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Necromancer Voidoth of the Platonic Shadow (#4298)

Owner: 0x24D7…e52b

Chapter 1: Seven hundred and seventy-seven souls

The Great Lord of the Void, Necromancer Voidoth of the Platonic Shadow, strode purposefully along the line of cages. The heavy mantle of the Quantum Shadow swallowed them up as he left them in his wake.

In the top corner of the digital visor that covered his hollow eye sockets, readings of the wizards’ heartbeats and the suppression of their magic flashed up, scrolling through the list of pathetic specimens who cowered as he passed them by.

Voidoth grinned a toothy grin as Crackerjack sidled up to join him.

“You have done well, First Disciple,” he said, approaching the nearest cage. The seven emaciated wizards were stripped naked, huddling against each other in their cramped confines. Their unkempt hair was matted and clogged with their own filth. The cage’s occupants recoiled beneath Voidoth’s skeletal gaze.

“How many of them are Blue Wizards?”

“By my reckoning, one in every seven, Overlord,” rasped the giant corvid.

Voidoth’s skull jerked spasmodically as the Necromantic spell he had devised sparked one of its regular override commands. This enabled him to maintain control over the cyborg sentience program installed by the wizards in the Bastion’s laboratories. They had thought to raise him from the dead as a subservient prototype when they fused a robotic body with his skeletal remains all those years ago. But instead, he had returned to life to find himself flooded with the power of a Necromancer, capable of controlling the spirits of the dead. The memory was a constant companion, coursing through his circuitry, reminding him of what they had done to him. Soon he would have his revenge.

“One hundred and eleven Blue Wizards!” Voidoth laughed – a metallic, grating noise that rattled up from the motherboard in his chest. “This is a fine start indeed.”

“Yes Overlord,” replied Crackerjack… far too quickly. Voidoth turned on his subordinate, the exposed vertebrae of his neck clicking angrily against each other. He waited silently. The other Necromancer wilted, shuffling his claws in the pale sand. “We… uh… well… the thing is… we were unable to capture Scryer Apollo, Great Lord.”

Voidoth impassively regarded Crackerjack as the crow-man squirmed, seeing himself mirrored in the Voidlord’s visor. Voidoth’s forever bat, Gorge, sensed its master’s displeasure and began to dive-bomb the idiot Wesley, taunting the red and black snake with high-pitched trills of excitement. The stupid serpent tried in vain to bury himself in the sand to get away from Gorge’s attentions. Crackerjack’s other fool familiar, the Mesozoic Cockatrice Ozymandias, was, as usual, nowhere to be seen.

“I see,” he said in a flat voice. “And who was in charge of that mission?”

Crackerjack pointed wordlessly at a pallid individual who was inching surreptitiously backwards through the throng of disciples that trailed along behind Voidoth and his First Disciple.

The Lord of the Void turned his cold gaze on the unfortunate individual. Electronic signals skittered across his visor. The disciple froze, arms pinned to his sides, eyes bulging. The visor darkened, clouding with the power of the cyborg’s magic. Stiff-legged, his heels dragged twin paths through the sand as the disciple was pulled towards them, helpless to resist. A few of the others glanced anxiously around as though searching for an escape route, as Voidoth drew a yard-long lance from the depths of his purple robes.

The mists of the Quantum Shadow slid hungrily along its gleaming surface. As the victim entered its range, the lance split, the hard surface softening and unfurling as the vicious plant lashed out, its hinged lobes swelling in size and exposing a cavernous meaty interior.

The disciple was engulfed in the maw of the Venus Flytrap as it snapped shut. The wicked spines lining its mouth interlaced, sealing his fate. The plant pulsated as its digestive acid liquified its prey, the man’s body reduced to mush. A trickle of pulpy juice dripped from the corner of the Flytrap’s mouth. In moments, it had coiled itself back into the lance, which resealed itself and solidified once more. He slipped it back into his robes. Crackerjack gulped nervously and eyed his Lord with a beady black eye. In the background, Voidoth heard the wizards in the cage jabbering hysterically. Voidoth gave a satisfied sigh. It always calmed him when his pet was well-fed and content.

“Fortunately for the rest of you, I am feeling generous today,” he addressed his remaining disciples, ignoring the raving captives. “And we have no time to waste. This will be the most epic spell the Runiverse has ever seen!” He reached back inside his robes and withdrew the gleaming golden key in a dramatic flourish.

It cast a bright glow all around it, repelling the dark mists that skulked and swirled around them. Voidoth could not suppress his glee as he gazed upon the tool once more.

“The key to the Seventh Realm!” he yelled, thrusting it above his head. A couple of nervous cheers came from the gathering of disciples.

Voidoth glared at them and cleared his throat. “Together, with this, we shall return the Runiverse to the Void! We will reshape existence in our own image, and we will reign supreme as the wizard factions are cast into dust!” This time the cheers came in a stuttering wave.

“No longer will that rainbow banded buffoon subjugate us and turn the world against us!” Emboldened, the disciples became a bit too exuberant in their celebrations. Voidoth’s icy glare cut off the noise as the crowd suddenly found their throats closing up. He swivelled on one black-booted heel, heading off once more down the row of packed cages. Crackerjack scurried to catch up.

Voidoth stroked the key reverently. He was so close now to gaining his vengeance. A shiver of elation rushed through his circuits at the thought.

“You should have seen him Crackerjack! He was powerless to withstand me!”

“Sacred Key Master, my Lord?”

“Yes of course the Key Master, you dolt! And don’t call him that, there’s nothing sacred about that multi-coloured moron.”

“Yes, my Lord, my apologies, my Lord.” Crackerjack cowered.

Voidoth eyed him for a moment, toying with one of the hydraulic pistons at his hip, then turned his attention back to the key.

“It was soooooo easy, Crackerjack. I just had to lure that sphinx of his away with a couple of deranged souls I let loose from the Psychic Leap. Then a simple spirit conjuring of his long-lost buddy, that bumbling Bastion Bluemonger character, and they became so engrossed with each other that I was able to cast my veil of death over his stupid pointy head, snatch the key and vanish before he even knew what hit him!”

“Masterfully done, my Lord,” nodded Crackerjack enthusiastically, relieved that the Great Lord of the Void had moved on from the slip of his corvid tongue.

They were now approaching the altar where Voidoth would perform the spell. The structure rose haphazardly out of the sand, stark bones protruding at all angles. The bones gleamed in the golden glow of the key to the Gate of the Seventh Realm.

“Yes, yes, enough of your grovelling Crackerjack, let’s get on with it.”

The crow-man bowed and hastily beat a retreat, herding the lesser disciples past the altar and up against the dark stone of the valley wall, which had suddenly appeared out of the retreating mists.

Chapter 2: Shadowkeys blasted through the Runiverse

Deathly silence hung over the valley as Voidoth set the key down atop the altar and began to chant his incantation. He traced the Rune of Sigma back and forth across its surface with one of his bony fingers, sensing the souls that writhed within. They would soon have company.

“Seventy-seven and seven hundred souls, I give up to the Shadow, yours to enjoy. Lend your powers to this key of old; vanquish the wizards, crush and destroy. Bring them to their quantum state, squeeze out their essence, hold them in thrall, Rupture the cosmos, shatter the gate, bring forth the darkness: OBLIVION FOR ALL!”

As Voidoth chanted, the Quantum Shadow rolled over the scene, the vapours growing in substance and hanging heavily on the floor of the valley. An oppressive weight stifled the air, clinging to the landscape. Thunder rolled through the dense clouds on the valley floor, and brilliant blue lightning jagged up from the ground, stabbing blinding forks into the rows upon rows of cages packed with the seven hundred and seventy-seven sacrifices.

The key began to hum and vibrate on the altar of bones and the clouds dissipated, revealing dozens of empty cages. No, not quite empty. On the floor of each one lay a cluster of tiny black prisms, radiating haloes of purple light. The vibrations reached a crescendo as three glowing sevens appeared in the metal and immediately prisms were drawn to it from all sides as it lifted off the altar to hover in the air. As the prisms arrived, they swung into different orbits around the magical object, building speed until they were nothing but a blur. Streams of purple light were sucked into the key from these blurry satellites and Voidoth bathed in the glory of the magic, arms outstretched, welcoming the souls to their new prison.

The key consumed the last prism and then clattered back to the altar. Voidoth cackled with glee and bounded forward, but before he could grab it the key began to pulse and swell.

Black veins stood out along its surface, then sprouted stubby black tendrils that quested into the air.

Suddenly, it shrank down to the size of a pinprick. The walls of rock seemed to bend outwards, then snapped back into place with a deafening CRACK as the key exploded in a flash of blinding white light.

Voidoth hung suspended within the forcefield. Gorge clung to the hood of his robe with his tiny wing claws, chirping indignantly. The events outside seemed to be moving in slow motion – an effect of the forcefield’s magical warping of space and time. His digital visor encrypted everything that happened and produced an image that his cyborg brain was able to interpret – so despite the entire valley being one ball of brilliant white energy, he was able to look on in horror as a thousand shards of gold shot in all directions.

Voidoth’s silicon synapses raced, trying to decode what was happening. Shards were tearing through the very fabric of reality! He caught a glimpse of the Void beyond as a golden shard sliced through the air; in less than an instant the lips of the tear had drawn back together, sealing the world off from the Void once more. And then all was silent.

He released his forcefield and stepped over towards the altar. From nearby came a groan – he turned to see Crackerjack pushing himself up off the floor, with a couple of groggy-looking disciples stirring behind him. His First Disciple had managed to conjure some form of spell to protect himself, but most of the group had not been so lucky. All that remained of most of the wizards was a blackened shadow against the rockface. Voidoth’s sensors picked up the odour of cooked meat.

The blast had obliterated vast swathes of the Quantum Shadow, and the harsh sunlight beat down on the valley. Grimly, he bent to pick up the key to the Gate of the Seventh Realm from the sand. Lying next to it was an identical copy, save for the fact that dark shadows flowed across this one’s surface. As he touched the shadowkey, he sensed the single wizard’s soul trapped inside. The darkness slowly faded.

In a fit of rage, Voidoth poured all his malevolence into the object. The wizard soul inside contorted itself in agony, but it brought the Necromancer no satisfaction. The spell had failed. Why had the Quantum Shadow rejected his sacrifice?

Chapter 3: A key reclaimed

Crackerjack’s terrified cry snapped him back to reality. The blue skies split, and a blur of colours burst forth. As the colours crashed to the valley floor, the ground shook and a booming voice bounced and rolled over the rocks: “BEHOLD MY QUANTUM STYLE!” Sacred Key Master strode forward, one hefty finger pointed at Voidoth. “That is mine, skeleton!”

Voidoth hurled the shadowkey at his adversary, and turned to run, but found his legs couldn’t move.

“Thanks for getting rid of that ghastly Shadow so old Rainbow Cakes could get in here, I’ve been just dying for some bones to chew on,” purred Derek. “Souls can be a bit insubstantial at times.” The sphinx grinned, then sank his teeth into Voidoth’s leg, puncturing the femur down to the marrow.

The Lord of the Void howled, cursing the Blue Wizards for inserting pain receptors throughout his repurposed skeleton. Summoning all his strength, he conjured a death spell and passed into the Underworld. The membrane between worlds repelled the sphinx onto the sand of the valley floor. No living creature could pass into the Void. Derek was left licking his lips, tail lashing back and forth angrily as the membrane solidified behind Voidoth.

The last thing he saw was the Key Master’s giant eye, set in that ridiculous pyramid head, sparkling in triumph as he grasped his key to his chest. Voidoth looked down at the one in his hand dumbfounded, staring in disbelief at the shadows coursing across its surface as the trapped soul within pleaded for mercy.

As the opening to the world of the living winked shut, the Great Lord of the Void screamed with rage, with only the dead to hear him.

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

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