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Trapped in Dark Astoria
Part Four – Begin the Future
City of Heroes Fiction

By Eli J. Litzelman


    The Adamastor snarled and thrust his hand down into the earth.  Sinking six feet into the slightly moist ground, the monster’s hand narrowly missed RoboZon.  The hero had hoped to keep his friends from the danger by taking the giant head-on, but if the prophecy was true, nothing could prevent the world’s end.  Even with this in mind, he fought on.  RoboZon pushed off the ground and launched himself into the air.  Rolling sideways, he avoided another swing from the giant and turned his course back to the beast’s head.  The Adamastor opened his mouth wide as the hero approached.  Flipping over, RoboZon was just in time to avoid the gaping jaws and pushed off the angered creature’s front two teeth.  As he came up, his head went into the green flame that radiated from the Adamastor’s eyes.  RoboZon was knocked backward and began to plummet.  Dazed and blinded, the legendary hero knew his time had come.  A giant hand batted him out of the air and into a wall.  The same hand picked him up, lifted him to head level, and let out a mighty roar.  Confused and lost, RoboZon fought to stay conscious, but the unrelenting noise and the pain of his bones crushing together was too much.  His head sagged to the side and he passed out.

***

    Archer of Ramesses exited the large room where his former apprentice had met his demise.  Following him closely was Daughter of the Wood and Katie Blackwell.  If they were going to make it out of this place alive they had to hope RoboZon’s distraction would work, but chances were still slim.  They rounded the corner and saw a group of four zombies coming their way.  The archer shot the first two and the small green heroine sliced the next two with her katana.  They began on their journey again. 

    The hostage - Katie - suddenly stopped and Archer of Ramesses turned to look at her.  “Is something wrong?”

    “Archer… I…” Her eyes then rolled back into her head and she fainted.  The Egyptian caught her before she hit the ground, thrust her over his shoulder, and they continued on.  They had to get out.  How far to the exit?  It was impossible to tell.  Must move forward.  Cannot stop, not now.  Once again, however, their path was blocked.  A totem stood between them and possible freedom.  Daughter of the Wood lunged forward and thrust her sword down upon her foe.  The blade hit with a dull thunk.  Thrusting his sharp wooden finger upwards, the mystical being irritably stabbed the heroine in the abdomen and out through her back.

    “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” screamed Archer of Ramesses as he unleashed a ball of flame with his free hand.  The blaze struck the villain and set him on fire.  Screaming an ear-piercing wail, the totem ran off into the darkness.  Throwing his injured apprentice over his other shoulder, the Egyptian archer trudged slowly through the extending darkness.  He must resist the weariness.  Must press forward.  Must find escape.  For the third time, the archer looked up to see opposition ahead of him.  Four shamen turned their gaze simultaneously down upon their victim.  Archer of Ramesses stared right back at them.  is piercing gaze challenging them.  Squaring his jaw, the Egyptian prepared himself.  The mystics were amazed by his reaction to being out numbered and out powered, but they still held their ground.  Charging ahead, the ancient hero let loose with a wild howl.  Closer and closer he came to his surprised adversaries.  The gap between them narrowed to the point where it almost did not exist.  Just before his clasping hands could reach his enemies a powerful wind lifted him off his feet and threw him backwards.  As he landed his head smashed against a rock.  Blood began to soak his headdress and his vision was severely blurred.  The last things he saw before his eyes closed into darkness were the shamen looking over him.

***

    The head shaman looked at his still reflection in a small pool of water.  He dunked his hands and rubbed them slowly together.  Upon examination, he realized that he was trembling.  Shaking his head, he tried to calm himself.  He heard a hushed sound in the water and looked down.  A little ripple was spreading across the clear liquid.  He felt his forehead.  Sweat.  He ignored his nervousness and splashed his face.  Taking out a tray of paint, he began to draw complicated patterns on his face.  At one point his hand slipped and he got some in his eye.  He blinked several times and gritted his teeth.  Paying no attention to the tiny sting, he continued to watch himself in the pool while he painted.  His dark eyes shifted; someone was coming.  “Yes,” he said bluntly.

    A young mystic spoke, “The prisoners have escaped.”

    Continuing to draw, the leading mystic replied, “Retrieve them.”

    “We already have, Master.”

    “Then why bother me,” he thought.  Sighing, he said, “And the warrior?”

    “At this very moment he is being bound to the pillar.”

    “Very good.  Make sure they are all conscious.  They need to be for the ceremony.”

    “I will see to it personally, my brother.”

    This was an outrage, one of such a low rank calling him “brother.”  He turned around and commanded, “Leave!”

    The messenger gave a quick nod and rushed away.  The head shaman mumbled under his breath, “Pathetic.”  He finished painting and studied his appearance.  He was unsatisfied, but it would have to do.  The time had come.  He stood up, brushed the dirt off of his body, and strode to the hostages’ chamber.

***

    RoboZon felt a splash of cold water on his face.  He gasped for breath and his eyes burst open.  He was alive.  He noticed immediately Archer of Ramesses, Daughter of the Wood, and Katie Blackwell were also there and, like him, they had been doused with water.  The second thing he noticed was that his suit was gone.  Having a little more forethought this time, the mystics had stripped him, leaving him naked and shivering in the cold.  He looked back over to Katie.  It did not matter that she was dirty and tired, to him she looked beautiful.  His chest tightened and tears welled up in his eyes.  Too bad it had to end like this. 

    Suddenly, everything became dead silent.  The distant sound of footsteps became closer and closer.  The head shaman stepped into the center of the chamber.  He looked up into the sky and called, “BEGIN THE FUTURE!”  From all ends of the cavern a cheer rose.  “OUR TIME HAS COME! WE WILL RULE THIS WORLD!”  The cheer grew into a roar.  The mystic started to chant in a forgotten language.  As he continued to chant, the walls of the cave began to move.  Slowly at first, but before long they were rushing by.  Launching through time and space, the shaman and his hostages coursed ever downward toward the underworld. 

    RoboZon and his companions screamed out for mercy.  Their very life forces were being torn from their bodies.  Unbearable pain surged through all of them, but they were not given the comfort of unconsciousness.  RoboZon jerked his head to the side and looked at Katie.  She was looking at him.  The hero remembered the vision.  But, this was somehow different.  Her hair was blowing in a different direction; smudges on her face were in different places, and, the most different of all, were her eyes.  They were consumed with darkness; not even the white remained.  Looking into them felt like looking into eternity.  Unexpectedly, her mystical entanglements came loose.  She walked to the center of the amphitheater.  He saw the shaman mouth the words “Impossible.”  She extended both hands in the air and uttered an unintelligible phrase.  Netherworld energy blasted from her hands and spread throughout the room in a flash.  Everyone was completely blinded, but when the darkness cleared, it revealed four shaking individuals in an empty cave with an open roof.  She collapsed. 


    TO PART 5 >       


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