Concerted Reversal

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This is a serial, the first part is here: Part 1

Chapter 14: A Price of Complacency Paid in Full

There is such a thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The way the ritual is, it takes the sacrifices, renders them into a form of essence, and using leftovers, brings the cultists and their harvest back to Sunder. Normally, this ritual targets sacrifices inside the ritual grounds, but I think we can make it so that it just draws in energy, doesn’t bother with the conversion and just shunts us back to Sunder” Picky explained.

Perfect, what do we need to do?” Gaddy asked.

On the surface, the people who went the concert were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Had anything resulted in them avoiding the concert, such a simple magic resistant common cold, they would have avoided the fate of being dragged into the Alterworld.

It could also be said that Gaddy and his friends were in the right place at the right time. After all, had they not been around… wouldn’t the World-Will cult have gained a few more sacrifices?

Not much. Just get need everyone to alter the circuit the cultists laid out here, I’ll do the rest”

Everything was pretty much over and done. Picky was quite confident as he gave Gaddy directions which he gave to the Flambirdge girls who then got the concert attendees going. Apart from being at the wrong place at the wrong time, it tends not to be a good idea to consider oneself too far removed and detached from events.

Do you still remember the Spirit that Gaddy encountered? The one that watched. She too thought that everything was over. Her interest was waning somewhat, and so, she wasn’t paying too much attention to what was happening with the tower. She was right above it you know, looking down and through the walls.

Had she been to the side…

It happened in a moment. Picky ignited the changed circuit, the petrified creatures on the outside of the tower practically dancing. She was fascinated by this change, and unfortunately for her, being so dominant in her territory, her sense of danger had withered.

The nature of the circuit was to conduct a harvest, turning beings into magic that would be used for the nebulous World-Will ritual that the cultists yearned for. Picky had reversed part of the ritual so that it drew power from without. He wasn’t even aware that the spirit was around and watching.

His only thought was how thick with magic the air in the Alterworld was. He was just thinking of using that. A beam shot out from the tower and pierced through the watching spirit. Perhaps she could have done something, but it was completely unexpected to her.

Before the spirit could react, her power, her very being was boiled down, robbed by the circuit. She did not even have time to cry out. The sculptures of the tower began to leap off and run through the Alterworld, but their departure did not expose the innards of the building.

Instead, the building and the people within were gone, returned to Sunder, the sleeping world.

Yet each person had a snow white swan-like feather, and everyone who had hair found that it had turned silvery white… just as the spirit’s was.

So then, ultimately one could claim they were in the right place in the right time, since through surviving tragedy they gained power. The existence of heroes can be a bit like that though.

People that bring about a complete reversal of tragedy.

Epilogue: Clan of the White Featherscale

Some time later, perhaps months, perhaps years.

On the ethernet, in a deep recess where people are willingly shorn of their avatars, becoming invisible ghosts each with a voice that sounds the same as the next ghost…

Many of these anonymous lurkers gathered before a sphere, their minds connecting to it, connecting in turn to another part of the ethernet where a show was being held.

A room filled with heavy smoke. A man wearing a neat red suit, with a mirror floating in the place of his head. The man was slumped, as if a corpse in a throne-like chair. The mirror was blank, not even reflecting the smoke of the room.

The man in the chair was inside something like a cross between an office desk and a judge’s pit.

A twitch came from the body, and a green mask with four eyeholes appeared on the mirror. The mask’s lips moved.

Welcome one and all, to the Fugitive Judgement, I’m your host, the Four of Eyes! We’ve interviewed everyone from monsters to saints all who are chased by the law and unlawful, and I’m sure you’ll all have no problems deciding what kind of person our next guest is! Please welcome, O faceless watchers, his Highness of the White Featherscale Clan, Prince Gahda!”

Some of the smoke cleared, revealing a masked lizardman. This man was in white suit half-way between business and war. His mask was a simple sliver beak with a white feather sticking out of the side. His scales were red, and his eyes were golden.

Gadha smiled towards the screen.

He and his people have been hunted by all kinds of groups, but they’re our kind of people, and so have evaded capture so far, We’re sure there’s plenty of your Clansmen watch right now, any words for them Sir Gadha?” Four of Eyes asked.

I want to thank my clansmen, without them we would not escape the claws of those who wish to exploit the Alterworld again and again. Together, we’ll continue protecting Sunder and the Alterworld both!”

Typical, Typical. Now, we are without doubt that they’re many people quite upset that we’ve brought you in and not any of the five Divas of White Featherscale, any words for these frustrated netizens?”

If you like our divas and their songs so much, then please, by all means, keep causing trouble for our enemies!”

Haha, We don’t think we’ve had such promotion of self-interest since we had the Goddess of Scams in… so we’ve gotten bits and pieces of your story, there’s be a lot of rumours, and conflicting reports, how about you clear things up for us?”

Where do you want me to start!”

The Four of Eyes laughed.

Well I was going to say where-ever you wanted, but I’ve a flood of messages coming in asking for the first incident”

Well then…” Gahda ‘Gaddy Mimassh began the tale.

Chapter 13: Struggles of Songs and the Prince’s Judgement

The dire song of the Apostle was multifarious pain. A Yearning to slumber softly, escaping one’s torments and awaking to a new world. It clawed into the ears, visible worms trying to get inside the heads of the sleepers. Clashing bravely against this was the unresigned song of the three maidens. The worms were pieced with blades of note forming into the beaks of birds, flying over the sleeping ones, their cries calling them to wake.

From the maw of the Apostle came the rumble of storm, words like lightning, and the birds were trapped within, tortured to ensure their message of hope would never wake the sleeping, but cries turned to rage, and bird to flame, and hope consumed despair in conflagration. Why surrender to pain? What world would be made by being consumed by the ills of the old?

The song rebuked the Apostle, and it was stricken once more, the Stone Champion, truthfully quite numb to music benign or malicious, laid his wood beast against the Apostle. In fury and madness, the Apostle rent the Champion’s weapon, and continued his corrupt gospel. Every flame much darken, and all resistance comes to naught.

The flame of the maidens was snuffed out as the life of all is. That final sleep, and so the tone of sorrow rested heavily. Sleep, sleep a while longer and the New World will come. The maidens felt this sickness in their hearts, and they did fall. Singing in triumph, eyes shining with sickly yellow light of those who have truly died within, the Apostle sought to render the Stone Champion as those he protected.

Yet, he had forgotten the Champion’s heart was of stone. How could he be moved by cloying despair or defiant hope. He would only do as his Prince bid, as he thought his Dragon God willed. In the name of the sun that did not shine in the Alterworld, he struck with his head, the head of the Apostle breaking the song of the unjust surrender.

Some of the servants of the Apostle returned, but the Prince had once more roused the Maidens, to sing, and though he was unlearned, his dragon voice swelled with theirs, and so granting authority to rebellion against the usurper chant! Now along with defiance was judgement.

Will you sleep ever more to death, or will you wake to life? The Jugdement is the doctrine of the World-Will as abomination. How can such be borne? RISE RISE AND STRIKE THOSE WHO WOULD MURDER THEE WHILST YE SLEEP!

So thundered the song and princely command!

So the fog on the minds of the sleepers was cleared, and they stirred to wake, yet fog still lingered, so the Drakeling Prince with the Maiden’s as his voice did bid them fall upon the cultists of the World Will, he bid them fight or die!

A fealty was stirred inside the awakened, and they did as the Prince commanded. To the last man and abomination, the cultists were rendered still. The Apostle struggled, and did vile wound to many, but with the aid of such brave souls, the Stone Champion did separate body from head, and the monster moved no more.

Luca stood panting over the remains of that dreadful being, strength left him, and uncermoniously he pitched right over, in danger of falling off the stage. Those who weren’t too badly wounded tried to catch him, but it took no less than ten of them to catch him.

Everyone was completely confused at how everything looked so different to how it did in Sunder, and most of all they were confused as to the nature of what had just happened. Naturally most people’s gazes turned to Gaddy and the three girls of Flambirdge. Chaos was about to break out as people started to panick.

Gaddy quickly explained to the three girls, Doudozolo, Tuku and Yvemmai, roughly the situation they were in, after doing that, Yvemmai stepped forward to calm the crowds.

Hey, calm down everyone! We’re kinda safe now. Those bad guys you lynched, they took us to a place called the Alterworld and were going to sacrifice us all! Thanks to these few people…”

She gestured to Luca, Gaddy and at some point Ruin and Jojo had their bodies climb up the stage.

…and thanks to all of you we defeated them, now you just need to remain calm and stay here. We’re gonna get everyone back to Sunder right?!”

Yvemmai continued to distract the crowd by introducing a bashful trio of Luca, Ruin and Jojo to them.

She’s handling them as well as always… you guy do actually have a way for us all to go back to Sunder right?” Doudozolo questioned Gaddy.

Honestly we just wanted to make sure you didn’t all die, I’ll contact another friend of mine. He might be able to figure out how to get us back.”

-Ahem, Ahem, ah, my idol, Tuku, can you hear me! Ahaha this is awesome, I’m talking to Tuku, right in her earhole… uh, *ahem* sorry about that, can you give your earpiece to Gaddy, you know that guy before you please.-

Tuku jumped in fright as she quickly handed the earpiece to Gaddy.

Hey, Picky?”

Haha, Did you see, I talked to Tuku! Man, I can see everything here. No, no I must be pure. Ah sorry, you wanted to talk to me right? That was awesome how we took down those lunatics!” Picky blabbered.

Yes, focus a bit Picky. We’ve done all that, now… how do we get back to Sunder?”

…”

Picky?”

Well, if we complete the Mandible Cultist ritual, then…”

We can’t do that! Wasn’t the whole point that we had to stop them?”

No, hold on, hear me out… there might be a way to alter the ritual…”

Chapter 12: Break In/Out

The mandible troopers patrolling the tower were fairly easy to take out, especially when Picky messed with all their equipment. Picky hid his body inside the building and took control of the circuits inside once more. The others slipped in.

Meanwhile inside the concert hall…

Crooked lines carved into the ground formed a ghastly circuit, and in small circles, on pulsating ground were the people who had gone to the concert. The people kidnapped by the World-Will Mandible Cultists. The sacrifices.

The black heart of the person once known as Farn Duelworth was rejoicing. He was the leader of the cultists that had been sent on their current mission. His long black hooked body, so warped by the Alterworld clattered across what had been the stage as if he was dancing. He loomed grotesquely over the prone forms of the prime sacrifices.

Three maidens, adored all.

Finally. Finally we can begin the harvest for our New World!”

The mandible cultists cheered.

In the new world, all will be blessed, not just some, as that vile dragon of the void did! All of us will receive new bodies, all of us will be filled with strength and we shall all be free of weak morality! There will be no division between demi-humans and humans, or even among those kinds! Gazed? Gemchildren? Dustbloods? Even tainted and mockeries! All will be washed away by the New World! With bodies of strength our troubles will end, rejoice for the New World will accept all of us! Rejoice! For the work we do brings the Day of the World ever closer!”

The mandible cultists cheered with fanatical devotion.

Now, begin the…”

All the lights flickered, and the seats of the concert hall, which the cultists had lowered back after the last incident, rose again, once more ruining the circuit of the cultists. A strangled scream issued from the mottled mouth of the Mandible leader.

THIS IS NO ACCIDENT! WHO IS IT? WHO DARES!?! CONTACT ALL SQUADS FIND ME WHO IS DOING THIS!” he roared.

The doors of the concert hall shifted open, and while the troopers were still confused, Ruin’s body ran out towards the stage while the Mandible cultists were still confused!

SEIZE HER! NOW!” the leader screamed.

Bug-like troopers and altered aberrations converged on Ruin’s body, dogpiling her, they were so frantic that they actually ended up knocking out some of their own. There was no way they could have noticed that the body had already broken into molted skin, and thus Ruin and Jojo had the body return to their other body.

While this happened, Luca and Gaddy were sneaking into the hall, crawling amid the still bodies of the kidnapped people. Then, Jojo and Ruin sent a body to distract once more.

The Twin Maiden continued to deceive those wicked cultists, both of her sent the body further and further from the altar of sacrifice, whilst they hid the other from their sight. By this, the Stone Champion and the Drakeling Prince braved the altar under the cover of smoke sent by the Spiral Mystic!

Not knowing aught, the World-Will Apostle, his twisted body filled with hate towards his incompetent servants, was blinded to the presence of the two warriors. The Stone Champion rose as silent as a tombstone, quivering beast of wood in his hand. At last, the Apostle felt there was a matter amiss, but for his vice, he could not defend himself.

The Apostle was sent a distance, his body riven with wound of claw. The Prince didst break free the Featherscale Maidens of Metalsong from their bonds, and stirred them from slumber. There was fear in them, but the Prince’s royal words calmed them even as he commanded them.

I beseech thee, maidens three, sing, sing a song strong enough to wake the dead, loud enough and live enough to stir the sleeping ones from their fel repose! Together with the masses we can seize our salvation!”

The Apostle rallied, raving and screaming for his servants, but they had been led too far way, and the Stone Champion, clad in his armour stood the way before him. All his designs were coming to ruin. He strove mightily against the Champion, but wicked hooks did naught.

It was not for glee that the World-Will spawn had turned the strong away from the grounds of sacrifice, yet they were undone, for the weak had become the strong!

While the Champion did as his wont was, and defended, the three Songmaids were moved by the Drakeling Prince. They began to sing, and the Spiral Mystic carried their voices. It was a recusant song, one to rouse the soul to battle, to stoke the heartflame.

Yet, all was not finished.

You wish to sing? The only song that should echo here is the call of the World-Will!”

A ghostly tenor rippled out from the fingered maw of the Apostle, for once when he was man, he had been a singer himself!

So began a clash of willsong.

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