Wow, look at me, forgetting

what day it is! Meh, whatever.

Happy early update day, I guess!

Chapter Twenty Eight

(Porter)

 

The darkness was so thick that it weighed down on Porter like a blanket.  He immediately sought out Sarah in the impenetrable blackness and took her hand.  This time, no light appeared to save them.

 

“What’s he doing?” she demanded, gripping Porter’s hand hard enough to hurt him.

 

“I- I don’t know!” Porter answered, desperately scanning the area, searching for anything that would give him a clue.

 

They both stood there in each other’s arms, not speaking or moving, until a sound in the distance caught their attention.

 

“Stupid!” a voice was shouting.  “Weak!  Useless!”

 

Keeping a tight grip on Sarah, Porter slowly moved towards the sound.  A light appeared in the distance, dull and lifeless, not like the one Porter and Sarah had made.  The voice got louder.

 

“You are not my son!”  This was followed by the sound of a blow, and someone crying out in pain.  “My son wouldn’t be so weak!”

 

“Is that Mortoph?” Sarah asked softly.  Porter shook his head.  The voice was full of cruelty, but it didn’t sound like the Master Slayer’s.

 

They passed into the putrid yellow light, and found themselves in the middle of what looked like the Slayers’ training gym.  Weights, barbells, and various weapons sat in racks set up along the walls.  Rubber mannequins made to look like different species of Mythics stood lined up on the floor, waiting to be cut to pieces.  On the far end of the room, Porter saw two people.  One of them was very large, and stood over the other one, who lay cowering on the floor.

 

“How could any son of mine be as weak as this?” the large man demanded as he kicked the person on the floor.  With his massive build and long black coat, Porter thought for a moment that he was Mortoph after all, but then he saw the man’s hair, which was cut much shorter than the Master Slayer’s.  His voice, while deep and commanding, wasn’t Mortoph’s either.

 

“I’m sorry,” the person on the floor pleaded, curling into a fetal position to protect himself from any further blows.  From the sound of his voice, he was no older than Porter or Sarah.  “Please stop!  I’m sorry!”

 

“Stop?” the man said. Reaching down, he grabbed the young man by the back of his shirt and hauled him upright.  He shook the boy like a rag doll, his face livid.  “Why should I stop?  Are you strong yet?  Are you a man?”

 

The boy whimpered and closed his eyes.  The man stopped shaking him, and struck him across the face, knocking him back to the floor again.  Towering over him, he began to kick the boy in the stomach.  The boy grunted in pain with every blow, and when he coughed, blood spattered on the floor below him.

 

“What is this?” Sarah whispered, holding Porter even tighter.  He could feel her sense of horror, and her disgust at how cruelly the Slayers could treat their own people.

 

“If you don’t become strong, you’re going to die,” the large man said, kicking him one last time.  The boy was flipped onto his back, gasping for air.  “You will die!  Do you understand what that means?  Do you, Drake?”

 

Porter and Sarah both gasped as the massive Slayer backed away, finally giving them a clear view of the young man’s face.  It was youthful, pale, and lacking the muscles that framed it in the present day, but Porter couldn’t deny that the boy he was looking at now was none other than Drake Mortoph.  He barely had time to register this, though, before the scene vanished, leaving him and Sarah in darkness yet again.

 

“Drake Mortoph?” Sarah echoed in bewilderment.  “But how…”

 

Before she could finish her sentence a new setting appeared in front of them.  They were at a funeral now, standing at the back of a large chapel.  The pews were filled with solemn faced men wearing black coats, and two familiar faces were standing by the coffin at the front.

 

“James Mortoph was killed in action,” the large man from before was saying as he stood behind the pulpit.  Drake was standing a few feet away.  He, too, wore a Slayer’s coat, but it looked like it was three sizes too big for him.  He stood with his hands folded behind his back, looking equal parts mournful and afraid.

 

“A naga ambushed him,” the man continued.  “Though it died in the attempt, it managed to bite my son three times.  James was a brave man, and an outstanding Slayer, but even he could not withstand the monster’s fatal toxin.  He died before help could arrive.”

 

The scene began to move as if someone were fast forwarding a tape.  The Slayers got up and formed a line past the coffin so they could each pay their final respects to Drake’s older brother.

 

I didn’t even know he had an older brother, Porter thought.  Finally, when the line had dwindled down to nothing, the large man took his place at the pulpit again.

 

“James was my eldest son,” he said, though Porter couldn’t see anything remotely mournful about him.  He looked like somebody had insulted his wife, not murdered his child.  “Because of his untimely demise, it is with a heavy heart that I must pass the inheritance of leadership from him to his younger brother, Drake.”

 

A symphony of concerned mutters rose from the mourners, and all eyes turned to Drake.  His face turned red, and he shuffled his feet awkwardly.

 

“May he lead you well in times to come,” the large man said, but Porter didn’t miss the scornful glare he shot at Drake.  This, he guessed, must have been Edward Mortoph.

 

Again, the scene went dark.  He heard Sarah’s frightened breathing beside him, and he gave her hand a reassuring squeeze.

 

“Why is he showing us this?” she asked.

 

“I don’t know,” Porter admitted.  “Just be ready.  He didn’t bring us here just to scare us.  He wants to kill us.”

 

“How are we going to fight him?  It’s like he’s all powerful in here!”  Before Porter could answer, another scene appeared around them.

 

“You’ve doomed us, Edward.”

 

“What choice did I have, Alexander?”

 

Porter and Sarah were standing in the corridor of Red Castle, right outside the Master Slayer’s office.  It was dark, the only light coming from underneath the door.

 

“You know the tradition just like I do,” Edward’s voice said again, muffled by the door.  His words were slurring, as if he’d been drinking heavily. “As long as the Master Slayer has a son, his title can not be passed to anyone else!”

 

“Sometimes tradition must be done away with,” the other voice said. “Our numbers are low, Edward.  Red Castle’s ranks haven’t been this desolate in centuries, and the men know this.  Morale was already low, and by telling them that Drake of all people is going to be their leader—”

 

“Shut up!” Edward yelled, followed by what sounded like a fist striking a table.  A crash followed as his glass fell to the floor and shattered. “You think I don’t know this, Alexander?  You think I haven’t considered everything that passing my title on to my spineless, failure of a son means?”

 

There was silence for a few seconds, and then the other voice asked, “Then you agree something needs to be done?”

 

Edward sighed. “Leave it to me.  I will deal with this.”

 

A shiver ran down Porter’s spine.  Though no threat had been spoken out loud, it was clear what the Master Slayer was plotting.  Beside him, he felt similar shock pierce Sarah’s heart.

 

A whimper came from their right, and they both spun around with a gasp to find that they weren’t alone in the hallway.  Drake stood there too, leaning heavily against the wall.  His hands were clamped over his mouth, but that couldn’t stop the way he was shaking like a leaf in the wind.  In the dim light, Porter could even see tears running down Drake’s cheeks.

 

For half a second, Porter felt genuine sympathy for him.

 

But then the scene changed again, and Porter’s gut clenched in fright when he saw what was before him.  It was still dark, but this was a deeper, colder darkness.  The only light came from a ring of red candles illuminating the black stone walls of the tiny room they were in.  In the center of the ring sat Drake Mortoph, still young and scrawny, and now completely naked, which let Porter get a sense of just how much he had grown over the years.

 

Drake knelt with his hands and head raised, and his eyes closed.  On the ground was a strange circular symbol, drawn so that it touched each of the candles.  It was red, as if it had been drawn in blood.  Porter’s blood ran cold when he saw that the wrist on Drake’s left arm had been sliced, and blood was still spilling from the vein.  His two forefingers on his right hand were stained with blood, where he had wet them to draw the symbol.

 

“This is bad,” Sarah whispered ominously.  “He’s doing dark magic.  Very dark magic.”

 

After a few seconds of sitting idle, Drake opened his mouth and began to chant.  The words sounded old and foreign, so old that Porter got the distinct feeling that there was nobody on earth who truly knew what they meant.  They were obviously magical, because the smoke from the candles immediately started to swirl around the ceiling in a spiral.  As he chanted, Drake raised his fingers to his bleeding wrist again, and then began to draw more symbols— this time on his own body.  Within minutes, his skin was covered with red patterns, some swirling, others jagged.  Never once did he lower his head or open his eyes.

 

He stopped abruptly, and the room fell silent.  Drake himself didn’t even seem to be breathing.  The smoke swirling around the ceiling began to gather into a single point and slowly drifted down to settle on the floor before Drake.  The pillar of smoke was as tall as a man, and at the top it narrowed down, looking like a pair of shoulders with a head on top of them.  A pair of eyes opened in the face, their glow casting scarlet light onto Drake as he knelt before it, never looking at it.

 

Again, the same sense of fear Porter had felt before flooded the room.  It was as if that column of smoke, whatever it was, was radiating the emotion.

 

“Why have you summoned me?” the smoke creature asked, its voice cold, like glaciers colliding.

 

“I- I need your help,” Drake answered, unable to keep his voice from shaking.  “I’ve heard stories about… about…  spirit guides.”

 

The smoke loomed closer.  “And why is it that I am here?”

 

“The ancient texts,” Mortoph explained.  “They told me you were incredibly powerful.  Are incredibly powerful.  If anyone can help me right now, it’s you.”

 

The creature drifted closer and asked. “Do you even know who you are speaking to, boy?”

 

“No,” Drake admitted.  “The texts wouldn’t say your name.  But out of all the spirits I could have summoned, you were the strongest.  That’s why you have to help me!”

 

There was a moment of silence, and Porter almost thought that the shadowy figure was going to destroy Drake then and there.  It certainly had enough power to do so.  Instead, it laughed, a sound so cold that caused frost to form on the floor below it.

 

“I know who you are, boy,” it said.  “I know what you are.  What makes you think that I will aid you in such a quest?”

 

“Because you’re trapped in there, aren’t you?” Drake asked.  “That dimension you’re in­— you can’t get out.  You’re still there now.  I only summoned your spirit, right?”

 

The smoke monster’s eyes widened, but it kept its composure.  “What are you suggesting?  That you will free my body if I help you?”

 

“No,” Drake said, “but I can give you a new one.”

 

This time, there was no hiding the creature’s excitement.  It surged towards the young Mortoph, blasting a wave of terror at him in the process.  Arms formed out of the column of smoke, and rested on the Slayer’s shoulders.  Drake shuddered, and Porter saw the skin where he was being touched turning blue.

 

“If you are lying to me, human, I will be very angry,” it said, its voice a harsh, desperate whisper.  “Do not think that I cannot destroy you just because I am only here in spirit.”

 

Drake gulped a lungful of air, obviously having second thoughts.

 

No! Porter thought desperately.  Don’t do it!

 

He didn’t know what this creature was, or why Drake had thought it would help him, but he did know that it was evil.  He also knew that, as vivid as it was, he was only watching a memory.  He knew what was going to happen, and he knew there was nothing he could do to stop it.

 

“I can’t do this on my own,” Drake said at last.  “I’m too weak.  I need your help.”

 

“And you would willingly give yourself to me in exchange for my assistance?” the creature pressed him.

 

“Yes,” Drake said.

 

“All of you will belong to me,” it insisted.  “Body and soul.  Do you accept this as well?”

 

“I do,” Drake agreed with a quick nod of his head.

 

Open your eyes! Porter urged him.  Look at it!  Look at what you’re dealing with!

 

But Drake didn’t open his eyes.  He remained kneeling before the ghastly apparition as its eyes glowed even brighter in eager anticipation of what it knew was coming.

 

“Tell me, then,” it said.  “Welcome me into your body.”

 

“I… I…”  Drake hesitated for a moment, but he knew that he was long past the point of no return.  “I welcome you into my body.  Give me the strength and power I need to lead the Slayers!”

 

That was all the encouragement the spirit needed.  Before the words had even finished leaving Drake’s mouth, it threw itself at him, becoming a formless tentacle of smoke once again.  It flew straight into the Slayer’s mouth and down his throat.  Drake’s eyes flew open, and he grabbed at his throat, choking.  In less than a minute, he had swallowed every puff of smoke in the room.  His skin turned ashen, and he collapsed, writhing on the floor.

 

“Stop struggling!” the monster’s voice came from the young man’s mouth.  “You promised me your body, now give it to me!”

 

Drake thrashed for a minute, but his struggles slowly grew weaker as the spirit took control.  Finally, he lay still, gasping for air.  Then he laughed, a long, loud laugh with enough power to shake the walls.

 

“I am free!” the creature shouted from within Mortoph’s body.  “Free!”

 

Slowly, it got to its feet, examining its new body.  It was skinny and weak, and the spirit was obviously displeased with it.

 

“You want strength, child?” it asked out loud.  “Very well, then.  How is this?”

 

Drake’s body began to grow.  With the absence of clothes, Porter was able to see every muscle in his body swell to more than four times their original size.  He grew taller, and his ratty brown hair lengthened until it had the regal look he still had in the present.  A neatly trimmed beard sprouted on his face as well, making the young man look startlingly mature.

 

“The body of an Olympian,” the creature said.  “Too bad you will never get to use it.”

 

It flexed Mortoph’s arms, and clothing materialized over his body, as if stitching itself out of the shadows around him.  Black pants, a white shirt, and a long, flowing black coat.  The thing inside Mortoph’s body pulled the coat tighter around Drake’s torso, and then smiled.

 

“I promised you I would help you lead the Slayers,” it said.  As it spoke, its gravelly, inhuman voice faded away, being replaced by that of its host.  “Which means the first thing we’ll have to do is get rid of dear old Daddy.”

 

With an impressive swish of his coat, the thing that looked like Drake Mortoph turned and made its way out of the room.  For a moment, Porter thought he was walking through the corridor in his mind, but then he recognized the foul, rotten stench in the air.

 

They were in Reaper’s Wait.

 

Drake quickly made his way up the spiral passage until he emerged into Red Castle, where he paused, relishing the moment, before setting off towards the Master Slayer’s office.  An evil smile stretched across his face as he turned the knob and entered without bothering to knock.  Edward Mortoph stood up behind his desk, ready to rebuke him for coming in without permission, but then his face went slack with shock.

 

“Hello, Father,” the spirit said to him in his son’s voice.  “How are you this afternoon?”

 

“Drake?” Edward asked incredulously.  “What happened to you?”

 

“This is the new me, Father,” Drake said, spreading his arms so he could see his newly grown muscles. “Do you like it?”

 

“How did you do this?” Edward asked, coming around his desk to take a closer look.

 

“You always told me that I would have to become strong,” Drake answered, a proud and sly grin on his face.  “That’s exactly what I’ve done.”

 

“But how?” Edward persisted.

 

“Isn’t it amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it?” Drake asked.

 

Edward backed away from his son, and realized that now he would have to tilt his head back to look him in the eye.  He appeared to be nervous— and for good reason, Porter thought.

 

“Tell me what you did, son,” Edward said slowly.  “This isn’t natural.  How did you do it?”

 

Instead of answering, Drake took a step closer to his father.  “There’s something I need to discuss with you.  Two days ago, you named me your inheritor.  When you die, I will take command of the Slayers.  Am I correct?”

 

Edward nodded slowly, and Porter noticed how his hand was inching towards the inside of his coat, as if he were reaching for a weapon.

 

“Of course,” he said.  “You were there.  You heard me say it.”

 

“Ah, good,” Drake said.  “I just wanted to make sure.”

 

With that, he released a wave of terror at his father like nothing Porter had ever felt before, so powerful that Edward was blasted backwards by the sheer force of it.  His eyes opened so wide in terror that the skin around them split, spilling bloody tears down the sides of his face.  He opened his mouth and released a scream that spoke of horrors unfathomable to the human mind.  And as he stood there, pressed against the wall of his office, his hair turned from its natural black to spotless, snowy white. 

 

“I’m sorry, Father,” Drake taunted him, an amused smile on his face.  “I can’t hear quite hear you.  Could you repeat that a little louder?”

 

Though Porter hadn’t thought it possible, the fear became even stronger.  Even though it was being directed at the Master Slayer, Porter had to put his hand on the nearby wall to keep from falling to his knees.  Edward’s screams rose even higher in pitch, and his eyes rolled back into his head.  His skin turned white until it was the same shade as his hair, which was now falling out in large clumps.  And then, abruptly, he went silent.  The fear was cut off, and Edward fell forward, face-down onto the floor of his office.  He never moved again.

 

Drake stood over his father’s corpse, and inhaled through his nose, as if appreciating a tantalizing scent.

 

“Aah,” he said, rolling his head back in relish.  “It has been too long!”

 

With that, he stepped over the fallen Master Slayer and took his place behind the desk.  A few seconds later, Porter heard the sound of footsteps racing down the hallway, and two other Slayers burst into the office.

 

“Master Mortoph!” one said quickly.  “We heard screaming, and…”

 

Then he saw the former Master Slayer lying dead on the floor, his skin and hair as pale as a ghost’s, and he recoiled.

 

“Gentlemen,” Drake said from behind the desk, “I’m glad you’re here.”

 

“Drake?” the other Slayer asked, unable to believe what he was seeing.

 

“It seems a tragic fate has befallen my father,” Drake went on.  “Please remove his body and inform the rest of the Slayers that they now have a new Master.”

 

The two Slayers looked down at their fallen leader again, and then back to Drake.

 

“What happened to him?” one of them dared to ask.

 

A cold look came into Drake’s eyes, warning them not to ask any more questions.  “It would appear,” he said, “that he was scared to death.”

 

The Slayers shivered, undoubtedly from a wave of fear Drake had thrown at them, and then nodded.  Wordlessly, they picked up Edward Mortoph’s body and carried him away.  When the door of his office was closed again, Drake swiveled his chair to face a mirror that hung on the wall and grinned.

 

“Isn’t this what you wanted, Drake?” he asked his reflection.  “Now you’re in charge of the Slayers, and you have the strength and power to lead them.   You should be happy.”

 

With a chuckle, he stood up and made his way over to the mirror.  “Of course, happiness has never been my favorite emotion.  I hate it, in fact.  As you’ve probably guessed, fear is what I live for— what I live off of.  Right now, locked deep inside your own mind where nobody can possibly reach you, you are terrified of what you’ve unleashed.  That terror is like caviar to me, Drake.  It feeds me like mortal food never could.”

 

He took a step backwards and ran his eyes over his new body.  “The Slayers’ mission is to destroy all Mythic life on the planet.  That’s not how it began, though.  They were originally formed to dethrone the rightful ruler of this world.  Once upon a time, you humans were nothing more than slaves.”  He grinned, and his eyes lit up the same blood-red that the smoke creature had displayed earlier.  “How ironic, that the Slayers are now being led by the same creature their ancestors fought so hard to defeat.”

 

With a decisive motion, he turned from the mirror and sat down behind his desk again.  “Our first order of business is to recruit new Slayers.  As I understand it, your numbers lately have been dwindling.  Don’t worry, I have a plan that will make the Slayers an army worth fearing once again.”

 

He paused, the tension in the room growing more suffocating with each passing second, and then he said, “I will give you what you want, child.  I will win the war your father, and your grandfather, and your great grandfather failed to bring an end to.  And then I will unleash myself onto the world once more, and regain my rightful place as ruler.  Then the days of Uthas Drall shall return!”

 

It can’t be…

 

Once more, the scene around them faded, but this time Mortoph remained.  Still sitting behind his desk, Porter realized that he was now looking directly at him and Sarah.  Porter began to back away, making sure keep himself between Sarah and Mortoph.

 

“Now do you see?” Mortoph asked.  He stood up, and with a wave of his hand his desk dissipated into fog.  “Everything you have done is pointless.  There is no way you can win this battle.  I am no mortal man.”  He spread his arms again, and began to grow.

 

“Look out!” Porter shouted.  He grabbed Sarah’s arm and pulled her away just as the Master Slayer’s foot came down to crush them.

 

“I am a god!” Mortoph howled, his voice changing to become the ancient, evil voice of the Fear Feeder.  “I am Uthas Drall, Lord of Fear, and Creator of Terror.  I cannot be defeated!”

 

Terror attacked Porter from all around him.  He struggled to stay on his feet, and Sarah was screaming behind him.  Half of him wanted to run, but the other half knew that running would do no good.  Instead, he turned away from the thing wearing Mortoph’s body and looked at Sarah.  Tears were running down her face, and freezing on her cheeks.  Icy winds tore at her hair and wings, making it difficult for her to stand.

 

“Sarah, we can do this!” he shouted over the winds.  “Don’t give in.  Stay with me!”

 

“Fool!” Uthas Drall’s voice rang out behind him.  “Even now, you think you can win?  Give up now, child, and spare yourself the torment!”

 

“We can beat you!” Porter insisted, turning back to face the Fear Feeder.  “Someone did it before!”

 

“Barlock Vestiger,” Mortoph growled. “He exploited my only weakness, but even he could not kill me.  He could only banish me.  You are a boy, Porter.  A child!  What do you think you can do?”

 

“I… I...” Porter began, but realized he had no answer.  Compared to the might of Uthas Drall, what could he do?  He couldn’t back down now, though.  Not after everything he’d been through!

 

Suddenly, he felt Sarah’s hand alight on his shoulder, and he turned to see her standing beside him.  The look on her face was no longer one of fear, but one of determination.  Inside, Porter knew she was afraid— but it was a different type of fear.

 

“We can fight you!” she shouted at the giant Slayer.  “That’s what we’ve been doing all along.  That’s why we’re not dead.  You just didn’t want us to realize that!”

 

Mortoph’s brow creased in anger, and he took a step towards them.  “Insolent girl.  You flatter yourself.”

 

“I know what your weakness is,” Sarah insisted, refusing to back down.  “It’s the same thing you feed off of: fear!”

 

This gave Mortoph pause, and Porter swore he saw a glint of uncertainty in his eyes.

 

“You feed on the fear that immobilizes people,” Sarah went on.  “The kind that makes them too afraid to do anything.  But there’s another kind of fear.  The kind people feel for others.  Porter felt it before when he came to my rescue.  That kind of fear drives people to act.  You can’t feed off that, because it’s being used against you.”

 

“Shut up!” Mortoph commanded her, but he still took a step away from her.

 

“That’s how Barlock defeated you, isn’t it?” she demanded, her hair whipping chaotically around her head in the wind.  “He wasn’t afraid of what you could do to him, he was afraid of what you would do if he failed!  It wasn’t enough to kill you, but it was enough to banish you.”

 

“Silence!” Uthas Drall roared.

 

“That’s what we’ll use against you!” Sarah persisted, taking another step closer to him.  She began to glow again.  “The fear you can’t feed off of.  We can still beat you, Uthas Drall.  That’s why you’re trying to kill us here, because you don’t want us to meet you face to face.  Because you know there’s still a chance that you could lose!”

 

Her words gave Porter strength.  Her hand was still on his shoulder, but he reached up and took it in his own.  He began to glow again as well.  The Master Slayer still terrified him, but he was no longer afraid for himself.  Sarah couldn’t hold the Fear Feeder off on her own for long.  He had to help her.

 

“Get back, Drall!” he shouted, and the command hit Mortoph like a punch to the gut.  The Master Slayer stumbled backwards, but kept his footing. “This is my mind!  Mine, not yours.  I’m the one in control here, not you, and I’m telling you to stop this now!”

 

“You- you can’t make me!” Mortoph said, backing away from him.  “I am—”

 

“Not a god!” Porter finished for him.  “You’re a parasite.  A leech!  If we take away what you feed on, you’re powerless.”

 

“You can’t take that away,” Mortoph insisted.  “There will always be fear!”

 

“Get on your knees,” Porter commanded him.

 

Though Porter could scarcely believe it, Mortoph did as he was told.  The Master Slayer fell to his knees, kneeling before him and Sarah, while the shadows around them faded under their steadily growing light.  The room became white again as Mortoph shrank to the size of a normal man.

 

“You put yourself in here thinking you could use me,” Porter said, stepping up to the Master Slayer.  “Now I’m throwing you out.”

 

Chains exploded from the walls.  Long and thick, they threw themselves at Mortoph like snakes, wrapping themselves around his wrists and ankles before pulling tight.  Mortoph hung suspended a few feet over the floor, unable to move.  He fought against them, but he no longer had the right kind of fear to strengthen him.  He was weak.

 

“You think this is over?” he spat at them, anger lighting his eyes up again.  “I am only a small piece of Uthas Drall.  Tomorrow you will face the real me, and I will crush you both like insects.”  He laughed, but there was no humor in the sound.  “You’ve won a small victory, but in the end it will be meaningless.  There is no hope for you!”

 

Porter knew the Fear Feeder wanted him to react to his threats.  Doing so would reveal how afraid he really was.  Instead, he looked calmly into the Master Slayer’s face, and said, “We’ll see.”

 

He flexed his hand, and this time Flicker appeared in it.  Whether it was the real Flicker or just a figment of Porter's imagination didn't matter.  Porter was the one in control now, not Mortoph.  Without another word, he raised the sword, and plunged it into Mortoph’s chest.  The Master Slayer’s eyes went wide, and his head rolled back.  A gurgle of pain escaped from his throat, and then his body evaporated into smoke.  The chains fell to the floor, no longer having anything to hold on to.

 

Porter turned to look at Sarah, feeling strangely calm about the whole ordeal.  “Are you all right?”

 

By way of answer, she threw her arms around him, squeezing him as tight as she could.

 

“We can do this,” she said into his shoulder, and by the emotions he felt inside of her, he knew she believed it.

 

“Yes,” he agreed, “we can.  But first, we have to wake up.”

 

 

 

(Mortoph)

 

Drake Mortoph opened his eyes.

 

They knew the truth.

 

He was sitting behind his desk in a brooding fashion, hands clasped in front of his face.  He had no need for sleep— or, rather, Uthas Drall had no need for sleep.  Sleep was for mortals, not gods like him.  Even contained within a pathetic fleshy prison like this, he had never once grown weary.  Still, if he pushed it too hard, this body would fall apart just like any human’s would, which led to him requiring the occasional time of rest.

 

He growled under his breath in irritation.  When he had accepted Drake’s offer to possess him, he had seen it as a means to escape his interdimensional prison.  It had never occurred to him that in doing so, he would merely be moving himself from one prison to another— and this one was even harder to escape than the last.  If this prison were to be destroyed, he would die with it.  And, of course, he couldn’t even try to escape until he’d fulfilled his promise to Drake.  The stupid little man had brought him forth from his eternal prison in exchange for him bringing an end to the Mythics.  Even to a god, an oath like that was unbreakable.

 

He clenched his fist and resisted the urge to turn his desk into a pile of splinters.  He needed to escape— he would escape.  Drake had been a good host, but his usefulness was limited.  Uthas Drall needed a new body, a body that could harbor the power he truly needed to take back what was his.

 

With a sigh, he calmed himself and stood up, heading for the door.  That would be a problem to address later.  Porter’s knowledge of his true identity was troubling, but nothing that couldn’t be dealt with.  He was, after all, only a child.  The small victory within his mind would make him overconfident.  If there was anything that could destroy a human, Uthas Drall had found that it was confidence.  It made one sloppy.  Only an insecure man had the capability of realizing his true potential.

 

Unless, of course, one was a god, like him.  Then confidence was to be expected.

 

Opening the door, he strode through the halls of Red Castle until he caught a Slayer passing in the opposite direction.

 

“Master Mortoph,” his underling said, snapping smartly to attention.  Uthas Drall almost smiled.  It was almost like before, all these mortals bowing to his superiority.  If they only knew who it was they were truly serving…

 

“Bring me a video camera,” he ordered.  “I need to send a message.”

 

 

NEXT TIME: Now Porter and Sarah know the truth, and they might be in even more trouble than they ever realized.  They’re not just up against the Slayers and the Mythic army anymore, now they have to deal with Uthas Drall, the ancient lord of terror as well.  Maybe they can do it, maybe they can’t.  Whatever happens, it all ends in just a few hours…

FOLLOW ME

  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic