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Monday, November 18, 2013 Merida Marination - Part Two

Res'marth the Water Elf, Queen of Water Elves, Nagas and Merfolk in Lake Ovalna, Merida - Regia Confederation. Reached Immortality as Naga Goddess after her death.

Meanwhile, the undead is camping – or rather, infesting – the town of Ludl. It looks like a ghost town now, with the air reeks of death, decay and filth.
            One of the Dark Generals, the black hooded lich roams around limply and slowly like a rickety old fellow with the Viper Cane as a walking stick. No one can guess her mood behind her simple white masque, but her behavior shows that she has never been in a good mood, at least lately.
            A winged, single-horned and green-skinned demonic general comes and kneels before the lich, reporting, ‘News from the front, Milady. The shades*) have spotted suspicious activities on the plateau near the lake.’
            The lich responds with an eerie, deathly voice, ‘Reeeallyy?? What activitiesss are thatt?’

(* Shades = Ghosts or wraiths that can render themselves invisible, possessing no fighting power and serve as spies. Those who can detect auras can detect them, though.
            ‘A lot of people are making things with logs and ropes. Judging from their looks, they must be the Allied Forces.’
            ‘What thingsss??’
            ‘According to the shades, it’s some kind of fence. Maybe they’re going to make a camp on that plateau.’
            ‘I don’t assksss for ‘maybeee’! Just tell meee what they ssseee!!!’
            ‘Uh, my apologies, Milady. The spies went back just as they spotted the enemies, and they saw nothing else significant.’
            ‘Veeryy welll, theen. Sso, what about the reinforcementssss? Any newss?’
            ‘No, Milady. There hasn’t any message from Kraal’Thragon and Castoria. I don’t think they’re going to move anytime soon.’
            Hearing that, the lich suddenly grabs the demon by his throat, yelling, ‘For the last timeee, I want you to REPORT, not to theeeenk, suggeest or eveen maybeesss. One more timee, and I’ll crussshh your throat sso you won’t be able to utter anotherr nonseense, you hearrr?’
            ‘Y-yes, Milady, yes, I – I hear! I hear!’ Against his natur, the demon whimpers.
            ‘Any mooree information?’
            ‘No, Milady.’
            ‘Veeery welll.... Now you teeelll all generalsss and troopsss to leave the city! We’ll go to the plateau and strike the Alliance hard before they…’
            Comes the sound of rumbling water.
            What, now? Oh, I see! The Alliance has been working for some time and calculated the time before the shades know what happened, came all the way here and relayed the report to the General.
            I knew it, we should’ve occupied Icothl too, not Ludl only. Now the only thing we can do is…
            ‘GET OUT OF HERE!! NOW!! Go South! Get to the higher ground!’
            No matter how frequent she shouts, it’s still hard for the lich to direct all undead, mindless, and beast-minded minions. They tend to get panicked and scatter everywhere at the sign of danger. Only the demons, headless-men and the like with intelligence follow the leaders to safety.
            The water comes like a tidal wave. BBRUSSSHH!!! Sweeping the things and beings on its way. Even the river that runs outside Ludl can’t contain water that plentiful, and the flood rises in the city until it reaches neck-height of average grown-up men.
            And the surprises don’t end there. From the North comes the Allied Forces, sliding so swiftly downhill with their rafts.
            ‘Down with the Dark!’ Their war cries strike more panic into the already confused brutes. To complete the mayhem, the griffin riders led by Cristophe sweep down and sweep through the enemies like Wind Shear (also known as Kamaitachi in Shima Empire).
            Seeing that, the lich who stands on the tallest building on the south end of town clenches her fist in disappointment.
            Damn those Alliance scums! I’ve figured out their tactic, but they outsmarted me by acting so quickly before I can avoid it! Now I’ll show them my OWN tactic, taking out a Paladin or two like crushing a snake on its heads, thus crushing their morale!
            Suddenly, a voice startles her,
            The lich turns everywhere, looking for the speaker.
            ‘Wwhoo’sss thereee? Show yoursselfff!!’
            ‘I’m here,’ says a woman who now stands on the same building. It’s Carolyn the pink-haired sorceress, ready with her magic trident Esthagar, Aegis the thunder bird flying behind her. ‘It’s no use hiding behind your mask, witch. I already recognized you from the style of your clothing, Omegron, Viper Cane and the way you used it to manipulate minds and kill my friend’s husband, Galvanir.’
            ‘Oh, the foolish elf who danceeed likee a marionetteee before his insideees were torn apart? Thaat wass quite a successsfulll tesst for my new spelll, Soul Marionation. Quite interesting, you play with it and tear it down after you’re done. Perhappsss you want to try BEING oneee?? An Marionato’me Tyral!’
            The look on Carolyn’s face changes like a lightning just struck her. Zal’fira’s fingers play like a puppeteer; Carol’s arms move… and she breaks herself free from the spell!’
            Zal’fira is taken aback, ‘WHAT?? It’s imposssibbleee!! I’ve designeed it so even theee Nervatr spell cannot repel it!’
            ‘You see, witch,’ Carol responds calmly. ‘Everything is not always what you see or think. The Nervatr Mind Shield on me has worn off quite some time, and in me now lays a power you cannot comprehend. It’s empowering my mind and my heart, a true magic that protects me from all harm.’
            ‘What iss that power do you speak of? I can’t understand it unless you tell mee.’
            ‘Now, now. I’d be a fool if I tell you, but I’ll fill you in with a clue: If you had this power a long time ago, you wouldn’t become a necromancess and a half-life lich, a cursed being like you are now. This is the power only those who walk in the light can have, and you are just too late for that. So, just forget about it and continue our fight! Pyroagnios!’
            ‘An Nekraal’me Fyasch!’
            Now Carolyn’s Fireblast is met with Zal’fira’s Dark Disintegration blast in a re-enactment of their impending duel in Mount Hvalgarr *). The difference is, Carolyn is a stronger person now, not depending on Aegis, her guardian spirit and her long-lost lucky charm necklace. Her opponent, Zal’fira is now a lich, more powerful yet more vulnerable in her accursed half-life as an undead. No longer can she feel love, the truly most powerful source of strength and protection of the Light Side.
            As the pressure goes on and on, it’s hard to know who’s the stronger one, until at one time one of them can’t endure her spell any longer: It’s Carolyn!
            Zal’fira uses this momentum to add pressure on her spell, and KA-BLAAM!! The two powers explode on impact point. Carol, the nearest to that point gets the full blow and is thrown back quite a distance. The lich withdraws her spell and stands with her face looking up and her hands stretching open, signifying victory.

(* See Book Two, Chapter Eight: Magicians and Dragons

            Humph, no matter how strong you’ve become, you still can’t win against me! No way! No in a million years! Now, to finish off that annoying kid and that bird…
            Suddenly, an arrow comes with lightning speed! Zal’fira snaps awake from her thoughts and barely moves aside. The arrow comes past and grazes the lich’s mask, putting a crack on it. She quickly turns and shoots a Dark Bolt to where the arrow came from and misses the target!
            Before Zal’fira can even take a breath, another attack comes! This time, utilizing the flood water, a Tidal Wave is going to smash her, forcing her to leave the standing spot. She runs to the edge of the building and leaps away! Is she out of her mind? She can’t reach the other building across the road with just a leap!
            Well, maybe she’s crazy, but she isn’t stupid, though. Zal’fira shots another Dark Disintegration blast and uses the feedback force, reaching the edge of the building which is shorter than the first.
            Looking up, she sees three figures standing on that wet and battered building, ready with their weapons. They’re all mages, women, and the lich recognizes them all: Carolyn, who’s just recovered from the knockback a while ago, Iris the elf enchantress, renewing the Omninervatr Mind Shield on the team, and Ney the elf sorceress who stares at her with extreme loathing and vengeance.
            ‘Pay for my husband’s soul, you foul lich!’ shouts the aquamarine-haired elf threateningly. In response, Zal’fira just laughs most evilly.
            ‘HAHAHAHAA! That’s just a delightful coincidence! That’s just the thing I wanted to do for a long, long time! I kill someone’s husband, his wife fights me and I kill her too! Taking revenge by eliminating couples is the ultimate goal of my life!
            Iris cuts in, ‘Oh, yes, I know the story behind that goal of yours. Your lover left you and married your best friend, and you wanted to kill them both ever since. But you never did, because doing that would rob you of your life aspiration.
            So, your twisted mind told you to kill all couples in the world you could find until your ego is satisfied, and then you’ll kill your friend’s family and commit suicide to escort them to hell. Pardon me for being inaccurate, but judging from the way your brain works, my analysis can’t be far off. That’s your line of life and death, Zal’fira, and you’re going to cross it to the death zone.’
            Zal’fira reacts to that. Her aura pumps up to the maximum.
            Meddlesome maggots! How dare they dig up my past?! I must silence them all so even the Dark Overlord won’t know about my real intention of joining his ranks!
            ‘May the truth dissipate with your death! Vare Nekraal’me Mephistopeles!’
            Come voices of evil spirits, and a legion of them summoned by the Eternal Banishment spell come flying from everywhere, all targeting the power girls: Iris, Carol and Ney! All seek to possess those beauties and destroy them from within!
            There’s no escape! The three witches can only shield themselves with their respective elemental auras. Alas, the spirits are reinforced with high level back magic power, so the guardian forces also join in the defense and keep the powers balanced.
            Ney, who doesn’t have a guardian spirit, is panicked. No matter  how hard she defends herself, the evil spirits will soon breach her defenses and possess her. She is desperate for some help...
            Suddenly, an apparition comes behind Ney. She turns her face to the back and sees a huge naga – the half-woman, half sea serpent with pointed croissant-like blue hair and a coral jeweled breastplate covering her silky blue skin.
            Ney gets a bit startled and mutters, ‘Res’marth...’
            Res’marth’s apparition smiles and immediately blocks the evil spirit with her trient. Her appearance changes quickly and gradually as four extra hands grow from her back, each hand holds a curved sword. Her face changes as though she’s wearing a mask, without nose and mouth like an alien from outer space.
            Carol and Iris are also amazed to see Res’marth in spirit. From the looks of it, now it’s time to unleash the counterattack, the ultimate combo spell: Nature’s Revolt.
            Still under pressure, Iris casts, ‘Raduyev Eshmyriad!’ unleashing two great spinning Typhoons in the middle of the arena, sucking and shredding evil spirits around.
            ‘Vare Petravia’me Tyral!’
             Just as Iris’ spell is out, Carolyn shoots a concentrated Inferno, the ultimate fire spell on one typhoon, and Ney the Maelstrom on another. The spells empower each other and the typhoons become multiple times stronger than before. This is, of course, not the complete Nature’s Revolt without the two other elements, earth and lightning, and yet the power is as devastating.
            FWOOM! FWOOM! FWOOM!
            Zal’fira is clearly a more powerful witch than the three witches individually, but the three combine their powers into one spell that packs more power than Eternal Banishment. The evil spirits are suppressed and banished for real this time, and the Firestorm-Maelstrom typhoons spin and spin, locking the lich’s movements from the left and right. No normal human can survive this.
            So, in that desperate moment, Zal’fira drops her pride after all by calling out an outside help, ‘An Omegron Aschi!’
            The whirlwinds come closer.
            She begins to feel the excruciating pain in her flesh and bones.
            A claw grabs her body gently.
            And the great black dragon flies its master out of harm’s way.
            ‘This is not over, little girls! The next time we meet, you’re all dead meat!’
            Carolyn shoots a quick Lightning Bolt, but it misses Zal’fira thanks to Omegron’s timely maneuver. Her retreat marks the disastrous defeat for the Dark Forces, with only twenty percent of them manages to crawl safely out of the flooded city, retreating to Castoria to fight another day.
            Mission accomplished, Res’marth still retains her ultimate Naga Queen form. Her mask opens up, and with a motherly smile she dissolves into the light. The light then materializes into a trident, the decorated and powerful godly weapon Neptunomicron she used to wield in life. The trident glides into Ney’s hand and the elf feels the cool water energy flowing inside her and forms into a new, ever-flowing spring. She becomes more powerful no, and she can cast high-level magic spells without her guardian’s help (except of Res’marth’s special skills: healing and her own mysterious, unique finishing move.
            Eshmyria and Aegis also dissolve back to the spirit realm to join Res’marth, leaving their two masters and Ney finish the ‘cleanup’.   
            After finishing his job on the West Side, Cristophe joins Carol, Ney and Iris on the South, exchanging updates and planning ahead for the next battle.
            ‘Our tactic was a success because of the quick and excellent work of our comrades, brothers and sisters in light,’ says the Emperor in his debriefing. ‘However, if you think our win is too easy, I’m telling you that this is the ONLY easy part of our campaign because of this town’s vulnerable position that we used to our advantage.
            Well, I have a bad news for you: Next time, it won’t happen again. Rael’charon specifically instructed us to retake Dalamar City and make a stand there until our allies arrive. The Valanian mages were supposed to meet up with us here and fight together, but you see, no one came.
            Anyway, we can’t just sit around and wait for them. We must march on and let the Meridans, nagas and water elves handle Icothl. Now we go to the dry ground, camp for the day to rest and tend for the wounded, and set out for Dalamar tomorrow night!’
            To this, Ney comments, ‘And the next time we see Zal’fira, it’ll be her end.’

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Image Sources: 
1. Naga Queen by Saryth (for DevaCurse Card Game) - 
Author's note only: 231/487 original script, begin next chapter.

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