The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 4: Trials of Light and Dark)

3 Realms 4-13

“How is this POSSIBLE?!” roared Oyed as the evacuation to the Mid-realm was completed. “Two of the darkest races, having long turned their backs on the Divine Ones, and yet we STILL lost the Under-realm after they switched sides!” He then fired blasts of energy all around him. Thankfully, no one was around and nothing of value was destroyed, so he could rant as long as necessary. It took a good 5 minutes until he calmed down. “Okay, deep breath. There are still the Manticores and Sphinxes to consider. Now, remember what Tormo told you, the Sphinxes have been discovered and they’re getting aid in regard to the barrier keeping them from any civilized areas. The Manticores still have the key, so you can easily convince them to join you. It will be easier to keep them than the Drows and Shadow Dragons…”

“NINCOMPOOPS! ALL OF YOU!” roared Shefarn’s voice. Oyed stopped and followed the voice to see Shefarn berating a group of people. “YOU DIDN’T PURGE ANY DATA WHATSOEVER?!”

“We didn’t have time!” protested a Robot. “We had to leave immediately!”

“What’s going on?” asked Oyed.

“You know the evacuation of Plunder Island Stronghold?” asked Shefarn.

“…What about it?”

“They didn’t purge any sensitive data, not even our current location!”

“WHAT?!” Oyed was livid! “YOU IDIOTS!”

“Hey, cut us some slack!” protested the Robot.

“I’ll cut off your heads for this!”

“We can’t afford any loss of numbers,” called Dr. Borg’s voice as she approached the group. “They will be punished later, my Lord. For now, we must prepare for our meeting with the Manticores.”

“The sooner we get them and the Sphinxes, the happier I’ll be. I HATE deserts!” growled Oyed.

The Endeavor landed on an island right at the southern exit of the Caltem river, the natural border between Aridu and the Regatim Oasis. “Shalvey, open a secure channel to all Captains and route it to my ready room,” ordered Arsha.

“Aye, Captain,” replied Shalvey. Arsha then went to her ready room and sat at her desk.

“Secure channel is being requested for use,” droned the computer. “Please verify your identity.”

“Royana, Arsha. Serial Number 5-5-4-7-9. Captain of the Endeavor, Registry:CRS-2784. Secure Access code 7-9-7-8-7. Priority Alpha.”

“Verification complete. Awaiting input from recipients.” Arsha needed to only wait a few seconds before all Fleet Commanders signaled they were on the channel. Aldarval then appeared.

“Admiral?! You’re getting involved?! The briefing never mentioned that!”

“I wanted it to be a surprise,” answered Aldarval. “Thank you for organizing this, Arsha. This will make the briefing easier.”

“What’s the situation?” asked a Minotaur woman.

“Everyone, are you all in your ready rooms?” asked Aldarval. Everyone confirmed that they were. “Good. What you’re about to hear does not go beyond your rooms unless necessary. Is that clear?”

“Sounds pretty serious,” muttered Arsha as she joined the others in confirming their understanding.

“It is. Everyone, we’ve finally discovered Dr. Borg’s methods in dismantling Realmfleet. The reason she attacked Realmgate City is because any plans involving Realmgates will give her the means to shut our Realmgate network down and build her own. The reason she wants to shut ours down is that it’s interfering with the construction of her larger Realmgates. She’s trying to connect her personal Realmgates to a larger one but wants it to be under her command. The Drows and Shadow Dragons would have destroyed the original ones for her.”

“Good thing they defected so quickly,” said a male Ice Elf.

“However, there ARE other hibernating races throughout the Mid and Over-realms. Both Mid-realm ones are here on the Northern Continent, one I believe Arsha is familiar with.”

“…The Sphinxes?! They’re working for Oyed?!” yelped Arsha.

“More like working for Manticores while the Manticores work for Oyed.”

“Manticores?!” gulped an elderly Mermaid. “You mean lions with large bat-like wings and a scorpion’s tail?!”

“The same.”

“And they’re walking around the Continent?” asked Arsha.

“Not yet.”

“I guess we should find some elephants,” joked the Ice Elf.

“Believe it or not, we DID send an elephant. We’re watching it now to see if the legend about Manticores being unable to kill an elephant are true.”

“And what are we doing during this test?” asked the Mermaid.

“We’re going to try and persuade the Sphinxes to ignore the Manticores and join us.”

“…What about getting the Manticores to join us?” asked the Ice Elf.

“Oyed won’t allow that to happen again with any more races,” answered Arsha. “For all his short-sightedness, he’s good at not repeating mistakes.”

“Which is why time is of the essence,” urged Aldarval. “Arsha, the instant our Protectorate Pirate friends get here, I need you to brief them. Have them join you in a strike against the Manticores from the inside. I will lead half the fleet in an external strike. The other half will continue to work on the Sphinx barrier.”

“It STILL isn’t down?” asked Arsha.

“I’m afraid not, despite all our best efforts.”

“Then the Sphinxes’ nerves are probably frayed. They’ll be prime targets for Oyed to recruit. Are you sure you don’t need me there? I’ve had some experience with them.”

“Merrim’s had more experience since you last saw her. No, I need you on the internal strike.”

“Very well. I’ll make sure our late-comers are briefed…and make sure they don’t tear each other’s throats out.”

“Yeah, they AREN’T exactly on good terms, are they?” remarked the Mermaid.

Back at Plunder Island Stronghold, the cleanup was finished. Reb inspected everything and seemed satisfied. “Well, my darlings,” she purred to her new crew, “it looks like my old home became MORE comfortable than ever! I’d say we all made a SPLENDID choice in becoming Privateers, wouldn’t you agree?” The crew agreed. “Well, I’d say it’s about that time. I need some volunteers to go with me and my DARLING husband to the Mid-realm to do what we can to wipe Oyed’s HEINOUS presence off the face of the Realms. I need 50. Who wishes to go?” Everyone raised their hands. “…All 1,800, I see. MOST difficult. Let’s see…” She went through the rows and checked everyone. Those she chose, she gave a gold coin to. Once all 50 coins had been passed out, she and Melgem led everyone onto her new ship, a small Interceptor-class vessel,the Divine Revenge. The ship was a Mechanica, a male by the name of Divre.

“All decks report ready,” reported Divre.

“And so do we,” declared Reb. “Mr. Alndar, set a course for the nearest Under to Mid Realmgate, then get us to our BELOVED Arsha’s position.”

“Course laid in,” reported Mr. Alndar, the Cecaelia Helmsman.

“Take us up.” The Revenge soon left the island and made its way towards a Realmgate.

The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 4: Trials of Light and Dark)

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While Realmfleet attacked Oyed’s occupation force, Rochak and Weltam awaited orders back at Plunder Island Stronghold. Rochak leaned against a tree, idly looking up at the sky. “…How do you think the siege is going?” he asked Weltam.

“Probably in our side’s favor,” answered the succubus.

“…One hour.”


“That’s how long the siege is gonna last before Realmfleet gives up.”

“No, half an hour.”

“…Winner’s on top tonight?”

“It’s a bet!” The two then shook on it.

“CAPTAIN ROCHAK!” called a pirate. The pirate in question, a Revenant Goblin woman, ran up to them in a panicked state.

“Whoa! Whoa! Slow down! Where’s the fire?” asked Weltam.

“Behind us!” answered the Goblin. “Enemy! Protectorate Pirates! Revenants are dying!”

“How can Revenants die? You’re undead,” remarked Rochak.

“Like so,” answered a voice. “Ensakunde!” The spell hit the Goblin right in the back and she keeled over. The veins faded and Rochak checked for a heartbeat. His eyes widened when he heard none. Weltam then saw someone come out of the trees. The voice’s owner gave a wicked grin as she oozed into view.

“REB?!” yelped Weltam.

“And how are we on this BEAUTIFUL day?” asked Reb Rojam as she adjusted her new coat.

“…I see you succumbed to Legless Syndrome,” remarked Rochak as he pointed to the slime below her waist. Judging by how the slime was shaped, her legs were now consumed by the slime.

“Yes, my legs had to leave,” sighed Reb. “However, the gains outweigh this MINOR inconvenience.”

“Where’d you learn that spell?!” snarled Rochak. Melgem then approached the group.

“From the Drows, if you can believe it,” he purred. “It was quite the interesting bit of serendipity. We had a constant line between us and our new allies.”

“What was the deal? That you would still retain your pirate ways?”

“Pirate? Nay,” replied Reb. “Privateer. Or Protectorate Pirate if you DEARLY wish to be PC about it.”

“You of all people are a Privateer?”

“On a sanctioned, CRUCIAL mission under the authority and protection of the most BELOVED All-realm Crowns.”

“You’ve sunken low, you smug…!” Rochak was stopped by Weltam’s tail.

“I’m SURE the female-exclusive slur that starts with ‘C’ was going to be used, but Weltam had the right idea in stopping you, so I MAY overlook it,” said Reb. “My friends, face facts; our sands have all but run out. There’s no shame in joining the WINNING side.”

“Oyed commands the winning side, not Realmfleet!” hissed Weltam.

“…Then I am left with little choice. …Rochak Toksar and Weltam Forsorna!” That was when the rest of Reb’s force appeared out of the trees. “For EGREGIOUS crimes committed up in the open air and out on the high seas, by the authority granted to me by their GRACIOUS Majesties, the Kings and Queens of the Three Realms, and with a goodly amount of PERSONAL satisfaction, I hereby place you in the custody of the DISCERNING Judicial Branch of the Combined Realm Governments and declare you HEINOUS villains to be my prisoners!”

“You are actually doing this, aren’t you?” scoffed Rochak.

“Such crimes do include,” continued Melgem, “but are not limited to piracy, treason, murder, torture of the cruelest sort, and for siding with a terrorist who robbed me of the limbs and eye all down my left side!” He drew his cutlass and pointed it at Rochak.

“You, a cyborg Sea Elf, DARE go against a Lighting Dragon with a metal blade?”

“With the amount of anti-conduction spells coursing through my veins, prosthesis, and weapon, I would!”

“…Aye. That be the cold breath of Fate I feel between my wings,” said Weltam. “…But, I’ll have one last fight, by the Depths!”

“KILL THEM ALL!” Rochak’s order was heard as far as the beach and assistance in the form of Revenants, Robots, Golems, and Pirates came flooding towards the jungle. With the Revenant-killing spell, however, Reb’s Privateer crew had the upper hand. The Trinity Forces were reduced to a fourth of their capacity while Reb’s crew only suffered a loss of one sixteenth. Then…it all came to a head. Weltam was run through with Melgem’s sword. Rochak shoved Reb aside and dashed to Weltam to try and help her. As he did so, Reb made her way to the communications tower in time to hear a call come through.

“Plunder Island Stronghold, this is the occupation force!” came Dr. Borg’s voice. “We’ve lost the city! Prepare to receive us!” Reb then took the call.

“My DEAR Doctor, we would be DELIGHTED to host your CHARMING forces.”

“REB?!” Dr. Borg was clearly flabbergasted.

“Did you just say Reb?! As in Reb Rojam?! What’s she doing on the line?!” demanded Oyed’s voice.

“Acting very calm about it, which means she’s not in any danger in OUR headquarters!”

“Meaning she’s reclaimed it somehow!” realized Oyed. He then roared in frustration. “The Under-realm is lost to us! Retreat to the Mid-realm!” The Plunder Island Forces got word of the retreat and activated their Realmgate, evacuating as Oyed ordered. Rochak picked up Weltam’s body and made it to the last ship.

“Captain Rojam!” called one of her crew.

“Aye?” she called down.

“The enemy must be pursued!”

“Our ship may be one of the strongest, but it IS one. Even it cannot withstand the might of a fleet of the enemy’s DREADFUL size. Nay, we were ordered to hold our position once we secured my old home. …And look at the DREADFUL state it’s in! We MUST clean it up!”

“Captain!” called another member. Reb sighed.


“Wonderful news! They forgot to purge sensitive information! We know where their fallback position is!”

“You understated this bit of news! This is JOYOUS! Contact Arsha at once!”

“Aye, aye, Captain!” The crewman rushed off to obey.

“Reb, I never thought I’d say this, but thank you for this news,” said Arsha once she was told of the Enemy’s retreat. “You served us well.”

“‘Twas an EXCELLENT honor,” returned Reb. “Shall we call up our BELOVED Admiral Aldarval?”

“Sounds like a plan. Shalvey, connect us to Aldarval.”

“Aye, aye, Captain!” replied Shalvey as she obeyed. Aldarval soon appeared next to Reb.

“I understand you have news for me?” she asked Arsha and Reb.

“We do, indeed, my DEAR Admiral,” answered Reb.

“Admiral, the enemy has fled to the Caltem River,” reported Arsha.

“My DARLING crew,” continued Reb, “is so TREMENDOUSLY clever, they were able to decode their location with ease.”

“That explains the reports I’ve been getting,” grinned Aldarval. “There’s been a build-up of enemy activity in that region! So, from what I’m hearing from you girls, it’s the result of a panicked evacuation!”

“We need to strike now!” urged Arsha.

“And we have the ships to do so now,” agreed Aldarval. “Arsha, join up with the fleet congregating on the Northern Continent’s south islands. Reb, hold position until you feel that Plunder Island Stronghold is secure, then join Arsha when you can.”

“Aye, aye!” replied the two Captains. Aldarval then left the call.

“Well, it looks like things are looking up,” mused Shalvey.

“Let’s not be TOO hasty,” advised Reb.

“She’s right,” agreed Arsha, “Aldarval wouldn’t be asking the fleet to go to the islands if she were sure this would be the final battle. We need to play it smart. Reb, I’ll see you when you get to the Mid-realm.”

“It’s a date! Ta-TA!” Reb then ended the call.

“Nazay, lay in a course for the nearest Realmgate, then take us to the islands south of the Mid-realm’s Northern Continent.”

“Aye, Captain,” replied Nazay. He laid in a course and took the Endeavor up.

The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 4: Trials of Light and Dark)

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Oyed received the news that Realmfleet was making an advance on Realmgate City. “The fools,” he chuckled. “They are vastly outnumbered. And, given Mordek’s hatred for Drows and Shadow Dragons, there’s no chance of peace between Realms. With his desire to make them extinct, the Realms will eventually turn their backs on all of my children. Soon, they will turn to me for guidance.” He turned to Dr. Borg. “Prepare the defenses. We keep the city until we find the Realmgate plans.”

“At once, Lord Oyed,” confirmed Dr. Borg as she bowed. She then flew off to relay the orders. Oyed grinned.

“Oh, my children, can you not feel the noose tightening around your throat?” Oyed decided to tour the castle, just to examine what he gained so far. He stepped out onto a balcony to see Tormo and Yulduk talking about something.

“See, I think they’re too treacherous for our purposes,” remarked Yulduk. “I think THEY will be the ones to do it.”

“Come on,” scoffed Tormo, “there’s no way they’d side with him. Realmfleet’s gonna try something first before they do.”

“What are you two talking about?” asked Oyed. The Revenant and Goblin whirled around to see their master.

“We have a feeling that something’s going to make things difficult for us,” explained Yulduk. “I think the Shadow Dragons and Drows will betray us at some point, even going so far as to suggest a bet.”

“And I think,” said Tormo, “that Realmfleet will try something to remove a good number of our forces before that happens.”

“Mind if I get in on that action?” offered Oyed.

“…You know what, sure,” accepted Tormo.

“What’s your pick?” asked Yulduk.

“I think that the Shadow Dragons and Drows will be the ones to wipe out Realmfleet,” answered Oyed. “Their hatred for Mordek alone is too great to allow them to consider betraying us and letting Realmfleet try anything.”

“You’re sure?” quizzed Yulduk.

“Positive. I spent a thousand years grooming them both to be my disciples.”

“…I guess that WOULD give you the inside track on them.”

“So, the question is, how interesting do we want to make it?” asked Tormo.

“100 Golds?” offered Oyed.

“…No disrespect, but what possible use could you have for money?”

“I stole some gold and wanted to experiment with the activities you mortals do with it.”

“Fair enough.” A robot then approached them.

“Lord Oyed, the enemy is here!”

“Then, by all means, destroy them.”

“The city’s preparing the defenses!” warned Malak as the Endeavor moved closer.

“Keep shields up until we get the signal,” ordered Arsha.

“Oh, that is precious!” laughed Oyed. “Dr. Borg’s main nemesis is leading the attack!”

“Arsha? Uh oh, there’s a plan somewhere,” muttered Yulduk.

“Dr. Borg’s nemesis may have Fae levels of craftiness, but she’s only a Human/Kitsune Blender.”

“Don’t underestimate her,” warned Tormo. “She’s managed to undo a few of our endeavors before! In fact, she was involved when you stepped into the Mortal Realm on that island!”

“Yes, but she was but a pawn for my children.”

“She also cracked your ribs in that morgue, remember?” asked Yulduk.

“She did WHAT?!” yelped Tormo.

“Yulduk, I thought you and Dr. Borg promised to never talk about that again,” hissed Oyed. “Besides, that was a lucky shot. She won’t get the chance again.”

“…Hey, why aren’t they firing?” asked Tormo.

“Captain,” called Shalvey, “Tanta’s giving us coordinates.”

“Feed them into the helm,” ordered Arsha. “Nazay, get us there pronto.”

“Aye aye,” confirmed Nazay.

“Erm, I must repeat Tormo’s question,” muttered Oyed as he looked through the spyglass. “Why aren’t the guns firing?”

“Something isn’t right here,” remarked Tormo as he took the spyglass and looked out. “…Oh dear.”


“Lord Oyed, you owe us both some gold.”

“Both of us?” asked Yulduk. “Why?”

“The Drows and Shadow Dragons are shaking hands with Realmfleet,” explained Tormo.

“THEY’RE WHAT?!” shouted Oyed.

“That was 20 hours of my life!” protested Yulduk. “Those assholes!”

“Possibly the rest of it if they start firing on our guys,” mused Tormo.

“I don’t understand!” snarled Oyed. “We had them in our grasp, even…” Oyed then realized what happened, “the one that woke up before her people did it!”

“…Okay, I think we shot ourselves in the foot, letting the former last of the Shadow Dragons in on the scheme,” gulped Yulduk.

“I don’t follow,” muttered Tormo.

“She actually did it!” roared Oyed. “She convinced both species to…to make peace with Mordek! I didn’t spend a thousand years converting them to my cause just for some weak Realmfleeter to undo it within five days!”

“Think we better save our forces?” asked Yulduk.

“Might as well,” growled Oyed.

Even with their new allies, Realmfleet was still at a slight disadvantage against the enemy. The Revenants were quite the formidable fighters. Tanta and Dotan had teamed up and were casting offensive spells at their former allies but were quickly becoming exhausted. “I’m runnink out of mana!” panted Tanta.

“I’m down to my fire-breath!” replied Dotan as he unleashed said breath. Mordek then leapt in and slammed his hammer to the ground. “…Well, never thought I’d actually be grateful to you!” growled Dotan.

“We can discuss that if and when we get out of this!” called Mordek.

“Fine by me!” answered Tanta. It was then that the three targeted the same Revenant. “Tasuno!” chanted Tanta as she fired a purple magic blast. Dotan unleashed a fire-ball from his mouth and Mordek thrust a beam of red light from his hammer. Then…something happened. Their eyes turned into white lights and they spoke as one.

“Ensakunde!” they called. The Revenant was then struck down by all three blasts and fell. The veins on the body then faded and the eyes became what they once were. Mordek, Dotan, and Tanta were shocked at what they did. A robot then examined the body.

“…Life signs…terminated!” it reported. The Revenant had gone from Undead to just dead!

“Ensakunde!” chanted Mordek as he fired from his hammer. The spell hit another Revenant and it fell over, same as the first. Mordek and Tanta did it again with their remaining mana. “Tanta and Dotan, you two are geniuses!”

“…Tank you!” replied Tanta.

“They can’t possibly…!” gulped Oyed as he and Dr. Borg fought other soldiers.

“Ensakunde!” called another soldier as he fired the spell at his Revenant opponent. The Revenant fell dead, putting the Realm Trinity Empire into a panic.

“This is bad! This is REALLY bad!” yelped Dr. Borg. “We can’t sustain that kind of loss!”

“Sound the retreat!” ordered Oyed. “The city is lost!” Dr. Borg began by calling Plunder Island Stronghold to expect the occupation force…only the reply wasn’t what she expected.

“My DEAR Doctor, we would be DELIGHTED to host your CHARMING forces.”

“REB?!” shrieked Dr. Borg.

“Did you just say Reb?! As in Reb Rojam?! What’s she doing on the line?!” demanded Oyed.

“Acting very calm about it, which means she’s not in any danger in OUR headquarters!”

“Meaning she’s reclaimed it somehow!” realized Oyed. He then roared in frustration. “The Under-realm is lost to us! Retreat to the Mid-realm!” Dr. Borg sounded the retreat and Oyed opened various portals. Some of his followers picked up a few of the fallen Revenants as they retreated. Soon, the battlefield was empty of the Realm Trinity Empire. Mordek gazed over the area and smiled.

“My friends, the day is won!” The allied members cheered.

Arsha finally met Dotan and Tanta in person as they discussed their discovery. “It looks like we’ve got a weapon against Revenants!” cheered Arsha.

“It’s rather mana-intensive,” warned Dotan.

“With Shadow Dragons and Drows working with our mages and scientists,” assured Arsha, “we’ll figure out how to make up for that deficit.”

“Our respectif people,” remarked Tanta, “ton’t haf koot history, yet you wish to help us.”

“Because I’d like to consider myself better than my ancestors,” answered Arsha. “Call it arrogance if you will, but I’d rather not repeat their mistakes.”

“…I can get by tat,” chuckled Tanta. She then turned her gaze to Mordek. “I am equally stunt tat you assitet us.”

“…I wish to atone for my sins,” explained Mordek. “I abandoned your people when they didn’t follow my doctrine to the letter, and the Realms suffered because of it.”

“A God says that he has sinned?” snorted Dotan.

“Even we are capable of error.”

“Ten you may atone by helpink us reclaim our homes,” answered Tanta.

“Without delay,” promised Mordek. He turned to Arsha. “Captain, with your permission, I would like to stay behind and help them regain their old homes. We will speak with Orbak and explain the situation.”

“Permission granted, Lord Mordek,” bid Arsha. “Good luck.”

“Thank you, Arsha. I have a feeling we’ll need it.” Mordek then bowed to Arsha. Dotan and Tanta WERE surprised.

“…Perhaps your heart IS capable of change,” rumbled Dotan.

“What I wish to know,” muttered Tanta, “is why Oyet ant his followers left te Unter-realm. To tey not haf a base here?”

“That’s thanks to a little deal I struck,” answered Arsha.

“…Was this deal with Reb Rojam?’ asked Mordek.

“It was. In exchange for a pardon, she would act under the Combined Realm Governments as a Protectorate Pirate, a Privateer, if you will.”

“A Pirate employt by your people,” realized Tanta.

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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.

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Dalengor, Dotan, and Tantu pursued Ank-tu to the Drow sector of the camp. Tantu managed to get the two Shadow Dragons inside and they searched the camp. They heard snippets of conversation as they searched. “Toka natar trakata,” scoffed a Drow woman to her friends. “Oyet ita kraktayer.”

“Oyet etret akal,” replied the other woman. “Kotan era trukan!”

“Truka? Shak. Estrash en urka!” The two women then laughed at the pun. Tantu rolled her eyes at how awful it was. The group then passed a trio of Drow men.

“Fentur ratun malko,” grunted one. “Tantu rak fekantu!”

“Tantu trentak Talenkor,” argued another.

“Talenkor eyantrek Realmfleet ikanto!” protested the first.

“Ukanyek!” called the third. “Talenkor trak yakal. Emorkaket yatun.”

“Talenkor utinka rantik!” called a woman’s voice. Tanta then arrived. “Talenkor fekto natyun! Tantu, ratkil!”

“Tantu, ratkil?” repeated the first man. “Molkatra?”

“Ank-tu fikun tarye yantrekta,” revealed Tanta. “Talenkor, Totan, un Tantu kafkantrak.”

“Uh oh,” gulped Dalengor.

“Ank-tu already spoke to her,” growled Dotan. “Typical coward!”

“Kokan thato!” ordered Tanta. “Eklarnak tenant fatunko!”

“This is bad!” signed Tantu. “My sister’s going to eviscerate you lot.”

“If she tries, Mordek will bring her to account,” assured Dalengor.

“Brink me to account?” called Tanta’s voice. “Mortek treatans all Trows!” Dalengor and her allies turned to see Tanta pointing out their position. Dalengor approached Tanta.

“Priestess Tanta, I beg your ear,” she pleaded. “No Drows need be hurt.”

“Mortek woult hurt all Trows! He mate his intentions plain to me! In te Final Aesh of Unity, Oyet will rule!” Tanta turned towards her soldiers. “KANAKET!” The Drows then leapt onto the Shadow Dragons. They were knocked away as Dalengor singled Tanta out before shifting to her humanoid form. She stayed on the defensive as Tanta attacked with her knives. Tanta threw a few at Dalengor.

“MOKATET!” shouted Dalengor as she held her hand up. A runic circle made of purple light then appeared around each knife and halted them in their tracks. Tanta goggled at the whole thing.

“You’f learnt Trow Spells?!”

“Studied them directly from your teacher.” Dalengor then swung her arms and the knives turned around and buried themselves in the ground around Tanta.

“…You lack confiction! You ton’t kill when you haf te shans!”

“Killing’s way too easy for me. I won’t damage my soul like that.”

“Tamashe?! Killink HEALS te soul!” Tanta charge wildly her fist pulled back for a punch. Dalengor then swung her fist into Tanta’s face, bloodying the nose and knocking her to the ground.

“Hear me, Priestess Tanta. I speak truth.” Dalengor then turned to her allies. “Tantu! Dotan! Stand down!”

“With the Drow race trying to kill us?!” argued Dotan.

“No, it won’t,” called Tanta. She turned to her soldier. “Trowma! Mi zel na kanto!” The Drows stopped and arched an eyebrow.

“Kolak manu reymak?!” protested a soldier. “Tantu lak…!”

“MI ZEL NA KANTO!” Tanta would have her way, one way or another. The Drows lowered their weapons but didn’t put them away just yet. Tanta turned to Dalengor. “Speak, Talenkor. You’f earnt te shans.”

“Oyed made plain his intentions to pit all races of all Realms against one another forever,” said Dalengor. “For what, the honor of amusing him? I woke up before anyone else and have learned that it’s best to work WITH other races, not against them. Imagine how great the Drows would be if they help Falnimam and her family!”

“Falnimam callt us museum pieces. She sait as mush to my face!”

“Join me and my people. We can get a place at the table for both of our races if we talk to Orbak Emboramii!”

“Emboramii?! Tat blootline still lifes?!” The Drows growled at that.

“They’re not the tyrants Intrag was. Orbak is actually one of the friendliest of people when you know him personally! He cares about the Under-realm! He’s settled all sorts of disputes between races! Your grudge against Falnimam weighs you down, doesn’t it?!” Tanta growled softly before she moved her gaze downwards.

“I haf no choice but to keep my grutsh alive.”

“Orbak can offer a better way. We can both become as great as anyone!” Dalengor paused for effect. “Which would you rather be, Oyed’s vassal or Orbak and Falnimam’s trusted ally?” Tanta considered Dalengor’s words.

“…No one has efer mate te Trows sush an offer. But tese are YOUR worts, not te worts of tis Orbak you speak highly of.”

“Join my cause and we can ask him together.” Tanta considered her words again.

“…He offers less, I slit his troat.”

“He offers less, Priestess Tanta, I’ll give you the knife.”

“DROWS HAVE NO LOYALTY!” roared a voice. Ank-tu slithered up to the group. “You dare side with those who enacted a coup against me?!”

“Her worts haf weight,” answered Tanta. “We cannot affort to fight against oter races!”

“A bastard child DOES use conflict to hide the truth,” muttered Dotan.

“…Bastart shild?” asked Tanta.

“I told you, it doesn’t matter!” roared Ank-tu.

“The midwife that helped his mother give birth revealed that the wedding to Lak-tu was two years after he was born,” revealed Dotan.

“Is tis true?!” growled Tanta.

“Who cares if it’s true! I’m still the rightful leader!”

“I ally wit no bastarts!” Tanta threw a knife at Ank-tu, but Ank-tu ducked and it buried itself into one of his soldier’s heads. The soldier fell to the ground, dead, and Ank-tu roared in rage.

“Shadow Dragon blood has been shed! Our alliance is over! You will atone, you semi-sapient dirt eater!”

“Were you not warnt against lyink to me?! It’s as I’f sait my entire life, bastarts are all mout ant no ears!” The two then leapt onto each other, claws and knives flashing in the afternoon sun. It became obvious that Ank-tu did not have much combat experience when it came to smaller foes, nor did he wish to shrink to humanoid form, giving Tanta the upper hand…until a knife pierced her shoulder. Ank-tu threw her off and followed the knife’s trajectory to see Ektar draw another knife.

“Te Priestess tares to betray Oyet?!” he shouted.

“Tis comink from te one who stabbt me?!” retorted Tanta.

“She’s got a point, there,” remarked Eltum’s voice as he approached the assassin. “What say we skip the preliminaries, and you Ank-tu supporters come with me? We’ll have a nice, friendly chat with Tanta once she’s healed.”

“Tere will be no chat, broter!” snarled Ektar. “You will join us!”

“You want a crossbow-slinger, get someone else! I’ll stay with Tanta!”

“Your heart beats wit loyalty?”

“My ass wants to get paid.”

“Ant I wish to fight forefer!”

“We can’t affort tat!” argued Tanta.

“Ten farewell, my former master!” Ektar then surrounded himself, Ank-tu, and their followers in a cloud of mist.

“…It woult seem tat we haf a shans to talk to Mortek,” mused Tanta. “Tantu, you are to accompany Talenkor and help her confins Realmfleet tat we shall join tem.” Tantu nodded her obedience and Dalengor grinned.

“Priestess Tanta, you won’t regret this, I promise,” she said.

“I hat better not,” warned Tanta. Dalengor grew to her bestial form and allowed Tantu to mount her before they took to the air.

“Dalengor, I hope you know what you’re doing,” sighed Dotan.

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As Dalengor toured the Shadow Dragon and Drow camp with Tantu, she could see that not everyone was on board with the Realm Trinity Empire’s goals. She decided to speak with her old friends about this and gather more information. She was once a member of the higher-ups, so it was easy for them to explain the situation in secret through bits and pieces. The basic story was that the current General of all Shadow Dragons, Ank-tu, was a more public proponent of eternal war, pleasing Oyed mightily. His father, the previous General, was slightly more subtle. As she talked with her colleagues and friends, she learned their true feelings on the matter and so arranged a private meeting with Dotan, Tantu, and a Shadow Dragon woman. Dalengor explained the whole situation to Dotan. “You were there in each meeting!” urged Dalengor. “He’s shot down any suggestions of peace with Realmfleet! He’s so bent on keeping a grudge!”

“I understand your logic,” said Dotan, “but I don’t reach the same conclusion as you. Look, like everyone here, I’m not pleased with Ank-tu’s leadership, but it’s not clear whether what you propose will succeed or not.”

“That’s why I’ve urged Dalengor to invite our friend here,” signed Tantu.

“Yes, a Midwife, if her crest is any indication,” muttered Dotan.

“Listen and join us!” urged the Shadow Dragon Midwife. “I know things about Ank-tu’s birth! His troubled rule will fall in the telling and pave the way for an alliance with Realmfleet.”

“What would you know that could possibly…?” Dotan’s question was interrupted as Ank-tu and a company of soldiers arrived.

“Well, well, well, what have we here?” he purred. “It looks like a few of my councilors whispering in corners like handmaidens. About what, I wonder?”

“If only you would hear our council!” pleaded Dalengor. “As our people suffer, I’ve urged détente with Realmfleet!”

“And I told you,” snarled Ank-tu, “that I would rather writhe in the Depths than treat with the ones who broke my parents’ hibernation eggs!”

“Those specific people are dead!”

“Then every race under the Realmfleet banner will serve as the object of my vengeance!”

“They are innocent in your parents’ murder!”

“No one is truly innocent, just less guilty!”

“I never wanted to go this far, but given the internal threat to the Shadow Dragons, I have no choice. Ank-tu, you refuse practical solutions to credible threats. You ignore our people’s suffering. You endanger our race.”

“And sedition does not?! Speak your last, Dalengor, before I have your tongue!”

“Take her tongue, bastard son of Lak-tu,” threatened the Midwife, “and I will slice your throat open as I should have done ages ago!”

“Bastard son?” asked Dotan. The Midwife took that as her cue to reveal the truth to everyone.

“I was the one who helped his mother give birth to him!” she explained. “It was only two years later that she and Lak-tu married! She was a prostitute that had no choice but to marry him unless she wanted to die along with the baby! I was at that rushed wedding! Your best claim to leadership of our people is moot!” Ank-tu then slapped the Midwife.

“How dare you!” he roared. “I succeed Lak-tu by his decree!”

“Succeed him, you have,” replied Dalengor, “but the Shadow Dragons demand new leadership.”

“From you?! Realmfleet dog!” Ank-tu turned to Dotan. “Kill her!”

“You said nothing to disprove the Midwife’s claims!” snarled Dotan.

“Who cares if I AM a bastard child?! I still rule the Shadow Dragons! Now, I repeat, kill Dalengor!”

“Go to the Depths!” roared Dotan. “By ancient law, no illegitimate child may claim anything of their parents, especially leadership! I serve no bastard!”

“Traitor!” shouted Ank-tu. He turned to the soldiers that accompanied him. “You will destroy them as your General commands!”

“Lak-tu is dead!” answered a soldier. “You know ancient law as well as I do! We will serve our immediate commander! Lord Dotan, orders?”

“Capture the bastard, but do not kill him!” ordered Dotan. Unfortunately, not all the soldiers sided with Dotan and his group. This was enough to start a fight between the two sides as Ank-tu’s supporters tried to kill the rebels. A soldier on Dotan’s side then threw his enemy to the ground.

“You would still serve Ank-tu?!” asked the rebel soldier.

“His family conquered our tribes!” answered the enemy. “We owe his bloodline our loyalty! We are all bound to honor his will!”

“I’m sorry that we’re on opposite sides, then,” sighed the rebel soldier.

Over with the fight over Ank-tu, Dalengor let Tantu mount her and followed the bastard Shadow Dragon to the sky. Tantu pulled out a crossbow and lined up her shot, then pulled the trigger, releasing the arrow and piercing Ank-tu’s wing, causing him to cry out and crash to the ground. He was surrounded by his loyalists as everyone came to see the whole thing. Dotan arrived with his soldiers. “He has revealed himself to be a bastard child!” he announced. “By ancient law, we must renounce him!” There were only a few that truly supported Ank-tu.

“My General!” urged a loyalist. “We are too few! We must withdraw!”

“…Retreat to the Drows’ sector!” ordered Ank-tu. They blasted a path clear and fled to the eastern part of the camp.

“This is bad!” signed Tantu. “If they rally the Drows now, we’ll never get out of this alive!”

“Don’t worry,” assured Dalengor. “I have a plan. I just hope Arsha’s successful in convincing Mordek that my apparent treachery was part of it.”

Mordek looked to the north, his gaze hardened, and his mind plagued by thoughts of vengeance. As he looked on, he heard the voices of Arsha and Delselii call his name. He turned to see them approaching him. “What may I do for you, my children?”

“Lord Mordek, the plan’s going well!” reported Arsha happily.

“The plan?” asked Mordek.

“The plan to increase our numbers!” answered Delselii.

“You know, the real reason why Dalengor’s with the enemy!” elaborated Arsha.

“You mean her treason was part of a plan? Since when is a filthy traitor a good thing?”

“Lord Mordek, let me explain,” answered Arsha. “After a little chat we had before the city was lost, Dalengor and I planned on turning the Shadow Dragons and Drows against Oyed. She explained that the majority of Shadow Dragons and Drows don’t want eternal war, so she would infiltrate the camp, convince them to rebel against their leaders or turn the leaders to our way of thinking and then we’d have more soldiers to work with! The Shadow Dragons instigated a coup against their leaders and…”

“I had not thought you gullible, Arsha,” interrupted Mordek. “A Shadow Dragon’s schemes serves only to benefit them. How could you fall for such lies?!”

“Lord Mordek, have faith in Dalengor! Have faith in me!” Mordek snorted before vanishing in a fireball.

“…You know, if we were desert dwellers,” mused Delselii, “I think Mordek just said a discouraging word.”

“I hope he doesn’t do anything rash. I don’t need them driven away.”

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The camp was outside the castle home of the famous Vorsholstein family of Homunculi, artificially created humanoids literally stitched together. Right now, a male Homunculus, Dr. Delselii Vorsholstein, was busy with his machines. He laughed like the licensed Mad Scientist he was as the machines threw lighting at each other and made noises. Bremfo then came down into the lab. “Doctor, I’ve been calling you for chow time for the past minute!” he snarled.

“In a minute! It’s almost done!” replied Delselii. Bremfo was about to protest until he remembered something.

“You mean…THAT project?!”

“Yes, my dear Bremfo, THAT project!” Delselii flicked a few more switches as Bremfo became more excited.

“We’re gonna wipe ‘em out! All of ‘em! To the very last man!”

“We’ll destroy ‘em! We’ll spare no one!” Delselii then threw a massive switch, increasing the lightning.

“They all have to go! Every single Trinny!” Bremfo was clapping his hands in excitement.

“And this engine I’m working on will do just that!” The lighting revealed the outline of a large device being shocked. “Once this baby is installed in any ship, it’ll create a magic shockwave that will cancel the Scorpion’s cloaking abilities!” The engine then shook. “…Er, hold on! It’s not supposed to do that!” The shakes became more violent!

“It’s gonna blow!” warned Bremfo. The two then erected a blast screen as the engine exploded. The shrapnel buried itself into the walls, a fan blade burrowed into Bremfo’s head, and the rest bounced off the blast screen. Once it was quiet enough, Delselii sighed and turned his equipment off.

“Back to the drawing board,” he grumbled as he took his goggles off. Bremfo took the fan blade out of his head. “I don’t understand! The calculations were right! What am I missing?!”

“Let’s think about it over dinner,” suggested Bremfo as he smoothed out his head. Delselii nodded as they ascended the steps. “There’s always the other project.”

“I’m still a little iffy about that. I mean, using my own rough drafts like that?” They reached the top floor and saw an exact duplicate of Delselii eating a chair! “Oh, Rutambo!” admonished Delselii. The duplicate turned his head. “How many times do I have to tell you?! This is a respectable castle and we do NOT eat the furniture!” The duplicate then stood up and lumbered towards Delselii. “Get back in your closet! Back in the closet!” Rutambo swung his arm at Delselii. The scientist rolled out of the way and grabbed a large torch from the fireplace, brandishing it at Rutambo. Rutambo roared in horror from the fire and backed away. “Back! Back!” Rutambo hid himself in the closet and Delselii shut the door. He then heard a noise in the closet. “Stop that pounding!” he ordered. “If you don’t behave, I shall take your brain out and put it in backwards!” The pounding stopped and Delselii put the torch back into the fireplace. “Now, what was that about dinner?”

The next day, Delselii smoothed out his coat and checked his stitches. He then turned to Rutambo’s closet. “You stay quiet while I meet our guests.” He turned back and the door to the study opened, revealing Arsha, Erodeth, and Bremfo. “Your Majesty. Your Highness,” greeted the Mad Scientist.

“Dr. Vorsholstein, I presume?” asked Erodeth.

“Won’t you come in?” offered Delselii as he shook their hands.

“Much obliged, Doctor,” accepted Arsha as they came into the room. “You know, you definitely have parts of your father. He was quite the man. You just don’t find old country doctors anymore. Your family’s quite legendary in keeping that tradition alive.”

“I’m glad the Royana heir approves,” chuckled Delselii. “Everyone, I will come straight to the point; I’m engaged in two projects.”

“I heard about your efforts to cancel the Scorpion’s cloaking device,” said Erodeth.

“Ones know we could definitely use that,” agreed Arsha.

“Unfortunately, I’m hitting too many hiccups on that project,” sighed Delselii. “I’m at a loss, so I need the help of other Mad Scientists, heck, even normal scientists, to help me.”

“There’s no shortage of Mad Scientists among my people,” offered Erodeth. “Take your pick. They’d be happy and honored to help.”

“Thank you,” bid Delselii. “You’re too kind, Your Majesty.” Bremfo grinned at the idea, thankful that his creator has more help on the way.

“What’s the other project?” asked Arsha. Bremfo and Delselii then looked at each other in trepidation.

“It’s…one where I’m iffy about it,” explained Delselii. “I have something in my closet to help the explanation, but I must ask for your secrecy unless you feel it’s a good idea to back it.”

“I hope it’s not TOO risky,” gulped Arsha.

“Your Majesty, Your Highness, prepare yourself.” Delselii then opened the closet door. “Everyone, meet Rutambo!” Rutambo then lumbered out of the closet, grunting all the while.

“Sweet Heights!” swore Erodeth.

“H…who…how?!” spluttered Arsha. “…Are you sure it’s…safe?!”

“I have methods for keeping him under my thumb,” assured Delselii as he took the torch out of the fireplace. “Back! Back!! BACK!!” Rutambo howled and retreated into the closet. Delselii shut the closet again. “…Well,” he sighed, “what do you think?”

“He’s got the same good looks as your parents,” muttered Erodeth, “but not much on small talk.”

“You’re probably wondering how there’s two of him, down to the last stitch,” guessed Bremfo.

“Well, I will admit, the question did cross my mind,” confirmed Arsha. “Faces like his don’t grow on trees.”

“No, but they do grow in the womb multiple times,” answered Delselii. “You see, a pregnancy where the child has Homunculus DNA is a little different to the usual ones. Whenever the woman gives birth to such a child, the baby comes out in pieces of adults and the parents stitch the pieces together. However, the brain never really completes itself on the first try, so whenever it’s shocked into life, the resulting creature is nothing more than an animal that can’t learn on the level of Sentinas or life-forms like us, so the woman is pregnant again with the same pieces and a new brain that’s slightly better until the right brain is put into the creature.”

“I get it, the less-Sentina brained creatures are rough drafts of the child.”

“Exactly, and Rutambo’s a rough draft of me. What’s most remarkable is that the rough drafts only last a few years, living in the wild, but Rutambo’s actually a few years older than me.”

“Where did you find Rutambo?” asked Erodeth.

“That was actually me,” answered Bremfo. “I was doing some gardening last month when I heard a roar in the southern woods on the estate. Imagine my surprise when Rutambo came out from the trees. I thought something happened to Delselii and carried Rutambo to the lab only to find Delselii already there.”

“It was quite the surprise when I saw him,” remarked Delselii. “I have an idea for rough draft Homunculi, but I need a Realmfleeter’s opinion.”

“It sounds like the project,” said Arsha, “involves using them as cannon fodder.”

“Well, I wouldn’t put it like that,” replied Delselii, “but it would help the numbers problem we have.”

“Delselii, I’m not sure I can push such a project. If you’re iffy about it, and accounting for the fact that he wouldn’t understand how to cast spells, much less remember his name, maybe he should be released back into the woods.”

“I can’t say as I condone this project either,” agreed Erodeth. “We need soldiers that are at least Sentina level.”

“I just needed to hear your opinion before I formally terminated the project” sighed Delselii happily. “He tried to return to the woods a lot, so I think he’s more suited to them than inside a building. Thank you for your help on that dilemma, I’ll talk to the Mad Scientists among your people to help with the other one.”

“We better get back,” called Arsha. “My crew is preparing to retake Realmgate City.”

“With the amount of people we have?” asked Erodeth as they left the room. Bremfo shut the door behind them and Delselii released a sigh of relief.

“Well, I guess that’s that for Rutambo, thank goodness,” sighed Bremfo.

“…Maybe a rough draft preserve would be a good idea,” mused Delselii. “I mean, they’re born sterile too, so it would be safe to release all sexes into the wild.”

“I suppose it could work. But there’s still a numbers problem for the war effort. Unless we steal Jansha’s plans and make our own, we’re hosed! And there aren’t many of my breed of Golem yet!”

“And I’m not making any Revenants. I hope Arsha has something up her sleeve.”

Over in the open expanses of the Central Continent, just north of Realmgate City, the Shadow Dragons assembled for someone to give a speech. A young-looking male then slithered up and took his place in front of his people. “I thought Lak-tu was still General,” Dalengor whispered to Dotan. “Who’s that?”

“His son, Ank-tu,” explained Dotan. “Lak-tu’s hibernation egg didn’t survive and neither did his spouse.”

“My people!” called Ank-tu. “I stand before you as my father and mother once did! I promise you; our victory will be assured under my leadership! Glory to Oyed!”

“Glory to Oyed!” repeated the Shadow Dragons, but Dalengor noticed that their hearts weren’t in it for the majority of them.

“…A good start, but I better keep it to myself until I can determine who to trust,” thought Dalengor.

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The Realmgate refugees made their way to the eastern edge of the Southern Continent. Calandra had ordered a camp to be prepared as quickly as possible. The Endeavor was the last ship to land and deposit refugees, the Royal Family being the last to get off. The crews of all the evacuation ships then passed out food and water for everyone. This was a blow for morale. Arsha and Calandra spoke with each other. “I see Dr. Vorsholstein’s first Golem was put through its paces,” said Calandra.

“He was,” answered Arsha. “Bremfo’s quite the fighter. With him around, we can take Realmgate City back.”

“Would that Realmfleet agrees.” Calandra’s comment raised concerns.


“I just spoke with Aldarval. We’re leaving it to the Realm Trinity Empire.”

“She can’t be serious!” protested Arsha. “We’ve got people who just lost their homes and you want me to tell them that they’re not getting them back?!”

“The proposal was considered a waste of resources and soldiers. We have to leave the city alone.”

“We can’t do that!”

“Arsha, I admire your desire to protect everyone, but face facts; the enemy has Revenants, Robots, and more Golems than we do.” By that point, Calandra’s patience was wearing thin.

“I must insist that we disobey those orders!”

“Arsha, I’m not gonna waste any more lives. I’ve done too much of that!”

“I have a way that can ensure that we don’t!” By now, Arsha was almost pleading. At that moment, Erodeth approached them.

“Please tell me I heard you wrong!” he said. “Please, tell me you didn’t say we weren’t taking our home back after what I told my people earlier as we were en route here!”

“I’m sorry,” growled Calandra, “but Aldarval told me…”

“Let’s talk to Aldarval right now!” declared Erodeth. He pulled out his communicator and called Aldarval.

“Your Majesty, what can I do for you?” she asked.

“We need to take our home back!”

“…I take it you heard the news. Your Majesty, I’m sorry, but we’ve already lost too many soldiers during the initial attack on the walls. We can’t risk any more lives.”

“But there’s more to it than that!” urged Arsha.

“Arsha, why are you two so insistent,” snapped Calandra, “on taking the city back?! All of the necessary secrets have been transferred to the Drelda Forest’s Capital Tree!”

“Not all of them!” answered Erodeth. He took a breath before he explained. “I didn’t give them the blueprints for the Under-realm’s first Realmgate.”

“WHAT?!” cried Aldarval. “If Dr. Borg gets her claws on them, she’ll make her own Realmgate network on top of her personal one! What possessed you to leave them behind?!”

“My family swore an oath to safeguard them, and I felt iffy about handing them over to Rellmeer!”

“Great, now we have no choice! Erodeth, this puts us back by a lot! Our forces are stretched thin across the Realms as it is!” Aldarval sighed as she ran her hand down her face. “I’ll send what I can, but I can’t see victory. Aldarval out.” The call ended and Calandra fixed them with a glare.

“Know this,” she warned, “if things go to the Depths, I’m holding you two responsible.” She turned and left.

“…Well, that was pleasant,” grumbled Erodeth.

“We need to coordinate our attack once Dalengor succeeds,” suggested Arsha.

“Where is she?”

“…On a mission.”

“A personal mission to betray us?!” boomed Mordek’s voice as he stomped towards them.

“Where’d that comment come from, Lord Mordek?” asked Erodeth.

“I just spoke to Malak,” explained the angry God. “Apparently, Dalengor’s stayed behind! I knew it! That snake can’t be trusted!”

“Lord Mordek, I assure you, it’s part of the plan!” replied Arsha.

“That plan is going to fail! When next we meet, I WILL kill her!”

“You will do no such thing!”

“Try and stop me!” Mordek then vanished in a ball of fire.

“…Arsha, I hope your faith in Dalengor is not misplaced,” said Erodeth.

“It isn’t. I know my old friend well. Her staying behind will give us more soldiers to help reclaim Realmgate City.”

Back at Realmgate City, the rubble was being combed over for anything valuable. “We cannot risk letting valuable intelligence slip through our fingers,” Dr. Borg ordered a Drow and Shadow Dragon. “I want this area searched from top to bottom.”

“There’s an easier way,” called Dalengor’s voice. Another Shadow Dragon in their beastly form then approached. The first Shadow Dragon’s eyes popped open.

“…Dalengor?” he asked.

“Hello, Lord Dotan,” greeted the mystery Shadow Dragon, Dalengor.

“Aren’t you a member of Arsha’s crew?” asked Dr. Borg suspiciously. “What are you doing here?”

“Assisting our master, Oyed,” answered Dalengor.

“…I don’t believe you.”

“Believe what you wish, but I’m sick and tired of being the last of my kind! This is a chance to see them again, see my old friends!”

“Let her join us,” urged Dotan. “I know her well.”

“She’s been awake longer than your whole race.”

“Who’s to say I haven’t been hiding my true feelings on the matter?” asked Dalengor.

“…I will have to consult with Lord Oyed,” decided Dr. Borg. “You will have our decision within the hour.” She flew off, leaving the Drow and two Shadow Dragons alone.

“I don’t believe we’ve met,” Dalengor said to the Drow. The Drow pulled her mask down and opened her mouth, revealing her lack of a tongue. Dalengor then moved her hands in Drow Sign Language. The Drow then signed her name, letter by letter. “Nice to meet you, Tantu.”

“Tantu was supposed to be your rider,” explained Dotan.

“Well, you still have a chance, Tantu. Shall we go through some training?” Tantu then signed a question. “…You AND Dotan guessed?”

“I know you, my old lover,” remarked Dotan. “You don’t usually pop up out of nowhere unless there’s an ulterior motive.”

“…Let’s talk. Somewhere private.” She led Tantu and Dotan away from the area.

The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 4: Trials of Light and Dark)

3 Realms 4-5

Dalengor was shaken to her core when she got the news. Drows AND Shadow Dragons? That would prolong the war! She had to put her worries to the back of her mind, though. Her friends needed to win! Arsha made the call for battle stations and Dalengor made her way to the bridge. “Dalengor, I know they’re your people,” called Arsha, “but they’re on the wrong side. Weaknesses?”

“In their full dragon state,” answered Dalengor, “they’ve got a chink in their armor just below their right ribs. Big enough for arrows to hit. However, they’ll compensate for that with their speed. They’re the fastest fliers around and always have a Drow riding them.”

“And with Quenthem out of action, it’ll be more difficult to coordinate the counter-attack. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have an uphill struggle. Let’s push on through it and prove to the enemy that we can handle anything!”

“Erodeth’s given the go-ahead for attack,” reported Shalvey.

“Then let’s get to it!”

As the Air Fighters, sans Quenthem, dealt with the Shadow Dragon riders and their riders as best they could, the Driders rappelled halfway down the wall and fired on the ground forces. Falnimam was named one of the best shots in the Drider Self Defense Force and she intended to prove it that day. Unfortunately, some Drow had the bright idea to shoot at her line. The sudden shift in her rear’s weight was enough to make her fall. She hit the ground, then picked herself up to see the Drow leader approach her. It was a priestess, judging by the ornate armor. “Te failure still lifes?” scoffed the woman in an accented voice.

“Despite your best efforts, yes,” replied Falnimam. “Me and my mothers and sisters still do. Still pledging loyalty to Oyed, I presume?”

“It serfs te Trows. You are not only a failure, but you are also stupit. You testroy your fusher by crossink Oyet.”

“It’s YOU with no future, Tanta, YOU who are the failure. Drow relics are now in museums!”

“Impossible!” Tanta’s voice betrayed offense at the idea that her culture was now something to gawk at instead of being feared.

“The Drows have failed in seizing eternity, as is the result of ALL life! Persist and you will be the first Drow mummy!” Tanta charged at the Drider, swinging her sword wildly. Falnimam blocked her opponent’s blows with her staff, then slammed her head into the wall, knocking her out. “Moron.” Falnimam was then grabbed by the neck by a male Drow and flung across the battlefield. When she recovered, she got a good look at the fighter. “The orphan turned assassin, Ektar.”

“Better to trive in Tanta’s court tan starf in te streets,” replied the male Drow. “You Triters may practice Shate Magic, Falnimam, but I am te master!” Shadows then enveloped Ektar’s hands, and he fired a torrent of them at Falnimam. She then held her hand out and absorbed it before flinging it into his face, knocking him down.

“Pride will be your downfall!” she declared.

“And it won’t be yours?” asked another male voice. This one didn’t have the Drow accent, but she knew it came from a Drow. She turned to see her ex-boyfriend.

“Eltum, you have the potential to be our future ally!” she pleaded.

“To the Depths with the future, Darling,” replied Eltum, “I live in the moment.”

“Given our shared antipathy towards Tanta, I wouldn’t have thought you so reckless.” They then raised their weapons, ready to fight. That was when things…went south. Falnimam heard something strike something else hard, then the tumbling of stone told her everything!

“The walls!” she gasped.

“Forgot your main objective?” taunted Eltum.

“THE WALLS HAVE BEEN BREACHED!” called Yulduk. “SWARM THE CITY!” His army wasted no time in obeying. The Shadow Dragons immediately targeted the castle, setting it ablaze. The Royal Family had evacuated it in time, looking back only to see their home burn. The Realmgate Guard fought valiantly, but they were unprepared for the onslaught. The situation became worse when a small Realmgate opened up, depositing Oyed and the rest of the Realm Trinity Imperial Council.

“I do love the smell of terror in the morning, don’t you?” asked Oyed.

“I must admit, the smell IS intoxicating,” replied Dr. Borg.

“Yes, it is. However, we DO have an objective to complete.” Oyed then turned to their forces. “Start digging! Realmgate research is below here somewhere!” Everyone started shifting earth around…all but one Golem.

“You there!” called Femfaf, “why aren’t you digging?”

“I’m awaiting orders,” answered the Golem.

“You’ve already got them, dig!”

“I’m awaiting orders.”

“…Hello? I said your orders were to dig!”

“I’m awaiting orders.”

“…Dr. Borg, I think this one’s broken.”

“I’ll fix it,” replied Dr. Borg.

“Orders received!” The Golem then punched Dr. Borg straight in the face, sending her flying!

“What?!” spluttered Femfaf.

“Correction, orders were received a long time ago!” snarled the Golem.

“Those are never a Golem’s orders!” growled Femfaf. “Who was your shaper?!”

“I’m Golem 8.0, Bremfo!” introduced the mystery Golem.

“I was declared the pinnacle of Golem evolution! Who made you?!”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?!” Bremfo stopped speaking and swung his fist at Femfaf. The two Golems brawled. Unfortunately, it distracted the Realm Trinity forces long enough for the Endeavor to complete its objective.

“Is everyone on board?!” asked Arsha.

“All present and accounted for!” reported Shalvey.

“Then we need Bremfo here! Thangred, lock onto him!”

“Found him and bringing him over!” Bremfo appeared on the bridge.

“Nazay, Vorsholstein estate as planned! Now!”

“Course laid in! Let’s get the Depths outta dodge!” As it took off, the Endeavor was fired upon, but it escaped the Realm Trinity Empire’s forces.

“HOLD FIRE!” ordered Dr. Borg. Everyone stopped shooting as the Endeavor retreated. Dr. Borg stared grimly at the sky.

“Victory is ours, as is the city!” chuckled Oyed. As their forces celebrated, Dr. Borg, snarled to herself.

“Golem 8.0?” she said to herself. “Someone clearly stole Golem research.” Femfaf approached the cyborg Sprite.

“Doctor, it’s clear to me,” she grunted, “that there’s a leak somewhere. We MUST plug it!”

“You and I are of the same mind. Help me organize a team to do so.”

“On it.”

The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 4: Trials of Light and Dark)

3 Realms 4-4

The Drider support was congregated into a circle. Falnimam and a few lesser priestesses were in the center, performing a dance that was supposed to give the soldiers courage to fight. The soldiers then took up a chant to help the priestesses’ dance. While it wasn’t exactly magical, they all felt their courage rise to near supernatural proportions. Falnimam then went to the exact center and spoke. “Ages ago, when my family and I were supposedly ‘cursed’ with this form, we turned it around to make our shape a blessing! We had the courage to say to those who hated us for failing Drow Society that we learn better from them! Now, we hear those words again! They claim that whatever failures our people made is going to lead us to extinction! Those are the words of murderous dogs, dogs who would dare destroy our children’s future, our way of life!”

“DEPTHS-SPAWN!” shouted a soldier.

“Today, we go to battle to prove the enemy wrong! Our failures teach us to improve! Defeat for the Realm Trinity Empire! Victory for the Realms!”

“VICTORY FOR THE REALMS!” cheered the soldiers. They then took up their positions, the priestesses setting their wands into their staffs.

“Gotta hand it to you,” muttered Quenthem as he approached Falnimam, “you know how to work a crowd.”

“Every word I said was the truth,” replied Falnimam.

“I see why Melandra likes you.”

“Oh, there are other reasons, but you’re not wrong.” As she held her position, she got a whiff of something. “…Is someone baking?”

“You smell that too, huh? You go ahead and investigate; I’ll hold your place here.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive. Leave it to me.”

“Very well.” Falnimam scuttled down the wall and followed her nose. “That smell’s a little too savory. I thought we’re going with rations only.” She entered a kitchen outside the dungeon under the wall and found Melandra at the ovens. “Melandra, what are you doing?!” she yelped. “I thought you were watching those prisoners from yesterday!”

“I’m doing better than that,” replied Melandra. “I’m making them a pie.”

“…You’re BAKING for them while we’re preparing for a siege?! But we have a food shortage, even WITH the supplies we brought!”

“I know!”

“…Okay, Mella, kindly explain yourself to your Priestess.”

“I have this theory that, if our prisoners believe we can out last a siege, they can convince the Trinnies to give up. All we have to do is feed them plenty of fresh baked goods and then let them escape.”

“On purpose?!”

“Exactly! Because of their nature, they’ll take the opportunity and give the information to the Trinnies and…”

“I see, the enemy will think the siege will be hopeless! However, there IS one thing missing.” Falnimam pulled out an object from her bag. “I heard they like the more pungent cheeses. If you REALLY want to impress them, put a little dab on top.”

“Hey, we’re trying to TRICK them, not POISON them!” Melandra took the pie as it finished cooling.

“I don’t know where you Modern Driders learned to cook, but you have no taste for old Drow cooking!”

“Just follow my lead.” The two Driders then approached a cell occupied by Reb Rojam, Melgem, and Jargoon! “Chow time, incarcerates!”

“What slop did you bring?” grumbled Jargoon. Reb and Melgem looked a little more appreciative as they saw the pie.

“It’s a specialty baked good with a little filling of a certain nut from the Mid-realm,” teased Melandra. “I believe you once said you missed it as you moaned your lot in life while here.”

“PECAN PIE!” cheered Melgem.

“GIMME!” urged Reb.

“NO! BE STRONG!” roared Jargoon. “We don’t accept charity from our jailors! Get ahold of yourselves!”

“Fishy, our WEAKENED stomachs are PITIFULLY empty!” argued Reb. “We’ve had nothing but the most DREADFUL bread since we left the Over-realm last year!”

“Well, we’ve got enough to outlast a prolonged siege,” chuckled Melandra.

“Besides, it looks tasty, doesn’t it?” urged Falnimam. Jargoon finally cracked.


“I thought so,” remarked Melandra as he cut the pie into thirds. He then set the pieces onto a plate and handed them to each prisoner.

“Mm MM! I SO missed this!” sighed Reb as they ate. “And you can afford this while under a RUTHLESS siege?”

“Believe it or not, yes,” answered Falnimam.

“Then the enemy’s wasting its time,” grunted Jargoon.

“No kidding,” agreed Melgem.

“…Boys, we need to discuss something,” remarked Reb. “Something that will benefit the Realms AND our profits.”

“Oh?” asked Melgem.

“What?” quizzed Jargoon.

“We need to join Arsha.” Everyone’s eyes went wide at the revelation.

“…Ex-Pirate Admiral say what?” asked Melandra.

“I know we have a rather TROUBLED history,” replied Reb, “but this war isn’t doing the three of us ANY favors. Every time we try to treat with the Realm Trinity Empire, they try to kill us and frankly, I’m DREADFULLY sick of it. I want to treat with Arsha. We have a common enemy AND I know their base of operations like the back of my hand.”

“…I’ll have to consult with Arsha,” answered Melandra. “She can give you her answer when she’s made her decision.”

“That’s fair.” The two Driders then left the dungeon.

“You can’t trust her!” hissed Falnimam. “Reb and Melgem are pirates at heart and Jargoon hates people that aren’t Mega-sharks!”

“Yeah, but they’re all on the run right now,” answered Melandra. “Look, I hate their guts as much as anyone else, but we need any advantage we can get. They said they repeatedly tried to treat with Dr. Borg, maybe they did so while sneaking onto Plunder Island Stronghold.”

“And you think she’ll keep her end of the bargain?”

“She did so after our first encounter, she’ll keep her end if there’s profit in it for her. I’d say she’s found talking with Dr. Borg a non-profitable venture.”

“Jargoon’s also a rapist.”

“…You’re right, that’ll affect Arsha’s decision.”

“As their team stands now, I’m sorry,” answered Arsha when Melandra posed his suggestion, “but Jargoon makes it too risky. If he weren’t a factor, I’d actually accept. Despite their reputation, Denstra told me that she only killed crewmates once a year and she’s been in the pirate business for 38 years. No one else died by her hands, even when she ordered innocent people to be killed. Melgem never killed anyone. But, as I’m sure you remember, Lieutenant, Jargoon perpetuated sex-slavery when he ruled the Trelfan Trench. I’m sorry, but the answer is no.”

“I understand, Captain,” replied Melandra.

Arsha approached the dungeon and found the ex-pirates’ cell. “I hate to disappoint you all,” she said, “but Jargoon makes it too dangerous. If it were just you, I’d accept, but the Endeavor would feel wildly uncomfortable with having a known rapist on board.”

“You’re still calling me a rapist when they’ve long asked for it?!” roared Jargoon.

“Just because their religious beliefs said that they should wear no clothes does NOT mean they were asking for that kind of torment! I would have thought you’d learn actual consent, but clearly not.”

“Er, can Reb and I at least get a new cell? Separate from him?” asked Melgem.

“It’d help me sleep BEAUTIFULLY at night,” agreed Reb.

“Now that, I see no problem with,” answered Arsha. A guard then motioned for two of his colleagues to level their spears at Jargoon and keep him at bay as they transferred the Rojams to another cell.

“I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!” Jargoon reduced the guards’ spears to splinters and burst through the wall.

“STOP HIM!” ordered the first guard as he and his fellows gave chase.

Jargoon didn’t stop his rampage. He barreled through the streets of Realmgate city and simply smashed through buildings, not caring for the potential loss of life. He then came to the wall and jumped up before he dug his claws into it. He then started climbing it! “Come down from there!” called a Guardsman. Jargoon paid no attention.

“My people need me!” he panted to himself. “I must get to them! Our dominance depends on it!” He made it to the top and sprinted towards the outer edge.

“STOP!” ordered Quenthem. The Pixie then grabbed Jargoon’s dorsal fin. “YOU’RE GOING BACK TO…!”

“UNHAND ME, YOU WORTHLESS BUG!” Jargoon then grabbed Quenthem, held him into the air, and bent him in a way that caused his spine to break! Jargoon then tossed the broken Pixie into his soldiers before he leapt over them and fell down the outside of the wall. He landed, albeit painfully, on his feet, then sprinted away from the city. That was when a knife from ahead flew towards him and buried itself into his skull. He stood for a few seconds before falling forward. Jargoon, the infamous King of the Mega-sharks, was dead. The soldiers on the wall tried to determine where the knife came from. They got their answer as a mass invisibility spell was undone. It was Yulduk and his army, but it got bigger, in more ways than one.

“What’s going on?!” demanded Mordek as he arrived in flames. One of the soldiers just pointed to the enemy forces. His eyes went wide. “…No…” he whispered. While Yulduk’s army was still composed of Revenants, Golems, and Robots, it had two new additions. The first, most obvious additions were giant, purple, winged serpents with arms like a human’s and a tail for ground locomotion. Half of the serpents had a single horn on their snout and all of them had a set of horns on their scalps like Dalengor’s. The other addition looked like Falnimam from the waist up, but they had humanoid legs instead of a spider body. “…Drows…and Shadow Dragons!” breathed Mordek.