Ithan and Lia atop a massive metal bird. While Ithan and Lia were particularly well defined, the rest of the image was not. Severa had seen this kind of portal before, peer far enough into the future and it gets murky, undefined. It seems the further an event in time is from you, the less certain it is. But while the sight before Severa lacked certainty, it had no shortage of desperation.
“Lia told me about this moment.” Bernard said. “It was what killed Ithan, before Morton finished the job.” He sighed deeply and hung his head. “You might need a hug for this next part.”
Severa listened on, but barely registering what Bernard said. An avalanche of information about her father, things she never knew and would have never wanted to know. Things she had to bury immediately, even knowing they would surface again later. She shook her head through tears and flushed the thoughts from her mind before she could settle on them. She shut the door herself and opened the second one.
Her father, again. The lab, sometime in the past, that much was certain, because Severa could see a portrait of Vera in the background, so clearly the two were still on good terms. Although the portrait looked strange, like it had been sloppily put together from pieces of different faces, and then traced over to form a new face. Bernard offered no explanation, or perhaps he did and she immediately purged it.
Severa shut the second door and opened the final. Desert. She saw faces of people she had met before, but never in this reality. Darrel, Jaden, Mirra, Polaris. Polaris might remember her, but the rest would have never met her. Severa gasped when she saw Lia slumped over, looking as defeated as she possibly could be, torn apart by her brothers death. She instinctively looked behind her to see if the current version of Lia in this memorial hall was near, but Severa was alone with Bernard and the doorway.
“This is your exit, Severa.” Bernard’s words took shape again, no longer impossible to accept. “You’ve spent years traveling worlds, but now your home world - as much as it could be - needs you again.”
Severa felt a thrusting force behind her, and before she could protest, was pushed through the doorway.
One Last Trick
Sirius Fulmaren, Laboratory, Day 3
“Bernard I’ve done it.” Sirius gleamed with pride. For years he had been attempting to accomplish one of his most important tasks. Taking the universe he had contained with the lunar notebook, and carving out a place for it outside space and time. It would be its own world, able to seamlessly link to others, both living and dead.
(“Shall I attempt to contact Ithan?”) Bernard asked.
“Yes, tell him that he may yet reunite properly with his sister.”
(“I believe he already feels he has.”) Sirius listened to Bernard’s reply and glanced at a nearby monitor that showed a representation of the ‘telepathic graveyard’ that Ithan, Efran, and Jeskai’s minds had gone to. It was a series of lines moving about, showing their attempts to contact others in the psychic network, both living and dead. Lia was unresponsive to them all.
“I’m not so sure.”
Sirius, Fulmaren Laboratory, Day 3
Sirius was old now. Older than he ever expected to get, just three years shy of 1700 years old. Of course he was always destined for long life thanks to his somewhat unpleasant origins, and the additional tampering of the sand witch, Rhunerys.
Sirius reflected back on a time when he wasn’t always isolating himself in his lab. Centuries ago, before he had given up on trying to integrate with society. Now he just watched it, occasionally visiting it only when necessary. Now his primary contact was a Zora soul that he refused to allow to pass on to an afterlife. Bernard had been a prisoner so long, and it was only Sirius’ tampering and machinery that kept Bernard from realizing that truth. Bernard thought he couldn’t leave because his soul was bound to Sirius, but the reality is Sirius had the ability to release Bernard at any time.
It was becoming more and more difficult to get Bernard to cooperate, with his already displayed unnerving murderous intent only hours earlier, and not the sarcastic quippy sort. So Sirius’ latest experiment would solve that problem. This time, he would experiment...by doing the right thing.
Sirius operated a small control console, which from he had opened a gateway to the dimension where psychic souls went, a place that Sirius called the telepath graveyard. Bernard wasn’t originally a psychic being, but numerous meddling by Sirius had linked Bernard’s soul to the same web of energy that the Kondoru clan and Chiaria’s used.
(“Sirius, what’s happening?”) Bernard asked, detecting what Sirius had done. Bernard was typically invisible and intangible when in the lab, but had appeared in a ghostly form for the moment.
“Bernard, I’ve activated a device that will open a path to the telepath graveyard. Go.”
(“You….lied to me?”) Bernard immediately replied. Sirius wasn’t surprised, the Zora spirit had begun to act suspicious lately and had likely already believed Sirius was lying. Bernard was never really trapped.
“Goodbye.” Sirius wasn’t risking Bernard reintegrating with the lab systems, and activated the next system in his plan. A wall of rippling curtain-shaped purple energy passed through Bernard, teleporting his spirit away immediately. The wall vanished, and Sirius dropped his head as the deed was done. The non-sentient automatic systems kicked on to fill Bernard’s role. And Sirius learned at that moment, that Bernard had already expected this, and already gotten his revenge.
[WARNING: CRITICAL FAILURE ON PRISON GATE #1]
Alarms were buzzing. Sirius tensed up as he didn’t have to dig up any memories to know what Prison Gate #1 was. The only thing stopping the demonic Ma Ratnis from entering the world. Bernard had somehow rigged the gate to shut off when he was released.
[WARNING: SYSTEM ACCESS DISABLED]
That command had not existed before. Bernard had added new commands and automated them. Sirius wouldn’t be able to access his own lab anymore, but he still had a few items that Bernard couldn’t have tampered with. He readied his lunar whip and lunar notebook. He opened the book to the last few pages and tapped on them quickly. The book shook and jumped around on its own, then with a single loud pop it took on a rocky texture, having become a smooth slate.
“Well that works.” Sirius ran his hand across the slate, and it lit up with various symbols. He raised his hand up and the symbols moved into the air in front of him, spreading out on their own leaving energy trails behind. Each one drew patterns in the air, combining to form a single raised column with one button on it. “Clever of you Bernard, but I didn’t tell you every secret of this lab.” Sirius pushed the button, and the alarms stopped. The lights all turned off, and the low level hum normally heard in the lab ceased, as every power source had been shut off.
“5 minutes.” Sirius said aloud, starting the countdown to when the power would turn back on. Ratnis would already be in by then, and not just a fragment looking for a body to inhabit, but the whole demon. Sirius would have to use every emergency measure he had.
“No, Sirius. Your time is up.” The voice was filled with echo and snakelike, coming out like something of a nightmare. Ratnis was already here.
Sirius, Fulmaren Lab, Day 3
Ratnis looked not unlike ancient depictions of demise, albeit with purple hair and easily a foot shorter. It was almost adorable, like a mini-demise. But his power was not so cute. Ratnis carried not a sword, but instead his body was covered in thorns, and his hands were his weapons. A single punch would crush most any man.
Luckily, Sirius was not a normal man. He was still pretty much as dead as he had been for days. His corpse was animated by rune tech, and his spirit had long since been separated from it. While he preferred humanoid form, the skill he displayed when possessed by Ratnis was still within him. Sirius still had Garo form, a special twist he added to his skillset shortly before Kokage executed him.
He shifted into the hooded swordsman form, and drew his blades.
“Ratnis, you’re a little early, and I don’t have the place ready for you yet.”
Sirius, Fulmaren Lab, Day 3
Sirius rushed at Ratnis, impaling him with the Garo blades, and finding to his great shock, it was a killing blow. Ratnis, with a maniacal laugh, faded into the wind. Sirius changed back to humanoid form and rushed around the room looking for traces of Ratnis. It made no sense. He had fully expected Bernard to betray him and for Ratnis to show up, and everything had happened as planned. But now it was all changing.
“Where are you?!” Sirius shouted.
Sirius, Fulmaren Lab, Night 3
The laughing of Ratnis was all around him. Sirius wasn’t fully prepared for this encounter yet. He had vaguely entertained the notion of course, but there was simply not enough time, not anymore. Sirius had used up the last of his emergency power to bring the lab online, and had been relying on the basic security of the lab to keep Ratnis’ dimensional prison shut. Now Sirius’ demonic father was free to roam the lab, free to roam the world. The only thing worse would be if Vera somehow managed to break free of her soul curse and invade again. Luckily that wasn’t happening.
“Okay, think Sirius...think…” Sirius frantically spoke to himself.
“Out of time are we?” Ratnis voice floated around the room.
Sirius ran over it all in his mind, the long history. Ratnis sought to unseat Demise from his place in history as the most notable Ma, taking up the mantle of the world’s central bringer of chaos and destruction. Sirius had been born in a dark storm alongside his brother Davus, both meant to be tools of the darkness, of Ratnis. But it was not meant to be, when the witch Rhunerys had stolen Sirius away, intent on turning him against Ratnis in her own quest to revive Demise.
That was all so long ago. Since then Sirius had forged alliances with Rhunerys, turned on her, only to ally with her again out of necessity and convenience. And then she had faded from his life, as he grew too powerful for her to control anymore. In the same way that Bernard had betrayed Sirius, Sirius had betrayed Rhunerys.
Sirius felt a searing pain along his cheek as Ratnis rushed past him, striking Sirius to the floor. Sirius jumped to his feet and turned around looking for his attacker.
“Afraid to face me directly?” Sirius asked, realizing immediately that couldn’t be further from the truth. A shadow rose from the ground, forming back into Ratnis bit by bit. Ratnis grabbed Sirius by the throat and lifted him off the ground. And then Sirius felt it, the twinge of familiar darkness, the cold reach of death. A very specific death, the one he had felt mere days before when first put into the ground by Kokage. Sirius had died then, and Ratnis had taken his chance to inject more of his essence into the corpse, controlling Sirius’ body for a time.
“I can see in your eyes how even in your final moments, all you choose to do is summarize your situation, looking for a way out.” Ratnis hissed. “Reflection may be wise, given that this will be your last chance to truly live.” Ratnis was somewhat mistaken of course. Sirius had died, and was still dead in literal terms. His body had not been revived but was simply being kept in a neutral state, preventing decay from taking place. Sirius mind and soul were not truly one with his body but using them like a foreign vessel.
Ratnis tightened his grip as Sirius began to attempt to speak, cutting off his words. “No more words from you. You’ve said enough for a million lifetimes.” Sirius attempted to speak anyway, and miraculously seemed to catch the tiny bit of curiosity that Ratnis had.
“It is almost impressive that you continue to fight.” Sirius stopped trying to speak, and instead gave a single, slow wink. Ratnis grew enraged, he’d seen this before. The warning that Sirius was about to use a trick up his sleeve, the warning that Sirius had once again played his enemy. Ratnis would not have it, and immediately crushed Sirius’ throat. But the madmans eyes stayed open, as he gave another wink. A hologram appeared behind Sirius. It was just like when Ratnis had briefly controlled Sirius’ corpse and encountered holograms before.
“Hi Ratnis. You probably did something stupid, like crush my windpipe, or rip out my tongue, or burned my stuffed animal collection. In that order. Or maybe you didn’t even get that far before-” The holograms voice was cut off by a generic robotic voice blasting over the labs intercom system.
(“GRAVEYARD PROTOCOL COMPLETE!”)
The hologram of Sirius continued speaking, while the real Sirius was smiling ear to ear, crushed windpipe having no effect on his elevated mood.
“You’re evil, but really you aren’t that clever. You chose literally the worst possible moment to try and kill me. And by the way, I’m already dead! I died three days ago, and I’ve been running a program to properly merge my mind, spirit, and body back together. I had to steal some energy from uh...let’s call it heaven, and do a few other things that quite frankly would be boring to explain.
The gist of it is, I’m about to be alive again, and life energy is flowing into my body right now. So whatever you just did, I just undid. Go ahead, look.”
Ratnis turned his attention from the hologram to the real Sirius, and Sirius neck injury was restored, as if it never happened. The hologram kept speaking while Ratnis filled with rage.
“I didn’t know you were coming, Ratnis. This was originally going to just be a casual revival. I thought I’d have some tea. But then, that’s gotta make you wonder - how did I make a prerecorded message about it?”
Ratnis turned his attention to the real Sirius again. Sirius took over speaking as the hologram vanished.
“You’ll never know the answer.” Sirius brought a single fist forward, one that was brimming with life energy tuned very specifically to Sirius soul. Life energy that if brought into contact with any other being would immensely potent, immensely destructive. The punch hit Ratnis, and initially felt rather weak. But he still dropped Sirius to the ground, checking his own body for damage. He started laughing, it had clearly failed. He moved to attack Sirius again, but his legs did not respond.
“Bye dad. See you whenever someone manages to piece together the billion fragments you are about to be split into.” Sirius couldn’t truly kill Ratnis in this way, but the potency of the attack would shatter him. It was already over. Ratnis snarled in rage as his body began to fade into the wind like dust, cursing Sirius in a thousand languages.
Sirius just smiled, sat down on the floor, and broke into maniacal laughter. He was alive again, properly alive. A singular form. He hastily took out a glass capsule and waved it through the Ratnis dust cloud, capturing a portion of the essence.
“For safe keeping.” Sirius capped the container and went back to laughing. It was a good day.
Sirius, Fulmaren Lab, Day 3
With Ratnis taken care of, Sirius needed to tend to other pressing business. Alarms were still going off as the Lab safeguards needed to be enabled. Sirius was still in his bedroom, where a set of emergency master controls were located. He walked to his desk and waved a hand across the top, making several ancient hylian symbols with his hand movements, activating the rune panel. The holographic controls materialized, and he swept a long horizontal slider-switch all the way left from right, then spun a holograph dial fully clockwise. A sound like steam escaping an engine was released, easing the tension in the air as the alarms died with it. Distant slamming sounds could be heard as numerous lab blast doors dropped and locked, and then several quick tweeting sounds to indicate that defenses were in place, level one defenses at least. Simultaneously to all this activity, other systems humming to life, as the lab switched over to using its tertiary energy systems, with the primary and emergency backups both blown out thanks to the recent days activities.
“I hope I did the right thing, Bernard.” Sirius said aloud, shutting off the rune panel as he completed his work. The east wall of the bedroom immediately faded out of existence, being replaced by a shimmering semi-translucent energy field. He could see out into the woods, and knew it was time to relocate. Not physically of course, it would take a few months to repair the flight modules. But nonetheless the lab couldn’t be in the forest anymore.
Not interested in resuming voice commands now that Bernard was gone, Sirius brought the same runel panel back up and summoned a report of the trans-dimensional library pathway. One of Sirius’ greatest projects, it let him pierce not just into another reality, but to another plane of life, a psychic graveyard where certain psychic spirits went after death, though not all. And in time most lost their sense of self, merging with the great net of psychic energy that spanned the multiverse. However, right now Ithan, Jeskai, and Efran still had their sense of self intact and Sirius had bridged his own metaphysical library to the psychic graveyard.
“Note to self: Rename Psychic Graveyard to something more mystical sounding.” Sirius left the note in his daily work log, flagging it for daily reminder until he had a cooler name worked out.