Authors: Jose Rodriguez
Tags: #vampire, #werewolf, #mythology, #frankenstein, #mummy, #black lagoon
“Rhea is under siege,” Marduk said.
“Reinforcements are awaiting your command.”
“There's some good news, and a bit of bad.
Which would you like to begin with?”
Nibiru walked to a giant balcony with only a
rail to keep one from going over. At a mile high, he peered down
along the city's stacked, multi-ring-shaped structure. “Give me the
good news,” he said.
“We've breached the Hegiran city, Siriso,”
Marduk began. “The fighting is back and forth right now, but that
should change soon. At Vesuvia, the battle is going according to
plan. I expect it will fall within a month. And our armies are
closing in on the human cities.”
Nibiru leaned against the rail. “The
“The humans' smaller cities should be easy,”
Marduk continued. “But the bigger one, New Haven, may pose a
challenge. It's along the coastline, and appears to be
well-fortified with thick walls and several towers. It may be a
week before we take it. At Tiamat, we're suffering heavy losses. If
something doesn't change by the day’s end, we may need to send one
or two waves of reinforcements with the new weapons we are making.
And, our army in the Netherworld is-”
“Lost,” Nibiru calmly said.
Marduk said nothing for a moment, afraid of
speaking out of place. “The army may yet survive. But it simply
won't be able to accomplish the campaign. I was going to recommend
either sending reinforcements, or attempt to pull them out
Thinking, Nibiru returned to his throne and
went back to his stargazing. “No need, really. It was a fool's
errand. A simple miscalculation. The Netherworld nulls my Shadow
Marduk shifted with concern and said nothing
as his eyes darted back and forth at the floor.
“You may speak freely,” Nibiru said. “It's
not everyday I have a conversation with another. Tell me what you
Marduk chose his next words carefully. “I
feel it prudent to remind you that we've never abandoned an army
before. We have never lost.”
Nibiru almost laughed. “True, but they can be
easily replaced. There's been a change in plan, so don't think of
it as abandonment, or losing. I never planned on their returning
“Very well,” Marduk said. “If I may, what is
the change in plan?”
“Same as last time. Terrorize, murder, raze.
You know, the usual.”
Marduk was disappointed. “I see. All in the
name of one man.”
Nibiru couldn't hold his laughter this time.
“Are you jealous?”
“I'm not jealous,” Marduk said. “But I fail
to see the logic of...”
“Of what?” asked Nibiru.
Marduk lowered his head. “Nothing,” he
Nibiru stood, placing his hands on Marduk's
shoulders. “Do you remember the last time you saw a sunrise, or
Marduk looked up at the eclipse.
“Don't you want to see that again? Don't you
want to be able to stand and bask in the sunlight again?”
Slowly stepping away, Marduk's demeanor
suddenly turned to anger. “I despise him more than anything.”
“Oh my,” Nibiru said curiously. “Come now,
you shouldn't let your feelings get the better of you. If all goes
well, Leon will be your brother and we shall be one step closer to
“I don't believe he's worth it,” said Marduk.
“Forgive me for saying, but Leon has made this much more trouble
than is necessary. Valuable time and resources have been wasted, no
thanks to him. Surely there must be other worlds.”
Nibiru rolled his eyes dismissively. “Time
and resources are two things we have plenty of. And I can assure
you that Leon is quite unique. You, of all people, should know
that, having seen the wonders of the universe I have shown
“Of course,” Marduk said, giving up any
further argument. “I stand ready for your next command.”
Nibiru waved his hand in the direction of the
doors, causing them to open. “Have the armies at Siriso and New
Haven withdraw before sunrise and head to Vesuvia.”
Marduk headed for the door. “It shall be
“As for Tiamat,” Nibiru said. “Tell the army
there to retreat outside the city in a short while. I have
something special in mind.”
Marduk stopped. “Special?”
Nibiru smirked. “The Khothu are long overdue
for their introduction to the Caidoz.”
“I thought the Caidoz wouldn't
“They'll cooperate,” said Nibiru. “I just
have to give them the right push.”
Marduk turned to leave before pausing
“Is there anything else?” Nibiru asked.
“Eris,” Marduk replied. “I could execute your
commands more efficiently if she didn't keep running off. I fear
she's a liability.”
Nibiru rested against the throne. “As long as
she opens the portals as needed, she may do as she pleases. She
knows the futility of resisting me. If there is any discord, I will
deal with it. That is all. Leave me.”
“As you wish,” Marduk said, then exiting the
After watching the eclipse disappear from
view, Nibiru stepped out to the exposed, inner section of the
On every tier, hundreds of Pelasgian women
and children were hard at work on siege weapons. Among them were
shackled prisoners from the Netherworld being forced to help.
Nibiru shook his head with some
disappointment before teleporting, bursting into small streaks of
black liquid that quickly dissipated. In an instant he arrived at a
cavern so big the ceiling could not be seen.
Magma permeated much of the rock.
Stalactites, stalagmites and columns were plenty, and the ground
was littered with glowing crystals.
Nibiru could see a large waterfall feeding a
river that disappeared around a bend and into the shadows. There
was a sudden strong gust of wind that blew against him for a brief
The distraction did not fool Nibiru. He
quickly turned, dodging a six-foot staff that had dual-headed axe
blades on both ends.
The man welding the staff was donned in
gothic-style armor and a helmet that covered most of his head.
Nibiru dashed backward for some distance.
“Nice try, Bilar. You didn't think that was really going to work,
With a burst of wind at his back, Bilar leapt
forward, swinging his weapon.
Nibiru evaded and quickly materialized his
sword out of thin air. He countered, impaling Bilar through the
chest before grabbing him by the neck and tossing him to a nearby
“Rovgi, what a pleasure,” Nibiru said, bowing
in a show of courtliness.
Unharmed, Bilar got back up ready to attack
until Rovgi stopped him.
Nibiru discarded his sword. “Not the welcome
I was expecting. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't there twelve
of you? I distinctly remember the little tussle we had last we
Bilar hit the ground with his staff, and in a
flash of flame, an eruption of dirt, a splash of water and a gale
of air, the rest of the Caidoz emerged, surrounding Nibiru.
Like Bilar and Rovgi, the others wore similar
clothing with armor and a formfitting helmet. Their appearance was
humanoid, but various parts of them resembled an animal. This was
especially true of their heads.
The males had semblances of a ram, hawk,
lion, horse and eagle. The females looked like a bizarre mix of a
bull, crab, scorpion, goat and fish.
Nibiru held his arms out and slowly turned.
“That's more like it.”
“Why are you here?” Rovgi asked.
“To get what I want,” Nibiru answered. “I
require your assistance in dealing with the Khothu. An inferior
species that possesses abilities you may appreciate.”
“We have no quarrel with the Khothu, or
anyone else for that matter.”
“All I need is for you to throw a tiny scare
“No!” Rovgi declared.
Nibiru placed his hands behind him. “I'm not
exactly asking you.”
Rovgi grabbed the hilt of her sword. “We
exist only to serve the balance of power in the cosmos. Everything
has its place. Even you.”
“Quite right,” said Nibiru. “And I intend to
reclaim mine. In fact you should think of me as an uncle of
“We know what you are.”
Nibiru held his hand out. “Then you know what
I'm capable of,” he said. A small shadow seed formed, floating
above his palm with inky black streaks swirling around it.
The Caidoz stepped back.
“You do not have the power to kill us,” Rovgi
“True,” Nibiru grinned. “But I can always
erase your power and make a slave of you.”
Night had fallen.
The Koiga fortress was in and around a large
hill near the shoreline. It looked like a series of buildings
stacked or piled together to make a much bigger one.
Dozens of people were moving goods to and
from the docks. All of them appeared similar to each other with
white skin and little to no hair. Their bodies were covered in red,
black or yellow patches.
Hiding in a tree, Leon watched the guards
carefully, looking for a way in when a raven suddenly landed on a
branch next to him.
The bird made no sound as it watched the
Leon was positive the raven belonged to
But if Lilith wanted something, it would have
to wait. He could smell Sara's sweet blood coming from the
Without warning, the raven took off straight
for a pile of grain bags being unloaded near the front gate. Cawing
furiously like it was on fire, it pecked at the food
Several Koiga yelled and tried shooing it
away, but the bird was feisty. It wasn’t until several teleported
hands swat the raven that it flew away.
The Koiga laughed, but after a short moment,
a flock of around a dozen came back with a vengeance, tearing at
the bags and heckling the men.
It was Leon's chance to run across the
clearing, which was easy due to his speed and the time of day. The
hard part was the wall. He couldn't simply jump it, not without
knowing what was on the other side.
With the Koiga still preoccupied with the
ravens, Leon quickly scaled the wall as easily as a spider. Once
over, he jumped behind some crates and narrowly avoided being seen
by a passing guard.
The Koiga outside went on about their
business as the ravens finally dispersed.
Blackness filled Leon's eyes as he activated
his enhanced Liro senses. And while he couldn't exactly see through
walls, he could detect someone or something, around the next
Leon quietly entered a large tower with
several Koiga drinking and bickering over a card game. There was no
way to walk by without being seen. Sticking to the shadows, he
leapt up to a wooden beam that crossed the room. On the opposite
side he crawled up through a window and jumped to another section
of the fortress.
The fortress didn't have many hallways. It
was more like one room leading to another and so forth. This made
it easy for Leon to avoid detection, as he could hide in the dark
corners or along the ceiling.
In one room, Leon made it halfway through
when he suddenly had to make a mad dash for cover between two
A Koiga seven years old ran in.
It was then Leon saw that he was in a
children's play area. He tensed up. His hiding spot was in the
shadow, but a direct look would be enough.
The kid rummaged through a box until finding
the toy bird he was looking for. He flew it around for a second
before noticing that something wasn't right and glanced at the
Leon waved his hand placing the kid in a
trance before running out of the room.
A moment later the boy came to. He looked
around confused, remembering nothing of the last few seconds.
Outside, Leon scaled walls and dashed across
rooftops to the largest part of the fortress. He entered on a
balcony overlooking the floor below.
Several Koiga were having a laugh over
dinner. Even Leon's squeaking and creaking of the floorboards were
ignored as those of other guards along the balcony.
Hiding in an alcove, there was no way Leon
could move on without being noticed by a guard ahead. Already
burning blood with his enhanced senses, he didn’t want to place
another person under a trance, especially an adult. Left with
little choice, he pulled out two daggers and quietly assassinated
A Koiga who heard the scuffle looked only to
When the coast was clear, Leon scurried down
a flight of stairs. At the bottom was a narrow hallway with only
one decent hiding spot between a door and a corner.
A lazy guard at the opposite end never even
felt the blood glaive slit his throat.
Leon hid the body and went down another
flight of steps to a circular pit-shaped arena outside.
Pillars lined the perimeter of the training
area. Equipment such as wooden staffs and rubber balls were strewn
Sara lay bound and unconscious in the middle
of the room.
Crouching behind a pillar, Leon examined the
area and was a bit surprised when he sensed several Koiga lying in
ambush. With no reason to hide anymore he walked over to Sara and
paused as she came to.
A small smile crossed Sara's face when she
saw her friend. “Leon...” she whispered.
Catching a whiff of Sara's scent, Leon
unsheathed his sword and plunged it into her heart.
Sara cried out, coughing up blood as her skin
pulsated and shifted, turning color to reveal a yellow Koiga.
A black Koiga said as he emerged from his
hiding spot at the opposite end of the room. “We've been waiting
for you, Leon.”
“Where's the girl?” Leon asked.
“Oh, she's not here. Not anymore,” the Koiga
said. “But now that you're here, I must ask you to surrender.”