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Magus Basil of the Astral Plane (#292)

Owner: 0x24D7…e52b

Chapter 1: Witness to a Spell Gone Wrong

Basil of the Astral Plane collapsed into his high-backed chair and puffed out his cheeks. The caduceus in his hand still trembled from the cosmic forces that had flowed up the staff into his mind. He stroked the two snakes that twisted around the winged staff. Slowly, the intricately carved serpents settled back into their usual position and solidified, all trace of animation vanishing.

Now that the staff was no longer controlling their Dream Quest, Vortex came out of her trance. The bulky snail’s eye stalks popped out from the interior of her shell, and she waved them anxiously in Basil’s direction.

“Oh yes, my dear, I know. Very worrying indeed. Yes… hmm… A lot to ponder, don’t you agree?”

Basil steepled his fingers under his chin, and prepared himself for a good, long think. Vortex settled herself down next to his foot and began to hum pensively.

The magnitude of what they had just seen was hard for the ancient Magus to comprehend. The key to the Seventh Realm… shattered? And seven hundred and seventy-seven copies somehow blasted across the Runiverse!

Well… seven hundred and seventy-six. Voidoth had one of the copies. Thankfully the Key Master had managed to reclaim the original key, or who knew what further atrocities the Voidlord might have conjured up. A pity that the Necromancer had escaped into the Void.

Neither Basil nor even the Key Master himself were able to gain entry into that dreadful realm of the dead. A pity, yes, but at least the spell had failed.

Basil took no pleasure in seeing even the most dastardly wizard burned out by their own spell, but he was willing to make an exception for the ‘Great Lord of the Void’. He tutted in displeasure. So many good witches and wizards sacrificed – and for what? A chance at revenge on a world of magic-makers? Most of them knew nothing of the terrible experiment that had brought the cyborg into existence.

Sacrificed… yet not dead. Of that, he was sure. He had felt their essences – each and every one of them – shrunken and crushed beneath the oppression of the Quantum Shadow; stripped of their worldly husks; reduced to their ethereal form. And trapped inside the shadowkeys.

That name had manifested itself suddenly in his mind during the Dream Quest, as he floated with Vortex above the lip of the valley, witness to the carnage – helpless onlookers as the spell went horribly wrong. It was an apt name, shadowkey. Imbued with the ethereal imprints of the magic-makers whose souls were trapped inside the copies. Tainted by the Quantum Shadow itself. What were they capable of? Could the shadowkeys be used to unlock the Gate to the Seventh Realm?

A lot to ponder, indeed.

Chapter 2: A Coating of Astral Slime

Basil stepped dreamily through the portal as the afterimage of his Water Rune faded from sight. The vast, tranquil waters of Dream Master Lake stretched all around as far as the eye could see. To the north, the jagged peaks rose into the clouds, where lay the Gate to the Seventh Realm. To the northeast, Blue Wizard Bastion sat at the top of a green hill, surrounded by scattered outcrops of speckled white and grey rocks. The massive blocky castle of dazzling blue stone dominated the landscape, looming over even the tallest of the sprawling city’s fantastical skyscrapers – extravagant symbols of the technological prowess of the wizard guild presiding over the city.

Basil scratched his bearded chin. How did he get here? He looked around the sparsely vegetated isle. The edges of his vision blurred and wavered weirdly. Behind him, the portal shimmered and faded, leaving nothing behind but a large boulder engraved with a number of symbols. As well as his own Rune of Water, he picked out the mark of Neptune – so common amongst the aquatic wizards of Atlantis. Basil chuckled. Now that had been quite a Dream Quest. Those water folk sure knew how to party. Dream… Quest? Something tugged at the back of his memory. Something else tugged at his robe.

He looked down in confusion. What was this snail that had managed to wrap its mouthparts around the fabric? The creature was tugging at it insistently and – to be fair – rather forcefully for what was essentially a large sentient foot wearing a helmet. Basil stifled a groan of disgust. Snail slime all over my favourite green robe!

Dream Quest… slime… snail….

“Heavens to Bartleby, not again!” he slapped his forehead in disbelief. These episodes were becoming worryingly frequent. Had the Infinity Veil’s influence truly weakened to such an extent that he couldn’t even recognise Vortex, his own familiar? He huffed in exasperation. This whole Psychic Leap… situation… was getting way out of hand.

Basil bent down and stroked Vortex lovingly, leaning on his caduceus for support. “So sorry my dear, you know how it creeps up on me.” The snail nodded sagely and stretched her rubbery body upwards, rubbing herself against his temples one at a time. As her astral slime coated his skin his vision began to clear, and then his mind snapped sharply back into focus. He would soon have to pay another visit to Galatea’s dreams, to see how she was getting on with her research. She too seemed awfully forgetful these days. Such a pity that Vortex’s slime didn’t seem to have any effects on the symptoms of other Purple Wizards.

Now that his mental clarity had returned, Basil strode forward with purpose. Vortex shimmied along over the ground, keeping pace with the lanky Magus. Here in the corporeal world she lacked the exceptional speed that she could produce on the Astral Plane, but she was still a damn sight more agile than most animals when she wanted to be.

As they got to the water’s edge, Basil summoned his Water Rune once more. Spreading his palms out to either side, he expanded the luminous triangle and then tilted it forward until it rested on the mirrored surface of the lake. As he stepped onto the triangle’s surface, its form hardened. Vortex scooted herself onboard and the rune-vessel raised its nose slightly into the air as they began to zip across the water. It was time to visit the Dream Whisperer.

Chapter 3: The Dream Whisperer’s Folly

As Basil and Vortex made their way through the vast halls of the Bastion towards the quarters of Soran of Dreams, the wizard mentally prepared himself for the meeting with the Archmagus. It often took all his patience to deal with the man. Normally, he would have visited Soran in the Dream Realm, but it felt as though this time it warranted a meeting in the physical world. He glanced nervously over his shoulder. He never felt totally comfortable in the heart of the Blue Wizards’ domain. Not that they were currently openly hostile to the Purples, but still… you never knew with these technologists, always chopping and changing, chasing the latest fads. The Cosmic Arcanist grimaced. Technology was just so cold and heartless! Not like the old magic….

Approaching Soran’s quarters, he gathered his thoughts one last time. It had been many long years now since Voidoth’s misguided spell had spawned the shadowkeys and blasted back the Quantum Shadow momentarily, breaching its dark magic and allowing Sacred Key Master to briefly penetrate its murky boundaries and retrieve the key to the Seventh Realm.

Not much had been heard of the Necromancer since that time, but recently there had been stirrings in the Valley of the Void Disciple. The last time Basil tapped into the Dream Realm via the Astral Plane, Soran had told him that he thought he could access the Lord of the Void’s dreams. The Archmagus had always been arrogant… and reckless! Basil had tried to dissuade him, but the Dream Whisperer had paid no heed. Basil hoped he had arrived in time; that Soran had not already attempted this folly.


The chamber was dark. As Basil shoved the thick door open, light flooded across the floor, illuminating the Dream Whisperer’s translucent form reclining on a fancifully worked chaise longue beneath heavily-curtained windows. The Arcanist hurried over, readying his caduceus – Soran had already entered the Dream Realm, but if Basil acted fast, he might still be able to extract him.

The Dream Whisperer’s soul was currently in limbo, half in the waking world and half – if he had gone ahead with his madcap plan – in the deranged dreams of a psychopathic cyborg. Basil cast his hand over the caduceus and the snakes came to life, twining themselves around the staff and up over its winged head. He hurriedly picked up Vortex, who dripped luminescent slime on the plush indigo carpet as he lowered the golden knob of the caduceus and touched it to Soran’s forehead.

The metal passed through the Archmagus’s insubstantial forehead and Basil felt his consciousness flow down the length of the rod. He could feel the Astral swirls of Vortex’s shell pulsing with energy; bright light seared his eyes in a sudden flash and left him blinking and disoriented, overwhelmed by the nightmarish scene.

Gutted buildings leaned over the rubble-filled street, sparks flying from the splayed ends of wires and cables that hung from the stilted frames like entrails. The darkness was ablaze with orange flames as the city silently burned.

Basil cursed under his breath… he had overshot the Astral Plane and ended up within the cyborg’s dream, rather than viewing it from a safe distance. Well, there was nothing else for it now, Soran’s life could be hanging in the balance. He let Vortex’s slime squelch between his fingers, felt the power surge, and they flashed to the top of the hill, where the smouldering ruins of the Bastion lay in heaps strewn across the blackened grass.

Blue-robed corpses littered the hillside, bloodied and crushed beneath the fallen rubble. From the bowels of the city below, a siren blared. The Lord of the Void’s dreams were predictable – his thirst for revenge against the Blue Wizards was all-consuming – yet it made them no less horrifying.

Basil picked his way cautiously over the wreckage. Three of the castle’s innermost walls still stood, though the fourth had been blasted outward, leaving the interior facing him like a theatre stage. The cyborg stood in the centre of it all, bony fingers outstretched as he lashed at Archmagus Soran with his dark magic. The Dream Whisperer’s high-pitched screams suddenly filled Basil’s ears.

Too late, we hold no control here! Impossible to control the dreams of a machine!

The cyborg turned his head slowly… Basil’s eyes widened. Another mistake, and this one could be fatal. He had come too close, mesmerised by it all. In that microsecond, he saw his own face frozen in horror, reflected in the visor of the skeletal Voidlord. The cyborg grinned and raised a hand towards the Arcanist.


Basil gasped as his body reformed, taking on substance. The snakes writhed around his staff, confused by the sudden consciousness break. Such a sudden and violent transition between Realms was extremely dangerous. Blinding pain lanced at his eyes, and Basil clutched at his head with a long moan. Vortex shook with consternation as the shock of the transition faded.

The pain began to subside, and he was finally able to drag himself to a standing position using the caduceus as a crutch, although he was still wobbly on his feet.
Magus Basil of the Astral Plane stared grimly down at the empty chaise longue: the Dream Whisperer’s body was gone.

Story Arc Index:

Prologue: Wizard #777

Part 1: Wizard #4298

Part 2: Wizard #292

Part 3: Wizard #2261

Part 4: Wizard #3911

Part 5: Wizard #1177

Part 6: Wizard #2876

Entered by: 0x24D7…e52b and preserved on chain (see transaction)