Section Summaries

Unholy Inventions

Sirius, Laboratory Emergency Tunnels, Day 2

Sirius had no way of knowing precisely where the rest of the group had gotten off to, and that would pose a problem. They were all perfectly capable in normal circumstances, but with the lab in flux between multiple realities, no one had any real control over random chance.

Perfectly illustrating his point, as soon as he exited the emergency tunnel he was in, or rather, transitioned into a new tunnel, he came across Davus. But not the Davus he knew - that one had just been trapped inside a staff and sealed inside a containment chamber. No one could have escaped so quickly. It made no sense, but it made perfect sense. This Davus wasn’t from this universe.

“Davus.” Sirius said, trying to remain calm.

“Who are you?” Davus replied, cementing Sirius’ concerns. This part of the escape tunnel system was in flux. Either Sirius had warped to another reality, the entire section had, or this Davus had. Davus drew a long sword, pulsing with electricity.

“Okay that’s different.” Sirius remarked. Davus with a sword? He half wanted to trade his lightning mage for this one, but quickly wrote off such an idea, but then quickly reconsidered. However, as was random chance against him, so was time. This Davus didn’t actually seem to care who Sirius was, he was already rushing, sword ready to impale.

Sirius pulled out his whip and with a single crack, wrapped it around the sword and yanked hard. “I guess they aren’t all winners.” He braced for impact as Davus was likely still rushing despite the disarmament, but before the Davus reached him, the alternate-thunder mage vanished from the room, as did the sword. “Damn, I wanted to keep that.” Sirius lamented. He quickly rushed forward, finding an exit from the escape system, coming into a rather spacious chamber that had nothing but a few panels on the outer perimeter, about 3 feet of panels in total. The rest of the room was empty space for experimentation, imprisoned, resurrection, whatever was needed.

From the room’s northern side ran a small stream of water, and sitting at the end of the stream was a mask. The Yeti Mask. Sirius walked over and picked it up. He examined it closely.

He thought back to the first day he saw this mask, the masks first day as well. The day that the titans of snowpeak clashed. AvaKai and Yeti Taden. It had ended with the clone Kaimu’s death, and the creation of a dragon mask, though certainly not the last such mask to befall Hyrule and the surroundings lands.

He put it on and - nothing. Nothing happened. Some slight quesiness, but that was probably just hunger. And then Sirius felt something bump his foot, another Yeti mask, this one colored differently just ever so slightly. And then another, and another.

“Bernard you there?” Sirius called out.

“I’m watching. I think we both know what this is. The stream itself is in flux with same space alternate universes. Some of these masks must be from universes where they have no power for one reason or another. My suggestion is you try them all on until you find the one from our world.”

“How would I know what’s from our world?” Sirius slapped himself and the forehead after saying it, cursing out his foolish question. “Reality sequencer.” He referred to a magical containment chamber that could identify if an object was from the current reality or another. With a one hundred percent accuracy rate, it was one of the best tools Sirius had for multiverse research and development. Every single one of the lab rooms was outfitted with transfer tubes that could rocket items from a room into the sequencer. He ran to the rune stations and activated the tubes, then began stuffing masks in them as fast as he could, getting through about 15 masks before the flow stopped and the stream remained empty. The tubes made no noise as the masks were transported elsewhere and processed, and within seconds each one was spit back out another tube into the large spacious room. A small engraving had been imposed upon each mask, numbers to indicate the universe the mask was believed to be from.

“We have it. This is the one.” Sirius picked up his realities Yeti Mask, which Taden had presumably lost when Lynn attacked. Similar scenarios had to have happened in other realities that were bleeding into his. Although it was just as likely some of the masks were from universes where Taden just dropped it while getting a drink of water. Or hell, maybe the mask was created and owned by someone else. Or it was possible the masks were -

“Sirius, you’re getting distracted.” Bernard pulled him back to reality from his multiversal daydreaming. Sirius snapped to attention and gathered up all the masks, stuffing them into a pack and hoisting them onto his pack. A few didn’t fit so he hung them on the outside.

He heard one more clunk. A skull coming down the stream. He didn’t need to analyze it to know. It bore a burn mark he’d seen before. An alternate reality version of himself killed by a special weapon of his own creation, used against him by Vera. Probably the Vera he knew. She was the only person he never once found a copy of. Not even one. She was a true anomaly, perhaps not unique, but so rare he might never find another version of Vera, and that meant when he finally killed her, it would be likely be done with.

“Well, I guess I’d better get going.” Sirius grimaced from the weight of the pack, which should have been relatively light but was exceedingly heavy with all the masks, and a few other choice items. He shuffled off out of the room and towards what he hoped would be his realities Chamdar, Lynn, and Taden.

Taden Horwendil, Sirius’s Lab, Day 2

Taden swept through the rampaging current of the sewer system with his eyes closed. His heartbeat slowed as he passively whirled through the liquid lair.

Deep in the bowels of this dark dungeon, he felt the subtle sign of his enchanted burial mask emanating through the waters carrying him. Its icy aura could be felt more clearly underwater.

When he felt it drawing near, he latched on to a cone of light rising up towards him as he fell through the water, and nearly ripped his arm off when catching himself to hurl himself out.

By the time he shook the water from his eyes, a blurred figure that seemed to be Sirius ran down three hallways at once; he could feel his Mask borne by one of them, but once his vision cleared he found himself alone by the silver stream in the large chamber.

No sooner than his senses fell from the vanishing Yeti Mask, he could feel the encroaching presence of his Hated Robes in the form of Lynn Hothlight drawing near. After sweeping through the maze of pipes making up Fulmaren’s plumbing system, Taden knew the entire compound they had entered was on the brink of chaos. He did not—could not—know what lay ahead, but he knew he had to act quickly before the Relics were once again cast asunder by Time.

“At least one of you I can confine to a fixed point,” he scowled, reaching his arms back to gather Blue Fire in an arc above his head overlooking the stream. With a shout he hurled the ring of Blue Fire at the tunnel he had emerged from and sailed over the length of the stream to its opposite bank, then charged headlong up the waters themselves in a lighter-than-air dash. With a sharp turn on his heel at the head of the stream, he sent the column of flame up the drainage pipe he jumped out of into the water, sealing it solid with a cap of ice that spread deep into the flood of water feeding it.

When he walked out of the frozen-over tunnel, it was with wintry wisps of the unholy magick still licking the sable folds of his cloak and icicle fringe of his cuirass.

To his bemusement, the three tunnels down which the copies of Sirius had fled were now five or more—he couldn’t really tell.

“You contriver, you artificer,” Taden howled down the halls, “Thou bridler of the unknown! No number of tricks can contain the void!”

He bounded into the air again and kicked towards the range of hallways, unsheathing his sword to send a sheet of Blue Fire tearing over the air like a ship’s sail in the wind. As it crashed against the splitting halls it burst into hundreds of shimmering Ice Keese that clouded out the pale light of Sirius’s electrified metals. The flock rotated around the great vaulting chamber as one, then poured into the many halls, vents, and drains around them to fill every cell and corner of the labyrinth.

And when the last covey of Keese cleared, Taden was gone with them.

Chamdar Taliesin, Fulmaren Laboratory, Day Two

Events spiraled out of control even faster than Chamdar had expected. Lynn's decidedly unsubtle move to destroy Taden using Chamdar's solar bomb spell was pure insanity, but also not terribly disappointing, as it also served to send the two hateful creatures chasing one another through the pipes and vents. For the time being, at least, they were out of his hair.

Sirius, too, had vanished deeper into the facility. Troubling, that, but also not especially surprising. Sirius likely had his own designs, and would see to them in the manner he saw fit.

That left Chamdar alone standing in the atrium.

"Bernard," he said aloud, "can you hear me, Bernard?"

"I hear everything said within these walls, Chamdar."

"Terrific," Chamdar mused. "That ought to make things a fair bit easier."

He started to make for the door that would lead him into the eastern sections of the sprawling laboratory, checking the rapidly changing display on the face of his pocket watch as he went.

"I intend to check on the investment I left in Sirius' possession back before Hothnight's trial, Bernard. Is my vault still located in East Sublevel Three, or did Sirius see fit to move it?"

"Your vault has not been moved, Chamdar, but neither will it be easy to reach. The spatial-temporal rifts that have opened up throughout the laboratory will make it difficult on their own, but they have also had a particularly troubling effect along your intended path."

"How so?"

"To reach East Sublevel Three, you will need to pass through the Suspended Animation Ward. That's where Sirius keeps his failed clones, most of whom are either mutated beyond recognition, hopelessly insane, or both. The rifts have disrupted the systems in that area, and so many of the clones are no longer in stasis."

"Terrific," Chamdar said again, this time in a decidedly half-hearted tone. "Well, the others won't stay distracted by one another forever, so I suppose there's no point in wasting time. Try to give me some warning if I'm about to walk into something messy."

"I will do what I can, but my access may be... limited in certain sections of the lab along your route."

"I thought you heard everything within these walls, Bernard?" Chamdar asked as the door before him slid open and he stepped through into a still mostly lit corridor.

"Ha. Ha." Even for a computer voice, the response was dry. "I can still observe, but the disruptions may keep me from providing guidance in certain areas."

"Very well."

Suppressing a small grin of amusement, Chamdar made his way deeper into the laboratory.

Chamdar Taliesin, Sirius' Laboratory (East Sublevel One), Day Two

Chamdar stepped out from the stairwell and into a long chamber that spanned hundreds of paces, with a low, vaulted ceiling. Lights, of a sort that Chamdar was unfamiliar with, flickered and buzzed along the walls. Metal grates lined the floor to either side against the base of the walls. There were no signs of life anywhere on this floor so far as he could tell, and so he wasted little time before stepping fully into the chamber and moving forward with purpose.

"The stairwell leading down into East Sublevel Two is located at the far end of this chamber." Bernard's eerily disembodied voice announced. It seemed to emanate from the structure itself, which despite its relatively modest outward appearance, clearly was far larger on the inside. Chamdar had forgotten somewhat the full scope and skill of Sirius' artificery.

"Are you able to detect any of the obstacles you spoke of, Bernard?"

"I do not see anything on this lev-"

The voice cut off.


Nothing reply. At the edge of his hearing, Chamdar could just detect a vague crackling noise. Interference of some kind?

"Look at you," a voice, all too familiar, echoed through the broad hall.

Chamdar watched, silent and enthralled, as a figure emerged as though from nowhere, the close air of the dungeon sublevel seeming to part around him. Imposing and tall was the man, despite his narrow frame, his eyes were cold and hard as agates. Clad in a black bridgecoat, double breasted, with silver buttons down the front, he cut a fine figure against the buzzing lights. His face was lined by age, but they were hard lines. Stern lines. The figure stepped forward with arms folded behind his back, the fall of his boots echoing softly. He radiated power.

"Still a puppet, still arrogant in power that is only borrowed. Look at how you still let yourself be used, even as you seek to use others in turn."

"Who are you?" Chamdar asked, inexplicably shaken by this figure. The fingers of his left hand tightened around his staff, while his other hand drifted to Aurgelmir's hilt.

There was a twinkle in the figure's cold eyes. "Of course you don't recognize me. You're still too blinded by the light of your Goddesses. What I do to you here will be a mercy, though no doubt you'll fail to see it as such."

Aurgelmir came out with a hiss, just as the figure's hands were cast forth. So fast! Chains of cloudy gray, like vapors given form, snapped out from the air to snag his wrist even as Chamdar moved to strike. The force of the binding jarred the blade free of his fingers and sent it skittering across the floor. He could only watch as it slid all the way to the wall and dropped through the grate, clattering down into whatever lay below.

"Let it go, Scion. That blade was never yours in the first place. It will only lead you to ruin." The figure raised his left hand, fingers contorting in a clawing gesture. Points of darkness, like black motes in the air, began to form around it. The stale air turned suddenly cold. A spear of black formed out of nothing, as the figure took a step forward. Chamdar struggled against the chains, but could not break free. He opened himself and reached for the light of divinity always just beyond his vision, intent to turn it upon those magic bonds, but to his sudden horror found that he could not reach it.

Who was this figure that could so utterly defeat his power?

"This is my gift to you, Scion." The figure maintained his stride, even as he raised the spear toward Chamdar's chest. "An end to your timeless and pointless struggle."

He thrust forward with the weapon, the point aimed for the Scion's heart, and Chamdar was inexplicably and utterly helpless in the face of it.

The spear vanished, and the hand wielding it. The figure evanesced as suddenly as he'd appeared. The chains were no more, but Chamdar still remained frozen in place. Shaken.

"My apologies, Chamdar. The rift created too much interference. I was only just now able to reassert control on this level."

"Bernard," Chamdar said, finding his voice again. "What was that?"

"I am unsure, Chamdar. With the rifts in time and space, whatever you experienced just now could have been anything."

Chamdar nodded, looking down at the empty scabbard hanging from his hip. Aurgelmir, lost to whatever tiny corner of Sirius' lab those grates led to. He was going to need to find it before he left this place.

"Are you detecting any more anomalies on this floor, Bernard?"

"Not at this time."

"And the others, Sirius, Lynn, and Taden. Where are they?"

"The others are in other sections of the laboratory at this time. You should be clear to make for the stairwell."

"Very well then," he said, still doing his best to shake off the experience, even as the figure's words continued to echo in his mind. "Let's move on."

Taden Horwendil, Sirius's Lab, Late Day II

We say the power of Blue Fire is older than the Goddesses themselves, the essence of chaos whence Din drew all the cosmos.

Taden sulked weerily down the low grate of the sewer, waist deep in whatever sparkling sludge coated Sirius's tunnels. He had little idea where he was going in the ever changing halls, starting to wonder whether he'd be better off staking out the others right where he stood. Only a faint, elderly voice seemed to draw him on into the darkness.

What better place for you to rediscover its secrets than this tomb for space and time itself?

He held one hand aloft, and from the palm of his black steel gauntlet a large beacon of Blue Fire opened, lighting his dismal path.

"This would be a lot easier if they would just reveal themselves to me!" Taden yelped, his short stature lapsing under the sudden waves of the sewer.

Perhaps it is you who blinds yourself to them, the voice replied.

Taden turned around at the sharp chill that hit his neck. Behind him, the disembodied Yeti Mask hung above the waters, its empty eyes staring down at Taden with a guilty leer.

When he touched the Mask, his Blue Fire spread through its wooden etchings and gave it a new, shimmering life. He pulled the artifact down into his shirt, and felt the cold flame dissipate through his bones.

New energy flowed through him now, and with a flick of his arm the waters parted from him and he levitated above their flow. With the Mask's teachings restored, he could feel the frigid fringe of Aurgelmir brandished by the eternally recurring Scion.

Somewhere, Taliesin had wielded the dark blade against a foe not of Taden's knowing. And yet, it were as if he were right there, peering upon the sword that had sentenced him so long ago.

It's not far now. In fact, if you wait right here...

Taden looked up at the pipe down from which the main waterworks flowed, and felt the magnetic pull of Aurgelmir creeping closer. All at once, it burst out of the pipe and flew down through the air towards him, stopping just as his feet where he floated over the flood.

"At last, as if they were drawn to one another...," Taden mused, feeling the tug of the Mask under his shirt as he knelt down for the long, curved sword. Its ebony hilt glinted under the light of his own Blue Fire aura.

When he touched it, it were as though a thousand years of memory and vengeance caved in on his mind. An overwhelming bloodthirst seeped into the grip of his hand, the bite of his teeth, and the unyielding march in his boot. Though his frame remained small, it were as though an army's worth of warcries echoed in his bones, calling him to answer whole peoples, whole centuries, who once knew him as Hated.

The one they called Chamdar was no longer relevant. Nor was the tinkerer Sirius who designed these baffling halls. Only Lynn, the accursed demoness, mattered now; and beyond her, the half-mad boy conjurer White Malreaux. As if on a map, all was clear to him. His path was but to walked, and the end of the world would follow.

"Hear me, thieves!" he called out to the chamber. "I will not rest until the soul of the one you call Lynn Hothlight is ripped from her befouled corpse!" He channeled his strength into the flurry of Ice Keese he had summoned, and found a flock of each that had set upon Lynn, Chamdar, and Sirius in their separate sections.

"Your time is at an end," he intoned. "For the fate of all the world is at hand, and its rendering begins with the tatters of this labyrinth!"

At each of the three points occupied by Sirius, Chamdar, and Lynn, the clouds of Keese coalesced into a ghostly avatar of Taden. In each, he wore the Yeti Mask over his young face, and wielded the longsword Aurgelmir with both hands before them.

"Face me now, that your death might come quick, and you may be spared the long night that awaits the people of Hyrule."

Simultaneously, his phantoms leapt at their opponents, a sheet of Blue Fire sprawling in their wake.

Lynn, Sirius' Science Sewers, Probably (hopefully) Day 2

Lynn was pulled through the current by a substance whose true nature she dared not even guess, unable to control her path through the surging sewer pipes until, for inexplicable reasons, the pipe and the liquid ceased to surround her. She fell some few feet and rolled across corrugated metal flooring, or perhaps roofing, until she had spent the inertia from her flight through the rapids. She coughed as she rose, the burns from the lock explosion searing at the touch of whatever had been pumping its way through Sirius' lab, and took stock of the surroundings.

Nothing but a metal box, it would appear, though voluminous. The floor and nearby wall were all that she could see, lit by a queer flickering light which ocassionally, and loudly, shot off sparks and read "EXIT" in thick red letters. She quirked her eyebrow at that; the wall was otherwise blank and deemed not to present the advertised exit. The rest of the room was dark, fading into shadow that was unfathomably deep, or perhaps hilariously shallow. She unfurled her fist, and a dollop of light appeared at each fingertip. With a flick of her hand these small orbs of luminescence spread through the room.

So, unfathomably deep, then.

She reformed a ball of light and set it to orbit over her head, then struck off following the sign-toting wall. The metal didn't change, and if the wall did curve in either direction it was a shallow enough curve to be indistinguishable. Lynn couldn't venture a guess to how long she walked in that infinite void of darkness, the lack of any distinguishable features did not lend itself to marking the passage of time. It could have been minutes or hours. Her footsteps, usually so soft and quite, did not make a sound in that huge void of being.

"How in the hell did Sirius fit something like this in his lab?"

The answer, of course, went without saying. Because he's Sirius.

After walking for an indeterminable amount of time, she felt a queasiness overcome her. The pressure in the room changed, the texture of the metal was... well, no longer metal, for a start. Something softer and spongier. Somehow, without her noticing, she had come to stand on a patch of loam in a circular room. Questions abounded, but the same answer presented itself.

Because he's Sirius.

The way she had come was a wall of clay, presenting no opening through which she could have passed. At this, Lynn paused, blinking and bending over to catch her breath and wash away the wave of nausea spawned from such severe disorientation. Cleared of that, she resumed her exploration of this new room.

Standing dead center of this circle was a dark stone plinth, from which, at an angle, protruded a sword. Curious, she approached. How could Sirius have ever come to steal that away into his lab? But, no, sigh of relief and no small bit of a different manner of worry, it was a completely different weapon of Order and Right.

Aurgelmir. With creepers of ivy defiantly attempting to climb the blade and a thin patina of age on the hilt. Cautiously, she tapped the sword with her fingertip. Nothing. She had just seen Chamdar wield this blade before the group was split, yet it appeared to have been stuck in this stone for eons.

"How long did I wander that huge room?"

The fluttering of wings broke her attention away from Aurgelmir as a flock of ice keese burst into the room through vine-covered vents near the ceiling. She reached out to pull at their ice and ground them, but found a familiar presence resisting her. He spoke to her through their squeaking and the beating of their wings.

"Your time is at an end, for the fate of all the world is at hand, and its rendering begins with the tatters of this labyrinth!"

She hissed through her teeth. "Taden!"

The flock swooped down on itself, and the cloud of Keese coalesced into the Hated, his cursed Yeti Mask on his face and... and another Aurgelmir clenched in his hands.

"Face me now, that your death might come quick, and you may be spared the long night that awaits the people of Hyrule."

The ghostly child leapt at her, leading with the longsword and trailing Blue Fire. She jumped over the plinth reached out as she passed, and came up rolling in the other side, wielding the ancient Aurgelmir she had freed from it stony mausoleum. Her own light, stolen from the Light Spirit Garo, she felt resonate with the inate energies of Chamdar's characteristic weapon.

She held Aurgelmir en guarde, and presented Taden with a cold smirk. "Now you face me, finally, and we shall see what night may come."

Sirius, Lab, Day 2

The bats were a joke. Who would be unable to deal with a bat? Sirius had done little more than a flick of his wrist, holding off the summoned creatures using a form of concentrated lunar magic, called moon bullets, or perhaps mullets? He’d come up with a name later. The bats scattered and seemed to be dealt with. Though it seemed as if he had been in the clear, the bats had been a mere distraction, replaced by a phantom of Hothnight. A phantom bearing a ghostly version of Aurgelmir, the magic fancy pants sword known mostly to be Chamdar’s property. The keese hadn’t yet fully formed into not-Taden, and Bernard took that opportunity to grant Sirius some last minute information.

“Sirius, the masks you collected are not what you thought. They are not from this universe, nor are they from multiple alternate realities. That was corruption altering our perceptions. They are all from the same dimension. A much older one where mask making was a far more common practice. None of those masks do the same thing, and none of them will entirely leave you after being worn, even after they have been long since removed. The appearance of Yeti masks seem to be because it was a Yeti tribe who created them, the appearance of the masks deceives their purpose.”

“That’s all I needed to know.” Sirius put on one of the masks, and was screaming in agony immediately. His body felt like stone. His arms were rock hard and gray, and moving any part of himself was pain like ripping apart his limbs. It all happened in fractions of a second. The Taden phantom rushed at him, just as Sirius managed to rip off the mask and force it towards the phantom. Whatever the phantom was made of could not withstand the mask, but likewise its power was too great for the mask to contain, and both exploded into hundreds of fragments while simultaneously vaporizing, leaving nothing remaining after a few moments.

Sirius breathed a sigh of relief and realized he hadn’t listened to a thing that Taden had said during the attack.

“Bernard what was Hothnight saying?”

“I believe he wants to fight now, in person. You know the sort of talk - face me, your death approaches, end of the world and all those you love, and so on.”

Sirius smiled and pressed on with his questions. “Bernard, Lab repair status?”

“External barriers up and operating at 100%. All breaches are internal and becoming more and more self contained. There may be some kind of permanent link to...Sorry I’m afraid I can’t access more information on that. But I can now offer you instant travel to any location that is not the following 2000 rooms -”

“Whoa whoa.” Sirius held up a hand and laughed. “Do not list all those rooms, I’ll just ask if I can travel somewhere, and you tell me if it’s possible.”

“Efficient enough for you I suppose.” Bernard snapped back.

“Okay, Bernard, I’m being serious now. I need to know which I can reach faster, Chamdar’s location or Taden’s.”

“I’m afraid I can’t help you with either, Sirius. Neither of those individuals are on my map presently. I am interacting with Chamdar, but you don’t currently have master protocols in place so I cannot transcribe my conversation to you. And I should remind you that snooping is rude.”

Sirius was frustrated now. He was the creator of this place, he needed power and control that were fitting of a creator. He found the nearest raised console in the room and began furiously interacting with it. Bernard’s voice modulated through several frequencies while stating ‘testing’ until it settled on a decidedly more robotic and emotionless tone.

“Accessing locations. Please wait. Accessing. Closest route to Chamdar travels through 5 distortions and 1 anomaly.”

“What is the difference between a distortion and an anomaly?” Sirius asked, not recalling creating such a distinction in the lab records.

“Color mostly. Take the east exit and take every second right and you’ll probably reach Chamdar within 10 minutes.” Bernard instructed. Sirius remained mildly confused. Bernard somehow had remained sarcastic despite all commands to reduce him down to his basic instruction set. Sirius chastised himself, realizing that Bernard was not a computer program, but a real soul that could only be controlled so much. He had made Bernard more obedient, but certainly not less of an individual, aside from the voice tone. Sirius had one more question to ask before giving Bernard a rest.

“Every second right...what about the turns in-between that?”

“The options will only be left and right, you figure it out.”

“Gotcha.” Sirius replied, before heading off on what he hoped would take him to Chamdar first, in case the old man needing any help with his stowed treasures.

Taden Horwendil, Fulmaren Labyrinthe, Late Day 2

In the far reaches of the lab, Taden could feel his projection exploding where either Sirius or Chamdar confronted him. He could no longer detect that foe's location. Now two of his ghosts remained, splitting his power in half to face the remaining thieves--and he felt Lynn's hatred rising.

"Now you face me, finally, and we shall see what night may come."

He grinned from across the circular room at the lithe ninja poised upon a flat stone dais. She held aloft an imitation of his own Aurgelmir, but he could feel the otherworldly energy in its metal. No other blade bore the ancient hexes infused in his longsword.

"I've waited a long time for this," he echoed up to the woman. He could feel his power growing as the energy of Sirius’s defeated assailant coursed through his ethereal veins. "More than a lifetime, it seems."

He raised up his blade and pivoted just as Lynn came crashing down over him, and their swords clashed in a burst of fiery blue light, evenly matched. Somehow, she really had conjured an equal replica of Aurgelmir. But how? Was it this place?

Fortunately, that wasn’t the only trick up his sleeve. Deadlocked against his foe, he suddenly stooped to one knee and whipped the Maskmaker’s Knife from his hip, slashing at her midsection as he pulled his sword out from under hers.

Whispers of the Future

Sirius, Lab, Day 2

No man lives thousands of years and stays in touch the way the common man does. Sirius had scrubbed his soul of bonds long ago, keeping only what was needed. That was the lie at least. Some individuals would always reach through the barricade and break him down in moments. He had always done only what was good for him, making allies and enemies as the situation called for, manipulating and lying, helping and hurting.

He’d allied with his worst enemies, Rhunerys, and made enemies of his best friends, the Chiaria’s. And when he looked upon their eyes, seeing the hatred, he knew that they remembered what he had chosen to forget. Tried to forget. The memories escaped him, but the guilt wracked him.

It was Ratnis controlling his corpse that led to Ithan’s death. It was very likely that had Ratnis not crushed Ithan’s throat, he might have been saved from the time sickness he suffered from. Sirius considered himself responsible, his haphazard lackluster plan to draw Ratnis out had barely been a victory. He had to kill himself and inevitably Ithan just to destroy a tiny piece of the dark rodent named bastard. Sirius had very much wanted to avoid thinking of these things, but the labs reality breaches sought to punish him as much as fading conscience did.

Corpses of Ithan and Lia littered the halls he walked, realities where they had died for him or by his hand, one way or another. It felt like a sick joke, like some master plan. And it likely was. Vera was taunting him, she had to be. It couldn’t be random chance.

Sirius didn’t call out to Bernard for information, it would only make things worse. He crossed into a new room, at last finding Chamdar.

And upon placing his hands on Chamdar shoulder, the figure crumpled into a bleeding pile of robes, no body, only blood. Another reality, one where the Scion was dead. But this time he found a living soul, a weeping one. Quietly, but the sobs felt like screaming, like a thousand ringing bells in his ears. This was Lia, his Lia. She knelt over the robes.

“He’s dead.” She said. She looked up. “They all are. Why did Ithan send me to this place?”

Sirius had no words. He feared what he might say. He felt something stirring in his gut. Remorse.

“This isn’t the Chamdar I know, but he’s dead too. This place may as well be hell. A thousand times over I have to experience the death of those I love, of those I trust. Ithan was supposed to be the strong one.” Lia seemed to have no anger. It troubled Sirius. He would have preferred anger to this broken soul.

Sirius’ eyes widened. There was another in the room. But this was no living creature. It was time to speak, for all his fears, he had to.

He couldn’t. The figure in the room behind Lia walked forward. No. No, this wasn’t right. The lab wasn’t supposed to do this. Bernard was supposed to be the only one. No one else was meant for this hell. Even Bernard had been ultimately trapped in the lunar notebook by accident all those years ago, and Sirius had been certain he would never trap another soul in such an existential hell. Fate disagreed. He could feel Vera laughing inside his mind, and surely wherever she was now, she laughed aloud as well.

Lia did not turn to look at the figure, and Bernard had not spoken up about it. Sirius was alone in his observations. It was clear now. Ithan’s Soul was a part of this place. Something must have happened when he died. But there was no escaping now. He could not put him back. Ithan was trapped for as long as the lab would exist.

“Lia…” Sirius at last spoke. “I’m sorry.” She stood up, wiped her tears, and approached him with an emotionless stare.

“I have nothing to say to you. Let me leave this place, and never speak to me again.” She looked around. “If I even can leave.” She looked back, and did not seem to see Ithan’s spectre. That was the most startling event of all. Surely she would have reacted.

“You are not a prisoner. You have all the power….all the power of both yourself and your brother. You know how this works. The well of power you tap into is exclusively yours now.”

Lia’s face didn’t change, but her words cracked slightly as she spoke.

“It doesn’t feel that way. I feel powerless.” She closed her eyes. “But you are wrong, something is keeping me here.”

Sirius sighed and shut his eyes as he communed with Bernard.

“Bernard, please drop the defenses for just this room for long enough to allow Lia to escape.” He opened his eyes and she was gone. Bernard didn’t reply, having silently complied and done so in the span of a few seconds. Sirius was a man thirsty for knowledge, but today he would leave things be. He did not need to know why Lia had been sent to the lab by Ithan, or what she would do next. Her life was her own.

He looked upon the spectre of Ithan.

“Are you real?”

It said nothing.

“Is this my punishment?"

There was no answer.

Chamdar Taliesin, Sirius' Laboratory (East Sublevel Two), Day Two

Still shaken, feeling keenly the sense of sudden helplessness as he'd been bound up in ethereal chains, the Second Scion pressed on. The spiral stair that led down into sublevel two was lit in the same buzzing, flickering ambiance as the previous chamber, giving it a sinister cast. Bereft of Aurgelmir, he could but proceed on with his staff at the ready, wondering what might be coming next. The dialogue between he and the laboratory's consciousness had stilled, turning to a tense silence, as he stepped off the bottom step, through the threshold, and into a breathtaking scene.

East Sublevel Two, true to Bernard's claims, was a long, narrow corridor lined with crystal-fronted tanks. Hundreds of tanks, all down-lit, with curious instrument consoles to either side displaying the varying states of their contents, which were concealed behind the opaque crystal.

He strode amongst the suspended animation receptacles, fingers tight on the holm-oak haft, gaze sharp. His hackles were up; like the level above, something was not right here. He gave no voice to the feeling, however, still too disturbed by his encounter.

The silence and its pall of dread gave way in the distance to a skittering, a fluttering, like white-noise just on the edge of hearing, that created an inimical counterpoint to the bubble of liquid from within the tanks and the buzz and pop of whatever form of lighting Sirius employed within these halls. Free of the chains, Chamdar opened his soul to the Light of the Three, allowing it to pour into his every fiber and particle, imbuing him with strength and energy, sharpening his senses. The runes etched into the smooth surface of his staff began to glow bright with the raw energy of divinity, and that light played across the stiff fabric of his winter-white cassock and reflected as the sun's rays on a fresh, unbroken crystal snow.

The skitter and squeak, the beating of wings, grew louder, and out of the dim distance of the corridor poured a black cloud of keese, all suddenly igniting in flashes of blue flame as they descended toward him.

Blue Fire. He held back the blazing light coursing through him, waiting.

"Hear me, thieves!" The words echoed as they were channeled through the keese cloud. "I will not rest until the soul of the one you call Lynn Hothlight is ripped from her befouled corpse!

"Your time is at an end," intoned the Hated, "for the fate of all the world is at hand, and its rendering begins with the tatters of this labyrinth!"

In the instant that the last word's echo died, the creatures spiraled into one another, coalescing into a ghostly avatar of Taden Hothnight. On his face he wore the Yeti Mask, and in his ghastly grip he wielded the longsword Aurgelmir with two hands.

"Face me now, that your death might come quick, and you may be spared the long night that awaits the people of Hyrule."

"Hear me, Hothtnight," Chamdar replied, knowing that it was not the true man to whom he spoke, but a vessel of his power, "Take Annei's soul and tear it clean from the flesh, for all I care. You still now make the same mistake that you've never learned from, in all your years."

He raised his staff toward the spectral figure and let the Light imbuing him filter through into it, until the runes glared so brilliantly that they obscured all else.

"You divide your strength, and thus weaken the parts of the whole. It's why I beat you before. It's why you find yourself in the mess you're in now, and it's why I have no interest in this game of yours."

Just was he was to unleash the full force of the divine light in him, he was struck on the left shoulder and wrenched to the side, so that the jet of blazing light was cast askew, striking instead the crystal front of a tank to the Taden-golem's back and shattering it in an radiant explosion. Spinning with the momentum, Chamdar twirled the staff and slammed the top of it into his assailant, finding himself staring into the horrifically mutated countenance of Seishi Ma. The face was horribly deformed, the skin seemingly melted on one side so that it drooped loosely, exposing the muscle around the left eye-socket, and yet despite the figure's near-nakedness before him, there was no doubt of his identity.


The figure snarled, and then with swift hands he lashed out and struck Chamdar in the chest--a wild blow with no strategy or thinking behind it. Feral. One of Sirius' failed experiments. He staggered a step, turning only in time to divert a lunging phantom of Blue Fire with a barrier of divine light, over the edge of which licked tongues of fire that turned the air to ice. He retreated a step, bringing his staff up before him horizontally to ward off both foes, but the warped Seishi clone lost interest in him in an instant, for it appeared that his hatred of the Hated was imbued into his very blood, such that it ran deep in a copy who was wild, uneducated and bestial. With a cry, the clone leaped into the phantom, punching and clawing at a demon of ice who was not truly there.

The specter retaliated swiftly, the ethereal Aurgelmir cutting down the clone paladin in mid-air, spraying blood across the stonework.

The moment of distraction was all Chamdar needed. He threw himself forward and drove the top of his staff into the midst of the phantom, or golem, or whatever he truly was, and unleashed a burst of pure divinity that burned the figure from the inside out, scattering the pieces of his essence and sending them back to the source.

As the light died, Chamdar kneeled with a heavy breath, leaning on his staff for support. Taden was growing stronger. He'd known it was coming, but there was a small part of him that had forgotten what it could be like.

"Chamdar, I don't mean to interrupt your rest..." Bernard's voice echoed through the chamber, breaking the momentary quiet, "But this failed Seishi clone doesn't appear to be the only one whose broken free of his tank."

Still on one knee, Chamdar lifted his gaze from the flagstones to see a number of shadowed figures shifting about further on through the flickering murk. He rose back to his feet, readying his staff before him once more.

"I'm going to have to have a long talk with Sirius once this is over," he said softly, settling into a combat stance with his staff at the ready. "Very well then."

Lia Chiaria, Day 2, Outside the Lab

She was always listening for Ithan. In life their telepathic bond was like no other, and though she no longer heard his voice, it felt as if the bridge to his mind was still there. But crossing the bridge merely led to darkness, to silence.

But her own power was indeed growing. Despite her comments to the contrary, the well of power that she and Ithan tapped into was all hers now. As much as it ever was. She always had the feeling in the back of her mind that someone else also had access to it, perhaps many others. Not to mention she didn’t even know what this ‘well’ was. It had been a rather recent discovery. For most of their lives, the Chiaria’s had assumed their power was innate, and to a certain extent it was, but it also came from some other place. Some other plane.

Grief struck again. Lia collapsed to her knees. It was like a physical wound as much as an emotional one. Like painkillers wearing off, it crippled her, stopping all thought and action. Grief for a family member was powerful, grief for one tied to your very brain was even more so.

It was only that faint shimmer in her head that helped pushed it back each time. A soothing comfort she could not identify. Was the well of power helping her stabilize? Was she so disassociated she couldn’t recognize her own capabilities?

Lia went from her knees to the dirt, an invisible force punching her down. She heard the screaming laugh, the torturous victory call of a mad woman. The thief of worlds. Vera. She was here somehow, in the lab. She had influence just beyond its walls. Lia crawled forward, just barely inching outside the range of demon woman.

Once upon a time, Vera had been a noble soul, and while this the same person, it may as well have been a different one. Lia wondered, what became of Severa? She never knew the girl personally but her time travel exploits had granted her a great deal of insight to the girl. The girl of many worlds, born of parents that were never meant to come together, or shouldn’t have been.

She knew somewhere in the lab Chamdar roamed, as did Sirius still. They could handle Vera, and if not, it would simply be one more reality with fallen titans. She could not be bothered saving the souls of a few when the fate of her own realm was at stake. There was still a war, a war that Ithan and Lia had pledged to help win.

But she was still on the ground, struggling against the grief. Vera’s single strike had been weak, but it dug deep. She had probed Lia’s mind, or tried to. And yet something had protected Lia, again.

“Get up.” Lia said to herself. She rose to her knees. “I said...GET UP!” She rose to her feet. Her clothes were caked in dirt, dust, and blood. She looked like the common people of the world, the ones who couldn’t protect themselves, the ones at stake in this war. The ones already dying every day. She could lay down grieving over her brother, or find a way to persist.

The well surged into her. Power, but not overwhelming, not to her. Her mind kicked into gear, immediately seeking out the familiar. It was too risky to send an open channel message. She would try each light warrior, one by one. First up, the Ma family.

(“Senshi.”) She sent out the name, focusing upon his mental signature. (“Respond if you can. I must find you and the others.”)

She set off walking towards the base of operations she expected, Hidden Kakariko, hopeful that she would receive a confirmation along the way.

Lynn, LABrynth, Late Day 2

Lynn met Taden's copy of Aurgelmir with her own, releasing a blast of fiery blue light that illuminated the corners of the room. She gritted her teeth as they locked blades in an even hold. How had he laid claim to Aurgelmir? And, for that matter, what was the blade she held, then?

Taden was, it appeared, none too pleased with their even match-up. He dropped himself to a knee, slinging the knife at his hip from its sheath and slashing at her midsection while pulling his sword from under her own. Such a feint would have thrown Lynn off-balance, had she not expected Taden to maintain his offense. She let the drop of his blade guide her own into a block against his knife, but met with surprise. Rather than connecting with the knife, she sheared through his wrist. Hand and knife continued as he shrieked in surprise, pain and rage. The severed limb and disarmed weapon careened off into a corner of the room.

Lynn smirked, haughty at the sudden reverse of fates.

"This is it? This is the great battle? You are far too easy for such a fabled beast, Taden."

He growled, animalistic fury twisting his face into ever deeper expressions of hatred and malice. With one hand he brandished Aurgelmir, resting pommel on stump to provide support and guidance in his assault. She fell back, slowly and measuredly, as he pressed. Hers was a defensive game, here. She had sacrificed too much to throw everything away in such a foolhardy attack as he employed against her. There was still work to be done, even after finishing this portion of the monster's soul.

And then, in a flourish, it was over. His blade slipped over her blade. She leaned into his attack. Met resistance. And in a shimmer of Blue Fire, he disappeared even as he collapsed to the ground. Lynn stood, panting, surprised, unable to know what to feel.

She lowered her ancient Aurgelmir without releasing her grip on its hilt. Taden's knife still lay in the corner, though it appeared the hand had disappeared in the same burst of Blue Fire that took the body. She walked over to it and picked it up. The moment it touched her flesh, it, too, shattered into an effluvium of Blue Fire which clung to her hand, burning cold into her flesh, down to the bone.

She screamed and feel to her knees, dropping Aurgelmir as she grasped at the pain searing through her. Her eyes clenched tight. Then, the pain gave way to numbness.

She opened her eyes to see her hand tinged a pale, deathly blue, but still attached, with fingers still flexing to her command. But she could no longer feel it, like a phantom limb. And she could feel something, again. Something that had been gone for so long. Something cold, dark, and... hateful.

And she knew, in that moment, deep in her breast, that she hadn't killed Taden. She hadn't bested him. She'd played right into his hand. Before, she had a sense where he was, yes. But now... she knew, somehow, terrifyingly, she knew... that it was reciprocal.

He could sense exactly where she was, now.

Sirius, Lab, Day 2

Sirius had a habit of forcing the world to bend to his will in times of frustration. The lab’s very existence was the ultimate example. And now he needed to reach Chamdar.

“Bernard, I’m sick of this. I want you activate the emergency backups. All of them.”

(“Sirius, there are no…”)

“Cut the crap. You know exactly what I’m talking about. 100% power draw, empty them. I don’t care what the side effects are. I’ve had enough of this sometimes working, sometimes not. I just had to feel things. You know what it’s like to feel things, in your heart?”

(“Not anymore.”)

“The one thing about you I envy. Now DRAW THE POWER.” Sirius could hear the humming whir as Bernard complied. Deep in the lab core, it’s true core, he kept them. Black time-dragon hearts. Pilfered from dragon corpses of another reality. His final mission with Vera before turning his back on her goals. The hearts were a source of immense power, keeping the lab suspended in its own time and dimension bubble. Drawing them all was necessary to restore the power that had been damaged by the Epoch War. The consequences would probably be dire, or perhaps not. Only experimentation would tell that story.

The sound grew louder and louder, and Sirius felt the flow of the lab’s power in his body. He was reconnected at last. He raised up a rune console and pushed a single button, teleporting himself across to east sublevel two.

“Hey old man.” Sirius popped into existence next to Chamdar. “I see you’ve been dealing with the clones. Don’t worry, I’ve restored the power. Bernard, HARD STOP.”

Every single clone fell to the floor, struck by green lightning bolts firing from the ceiling.

“I’m in control now. And yes, I did do the unthinkable if you were wondering. Although maybe I never told you about the core, but I will have to at this point. After all, I’m sure you’ve been wanting a long talk, and I’m ready to spill the beans. Especially as we may be facing down the end of this world. I fear that Vera has won already. Now, let’s get you some time before we run out of it.”

Chamdar Taliesin, Sirius' Laboratory (East Sublevel Two), Day Two

“Hey old man.” Sirius popped into existence next to Chamdar. “I see you’ve been dealing with the clones. Don’t worry, I’ve restored the power. Bernard, hard stop.”

Every single clone collapsed in a heap, struck by green lightning bolts from the ceiling.

“I’m in control now. And yes, I did do the unthinkable if you were wondering. Although maybe I never told you about the core, but I will have to at this point. After all, I’m sure you’ve been wanting a long talk, and I’m ready to spill the beans. Especially as we may be facing down the end of this world. I fear that Vera has won already. Now, let’s get you some time before we run out of it.”

Straightening back up to his full height, Chamdar relaxed his grip on his staff and let the energies suffusing he and it both ease back. The clones had been the immediate danger, following Taden's banishment, and they were dealt with. Sirius could be a danger too--and a far greater one at that--but he Chamdar knew.

"Thanks for the assist, Doc," Chamdar said as he shifted his staff back to just his right hand. "Vera... I've heard you speak that name before, and rarely in a favorable light. I'll hear what you have to say, but you'll need to walk and talk."

And with that, Chamdar resumed his trek down the corridor, passing rows and rows of suspended animation tanks, some displaying grotesquely mutated versions of men and women that he'd once known. Sirius was a curious fellow, and he had disturbing proclivities, but Chamdar had learned long ago to overlook some of the extraneous details, some of the arcane, fringe experimentation, because of the man's value.

He stepped over several fallen clones, hitching the hem of his cassock fastidiously up to keep it from being soiled by their smoking flesh or the viscous fluid still clinging to their skin from the tanks. Only as he neared the stairwell which led at last down into the sector of the lab wherein his vault lay did he pause and look back. Seeing that Sirius had not yet moved to follow, he dipped his free hand into the folds of his garb and pulled the shimmering silver pocket watch free, letting it swing lazily by the chain.

"You know what I've come for. If what you've got to tell me is as dire as it seems, then reaching my vault can only help in the long run. The reach and scope of your science has always been impressive, but there's a reason we've found common cause to work together in the past. We'll need your science and my magic in full measure before long, is my guess." He turned back and stepped into the threshold of the spiral stair which led down toward his destination. Over his shoulder, he beckoned for her sometime friend, sometime adversary. "Come, walk with me and explain what's happening here in your own house that has you so concerned."

Sirius, Night 2, Lab

"You know what I've come for. If what you've got to tell me is as dire as it seems, then reaching my vault can only help in the long run. The reach and scope of your science has always been impressive, but there's a reason we've found common cause to work together in the past. We'll need your science and my magic in full measure before long, is my guess." Chamdar turned back and stepped into the threshold of the spiral stair which led down toward his destination. Over his shoulder, he beckoned to the sometimes friend, sometimes adversary. "Come, walk with me and explain what's happening here in your own house that has you so concerned."

Sirius hadn’t really been hesitant to join Chamdar, but rather was looking at his his own creations, wondering for the first time in centuries, what he was really accomplishing. Clone experiments had long since become a simple event for him. The days of planting secret dragon infused eggs and raising them into clones were long gone. A clone could be made in a matter of hours, or days if it needed to be more stable. Most of the ones in here had been old experiments, things he hadn’t wanted to part with.

He not so reluctantly stepped forward, coming to Chamdar’s side after a few paces. They were not far from Chamdar’s Vault, so Sirius took the time to explain Vera.

“The full story of my life with Vera is long and full of unimportant details, and even the version without details is fairly long. But it’s deeply intertwined with some of the greatest legends of this world, notably the Chiaria’s and the Red General Himself, Polaris Eridanus. We’ve all had interactions with Rhunerys Telaris, who is the one responsible for my existence. Although I believed myself born in the wilds of Holodrum, in fact I only ended up there by chance. I originally was being raised by….a future version of myself, at the time.” Sirius paused and shook his head. “It’s all very confusing and I’m not even sure that this story is accurate anymore, my personal timeline feels in flux, even if this world is supposedly on a fixed path. However, the long and short of it is, I grew up in a normal village and left it at 18, meeting Vera not long afterwards. I did not know who she was or where she came from, but we were able to survive together for a few years.” Sirius cleared his throat and interacted with another rune panel, continuing on the path down to the deepest levels of the east wing.

“It wasn’t long before Rhunerys returned to continue her manipulation. Davus Fulmen attacked both myself and Vera, and we were conveniently saved by Rhunerys. She tricked me then into believing it was our first time meeting, when in fact she was my true creator, and I believed it was that moment when Vera and I were granted immortality, from aging at least. As recent events have taught me, I can still physically die in a certain sense. I thought then that Vera too had been granted special powers, but I’m realizing now that not even Rhunerys understood Vera.” Sirius stopped Chamdar with a hand on the old man’s shoulder. “Chamdar. I’m not a good man. But I’m also not an evil one, not in totality. I’m a product of a witch interfering with a demon. I’ve hurt many and created abominations but I don’t wish this world to end. Vera wants to consume the land, she wants to take it for herself.”

Chamdar looked back at Sirius quizzically. He was no stranger to great evil trying to control the land, but even he seemed to understand what Sirius was trying to convey. Sirius removed his hand and they continued walking.

“Vera and I worked for Rhunerys for 400 years, doing things I’ve long since removed from my own memory and stored in the lab. It in AD-2000, on our final mission, when we were sent back in time to AD-850. That is the point where Vera felt free enough that she started slipping up. Dropping clues about her real intentions. I thought her to be only 18 when we met, but she was already thousands of years old, having already gone through this process. She has power, but instead chooses to grow it in others, manipulating and controlling them. All these horrible things you’ve seen in this lab, glimpses of other worlds, of darkness...Vera has been traveling around many different universes for many more years than even I could imagine. She has been simultaneously ‘cultivating’ versions of me and others, making us build our own powerful creations and then turning them on us, and using them to suck the life force out of the land. She keeps doing it over and over in different realities. I don’t know why. But I know it’s true. I’ve found corpses of myself from other worlds, ruined labs, wrecked landscapes. Dead versions of you, of everyone. I could only begin to guess, perhaps her world is permanently damaged and requires a constant supply of energy, or perhaps she is on some deranged revenge mission.”

Sirius paused in front of a large set of steel doors, each with a single long vertical steel handlebar. They were in the final passageway leading to the vault.

“I managed to banish her from the lab and block her re-entry. She seemed to have temporarily slipped through the cracks while the lab was damaged, and she’s very likely responsible for all the convenient dangers we’ve come across. She’s now blocked again, but she’s growing more aggressive. It could still be hundreds of years before she acts again, but to her that is mere moments. I anticipate that if I don’t begin constructing dimensional barriers across all of Hyrule, she may take more drastic action and begin to turn the world against me.” Sirius sighed. “I have one more thing to say.” He placed a hand on Chamdar again.

“This world and my own meddlings have gifted me with the chance to see the future as it might be, though never exactly as it will be. I see Vera manipulating the greatest of us.” Sirius stared intensely into Chamdar’s eyes. “All of us. She has more power than we know, and she is wise, always playing us like we are pieces in a game, never putting herself directly on the board. I need to know that you trust me when I say that I am leaving behind many of my old ways, experiments, abominations - those are done. I am focused now on protecting this world because we might be in its final era if we fail.”

Severa Fulmaren, Fulmaren Laboratory, Night 2 - Shortly Before Sirius Locked Down The Lab

Severa rose from the ground slowly, rubbing her eyes, a throbbing pain in her head making it hard to see. The last thing she remembered was...fuzzy. A collection of images, random explosions, fighting, and a feeling of urgency and fear lacing it all. Something had happened with her father's laboratory, something had happened. A man killed, and then she was saved by some other girl.

Severa was alone now, her companions now scattered, and the woman who saved her nowhere to be seen.

The lab seemed to be falling apart. Jets of steam, liquid flowing through rooms normally meant to be maintained and pristine, and the distinct sound of reality being torn asunder. It was a very unique sound, like an entire universe screaming in pain from a botched surgery. It meant her father had been killed, or at least damaged to the point that the lab lost its anchor.

And yet it also appeared to be in repair. Severa tried to piece together what could be happening when she heard the laugh. The gentle, fake laughter of the woman she despised most, her mother. Vera stepped forward through a cloud of steam, sporting two completely intact eyes. Clearly she had recovered from the damage Severa had previously inflicted. It didn’t take a genius to know she’d been manipulated.


Vera said nothing and continued to walk towards Severa, the laughter ceasing, but the smile remaining.

(“Warning, warning, intruder-”) Some kind of automated voice began speaking. It sounded decidedly more alive than the previous ones Sirius had used in the lab. But it was cut off rather quickly by Vera, who merely raised a hand to accomplish the silencing. Severa felt weak, and braced herself against a wall as her mother continued to approach.

“Severa.” She said at last. “I’m afraid it’s bad enough that your father is still alive, let alone you. You and I both know that your birth was not anticipated. I’m afraid that the opportunity to prevent it has passed, but the opportunity to rectify the situation has not.” Vera raised another hand and Severa was forced against the wall, immediately beginning to choke.

“What…” Severa choked down some air, knowing that her mother could have killed her by now if she wanted. Whatever had been holding her back all those years before, was gone. Perhaps it was something in the lab itself, or perhaps… “Ack…” It became increasingly harder to breath so she abandoned her ruminations in favor of action. Her solluna gauntlets grew brightly, but Vera ripped them off and tossed them to the side.

“No, I’m afraid this is the end. It’s-” Vera was interrupted, and briefly released her grip on Severa.

(“Total lockdown engaged!”) The voice returned. (“Severa, your father is not aware of your presence, but I’m sure he would give his regards if he could. Allow me to speak on his behalf when I say, I’m so sorry.”)

A flood of water entered the room, coming from the nearest dimensional tear, which had grown to a massive size. The torrent hit both Vera and Severa hard, knocking them both to the ground. In a twist of fate, Severa recovered faster, pushing against the onslaught of water and slipping her gauntlets back on, quickly gripping Vera and using the maximum energy level she could.

(“Allow me to assist.”) The lab voice spoke again, and beams of green lightning began to strike Vera. Ultimately it seemed to only anger her, and after a few seconds of onslaught from her daughter, Vera threw her off and turned towards the dimensional rip, sealing it instantly.

“Bernard, why do you serve Sirius? He doesn’t care for you!” Vera seemed shaken, angry. Whatever plans she held were not proceeding as intended.

(“I think you’ll find he’s had a recent change of heart. We are grateful to you for that motivation.”) Bernard amped up the lightning and Vera was struck down again. Severa had begun to understand what was going on. She didn’t know this Bernard, but he was the controller of the lab now, and Sirius had done something drastic to restore power. Vera was weakening. She wouldn’t stay long. This also meant that Sirius finally understood what Severa had known in her heart since birth. Vera cared for no one.

Severa approached the weakened Vera and began viciously punching her in the face. White hot rage consumed her.

“What’s wrong with me? Why shouldn’t I exist? Why should YOU exist?!” She landed a harder punch between each question. For the briefest of moments, it seemed like Vera might actually pass out, but she regained her focus and threw out her arms, creating a bubble around her. The lightning began to be deflected back into the lab equipment and towards Sirius. Severa had never seen her mother like this, she had always sensed power, but this was something entirely different.

“....It will be truly satisfying when I finally feed this world to my people.” Vera’s eyes were glowing white. She made a quick motion with her wrist and another singularity opened. It seemed to strain her.

(“Severa, she has mere moments before she’s trapped her, stop her!”) Bernard’s voice had urgency like Severa had never heard, and she lunged at Vera, but it was too late. Her mother had already vanished through the portal, and it had sealed itself. (“...Too late. Total lab lockdown has commenced. She will not be able to escape.”)

Severa smiled. She had been traveling through alternate realities much longer than she realized. Her memories were coming back. Sirius...her father, he had bestowed her an amazing gift. He had allowed her soul to sync with the lab perfectly, such that the defenses did not affect her. Bernard seemed to know and he had only one more thing to say.

(“Don’t seek her out yet, wherever you go. Your father is going to need you someday to stop her. If you care for this world, you will trust these words.”)

Severa nodded to the bodiless voice. She placed her hands upon the air, as if they were on an invisible wall. A doorway appeared, and Severa stepped towards it.

“Bernard was it? I think I’m actually grateful to my father for once. Tell him - tell him I’m sorry for everything that happened before. I’m sorry that it was harder for him to see than me. And tell him that I think Vera left a surprise for him, a phantom.” She took a deep breath. “I promise to come back. I have the same powers as my mother. Crossing realities, dimensions. I think maybe she knows, but doesn’t realize the extent of my power. I have to keep it secret, and make it more powerful. Anyway, goodbye. I hope Sirius didn’t take too much from you by putting you here.”

Severa stepped through the doorway to another reality and it vanished behind her.

(“Good luck Severa, whatever it is you’re doing.)

Chamdar Taliesin, Sirius Laboratory (East Sublevel Three), Day Two

“This world and my own meddlings have gifted me with the chance to see the future as it might be, though never exactly as it will be. I see Vera manipulating the greatest of us.” Sirius stared intensely into Chamdar’s eyes. “All of us. She has more power than we know, and she is wise, always playing us like we are pieces in a game, never putting herself directly on the board. I need to know that you trust me when I say that I am leaving behind many of my old ways, experiments, abominations - those are done. I am focused now on protecting this world because we might be in its final era if we fail.”

Chamdar regarded the mad scientist for a time in silence before the steel double doors.

"We often create the calamities we must forestall, don't we? I have done so just as you have, and put plans into motion that will hopefully lead to the best possible outcomes." he replied thoughtfully, even as he took hold of the handle and pulled one of the steel doors open. Just a sliver, wide enough for him to slip his tall, narrow frame through sideways. "I appreciate you sharing this with me, Doc, and I'll help you deal with her when the time comes, if she represents such a danger as you believe.

"Now come. I've business here that I would like to attend to quickly. I dare not leave Hothnight and Annei to their own devices here too long, even with your control of this place. They represent another of my calamities. One I intend to deal with before long."

He slipped through the crack, leaving it ajar so that Sirius could follow him. This place belonged to Sirius, but there were places which by agreements made he could not enter alone. What lay inside the double doors was a long corridor like those above, except that it was not empty, or lined with suspended animation tanks. Instead it ended abruptly half way down its normal length, barred by a massive door of silver alloy--the same used in the construction of his pocket watch--inscribed with spidery runic script. Chamdar approached slowly. Reverently. It had been some time since he and Sirius had come to their accommodation. Such a long time...

The vault door was no normal door in that it bore no cracks of creases, no lines, knobs or handles. It was a solid wall of silver radiating an inner light at his approach. There was only one way past. A vault key.

He drew again the pocket watch from his cassock, letting its argentine surface catch the light of the door. It had grown warm in his pocket, and hummed as he held it aloft, swingly gently from the chain. With a deep breath, he flicked his wrist and took hold of the watch itself, flipping it open so that the luminous display within was plain to see. The golden script was writing over itself rapidly, flashing excitedly.

He inserted the face into a small, almost imperceptible slot beneath the lower slash line of a central rune.The gold light rippled out across the surface of the door, illuminating each of the massive runes in bright golden light, which shone in rays from the carved symbols, growing in brilliance until it forced the two men to avert their eyes, lest they be blinded permanently.

When at last his eyes slid open again, Chamdar stood in the middle of a long hall, unobstructed, with his watch resting in his outstretched hand. The door was gone. He looked back to Sirius.

"Come," he said, snapping the watch shut and pocketing it as he turned back and stepping past where the barrier had stood. "Let's be about it."

The walls beyond were lined with tables, shelves and pedestals bearing all manner of curiosities. Items of power that Chamdar had collected or created throughout the ages. As he strode, he noted a flute carved of bone-white wood, a smith's hammer inscribed with thorny vines along the haft, a shelf of books bound in dried, blood red leather. The powers gathered in this vault... he dared not leave these things even in his own windmill, guarded by his spells and barriers. Nearer the rear end of the vault, he noted a plaque bearing a bow carved from jet black wood, with a quiver hanging at its side. Beside that, a small outfit of stiff black leather, all rivets and buckles, with fingerless gloves and open-toed boots. To the side of the bow hung a pair of short, curved swords with hooks protruded up and out along the top of the blade.

Finally he arrived at the far wall. Here, one single tank like those found in the corridor above stood alone. The pedestal at its side was flashing lights and symbols, and the lights were green. A good sign, the tank remained undisturbed.

"This is what you came for?" Sirius asked curiously. "Him?"

Chamdar turned his eyes from the display to the clear-crystal front of the tank itself. Floating suspended was a figure of gray-green scales, with a narrow but hardened frame. Even awake and upright, the figure was barely half his height.

"He is a... fail safe of mine in case things go poorly. As things spiral out of control, I needed to know that he was safe and well preserved." he replied.

"Project Requital is in perfect health," Bernard's voice echoed through the vault. "None of the power fluctuations or temporal disturbances disrupted anything on this level. The protocols you arranged to put in place remain active. His suspended animation remains tied to the signal the tank receives from the watch."

Chamdar nodded, reassured.

"Good, he will be important." He turned from the tank. "But he is not the only reason I needed to see my vault."

He took several steps back in the other direction. Along the wall opposite from the bow and the black leather armor, a broad circular shield hung from the wall. Its face was steel or a similar allow, scrubbed to a mirror-sheen. Its outer edge was banded in a golden material that reflected all of the light that hit it, gleaming like fire. At its center was embossed a golden sunburst. The shield was massive enough for a large man to hide most of his upper body behind, and it radiated the warmth of the human soul. Chamdar held up the pocket watch again, face exposed, and tapped it. The shield seemed to dissolve into motes of light, all of which spiraled into the watch and vanished. He snapped it shut again.

"That's it, let's get back before the others murder one another."

He began striding back toward where the door had stood, but thought better of it a moment later. He paused beside the bookshelf containing the small, blood red books. He snatched up several of them, skinny, palm sized tomes containing spells that he should not have known given his affiliations, and slid them beneath the breast of his cassock. He also took a small brown satchel hanging nearby, containing glass orbs of certain elaborate, constructed magicks. Finally, he found a silver-white dagger lying innocently atop a marble plinth. He took that, and the sheath, and hung it from his belt. When he was done, they each stepped out past where the door should be, and he turned and opened the watch face one last time. With a few calculated taps of one finger on the face, the light blazed to life again, and when it subsided the massive silver door stood once more.

He turned to Sirius. "This is your lab. Can you bring us to the others now?"

Yeti Village / Night 2

High up in the Yeti Village, the black sky was too cold, too clear for even the faintest, most distant stars to hide. Like a cloud of dust hanging above the frozen tundra, night passed over the cloaked and helmeted heads of an elder Yeti council, seated around a blue flame.

Four Yeti of varying height and dress were seated at each cardinal direction. They coexisted in silence, heads bowed and arms folded. Above them, the limp but contented body of the deceased medicine man Jotunn lay suspended in the biting cold air.

“The time has come,” said one of the largest of the old goblins. “The shaman’s night has fallen.”

From beyond the crashing peaks that surrounded their domain, dark clouds began to spiral into view. The moon sat enthroned on the cold expanse, its light all the brighter as the storm rolled in.

“We have waited too long to revive our ancestor,” one of the Yeti crowed. “Jotunn grows impatient.”

“The dead know only patience,” another growled. “He should abide in his grave until the Shaman’s Mask is returned.”

“Fenrir is right,” the fourth and youngest added. “We cannot know the consequences of what we unleash. Not while the trespasser’s Ape Mask persists in the Realm.”

“If his power is combined with the ancestral Shaman’s,” the growling critic continued, “it could be the end of both.”

“Silence,” the oldest sighed, ruling. “We may not live to see the ancestors fulfill any of our prophecies, if we do not perform the oblations now.”

The northernmost Yeti stood up and raised his long arms into the air. After him, the easterly and westerly brothers rose, and finally the southern brother. They all closed their eyes, and slowly their hands met in a ring, with just a few inches between their broad, leathery palms.

When they opened their eyes, a white light poured from each to illumine the corpse of Jotunn now much higher above them. The clouds continue to spiral inward until they met in a thundering gyre, swallowing the moon up to a fine point. Finally, when a thin column of moonlight poured directly down through the clouds onto Jotunn’s chest, the Yeti dropped their arms and a cascade of Blue Fire sprang up from the ground, engulfed the shaman’s body, and elevated it into the sky.

The elder Yeti kept their eyes closed out of reverence as their shaman disintegrated, but the young skeptic kept one eye open. He wanted to watch the Shaman’s hands burn away in the cold light, watch his fingers melt, his face. It was his first immolation, and though he had heard legends of the hated trespasser who had slain their kin, he did not share the elders’ faith that the ritual would somehow restore balance, and bring a new shaman into the realm.

Vera's Shadow

Sirius, Lab, Night 2

Chamdar turned to Sirius. "This is your lab. Can you bring us to the others now?"

Sirius waited to reply. He was receiving a telepathic message from Bernard, and wanted to hear the entire thing before giving his attention to something else. Bernard informed him of Severa’s interactions with Vera, finishing off by passing along both Severa’s apology and her warning. It seems that restoring the lab when he did was wise, Vera had just barely been ejected from their reality. In truth, Sirius still felt like he had failed, as the true objective had been preventing her from ever returning at all.

Even thinking about her she gained access to the world reminded him of what he had done to block her. Poison, of a sort. Hundreds of years earlier, during the Epoch war, Vera had become sick from a timestone explosion, and Sirius had been able to study the sickness and use it to create a sort of space time lock, keeping her out of Hyrule, but it was never perfect, and she had obviously gotten better.

Chamdar seemed impatient as Sirius stood in silence for an extended period of time.

“I can do anything you need, old man.” Sirius looked up to command Bernard, for no real reason since Bernard did not exist in any particular place. “Bernard, please take us to wherever the idiots are fighting.”

(“You don’t seem to be fighting currently, Sirius.”) Sirius saw Chamdar raise an eyebrow to the response. It wasn’t exactly the kind of cooperation one would expect from a machine. (“Yes, of course. But might I offer a suggestion?”)

“Oh, please.” Sirius replied.

(“I sense a disturbance in the central chamber of the lab.”)

“My...bedroom?” Sirius smirked. “Vera’s leaving phantoms of herself in the master suite. Is there anything poetic about that? I’m not sure since I don’t really read anymore.” He didn’t wait for a response, none were warranted. “So what is your suggestion, Bernard?”

(“I can transport you and Chamdar to the central chamber. I could quarantine Lynn and Taden if you would like, or bring them along.”) Sirius pondered his options. He figured that regardless of precautions, people as powerful as they would certainly escape.

“All of this magic and technology and I’m sure that fate or destiny or one of those assholes would somehow free them from quarantine anyway. At least I can keep an eye on them, and hey - maybe they will form one of those convenient enemy of my enemy alliances.”

(“I’m glad you can still be optimistic. Please give the final confirmation that you would like all four of your brought to the central chamber.”)

“Do it.” Sirius commanded. Bernard wasted no time. A doorway materialized in front of him. “Oh right, this chamber is teleport proofed.” He looked to Chamdar. “Step through and we will be taken to the true central chamber of the lab. There’s a rather nasty problem there that needs routing, and I will likely require assistance. I’m having Bernard send along Taden and Lynn as well, but only after I assess our target.” Chamdar walked through the door without a word. Sirius followed, and it shut behind them. They had entered a sort of elevator system, which promptly whisked them off towards the central lab chambers, arriving within moments. To those of limited perception it would have seemed like they hadn’t moved at all.

“I don’t usually let others in here.” Sirius and Chamdar stepped into the chambers, revealing it to be a fairly uninspired bedroom. A bed. A desk. A small fireplace. In the corner however was what could only be described as a very suspicious shadow. “I think we both know that will be the source of our troubles before too long.” Sirius pointed at the shadow.

“Bernard, let’s hold off on bringing Taden and Lynn here until I can determine what we’re up against. Are they currently in regions open to teleportation?”


“Good.” Sirius clapped his hands together and the room lit up brightly. “Always loved doing that.” The shadow grew darker alongside the increased light. It was not being cast from any particularly obvious source. It was Vera’s phantom, or whatever she chose to call her phantom. “I’m tired of waiting.” Sirius said, and the shadow seemed to respond. It began rising from the floor, splitting out into sixteen spidery legs, but more rigid. A thicker section grew, covered in bubbling pustules. It took on a more purple-reddish color, with what could have been anything, but appeared to be blood, dripping onto the floor. It grumbled out the most raspy and distorted version of Vera’s voice that Sirius had ever had the pleasure of hearing.

“....Sirius….” It had the trademark struggle of speech that shadow creatures like this always seemed to have. Funny that it could grow so many limbs but not a proper set of vocal chords. “...Die…”

“Curt, that’s respectable.” Sirius looked to Chamdar. “Truth be told, I don’t know what this is. It’s a shadow creature, but it’s not of this world, or any I’ve seen. We’re going to need to be on guard.” He stopped as the creature lashed out, having now grown a dozen tentacles, each one sporting a massive eye. That was at least a familiar site to Sirius, Hyrule’s monsters had a penchant for massive eyes. “I bet you anything it won’t be so easy to aim at the eyes as we think.” Sirius produced his trademark lunar whip and whipped it towards one of the eyes. It exploded and a new one grew in its place instantaneously. “Good thing you didn’t take that bet. Okay, Bernard, I’ve made up my mind. Get Taden and Lynn in here, now!”

Bernard had predicted Sirius as always and was already in the process of snagging them. Whatever journeys they were on in the lab were cut abruptly short, as they both suddenly plopped onto the floor next to Sirius and Chamdar. The shadow creature was now raised up on all sixteen legs, tentacles waving around. The bubbling shadow pimples had a molten look to them, making Sirius fairly certain that touching them would be akin to dipping one's hand into magma. This creature was composed of multiple elements.

“This is the part where you set aside differences and help fight this creature, whether you want to or not. I promise, any attempt to turn against me or ally with it will result in your death.” Sirius said. “If you’re wondering why I’m so calm-” One of the shadow creatures tentacles whipped out and was deflected away by a previously invisible lunar barrier. “One way barrier. That won’t last long, just enough for me to finish this sentence.” True to his word, the barrier exploded, and the entire group was forced to dodge out of the way as the creature rushed forward, slamming itself into the rear wall and destroying the bed.

“Now that's just rude. Bernard, room expansion!” Sirius commanded. The walls of the room pulled back at lightning speed, revealing its true size to be close to five hundred feet around, in a circular design. Just enough space to maneuver safely. “Reward to the first person to find a weak spot on this thing!"

Taden Horwendil, Fulmaren Lab, Night 2

“Reward to the first person to find a weak spot on this thing!"

Taden grimaced as the hulking beast lurched forward, already nauseous from the sudden teleportation.

“These games have gone on long enough.”

Taden sprang high into the air and curled his small frame into a ball, tumbling head over feet until righting himself along a steel catwalk running the perimeter of the Vault. From a crouched position, he howled from deep in his chest and threw open both his arms, sending two bursts of Blue Fire sailing from his palms.

As they spread across the room, the dark flame fused into the shape of two massive hands, hovering over the gathered warriors. From his perch above them, Taden drew back his own hands, pulling the manifestations along with him. When he thrust his fists towards the ground, the giant hands of Blue Fire followed, and seized Lynn Hothlight in their icy grip.

“Now you’ll know what it’s like to have your very soul stolen,” he snarled.

Lynn’s arms were crossed over her chest and her head bowed; as she made herself smaller, an aura of gold light began to intersperse with a halo of frozen flames. Like a puppetmaster, Taden drew his arms wide—and below him, Lynn’s long arms spread apart, as the Blue Hands expanded to either wall.

To either side, he saw Sirius and Chamdar step back, shielding their eyes from Lynn’s beaming aura. Chamdar glared up at him, his wizened eyes invoking mercy for his sometime Sheikah ally.

“Did you truly believe concealing the Cloak in your shadowmonger would keep it from me, Taliesin? Like so many times before, you sacrifice those around you in vain,” he taunted.

He raised up one fist, and so below, Lynn’s head flew back for rays of Ice and Light magicks to stream forth from her eyes and mouth. When Taden punched his hand toward the earth again, Lynn’s body flew forward, a crackling starburst of barely contained power hurtling into Sirius’s demonic squid.

Lynn, Lab, Night 2

Lynn crouched low, presenting as small a profile she could to both the shadowy beast and Taden, judging both to be as large a threat as the other. Taden took to the air, leaping onto a catwalk which circled the extremities of the room, and called forth his Blue Fire above her and the two old men. The shadow beast briefly shied away from this floating fire, and Taden drew back his arms to form his summoned flames into hands, which moved to mimic is own and swept along the floor.

Lynn tried to run, but the hands were so large she had no escape. They struck her, the flame burning cold around her and holding her tight.

“Now you’ll know what it’s like to have your very soul stolen,” Taden snarled at her.

She tried to roll into a defensive position, trying to present the smallest surface area for when the Blue Ice began to burn into her. But Taden drew his arms wide, and the hands rushed out to either wall, causing her to float, spread-eagle, limbs pulled to their extremities. She clenched her jaw, refusing to show any weakness to this inhuman monster.

“Did you truly believe concealing the Cloak in your shadowmonger would keep it from me, Taliesin? Like so many times before, you sacrifice those around you in vain."

Chamdar Taliesin... Again, he failed. And this time, it seemed, Lynn would pay for his streak of impotence. Lynn tried to turn her head, to glare at the doomed magician, but Taden's magic hands kept her rigid. Then, she lost consciousness of the world. Light and Darkness coursed through her consciousness, wiping away all thoughts and concerns. She wasn't sure if she screamed, or if her mind was silently raging away in her own head. The Light burst, flooding through her being, as the Darkness was torn free and leaft a ragged edge, which hurt more than anything had ever hurt before. That torn edge hurt in her soul, in her essence, as the Light poured over it, searing it with brightness.

She floated in that Light as it burnt her and healed her, simultaneously. She hated and loved it, as it wounded her and relieved her pain. Her only wish was to fall into darkness, to make the pain go away in oblivion, but there was no Darkness left. Only Light, it was only bright. She couldn't escape, she couldn't run, she couldn't contain it or control it.

That Light rushed from her, firing into the room from even her pores at it overflowed, ejecting the Ice Magic within her alongside itself. Her body, flung by Taden, slammed into the shadow beast, and the thing howled an unnatural scream of agony as Lynn's Light cascaded onto it. It gave voice, with that roar, to the sounds which Lynn wished she could make as the convulsions began to wrack her muscles.

Chamdar Taliesin, Fulmaren Laboratory, Night Two

Sirius' inner sanctum, housing a creature of dark, shadow tentacles, had been overtaken by the greater monster as Chamdar looked on.

Taden, launching himself up from the floor level, took hold of Lynn in hands of Blue Fire and raised her into the air. Cold hands held her splayed in mid-air before him as Taden's eyes sought Chamdar's own, looking up from below.

“Did you truly believe concealing the Cloak in your shadowmonger would keep it from me, Taliesin? Like so many times before, you sacrifice those around you in vain,” he taunted.

Lynn’s head flew back for rays of Ice and Light magicks to stream forth from her eyes and mouth as Taden raised a clenched fist. When he punched that hand toward the earth again, Lynn’s body flew forward, a crackling starburst of barely contained power hurtling into the beast that was Vera's shadow. The beast rocked back from the impact, its many sinuous limbs flailing as it gave forth a blood-curdling cry. All of the energies that Taden was shearing away from Lynn's body and soul detonated as she struck.

Chamdar acted immediately. Light poured forth from his free hand and his staff all as one, vaporous and low to the ground at first. It spread across the entirety of the sanctum's floor, a soft white mist filled with sparks and flashes. The beast, still staggering from the direct assault, ignored the light at first as it trembled in pain and rage. Only when the fog of light swirled around its legs did it seem to sense its touch and regain its sense of the moment. Tentacles lashed out at Chamdar, but he batted one away with his staff enveloped in an aura of crackling light. His free hand dove into the satchel at his hip and drew forth one of the glass orbs, this one the gray of a thunderhead.

He struck away a second tentacle and then held the orb of constructed magic aloft for Hothnight to see.

"Do not make the mistake of identifying my sacrifices and understanding their purposes, Hothnight. The Sheikah means nothing in the grand schemes." He thrust the orb down, letting it shatter beneath the billowing, luminous mist. "You make my job easier at every turn, though you've no idea how."

The flashes of light grew greater, more numerous and more violent within the mist, even as a wind kicked up in the sanctum. The light-cloud began to swirl and eddy as the winds brought it up from the ground and kicked it into multiple roiling masses of mist-light and crackling lightning--what the dragon girl had once named Winged Light. Cyclones formed out of the low-lying fog, rising into immense swirling pillars of light all through the sanctum, each throwing off bolts and scattering sparks everywhere. As the shadow-beast flailed in the midst of several cyclones, Chamdar directed the top of his staff at one in particular, farther away, and then jerked it toward Taden on the catwalk above. The cyclone of light shivered visibly and then swept across the chamber toward the Hated.

Sirius, Lab, Night 2

Sirius was not happy with the fighting inside his bedroom. The team couldn’t help but antagonize or attack one another, or in Lynn’s case, convert her into human ammunition.

They were hurting it, but Sirius had stepped back to observe while his would-be allies battled. The creature was already regrowing its limbs. It wasn’t like beasts of this reality, it would keep on growing forever until removed or locked away, or perhaps chopped into a million pieces, but that ran the risk of growing a million copies. He’d seen something similar before, when fighting alongside Vera. It dawned on him that she must have manipulated the situation, or captured the beast, or maybe it was all just a big coincidence.

Sirius felt a tentacle wrap around his waist as he spent time pondering, but it was all part of the plan. It pulled him in close, and a portion of the beast ripped open like a wound, revealing a hundred teeth among a festering mouth of sludge and acid. Sirius still held a number of the false-Yeti masks on his person and immediately slammed one down upon the wound-mouth. Immediately after he wrapped his lunar whip around the tentacle, slicing it clean off.

The beast had noticed him now. It turned its attention towards him, completely disregarding the rest.

“Well team, I think you’ve stayed over long enough. I was never one for parties anyway.” Sirius repeated the process on a second tentacle, slicing it off while firmly affixing a mask to the creature. It was a gamble but his prior experiences with these creatures told him that they absorbed energy even when hurt by it, and like a fat man exploding at a buffet, didn’t know when to quit.

Jets of powerful water came out of the ceiling, enacted by Bernard, pushing back Chamdar, Taden, and Lynn before any could react. In the chaos, Sirius did not see who still held the chest, but no longer cared. Whatever its contents, they were not important. And if they were, he could just get said contents back later.

He had now affixed every single mask to the creature, and it was bubbling up, looking ready to burst.

“Well everyone, I’m afraid this is where we part ways! Chamdar, you and I will certainly be needing to have more words in the future. You know the way back should you desire to return for more items you no doubt have stashed here without my consent. And now, goodbye!” Sirius snapped his fingers, and all four were teleported out of the room as the monster exploded, leaving only the tiniest flailing fragment of tentacle. A glass dome descended down over it, sealing tightly, causing it freeze in place in stasis, preventing regrowth.

Sirius reappeared in a nearby surveillance room, while the rest were sent out of the lab into hyrule. He didn’t know exactly where. Some place that wouldn’t kill them, at least not instantly. They were capable beings, they’d all sort it out.

Sirius, Lab, Early Morning 3

Sirius was alone at last, except for Bernard, but Bernard was always there, no matter where he went. He had grown to prefer the company, after all he owed the Zora a great deal for interfering with his chance at any kind of afterlife.

(“Sirius, since the lab has come back online, I’ve been running analysis of local events. I believe you may be interested to know that one of the visions of the future we saw, seems to be ready to pass. This one is unstable, so the outcome seems to be undetermined. I would officially mark this point in time as unfixed.”)

“The Twili war is over, but the final battle still comes.” Sirius replied. He sat back in a wooden rocking chair, easing it back and forth slowly with his hands behind his head. “I’ve seen many versions of this war in the vision chambers. Speaking of that - did we ever find an easy way back to the hall of memories? Or whatever it is I called it last.” Sirius referred to a location outside time, a cavernous place that granted those visiting it the ability to see the past, present, and possible futures. Few had seen it, and even fewer had survived the madness induced by a visit to such a place.

(“No, it has not been detected. What do you wish to do about the Twili? My records show that they are not supposed to -”)

Sirius laughed. “You have no records of the future, Bernard, only ideas that I’ve given you.” Bernard interrupted.

(“As you say, but in any case, what do you wish to do? You have him in custody, ready to serve you in the fight against Ratnis. Will he be willing to assist in this fight if it means your assistance in the future?”)

“It doesn’t feel right having my lab’s automation system asking me questions, Bernard. But yes, I’m going to speak with him now.” Sirius jumped to his feet, dragged the chair forward a few paces, and sat back down, putting his feet up on a raised pedestal. He began addressing the pedestal and the object inside it, more directly. “We were brothers once, created to let darkness into the world. I was ripped away and given some kind of semblance of a soul, however fake. You built one on your own, through endless battle and death. I suppose my own death also gave me some perspective. And now here we are, though I must apologize for keeping you here. I couldn’t trust you enough until I’d thought it over. But I think you understand.”

Sirius was nervous. He had to stay in the lab, but it wouldn’t be right to leave the few defenders of Hyrule all alone. And yet he doubted they would openly accept the one gift he had. It would have to arrive in the heat of the moment, and let actions speak louder than words. He thought back over the past few days. His own revival, the destruction of Ratnis’ plans to return to Hyrule, the conversion of Davus to his side, and his own choice to give up on recovering the chest from his lab. He’d still need to find out later what that was. For now though, more important matters existed.

“Bernard, I’m going to need you to wake up our other friend while I do this. And please initiate the graveyard recovery program.”

(“Yes, Sirius.”)

Sirius, Lab, Morning 3

Bernard had attempted to follow Sirius’ command to wake up Jeskai, but found the Zora had already been woken up, and was no longer on his telepathic grid. Since Sirius was busy chatting with another, he chose to hold off on reporting the information right away.

Sirius, meanwhile, now held Davus’ staff, having been speaking to it for some time. Davus was inside, and very much cognizant of what was happening. Though Sirius had initially locked him inside, he’d already released the lock, and Davus was simply staying put until the conversation was complete.

“So then you agree to this plan?” Sirius asked. He’d been speaking with Davus for the better part of an hour, going over their mutual desire for the destruction of their creator, Ratnis. Sirius had access to far more resources and information than Davus, though Davus had the advantage of having been in more direct contact with the Ma for some time. Each had something to gain from cooperation, but Sirius had other obligations. It had taken some convincing, but Davus was now on board with those obligations as well. After staying in staff form for so long, he finally took humanoid form again.

“I agree with the general plan of assisting them, but I think you are foolish to send me in blind. We need to at least attempt to make things clear before the fighting starts. Once they are in the mindset of battle, there won’t be a way to explain things.”

Sirius was impressed. Davus was right. He nodded to affirm the thunder mage’s intentions. Then he placed a black mage’s robe in Davus’ hands, one adorned with subtle yellow patterns on along the bottom edges of the outfit. A similarly patterned cloak was attached, though the patterns of the cloak were ever-changing, a pattern of static that would continually shift.

“This robe is more than just looks. It will bond with you and take non-corporeal or corporeal form as you do. It will enhance and focus your powers, and it will not contain you and bend you to my will, if that was your next question.”

“I don’t believe that I will have much chance of stopping that anyway.” Davus replied flatly, making it clear that his trust for Sirius did not change his expectation of subversion from the man.

“Good. Now, I have nothing else to offer you but the sense of urgency this situation calls for. You can locate ‘Hidden’ Kakariko, I’m sure.” Sirius made air quotes as he spoke, outlining his thoughts on just how hidden he thought the rebels base to be. “Mentioning my name probably won’t help too much, so only do so if asked, otherwise I trust that you can handle yourself.”

“I can.” Davus said, before exploding into a cloud of sparks, blinking out of existence as he traveled towards the last stronghold of the rebels.

“Bernard.” Sirius said. “Please tell me you have good news about Jeskai.”

(“Sorry Sirius, but he’s somehow been removed from the grid. Status unknown.”)

Sirius grimaced. There was always a new problem. Then he smiled. There was always a new problem to solve.

Rest In Peace

Jeskai, The Caverns Under Lake Hylia, Dawn 3

After falling into a slumber in the depths of Lake Hylia, Jeskai’s body had sunken into the dirt, beneath the lake bed. The forces within him pushed away the mud as he slept, keeping him safe in his cocoon of air, preventing suffocation. It was just another place Sirius had planted his technology, given himself a failsafe.

Jeskai’s mind was clear, the forces of Bernard and the lab having scrubbed his memories clean. His personality was reset, but echoes lingered. The mind wipe, it was not complete. Time stopped moving forward, began to wrench backward as well. Jeskai was still at the bottom of the lake, beneath the lake, but his eyes saw through a past echo of himself. He knew this to be a memory, but it felt as vivid as the present.

He stood upon the shore with his brothers and sisters, among them Bernard. He remembered this moment, for the first time, since it happened. He looked again, they were all dead, and he laid upon the ground with Bernard, dying. It was the moment after they had chained up the undead dragon, the final moments of his life as it was before.

“Jeskai.” Bernard’s voice sounded strange, fake. “You will not remember this moment until the time is right. Sirius, he has failsafes in everything. He’s paranoid, afraid of the future, but ready to face it head on, ready to subvert fate and assist it, all at once. This body I have, it is not real.” Bernard coughed up blood. “Well, it is as real as it can be, but it has been manufactured, as one might manufacture tools of war. My true body died centuries ago, this is merely Sirius attempting to make up for what has happened to me. He cannot accept that I forgive him many years ago. But yours - I’m sorry, Bernard, this is not how I wanted things to go. Your clan was the first successful group of hatchlings, the first that didn’t die prematurely, or go insane, were the first, and now it’s wasted on some task that will surely be undone within months.”

Jeskai felt a hand on his shoulder, pulling him from the memory, pulling him back to reality.

Jeskai opened his eyes, for real this time. He was not in a cave anymore. Time had passed, hours perhaps, it didn’t matter. He was above ground now. He looked upon - another Zora?

“Who are you?” Jeskai asked, but he knew the answer as the question finished leaving his lips. “Efran?”

“Hello brother.” Efran was jet black, clearly altered from what he had been in life. But this did not appear to be the result of Sirius. Something else had happened while Efran was away. “I think we should talk. I’ve been away, angry at Sirius, but I realize now that I’ve been looking at things all wrong. I thought we were created as his playthings, toys in ever-expanding experiments. Revived merely to be test subjects. But it’s deeper, don’t you see?” Efran’s eyes were a bright white against the black of body, unsettling and strangely enchanting.

“I don’t understand.” Jeskai said, his memory foggy still. Nothing made sense. Why would Bernard have only partially memory wiped him? Why would Sirius not be up front about things? Efran seemed to sense Jeskai’s questions. He answered them before they could be asked aloud.

“There is no good answer besides: they were afraid of losing control of us and wanted to wait longer before restoring our memories to full. I escaped because I knew I was already in control. And in the past few days I found him. He died, but he lives on. He powers us all now. He wants us to help fight in the final battle. He wants us to find her.”


Jeskai and Efran Kondoru, Unknown Location

Jeskai and Efran collapsed onto the ground, unexpectedly exhausted despite being so early into their journey. Efran seemed shocked, having been so confident of their position. He felt ready to give himself back to the earth for good, no revival from Sirius, no more extended life for his soul. He felt in despair, having found his brother, only for them both to now die alone, without purpose.

He made one last attempt, focusing his mental energies, but his body would not rise. It was over.

(“The universe is not finished with you yet.”) Efran thought for a moment he was hearing a call from Bernard, or some heavenly force. But it was a different voice, one familiar. One that he had heard die only days before. It was impossible.

A shimmering image appeared before him. He looked to Jeskai, who seemed to have already passed, eyes shut and body unmoving.

“I’m sorry, Jeskai.” Efran said, his own eyes shutting.

And then, he was standing aside his brother again, on the shores of their old home in a far away land. And with them stood the lost Chiaria, Ithan. Jeskai was the first to raise inquiry.

“How are we here? Is this what our final death now is? That we get to pretend we’re home again? Or is this some prison?”

Ithan smiled at them both, and they felt calmed. He didn’t need to speak a word, and they knew the answer was something they wanted. They could still help.

“Your bodies, as you know now, are reconstructions. Or were, they’ve already begun to fade into the energy they are composed of. They were more like spiritual prisons than true corporeal forms. Though my own body was real, as I now exist here with you, it felt very much the same.”

Ithan spoke of the Kondoru’s shared past. Originally born from eggs tampered with by Sirius, eggs which had been infused with a tiny piece of Ithan’s soul, and of Lia’s. The Zora’s were telepathic creations, born into the world, with nature the mother, and science the father. But when they had originally died, Sirius was only able to grant them temporary vessels, constantly repairing and renewing them. Jeskai and Kondoru had been at the end of their vessels timespan, but their souls were still very much intact.

“We were supposed to find Lia.” Efran lamented. “We were supposed to help her.”

Ithan turned, raising an arm, and the line of forest behind them twisted and warped into a vision of Hidden Kakariko. In it stood the light warriors, Lia among them.

“She awaits our help still. We cannot fight in battle, but our power is as full as ever, if not more so. This place we are in now, it’s like a psychic background, an unlimited source of power, and a place where the telepathic can go to rest. Our destiny is not yet complete. It won’t be long now.” Ithan waved another arm and the image turned to that of battle, of battles past and of glimpses of the future. “The final assault of the Twili approaches, and we will be there to support them all.”