Broken Horizons – Vol 13, Ch 18


Baelgritz judged their odds of surviving the next two minutes at a generous three percent. The [Brain Scourge’s] forces weren’t that overwhelming – mindless husks didn’t tend to execute the most complicated of battle strategies. Under normal conditions, given the [Overcharging] powerup he, Illuthiz, and Hermeziz were enjoying, he suspected the three of them could have held the attacking forces away from [Dragon Shire] until the end of doomsday (so  a few more hours at least).  Unfortunately, conditions were far from normal.

With his new [Titan’s Fire], Baelgritz could incinerate even non-corporeal beings, boost his strength high enough to “lift the sky”, and shrug off injuries by reforming any damaged parts from the flames that burned within him. Illuthiz and Hermeziz had similarly unimaginable powers, and none of them meant a thing against a foe who could corrupt any mortal creature’s mind with no more than a touch.

Baelgritz was particularly annoyed that “mortal creatures” apparently even applied to things like the [Shadowed Starwalkers] which were otherwise unkillable living shadows.

“As last stands go, I have to say I hate this one,” Qiki, the [Vampire Seneschal] said.

“It’s not too late for us to stake each other in a flurry of mutual destruction,” Vixali, the [Vampire Queen] said.

“Do that and I’ll have one of the [Adventurers] resurrect you both,” Baelgritz said.

Beyond the barricades a new roar came from the [Brain Scourge’s] forces.

“Oh good,” Hermeziz said, after a glance over the barricades. “They have a [Dragon] now.”

“I liked it better when all the monsters were on our side,” Illuthiz said.

Within the barricades, the assembled forces were as motley a collection of creaturs as existed anywhere in the [Fallen Kingdoms], only a short minority of whom were among the ‘civilized’ races of the world.

Baelgritz was glad to have them all but he wished a few more were [Adventurers]. All of the combat capable ones from the [Great Hall] were with them – or at least all of the ones who hadn’t been drafted for work elsewhere – but there weren’t enough. If he’d had command of an army perhaps ten times the size of the force he was in charge of and all of them had been [Adventurers] and therefor enjoyed the immunity from [Oblivion Contamination] that seemed to come with that designation, then victory would at least have been on the table.

“Hey, big guy!” Sister Cayman, one of the [Sisters of Steel], drew Baelgritz’s attention to one of the lowest level [Adventurers] in their makeshift army. He was a kid and he never should have been within a thousand miles of a battlefield. Since the battlefield had come to him though, Baelgritz had let them join. Even the weakest [Adventurers] had some strength, so ‘they might as well use it’ was his thought.

The [Adventurer] approached with the oddest smile on his face, odd given the fact that everyone knew they were moments away from dying ugly deaths.

“You might want to have this,” the kid said and held out a tiny spark flame that was burning in the center of his hand.

It was a cute gesture, but Baelgritz was as much a being of fire as he was of flesh while he was [Overcharged], one more little spark was…

…going to change the world!

The moment before he placed a fingertip on the spark and the moment after was divided by an eternity.

Baelgritz thought he knew what it meant to burn hot, but he’d had no idea in the moment before.

From the single spark of flame, his whole being glowed like a star.

It was a [Void Speakers] gift.

An endless flame.

A [Divine Light].

He passed it on and his laughter drowned out the roaring of the [Dragon].

“We’re protected,” Illuthiz said as her own divine epiphany washed over her.

Hermeziz was hugging them both and crying mumbling over and over “you’re going to live, you’re going to live!” Because of course he hadn’t been worried about himself. Baelgritz shook his head. He was in love with an idiot.

“We are,” he said, “But [Dragonshire’s] not.”

Illtuhiz frowned.

“He’s right,” Hermeziz said. “Even if they get this immunity too, those things will still rip them apart limb from limb. There’s too many of them to hold back.”

“Then let’s buy them time,” Illuthiz said.

“How?” Hermeziz asked.

“Like Pillowcase and Obby showed us,” Baelgritz said. “We can’t fight defensively anymore. We need to make them fight us. We need to be out there. In the center of the worst of it.”

“If it’s with you…” Hermeziz said.

“There’s nowhere we’d ever be,” Illuthiz said.

Baelgritz had expected the three of them to run out into the swarming attackers alone.

He was very mistaken on that.

They’d made the mistake of talking where people could hear them.

And no one, not even the [Vampire Queen] or her [Seneschal] even hesitated to charge out after them.

It would have been a fantastic melee and a fantastic slaughter. For all their unbelievable might, Baelgritz and his forces were still badly outnumbered and the opposing side didn’t need clever tactics when the [Brain Scourge] had dragons and even stronger minions to call on.

As he cleaved through a half dozen foes with talons of fire, Baelgritz said a silent prayer that their efforts wouldn’t be in vain. Dying on an alien shore wasn’t a pleasant prospect, but dying to save the innocent people he’d come to care about and respect was a lot better than dying as a ghostly vanguard to lead them all to the afterlife.

“Won’t be any dying here today,” a zombie said, blocking an attack on Baelgritz’s left side. “We’ve already let that happen once. Time we stopped shuffling around and made up for past mistakes.”

And from the earth of the [Barrow Hills], burning the [Divine Light] of [Godly Avatars], the [Cursed Walkers] rose to fulfill at last their promise to defend [Dragon Shire].

The World

Melissa’s respect for the [Jormangadrs] was not in the least diminished when it turns out that the [World Serpents] were, in fact, vulnerable to [Nuclear Attack Submarines]. 

“I didn’t think subs were intended to fire their nukes at underwater targets though?” she said.

“On Earth? Not so much,” Tessa said. “In [Future State: Sub Commander] though they went a little wild with history and the capabilities of military hardware.”

“Technically those weren’t even nukes,” Lisa said. “They were firing [Zero Point Implosives], so no pesky radiation to worry about.”

“What the heck is a [Zero Point Implosive]?” Melissa asked. Her arms were sore but still surprisingly functional. Given that she’d hauled somewhere close to a thousand [World Serpents] up out of the depths of the ocean that seemed fair. She was still waiting for the official tally from the other [Legendary Tier] [Fishing Masters], but she was reasonably sure she’d edged them out on weight if not also on total catches.

“Most of the tech from [Sub Commander] is sci-fi babble gizmos,” Tessa said. “They throw words like ‘Quantum’ and ‘Zero Point’ around to sort of handwave why you’ve got Submarines fighting like World War II fighter jets. That worked out pretty well in this case because it was close enough to the weird fantasy tech that shows up in some corners of the [Fallen Kingdoms] that the world basically went ‘eh, I could buy that’ and treated it as just some new thing.”

“Some new thing which your fish friends hadn’t been able to include an invulnerability to,” Lisa added.

“I still don’t understand how you got them here, or the [X-Wings], or the freaking [Crystal Star]!” Melissa said, glancing at the moon-sized magical battle ship that was currently helping ‘resolve’ some of the thornier apocalypses.

A gift from the Empress of another reality, the [Crystal Star] had taken a geosynchronous orbit around the [Fallen Kingdoms] and was dispatching small armies of [Anima Casters] to support the local forces, or, when there were no local forces present, dealing with the apocalypse in question via [Orbital Bombardment].

“We have my sister to thank for that believe it or not,” Lisa said.

“Just doing my job to Save Everything Everywhere!” Rachel laughed triumphantly.

“Oh my god, you are going to ride that for the rest of your life, aren’t you?” Lisa asked.

“Oh, not just this life,” Rachel said. “I’m riding it for all of Deadly Alice’s life and every other alt-self I can find.”

“I don’t get it? What happened?” Melissa asked.

“We figured out that Gulini, the guy who started all these apocalypses, had accounted for all of the forces in the [Fallen Kingdoms] – people, monsters, spirits, everything – and then went far, far overboard on what was needed to destroy the planet beyond that,” Lisa said.

“He’d seen from absorbing the Consortium’s fleets assessments and logs that the [Adventurers] tended to rise above the challenges that were set before them, so he worked out what the highest over leveled threats there were in the world and then made sure that the apocalypses he spawned would destroy the world even if everyone fought at a level where they could beat those existing threats,” Tessa said.

“In other words, even if we all had our best days ever, we just wouldn’t have the raw power needed to fix everything,” Lisa said.

“So we brought the dead gods back,” Tessa said. “But it turned out Gulini had overshot things enough that even that wasn’t going to be enough.”

“That’s where I came in,” Rachel said.

“You brought back the…wait, so those giants over there, those are actual, literal deities?” Melissa asked.

“Deities or developers,” Lisa said.

“Sort of both,” Tessa said.

“Okay. I think I have about a hundred billion questions for them, starting with ‘Whyyyyy’?” Melissa said.

“There is a long line forming to ask that question, believe me,” Lisa said.

“The important thing though is that they, alone, weren’t going to be enough,” Tessa said. “So Lisa here figured out that what we needed was forces from worlds that Gulini hadn’t considered in his calculations.”

“We had a problem though,” Lisa said.

“I can imagine,” Melissa said.

“That was sort of it,” Tessa said. “We could imagine calling across the worlds for help – we’d already traveled to Earth and back so we knew it could done, but the problem was the people we needed to call on hadn’t made the trip yet, so even if they heard our call, they were too far away to make the leap to us.”

“We’d come from the Earth to the [Fallen Kingdoms], but that was only a single jump,” Lisa said. “We needed people to jump to Earth and then to us and no one seemed to be able to do.”

“Until I showed them,” Rachel said.

“Can we go back for just one quick second,” Melissa said. “I could swear I heard you say that you managed to get back to Earth?”

“Oh, yeah, back and forth. It was harder the first time than the second,” Tessa said.

“You got back to Earth? Seriously? Do you know how huge that is! There are people here who are dying to get back there,” Melissa said.

“They might wind up dying if they go back,” Lisa said.

“What do you mean? Is the trip dangerous? Wait, where’s my brother? Is he still there? Did something happen to him?” Melissa ran through the question so fast Tessa could barely head them all.

“The trip’s easier once someone shows you how to make it. Pete’s not on Earth, we think he’s off in the world the [Void Walker Mechs] come from,” Tessa said.

“You think?” Melissa looked ready to run back to Earth whether or not anyone showed her how to get there.

“He saved us,” Lisa said. “The Earth is in pretty bad shape. It’s got apocalypses rolling over it too. One of them is related to the [Void Walker Mechs]. We got attacked by one before we figured out how to use our [Fallen Kingdoms] powers on Earth and Pete saved us by grabbing the mech and transiting back to its homeworld with it in tow.”

“So he could be dead?” Melissa’s disbelief was like a wall of iron.

“Starchild says he’s not,” Tessa said. “She knows he’s still out there and she thinks he got caught up in something on the mech homeworld.”

“How do I get to him?” Melissa asked.

“Wow, you’re really close aren’t you?” Rachel asked.

“My brother supported me before anyone else did,” Melissa said. “He always believed in me and he always stood up for me. So, yeah, he’s pretty damn important to me.”

“Let’s get you reunited then,” Rachel said.

“Can you do that? We’re not as important as a [Crystal Star] are we?” Melissa asked.

“You know how Penswell can make copies of herself to manage everything?” Rachel said. “I have a friend who’s doing something similar for me, so that we can get everyone where they need to be in time.”

“Oh, how many copies do you have?” Melissa asked.

“Last I checked? Around ten million. When I saw everyone, I mean everyone.”

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