- Drake Erebus: The protagonist, Titan Prince.
- Constable Dean: Constable of Saint Audrey, human.
- Doctor Saine: Doctor of Saint Audrey, human.
- Aren: Civilian of Saint Audrey, human.
The cemetery’s monuments to the long past stood cracked and worn from centuries of abuse. Overhead an almost-full moon gleamed down upon the stone, illuminating the faded names barely legible on the tombstones. Atop one perched a gargoyle, a snarling, chimeric visage that combined aspects of man, lion and bat. A pair of obsidian stones, carved as eyes, shone under the stars, appearing to search the graveyard with every pass of the clouds.
Amidst the tombstones knelt a youth, a pale young man clad in black. The wind blew gently around him, moaning with a throatless voice and tousling his bleached hair with invisible fingers. He straightened, blinking his amethyst eyes against the breeze before turning to make eye contact with the gargoyle.
“Oh, good evening. Didn’t see you up there.” The youth’s voice cut through the noise of the wind and echoed across the various markers and obelisks. After a moment of watching the motionless statue with an almost disappointed look, he spun slowly to take in the surroundings. “Quite a fascinating place.”
Almost as though his voice had woken it, the moaning of the wind turned to a harsh gasping, the sound of a thousand dying breaths from a thousand souls. Shapes began to materialize out from the darkness surrounding the graveyard, incoherent and shifting in the moon’s light. They encircled the cemetery, limping and stumbling as they approached.
“What have we here?” The youth muttered to himself. “Hello there! What brings you here on this fine night?”
No voice answered him, but the figures hurried in their shuffling pace. As they got nearer their form became more solid, revealing smooth, domed and featureless faces atop lithe bodies. Sharp claws hooked from each finger, the only part of the figures’ bodies that seemed fully material. With each step the phantasms seemed more threatening and more wrong.
“Speak!” The youth shouted to the night. None of the figures heeded him, and began to raise their claws as he backed up against the gargoyle. At the feel of the cold stone against his neck, the youth’s eyes flashed violently, and his veins shown purple through his cheeks and neck. He thrust his fist into the air, his nails digging into his flesh as a violet glow lit the graveyard. “Speak! Speak your name, phantoms, or return to the mist!”
A swipe of a claw was his only response, for one of the figures had reached him. The youth ducked the wild attack and countered with a quick punch to the faceless head. The blow struck the figure, causing its body to vanish into smoke, while the now-detached metal claws narrowly missed the youth’s head. As soon as the smoke was gone, the rest of the figures were upon him.
The youth kicked the ground, sweeping up dirt into one of the phantoms. It hesitated long enough for him to kick it through the chest, again causing it to vanish into the night. Soon a third fell to his fist, yet the rest continued lurching onwards. The youth glanced back and forth at the advancing pack, then threw his hands to the sky.
“Enough of you! Be gone from my sight!” From nowhere, a sound like thunder rumbled and shook the ground. A green bolt of energy, like lightning, fell between the youth’s outstretched hands and froze just above his head. His hands grasped the crackling and writhing bolt, shaping and twisting it down his arms. He dropped to his knees and slammed his palms to the soil. Up from the ground burst forth a wave of green energy, raging like the sea.
All the figures faded to smoke as the wave struck them, while the wind died completely. The only sound was the thumping of metal claws falling down to the soil. The youth knelt and scooped up on the claws, brushing the dirt off. His glowing eyes and veins faded as he inspected the chrome claw. No mark of manufacture was visible on the metal, yet it was clearly not of natural origin. With a shrug, the youth tucked it into one of the pockets on the inside of his jacket.
Kneeling, the youth leaned back against a tombstone and closed his eyes. He did not sleep, for sleeping in a graveyard haunted by phantasms would be foolish, but instead rested. He sat motionless until the sun peeked over the horizon, turning the gargoyle’s dark eyes a brilliant orange. The youth stood and stretched, his bones cracking loudly, much to his delight.
“Now then, to take my chances with the living.” He strode across the cemetery, dodging statues with outstretched arms and stepping around variously shaped tombstones. Soon he came to the edge of the graveyard, marked with a low, very ornately designed fence. A gate latched over a dirt path leading eastwards.
The youth pushed it open, stepped through and latched it back, pausing to gaze over the cemetery in the morning light. Satisfied, he turned back to the path and set off down the trail. For an hour he passed nothing but towering trees and a series of old and bent wooden posts, which he took to be markers. Finally he came to a particularly large tree directly in front of a bend, where the markers stopped.
A metal sign was bolted to the tree, labelled with what the youth took to be the name of a town. Below that a short message was inscribed.
The second colony on ArciteEdit
Follow the bend to the town gatesEdit
“Saint Audrey, not a bad name for a town. At least it’s not Saint Scrivello.” Smirking to himself, the youth continued around the tree and down a shorter path. After a few minutes he came to a large metal arch, also marked with the town’s name. On either side, large metal walls stretched off through the trees. He stepped under the gate, past the walls and into a rather large town.
A long, rectangular building stood to the right, lined with small windows. The youth gave it a once over and guessed that it was some form of housing. Three rows of solar panels spread across the roof, connected by tubing to a large box on the ground. Several control panels were visible on the box, each covered by a metal awning.
To the left, a series of smaller buildings were set up and marked with signs, clearly stores and warehouses. People, humans by the look of them, walked in and out of the stores, oblivious to the newcomer standing within the gates. The youth then turned his view to the far end of the town, where a field rested above a ring of chrome metal. Tufts of green plants sprouted up from their nutrient bed.
“Hey! You there!” Someone called, hurrying towards the youth. He turned to face the voice, finding a woman dressed in white carrying a small handheld device pointed at his chest. She hurried up, stepping circles around him. The little machine hummed and chirped as she manipulated the controls. “You’re an alien!”
Footsteps came up from behind them, and the youth turned to face a large man, clad in body armor and carrying a boxy weapon. Despite the man’s height, the youth stood just a little bit taller.
“Constable Dean,” the woman nodded at the man. The youth noted that all of the people he had seen appeared to have the same ruddy complexion, with little variation.
“Doctor Saine,” the man replied, his eyes still on the youth. “Looks like we both got the non-human notification. Now then, you… do you speak Basic?”
“Basic, Iorrel, Drovan, High Cosmic, you name it, I speak it,” the youth replied, a smile dancing at his lips. Both the humans appeared to be startled by his reply.
“How-” Doctor Saine started.
“Nevermind, we’ll discuss this in a safer place,” the guard cut in. “You. Follow me.”
Do you have a name?” The doctor asked as the man prepared to lead the youth off. They stopped for a moment, and the latter turned with a grin.
“Erebus. Drake Erebus.”
“So, Mr. Erebus, let’s go over some questions.” Constable Dean sat in front of the youth, who stared expressionlessly back at him. Both were in a clean, featureless room with only a table, two chairs and a ceiling light. “You’re nonhuman, yet outwardly you appear identical. There was no sign of your ship, nothing on our sensors, yet here you are. Can you explain?”
“I can.” Erebus nodded, and was silent, staring into space.
After a few moments the Constable glared at him. “Well?”
“Oh, right, sorry. I was elsewhere, literally and figuratively. Anyways, back to your first question. I am a Necrovore of the Highest Order, the End and the Bringer of Eternal Bliss.”
“You made those up, didn’t you?”
“Sort of, yeah.”
“Knock it off."
“Okay. Let me put it this way. If I told you what I am, you’d either think I’m insane or just not understand. Therefore, any answer I give will not be satisfactory. Now, for the second, I just decided I wanted to be here.”
“It seemed off.”
“In what way?”
“It made me sneeze.” Erebus grinned.
“Just kidding, I sensed something off with your world. Speaking of, while this town is old, it’s nowhere near as old as the cemetery I was in last night.”
The Constable stiffened. “The cemetery is from the first colony. We don't go there, and neither should you.”
“By any chance, was the first colony called Saint Seymour?”
“How’d you- nevermind.”
Erebus waved a hand. “So what about the ghosts?”
“You’ve seen them?” Constable Dean’s eyes widened momentarily, then narrowed.
“Indeed I have, in fact, that claw you stole,” Erebus paused. “I mean, confiscated from me dropped off one of their hands when I killed it.”
“I punched it. In the face. Hard.” “Those things are immaterial, there’s nothing to hit... what are you...?”
“We’ve been over this already. So will I be able to leave?”
“Doctor Saine wants to run some tests on you. If you cooperate, you’ll be free to do… whatever you’re here to do. By tonight.”
“Excellent. Do you have any books, perchance…?
Doctor Saine adjusted a set of wires on a device mounted on wheels. Next to her, Constable Dean stood gazing through a one-way window at Erebus, who sat reading a book on the dramatized life of American politicians of the late 18th century.
“So what do you think he is?” Saine asked, still busy with the equipment.
“Absolutely no idea. Enigma doesn’t even begin to cover him,” the Constable replied. As he spoke, Erebus glanced up at the glass and seemed to stare through it. “Well, let’s go in.”
Together the guard and doctor pushed the machine into the holding room. Erebus set his book on the table and sat straight in the simple metal chair. His eyes danced across the device and back to the human’s faces. Saine lifted a pair of thick wires ending in in small rings. She placed one on each of Erebus’ temples and spun a dial on the machine.
Two hums filled the room, one from the machine and one from Erebus, who was humming a tune as the doctor watched the various implements and screens on the device.
“So you have no brain and no heart, no respiratory or nervous system whatsoever… how does that work?”
“No offense meant, but it’s far too complicated for your little brains.”
“Simplify it, then.”
“This isn’t what I really look like, far from it. You could call this body a puppet, or a tool, or just an image.”
“So you’re a being who sends out little puppets to go around and be snarky?” Dean deadpanned.
“What then? Seems like it's all you do.” Saine asked, detaching the small nodes from Erebus’ head.
“What do you know of the eldritch?” Erebus looked back and forth between the two.
Constable Dean opened his mouth to reply when a communicator at his belt crackled on.
“Constable! They’ve taken Aren!”
Dean swore vehemently and turned to leave the room. Erebus was on his feet before the other man had made it to the door.
“No, you’re-” the Constable paused at Erebus’ expression, an expression which said ‘Try and stop me.’ “All right, but stay close.”
Doctor Saine shoved the scanning machine aside, leaving it to bang against one of the chairs. The three hurried out of the holding area, out into the center of the town. The sun’s light had retreated beyond the walls, leaving only the flat artificial lighting to illuminate their way to the town gates.
Several men and women, all armed, met them. One woman stepped forwards and snapped a quick salute in Constable Dean’s direction.
“Constable! Aren… he was outside… ghosts came early this time…”
“Calm down, calm down. We’ll organize a search party in the morning-”
“We’re going to retrieve your friend. Now.” Erebus declared, causing everyone to turn to stare at him in surprise. “Come if you wish, or stay and keep watch.”
“Who put the alien in charge?” One of the male guards sneered. Erebus slowly moved his gaze to the man, causing a chill to fill the air. All of the humans shuddered at the feeling, a feeling of dread settling around them.
Erebus gave the man a quick smile. “Life did. You’re coming along.”
“No, I’m sure not.”
“You refuse the orders of a Titan?”
"Titan, hah! Titan, my-” The man’s voice cut off as he found himself dangling several inches off the ground, his throat in Erebus’ hand. His eyes widened and he grabbed at the youth’s arm, which was considerably stronger than Erebus’ lanky frame implied.
“You will follow on your own two feet, or I will carry you. Don’t worry, I will cause you no harm.”
“S-s-sure! I’ll come...!”
“Excellent. Anyone else?”
“What do you intend to do?” Constable Dean asked, stepping towards Erebus. Doctor Saine followed him, as did one of the other female guards. “As I said, retrieve your friend. You know that the ghosts do not bother me, so I shall keep you all safe.”
If this is a trap, my last act will be to put a laser beam through your skull.”
“On my honor as the End, I swear it is not."
"Let's get going. We'll have a busy day tomorrow."
The four set off through the darkness, carrying small metal lamps to see on the overwhelming blackness. Each of the trees, which formerly were lush and inviting, now seemed to be giants reaching out with long, decrepit fingers. The lamps cast an odd light on the wooden markers lining the path, causing them to appear to transform into sharp teeth emerging from the earth.
The female guard broke the silence that pressed in around them. “How do you know that he’s this way?”
“In my truest form I have full cosmic awareness. In this form, I dampened it in order to experience the… thrill... of the chase.”
“Slaying the fell things that go bump in the night. One of my friends does this all the time.”
Once again the silence came, broken only by their soft footsteps on the dirt. The old cemetery gates loomed ahead, dark and imposing. They hung open, and amidst the tombstones a broken body was visible. Erebus hurried towards it, and knelt down. It was a man, his flesh rent by claws and covered in dried blood.
Constable Dean winced as the rest gathered around the youth. “Well, that’s Aren, alright. What are you going to do?”
“You’ll see,” Erebus placed a hand on the man’s chest, then glanced about.
For the wind had begun to whisper.
Erebus withdrew his hand from the body drew himself upwards. Behind him, Constable Dean was aiming his weapon at the darkness around them. The other two guards had their weapons, and Doctor Saine was brandishing a decidedly non-threatening medical analyzer. As before, the voice of the wind turned to that of anguish.
Slow, plodding footfalls padded towards them, echoing for several seconds before their owners appeared. More of the figures, twice as many this time, all shifting in the yellowish light. The male guard opened fire, sending a spiral-shaped energy pulse through one of the figures. Although its form wavered, the phantom appeared unaffected.
“Oi, Constable, why exactly are these graves look about five hundred years old, when your colony appears to have been around for not even half that?” Erebus inquired, rubbing his fingers across a name on one of the graves.
“This isn’t really the time...” The Constable replied, looking about anxiously.
“Good point. Now, if you’d all conserve your ammo and stand closer to me, that’d be great.” The humans did as told, grouping close around the youth, who had climbed atop one of the larger tombstones. Erebus noted that the Constable had raised his pistol slightly, just high enough to sent an blast of energy through the back of the his head if necessary.”
“Relax, Constable. I have no intention of letting these freaks kill us. You. Not that it’d matter if they did..."
“Do I want to know what that means?” Saine frowned.
“You’ll see! Now, watch the fireworks!”
Erebus whipped his arms to the side and hurled his head back, the purple glow returned to his eyes and veins. Under their feet the ground began to rumble, the spasming earth throwing the phantasms about. The youth turned his gaze upon the figures, a gaze powerful and terrible. Green lightning bolts blazed from his fingers, lashing across the ghosts. Their immaterial bodies faded under the onslaught, sending metal talons through the air.
The night’s shadows seemed to gather around Erebus, and to the humans it appeared that black tentacles flicked out from the youth’s profile, waving in the air before retreating back into his body. The purple light in his eyes shone brighter, before letting loose with a second storm of purple lightning. Together, the green and purple bolts eradicated the phantasms, searing them into nothingness.
Abruptly the bolts cut out, causing the humans to glance upwards at the youth. To their further shock, he was suspended in the air, the power that radiated from his body almost visible. He opened his mouth to speak, and a hissed whisper replaced his normal voice.
“Tick tock, ghostling master, your time is near. Tick tock, now you shall shiver in fear. Tick tock, Lord Z is here.”
With that, Erebus convulsed, sending out a second green wave, this one tinged with arcing purple energy. All four of the humans cowered, but the wave paid them no heed. Only the remaining phantasms were affected in any way. When it had passed, nothing remained, not even the claws.
“Hope y’all don’t mind…” Erebus said slowly and glanced up at the sky. Within seconds, the stars and clouds shifted past overhead, the moon curved down, and the sun stood in the sky.
“What did you do?” The female guard asked, shading her eyes as she followed Erebus’ line of sight.
“Sped up time a bit. I figured this would be better to do in the daylight. Alright, about your friend.”
The youth clambered down from the tombstone and strode towards the body in the dirt. He fished around in his pockets and drew a small purple crystal. With a snap of the wrist, he crushed it into powder and poured the dust down the dead man’s throat. The others watched, intrigued, as the color returned to the body.
“Oh!” Life returned to the deceased man in seconds, causing him to shout and gasp.
“Aren, welcome back to life!” Erebus crowed. Dumbfounded, the humans stared at the revived man and the necromancer by his side. “I think you can stand. Try to walk.”
Aren groaned and shakily managed to stand. He stumbled towards the others, who hurried to support him. Constable Dean shook his hand, then turned to Erebus.
“Alright, answers, now. Who are you, really?”
Erebus smiled proudly. “I am a Titan, a… servant of Z the Necrobane, the Prince of Death and Undeath.”
"And you can do that,” the Constable motioned towards Aren, “to whoever you want?”
“There is one that my power does not extend to. However, on the whole, yes.”
“Who is the one?”
“Study some old books. Kinda hard to miss.”
Dean frowned, but said nothing.
“Now that this ordeal is out of the way, let’s get back to your town. You owe me some answers, Constable.”
“Sure, sure. Shall we head back?”
“I was wondering about something,” Erebus said as he reclined in a faux leather chair, staring into the Constable’s eyes. “What’s the story on the first colony?”
“They came approximately a hundred years ago, as part of the wave of colonies in this system. This planet was deemed suitable, and so Saint Seymour came into being. They seemed to be doing quite well, then after about eighty years ago, all communication was lost.”
“So Saint Audrey came to investigate and replace them?”
“Right. I’m a second-generation colonist, and my parents were part of the investigation team. They arrived and checked out the location of Saint Seymour. Nothing. No sign of the colony.”
Constable Dean glared at Erebus, then continued. “Very. When they found nothing, they got to work on this place. It wasn’t until afterwards that they found… the graveyard. Marked with the names from the original colonists.”
“They didn’t bury themselves…” Erebus mused. Dean nodded slowly.
“No, they didn’t. Yet nobody understood, so all kept away from it. However, the ghosts didn’t show up until several years ago.”
“Why didn’t you call for assistance?”
“We did. Never got any replies. My personal theory is that ‘they’ jam transmissions.”
“Not too far off from my theory…”
“And yours is?”
“The ghosts aren’t really ghosts, that is obvious, at least for me. That means they are constructs, or manifestations. A power of that sort fits exactly with an eldritch one. Eldritch things are what make me sneeze…”
“I think I understand. What do you intend on doing?”
“Well, for starters…” Erebus grinned and began to explain his plan.
“I can smell you… no need to hide…” Erebus called out through the dark, his voice taking a haunting sing-song air. “I know you can hear me… come on out… you know what I am… don’t hide…”
The youth perched atop the gargoyle, once again alone in the graveyard. His eyes glittered in the moonlight, giving him the appearance of a malicious being, a demon not far from that which he was hunting. Adding to the malevolent look was the grin stretching across his face, a look of amusement that would fit one of his fellows quite well.
“We hear you, Titan. Will you cast us down, down to the void, as you have our brethren?” A rasping voice lifted out from the earth and danced through the night. Erebus watched as one of the phantasms rose from a grave, claws outstretched. “Welcome, Titan, to your end.”
“Bit of irony, no?” Erebus snickered, then vaulted down from the gargoyle. He landed in a combat pose in front of the phantasm, ducked under a wild swing and whipped a sharp object from his jacket. The object fit in his fist, a black leather grip under his fingers. A pair of gunmetal wings emerged from the top, embedded with purple crystals. Between the wings gleamed a half-green, half-purple crystal. The Titan viciously thrust the object through the phantasm’s chest, phasing through it and leaving dust and claws. He straightened, brushed off his clothes and turned back to the gargoyle.
“Enough of your little ghosts. Come out!”
The gargoyle shifted slightly, the obsidian gems in its eye sockets glowing red. It lifted its arms to the sky as the ground shifted under Erebus’ feet. Suddenly the dirt was falling away, and the youth stumbled backwards. Below the gargoyle the earth had opened, revealing stairs leading into blackness barely illuminated with red.
Footsteps echoed forth with an ominous sound. A figure appeared from the darkness, not insubstantial as the ghosts but solid and living. It was a woman, clad in archaic armor. Her skin cast a faint red glow on her surroundings, and Erebus realized that she was the illumination from the dark. Her harsh eyes burned like coals as she strode forwards.
“Well, Titan, what do you wish?” The woman asked, her voice that of the inhuman rasp of the invisible speaker. “I think you know the answer,” Erebus replied.
“Kill me, kill all the Eldritch, bring your pathetic order to life just like your precious little masters.”
“Right intent, quite mistaken with the reason. Before we get to the fisticuffs, would you be willing to answer me a few questions?”
The woman gave an exaggerated, mocking bow. “Anything you wish to ask, ask. Unlike some of my brothers and sisters, I give the walking dead one last request.”
“Wonderful. So, what’s the connection between the first colony and this cemetery?”
“They became my food, and this little graveyard is just… bait.”
“For the humans?”
“Humans, food, it’s all the same. Question two, go.”
“What name do you go by?”
“Your races knows me as Yndhorek. And you are…?
“Pleased to kill, you, Erebus.” The woman flashed a murderous grin.
“Let’s get on with it, then.”
Yndhorek took a step back, a small smile visible in the hellish glow. Erebus lifted the object in his hand and let loose a barrage of lightning of the same sort he had earlier casted towards the woman. Her flesh blackened and charred on contact, yet there was no change of expression.
The Titan lowered his device. “Well, now that the pleasantries are over, let’s get on with it!”
“Shall we?” The woman retorted, and clenched her fists. Her body seemed to explode outwards, growing in size and form. Where once was something close to human, now stood a building-sized abomination of chitin and claws. The creature’s lower half resembled a woodlouse, an armored shell covering countless bladed legs. Several pairs of tentacles hung coiled from gaps in the shell.
A humanoid figure emerged from the front, vaguely feminine. This half was also covered in the chitinous black armor, except for it’s face, which shone with the same red light. She either wore a mask befitting a Masquerade ball or had the pale, round eyed and small-mouthed visage as a face, Erebus couldn’t tell. A mane of quills hung around her head to appear as hair, while a series of tentacles made a skirt where insect met humanoid. Her arms ended in large hooked claws, just like those of the phantasms with the exception of their bloody hue.
“Charming. You’re lovely.” Erebus deadpanned as the massive, transformed Yndhorek loomed over him. Growling, she lifted a red claw and summoned a wild ball of fire to surround her hand. With an almost casual toss, the Eldritch thing sent the flames down towards Erebus. Instead of fleeing or attempting to take cover, he simply raised his free hand. The fireball slammed into an invisible wall with a deafening crash, then rocketed straight into the air, through the atmosphere and into a suddenly opened portal.
Elsewhere in the galaxy, several solar systems away, a pirate vessel closed in on its prey. A smaller ship, heavily damaged, attempted to limp away from its pursuers. The pirates kicked on their thrusters, propelling their craft forwards at an even faster speed. Seemingly out of nowhere, a massive fireball slammed into the pirate ship, rupturing fuel lines and blowing the hull out into the vacuum of space. The smaller craft halted for a moment, scanning, then continued on its way.
“Quite an impressive little trick!” Yndhorek laughed. “What else have you got up your sleeves, little Titan?”
“A good dozen or three, to be honest.” Erebus shrugged. “Just this, for now though.”
The youth held the small device up to the sky as the combined crystal flashed with light. He brought it back down and pressed it against his chest, causing a swirl of green and purple energy to cover him. Yndhorek hissed in rage as Erebus’ form changed and grew in the light, which faded in a burst of light. Where once Erebus had been, now stood a gunmetal, purple and red being, lean and sleek. Sharp purple and red markings colored his body, which was smooth like metal. A set of angular chest armor resembled the wings on his device, folded up across his shoulders. Set in his chest was purple crystal, with a second green one embedded in his forehead. His ovaloid eyes shone with a warm purple light. A blade curved out from each arm.
"Ultra!" The Eldritch thing screamed.
“Shall we dance?” Erebus asked cordially, ignoring her.
Yndhorek bellowed, reared up on her back six legs and charged.
Constable Dean and Doctor Saine stood atop the highest building in Saint Audrey, each with a pair of extra-zoom binoculars set on night held to their eyes. The Constable frowned, and leaned forwards.
“What in the Rails of Delecktion is that, a flea-octopus-centaur?”
“I’ve got no idea..." Saine shook her head slightly.
“Wait, is that-”
“An Ultra. That’s an Ultra.”
The two humans were silent for a moment, then the Constable spoke again.
“Think one is Erebus?”
“Yeah. The Ultraman," his companion nodded.
“Well, since the one flea-octopus-centaur, as you so eloquently put it, appears to be female and the other has purple eyes…”
“That’s all, ‘huh?’”
Erebus launched a kick into Yndhoren’s stomach, which deflected off her armor. He backed up warily, fists up. The Eldritch thing scuttled forwards, tentacles flailing like whips. They lashed about, slamming into the Ultra and forcing him backwards. Snarling, he snatched a tentacle as it swung down towards him and cleaved it off with an arm blade.
Yndhoren let out a hiss of pain and cuffed the Ultra over the head, knocking him to the ground. She thrust her spiked legs forwards as Erebus rolled out of her range, leaving her to impale nothing but dust. The Ultra leapt forwards, landing a fist in his foe’s face before vaulting over her head. With a second jump he landed a foot on the Eldritch thing’s armored shell and sent a flurry of punches into her spine.
The quills emerging from Yndhoren’s head began to shiver on their own as Erebus kicked off from her back. With a chorus of shrill whistles they shot out, screaming in on their target. The Ultra sidestepped and dodged the narrow projectiles, except for one. It slammed into his chest, directly into the purple crystal. The crystal began to flash red, and a sound not dissimilar from that of a guitar being strummed echoed across the night. Erebus stumbled into several trees, bringing them to the ground.
“Many have tried to slay me and failed,” Yndhoren boasted, her eight legs skittering as she advanced. “You shall not be the one to succeed.”
“Are you sure about that?” Erebus asked, slowly raising his head.
“Very! Now die!” The Eldritch thing shrieked, a fireball in each hand. She raised up and slammed the flames directly into the Ultra’s chest. More fireballs appeared, all raining into the fallen Ultra. Erebus’ eyes flashed, then faded to grey as his body became limp. “You see, Titan, Ultra, fool? All shall fall before me!”
“Is he dead?” Constable Dean muttered, glaring through the binoculars. “Dead or unconscious… I don’t know much of Ultra anatomy… any…” Doctor Saine said softly. “Don’t worry. I’m not dead.” Erebus’ voice came from both of the humans, causing them to jump. They whirled around to find the youth, exactly as they had seen him earlier, standing before them.
“How are you here and… whatever… out there?” Saine tilted her head and stared at Erebus.
“That’s me, this is me. Remember the puppet thing?” The youth paused. “This experiment is over. I have things to finish. We will speak again when the fiend is dead.”
With that he was gone, but his voice floated over again.
Erebus’ eyes blazed back to life. He stood, appearing unharmed by the brutal beating from not long ago. The Ultra extended his hands and levitated into the air, hovering above his oppononent.
“As I told the humans, the experiment is over. Prepare yourself for the void, Yndhorek.”
“What- no! Not possible! How-” The Eldritch thing gasped, her blank face still managing to convey shock.
“You look not upon a mere Ultra, nor Titan. I am Z, the Necrobane, the End, the Prince of Death, Shadow Throned, Father of Ghosts, Shadow Bearer, Steward of the Dead, Horror Master, Ghost Kin, Glad-O-Blight, Ogan of Sgail, Third of the Trinity and He Who Is Enthroned Upon the Dead.”
“Prince?! You’re a Prince?! Mercy!”
“I am, and I decline.”
“No, no no no no no no no-”
Yndhorek stopped her rambling and looked up at Erebus. “End me, then!”
“As you wish. I offer the only peace I can give you.”
The Ultra spread his arms, purple energy swirling down into the blades on each. Yndhorek covered her eyes with her claws as the light shone bright, then brighter, and brighter still. Erebus slammed his arms together into the form of a cross. A straight beam burst forth, laced with purple electricity. It struck the Eldritch thing in the chest and spread across the lines in her armor.
The creature made no sound as she perished in the light, the only sign of her death being the ash where she stood. Atop the ashes rested her mask, grinning up at the dawn sun stretching its fingers up over the trees. Erebus reached down and plucked it up, then became covered in a glow once again. This time the opposite effect happened, and he was human in appearance once again. A smile danced across the youth’s face as he placed the mask and device in a pocket in his jacket, then started back to town.
“All this was just a little bit of fun for you?” Doctor Saine asked Erebus, who reclined in a chair, slowly spinning himself in circles.
“You could say that. As I’ve said, one of my friends does this sort of thing all the time. Figured I’d do it and see how it would go. Pretty enjoyable. Thrilling. On a more serious note, I’ve got the exact answers for the mystery of Saint Seymour."
“What happened?” Constable Dean sat next to the doctor with a mug of coffee in his hand.
“They set up the town, just like you did. What they didn’t know was that Yndhorek, that was her name, was lurking about. She fed upon them, drank their life and razed the town. Then she constructed the graveyard as a sort of bait for the next group of human - you. However, she had grown bored by the time you arrived, and decided to toy with you before devouring you all.” “So she made the ghosts.”
“Exactly. Using a form of Necromancy, far inferior to mine, I might add, she created the ghosts. They come from the bodies of the first colonists, converted into a sort of power source.”
“My word, that is horrible!” Saine gasped.
“Truly. I released them all, if that comforts you. Well, I guess I’d better be going.” “One last thing, what are you, really?”
“Titan Prince of Death and Undeath. It’s difficult to explain, but… I help keep order in the universe. Kill nasty things, help people, all that stuff.”
“What if anything else ever shows up here?” The Constable creased his brow.
“About that... here!” Erebus fished around in his pocket and drew out the device from earlier. “This is called a Tartarus Lens. It’ll let you become a Wraith Ultra in times of need. You’ll know when those times are. Now, goodbye, my friends, and long life to you all. Oh, and if you need another town name, Scrivello is open...!"
The youth set the device on a table, turned, grinned and simply faded away.