Arsha and Delselii walked along the edge of the Vorsholstein estate. “Your Black Disc is missing?” asked Arsha. “Why do you have that evil thing in the first place?”
“It serves as a constant reminder to my family,” explained Delselii. “If we ever take the easy way out to get information, it will unravel our soul.”
“So it’s never been used?”
“Not since the days Homunculi were adopted into the Divine Ones’ watchful gaze.”
“Captain!” called a voice. The voice’s owner, Malak, then approached them. “Captain, has there been any word from Dalengor?”
“I’m afraid not,” replied Arsha. “If this goes any longer, we’ll send someone to retrieve her.”
“Captain!” called Bashoon as she approached them. “To the North! A Shadow Dragon and their Drow rider!”
“Dalengor was supposed to come from the north,” recalled Arsha. “Has the Shadow Dragon given any sign?”
“It used Realmfleet Hand Code to give us the serial number. It matches Dalengor’s.”
“Where is she?”
“Flying along the northern shores.”
“Let’s go meet her, then. I’ve never seen her bestial form.”
Arsha and her group found the Shadow Dragon and Realmfleet soldiers training their wands on her just in case. Arsha motioned for the soldiers to stand down and allow the Shadow Dragon to land. The Shadow Dragon took the hint and landed as the Rider dismounted. Arsha fixed her gaze on the Shadow Dragon. The Shadow Dragon then tucked its forearms. Arsha did the same, then they touched elbows and then performed jazz-hands. Arsha grinned at the Shadow Dragon. “So, were you successful, Dalengor?”
“More than that!” replied the Shadow Dragon, Dalengor. “I managed to start a coup against Ank-tu! Turns out he was a bastard child and his second-in-command, Dotan, seized command according to ancient law. Ank-tu lost support when he revealed his origins to Tanta and now both Drows and Shadow Dragons are joining us against Oyed!”
“Then the time to retake Realmgate City is now!” cheered Bashoon.
“Malak, Bashoon, inform our forces that…” Arsha’s order was interrupted by Mordek coming up to them.
“What’s going on here?!” demanded the Fire God. “What is that snake doing here?!”
“Telling everyone that the plan worked,” answered Dalengor as she shrunk down. “The Shadow Dragons and Drows are now against Oyed! They never liked the idea of eternal war and they’re uneasy working with Revenants! The plan also has an added benefit of gaining a weapon to return the Revenants to a strictly-living state!”
“Do you have proof of that?”
“…I only have my word and the word of Tantu, my rider.” Tantu waved.
“The word of a Shadow Dragon and a Drow is worthless!” Mordek summoned his hammer. “When I created your races and gave you my commandments, I trusted you to follow them, and you betrayed me!”
“Our ancestors did, yes. But, we’ve long sought redemption.”
“Lies, Lizard! You are a puppet and Oyed is your master!” Tantu then stepped between Mordek and Dalengor, her eyes conveying her plea for Mordek to listen. “Spout your falsehoods elsewhere, Drow! Oyed will not entrap us!”
“It’s no trap!” said Dalengor. “The Shadow Dragons and Drows await us at Realmgate City!”
“Lord Mordek, please!” begged Malak. “We should listen to her!”
“Dalengor’s legendary for telling the truth!” supplied Bashoon.
“There is only one way to be sure!” Mordek then took out a disc of black crystal from his pocket and thrust if forward, firing black lightning from it and shocking Dalengor and Tantu. The pain was excruciating.
“My family’s Black Disc!” called Delselii. “You took it?!”
“I’m the only one who can wield it safely! Now, lizard! The truth!”
“Mordek, stop this!” protested Arsha as she got between Mordek and his targets.
“Step aside, Arsha!” Mordek shoved her aside.
“Put that thing down! It’s been banned for a reason! It’s too dark for anyone! It’s an illegal torture…!” Arsha’s pleas were interrupted as Mordek fired the Black Disc on her. As she writhed in pain, Mordek stood over her in a wrathful manner.
“Our time has run out! I do what I must to save the Realms!” Once the treatment ended, Arsha started picking herself up, only for Mordek to interrupt by blasting the ground near her with fire. “Stay down!” For once, Arsha disobeyed a God and stood up!
“This is not the way! Dalengor is not the enemy here, Oyed is!”
“Arsha, do NOT interfere!” Unfortunately, Arsha did nothing BUT interfere. She charged at Mordek, firing magic blasts left, right, and center to knock Mordek off his feet. Mordek leapt into the air, summoned his hammer, and slammed it to the ground, creating a shockwave that knocked everyone down. “Do not force my hand, Arsha Royana! The Realms hang in the balance! To defend them, I MUST command order from all races!”
“I never thought I would get to this point,” hissed Arsha, “but now I understand why the Shadow Dragons and Drows broke faith with you! You can’t be trusted!”
“I don’t need trust! I demand obedience!” Mordek was surrounded by fire.
“I’ve heard enough! If I must break faith with you to save the Realms…so be it!”
“Sound…familiar…Mordek?” strained Dalengor. Mordek snarled…then his memory went to different fights. His first ever fight against his children was when they were threatened by famine. The only way back then was to use a gem known as the Stone of Bounty to replenish their lands. Mordek tried to get a Shadow Dragon and Drow to stop their approach.
“Tan-ku, Rekta, do not interfere! The Stone is not ready yet!” The two mortals weren’t listening.
“Our people starve, and you would deny us the chance to save them?!” roared the Shadow Dragon, Tan-ku. He and the Drow, Priestess Rekta, summoned their darkest energies.
“Tan-ku! Rekta! Stop! Your people WILL be…!”
“I’f heart enough!” snarled Rekta. “If we must break fait wit you to safe our people, so be it!” The two then charged at Mordek, then the scene changed to Mortak Royana, Arsha’s first ancestor and the Queen of the Mid-realm. Mortak and those of her skin tone were suppressed for too long in the Mid-realm. Mordek was trying to dissuade Mortak from the revolution she had organized.
“Mortak, do not interfere! I’m still giving my testimony to the Mid-realm Council!”
“My brothers and sisters toil in their fields and only get the scraps,” snarled Mortak, “and you would ignore us like this!”
“This revolt will only cause despair across the…”
“I’ve heard enough! If I must break faith with you to save my friends and family, so be it!” Mortak charged at the Fire God, making the scene change one last time to when a male Zephyr was fighting against a horde of Depths-spawn as the War of the Depths began.
“Zemfar, do not interfere! You must allow us to handle this!” Mordek ordered the Zephyr. Zemfar wasn’t listening as he generated lightning. “Zemfar! No! You’ll die if you do this!”
“The Depths have opened up and you would let its spawn ravage the Realms?” snarled Zemfar. “That would make your father’s job easier!”
“Zemfar, I beg you! There is no chance of you sending even one of them back to the Depths! Let us…!”
“I’ve heard enough! If I must break faith with you to save the Over-realm, so be it!” Zemfar charged at Mordek, causing the scene to return to the present as Mordek collapsed. He panted heavily as he tried to make sense of it all…then horror at what he did and said washed over his face.
“…Lord Mordek?” asked Delselii.
“…Dr. Vorsholstein, take this back,” mumbled the Fire God as he handed the Black Disc back.
“Lord Mordek, what’s going on?” asked Arsha tentatively.
“Arsha Royana, you and your friends are the first to hear me acknowledge my sins,” answered Mordek. This surprised everyone. “I’ve been a fool, a puppet to rash actions. Arsha, I have personally wronged your family when they led other Black people in a revolt against those that enslaved them. I have wronged Zemfar when he died for his people. …I have wronged the Shadow Dragons and Drows by not helping them through their famine. I simply turned my backs to them all because they didn’t follow my orders. …I am a terrible father to my children.” He turned to Dalengor and Tantu, still on the ground, hurting from the Black Disc. Mordek got up and summoned fire in his hands. “I must save them!” He stretched his arms out and let the fire envelop the two. Surprisingly, the fire didn’t burn them, they only felt warmth as their pain and injuries were washed away. The fire then went out and Mordek helped them up. “Dalengor Mardem, I was wrong to doubt you. I have allowed my old prejudices to interfere with my judgement. It was wrong of me to break faith with your people when their leaders tried to save them from disaster. It was wrong of me to call you failures when I have been failing the Realms by breaking faith with them too many times. I was wrong…I was wrong. …I…I don’t know how I can make it up to the Drows and Shadow Dragons and…and I understand if you feel I am undeserving of worship in your eyes.”
“If you wish to atone,” answered Dalengor, “then help us retake Realmgate City!”
“…I will be on the front lines for the battle,” promised Mordek.
“Bashoon, Malak, as I’ve said before, inform our forces that we’re moving out,” ordered Arsha. “Delselii, the paperwork to stay on the Endeavor has been approved. Elmar extends his eagerness to work with you.”
“And I, him!” chuckled Delselii.
“Everyone, move out!” ordered Arsha. They all returned to the Endeavor.