“You want to meet me so badly, little creature?” the Wizard asked.
“That’s what I was promised,” Tug replied.
“You may be a deceiver, little monster. But I am not. A horn for my appearance, that was the bargain. Then I shall reveal myself.” The room filled with dark smoke and then it quickly went away, like the opening of a curtain, revealing the Wizard in all his glory.
I’ll admit it. I had been expecting a human. I had been expecting an old man with a long white beard in a fancy robe and a pointy hat. But what stood before us was not a man at all. There was no robe or hat. And there was no long white beard. What appeared before us was something else entirely. It almost looked like a seahorse, but it had tentacles like an octopus. “Now, monster,” it said, “it is your turn to reveal yourself.”
I turned to Tug because I was confused. “What is he talking about?”
But it wasn’t Tug who spoke next. It was the Wizard and he spoke as if I hadn’t, “Do you really think I cannot sense the Orb of Lies?”
Tug grinned. He reached up and with a single movement he tore off his armor, revealing a crystal hanging around his neck that seemed to be constantly changing its shape and color. “You mean this?”
“The Guardians from the Wall must be very angry at you for taking it from them,” the Wizard said. “I’m sure they’ll want their revenge.”
The Guardians? He stole that…? Then things suddenly became clear and it made me furious. “Is that why you took us to the Wall? You almost got us killed so you could steal that?”
Tug laughed. It was a cruel laugh and laugh that enjoyed others’ pain. “Yes, human. You are a fool. You have been used and now I have everything I wanted right before me, laid out like a picnic.”
“You went through all of this just to ambush the Wizard?”
Tug laughed again. “Like that wouldn’t be reason enough? But there were other fruits, like the Seal of M’lthak. That was what first attracted me to you. Such yummy power. And then I found out you were human. A key to the otherworld. Who wouldn’t want that?”
“I would never allow you that, monster,” Lu Wu said, stepping forward. “The passages to my home are closed.”
“Except for to you,” Tug replied, “Is that it?”
“I am the gatekeeper.”
“And I shall kick open the gates!”
“Enough!” the Wizard said. “It is time you revealed yourself!”
Tug ripped the chain from his neck. “It is well past time, Wizard.” And then the little furry creature began to grow. His jaw began to stretch. His teeth grew larger. His hair fell away. His hands sprouted claws that grew into massive daggers. A second pair of arms appeared from out of his shoulder blades. Horns bloomed from his head. A thorn covered tail lashed out from behind. Tug, the furry little creature, was no longer furry or little. In his place was a vicious looking monster with a malevolent looking grin.
He no longer resembled a teddy bear at all.
“Maqesh, the Unsouled,” the Wizard said.
The creature formerly known as Tug smiled, showing off all his jagged pointed teeth. “You’ve heard of me? I feel so honored.”
“We have all heard of you, Maqesh,” Lu said. “We know of your great evil. It will go on no longer. This I promise you.”
“Big promises, little sorcerer.” Maqesh picked up the Horn of Tarrgair that lay by the fallen Werz. “Let’s see who exactly will go on no longer.
“That belongs to me,” the Wizard said, reaching for the horn with several of his tentacles.
“No,” Maqesh replied and let loose a great wind.
I was thrown off my feet, as was Lu a second later, but the Wizard remained unmoved. “You’re going to have to do better than that, Maqesh.”
“All right,” Maqesh replied, squeezing his hand shut. The wind collapsed around the Wizard, freezing him solid. “How was that?” he laughed. Maqesh stalked toward the frozen Wizard and raised his fist high up in the air…
…when he was hit by a table across his back. The villain fell to the ground and Werz stood over him with the remains of the table in his hands. “Still not good enough.”
Maqesh laughed as he picked himself off of the floor. “Nice try, Shadoweater, but perhaps it’s time the shadows found out what it was like to eat you?” The pool of shadows suddenly came alive! It attacked Werz, grabbing him, tugging at him, covering him! It wasn’t just the shadows that had been expelled from him, but all the shadows in the room! They all attacked him, every single one of them! His body was covered in shadow! It enveloped him! Not even his screams could escape!
“You will suffer for what you have done here,” Lu Wu said, rising to his feet.
But before Lu’s sentence was completed Maqesh was standing over him. He grabbed Lu by the neck and lifted him into the air. “I think not, sorcerer. I think instead I will use you as a key to rip open the gate between dimensions and remake your world in my own image.”
“Never!” Lu Wu raised his hands in the air and they began to glow. Maqesh dropped him. “I will never let you step a foot onto my world!” Maqesh laughed and flicked his hand toward Lu. The sorcerer went flying into the wall and collapsed to the ground.
And then it was just me, standing in the way of this monster. I had no idea what I could do to stop him. But before I had to find out, we were both hit with a warm burst of wind. I turned to see what had caused it and saw that the Wizard had freed himself. “Would you like to give that another try, Maqesh?”
“I will kill you, Dakkoe,” the villain replied.
They both began to glow as I rushed to Lu Wu to try to help him. His eyes opened, slowly at first, then they sprung wide with fear. “Look out!” he groaned as the energies of the two enchanters crashed toward each.
Then all there was was an all-encompassing brightness.
And then the Chamber blew up.
to be continued…