Bride of the PastMaster 2 Prologue to Finality and Creeplings By James L. King FreakaZ@Aol.com Author’s notes/Summary: When the PastMaster assaults MegaLith City again, the SWAT Kats and their fiancees go back in time to deal with him, but victory comes at a cost… as their greatest enemy appears from the ashes of the battle. Prologue to a multi-part fiction.
Legalese: SWAT Kats, MegaKat City are owned/copyrighted by Hanna-Barbera. Stonegate is a Castle/Tower that appears in several Ultimas. Ultima is copyrighted by Origin Systems, Inc. Thanks to DJ Clawson for pointing out that Professor Hackle and Jake look so much alike. The list goes on…E-Mail me for a full copyright listing/ideas used.
Table of contents.
Chapter 1: Into the Past
Chapter 2: Knowledge and Time
Chapter 3: Battles
Chapter 4: Endgame Epilogue
July 14, 1236 In the highest floor in the main keep of Queen Callista’s castle, a Mau Tom-Kat dressed in a purple robe edged with blue and a black cape edged with gold enters a small room, looks around, then walks to, and stops in front of a wall. A wall that was where a door should be. He mutters a few words of power, and dispels the illusion. He enters the next chamber.
“There thou art, D’Karian.” An ancient Kat dressed in a brown hooded robe looks up from a writing table as the other Mage enters the room. Various potions, spellbooks, and spell scrolls litter the table the old Kat is sitting at. He puts his quill down and closes the book he had been writing in. The aged tom stands and states, while gesturing to a chair, “Sit, please.”
“I prefer to stand. Now, Eugene, why hast thou called me here?” The younger looking Mage crosses his arms and glares at the much older looking tom.
The ancient tom takes his hood off and looks at D’Karian with his remaining green eye. Long, deep claw scars and the sunken hollow where his other eye had once existed mar the right side of his face. He crosses his arms and grey tiger stripes on white fur stand out on the exposed parts of his arms. “We must call the DragonSword heroes back to this time. The Pastmaster hath returned.”
“I know this. I felt the unleashing of his power as a Time Vortex opened yesterday.”
“We must send the Queen forward to the Heroes’ time. I must set up a scrying shield to prevent the PastMaster from seeing what we are doing, and thy other magics can defend the castle from any attacks that he may unleash in the meantime.”
“Other magics? I can cast no other magics than the ones I was taught here,” D’Karian says sarcastically.
“Do not lie or play coy with me. I know thou art a shapechanging offworlder. Besides, Honesty is one of thy Virtues, is it not?”
“I have my ways. I simply need thee to agree with me in front of the Queen that she should go forward to retrieve the heroes. I know thou hast a spell to send one through time. She shall need an enchanted scroll to return with the heroes. When this is all done, we can go back to disagreeing on everything.”
“Alright then, I’ll agree with you, but only this time, Eugene.”
“That is all I want. Let us go to the queen, and prepare for what lies ahead of us all.” Raising his hood and leaving the room, he and D’Karian head to the Queen’s throne room, elsewhere in the castle keep.
As they enter the throne room, a jester dressed in red and yellow jumps out and says, “Hail, O wizard! Dost thou…OOMPH!” Eugene smiles from under his hood as his fist connects with the jester’s jaw and he goes flying backwards.
“I always wanted to do that,” he says as the jester hits the ground and somersaults twice.
“Oooh, my head…” the jester says, shaking his head to clear the spots still floating in front of his eyes.
D’Karian looks at the old mage and states, “Thou art quite strong for such an old kat, Eugene.”
“I was a warrior before I found out my magical abilities. I still maintain, however, some of the strength and speed of my youth.”
“That explains thy eye.”
“Actually, I received that little mark when I first came here and was waylaid by brigands.”
“Ahh, I see.”
They walk into an anteroom, and Eugene asks, “We must speak to the queen, ’tis an urgent matter.”
The guard opens the door and asks, “M’lady, the Arch-Mages Eugene and D’Karian would both like to speak to thee, should I let them pass?”
“Yes, they may.”
“My queen, thou must go forward in time to whence the DragonSword Heroes come and bring them here,” D’Karian declares as they enter the room.
“Why?” she asks.
“The PastMaster hath returned,” Eugene states from underneath his hood.
“Why canst one of thou not go to that time?”
“They would not trust either of us, but they would trust thee, as they would know thee,” Eugene continues. “D’Karian hath a spell that can send thee forward and can make thee a scroll to return thee and the Heroes to this time.”
D’Karian nods in agreement.
“Thou knowest I rarely agree with him, but, this one time, I do completely, milady. We need the Heroes. Only thou canst bring them here.”
“If I must be the one to go, then I must go. ‘Twould be good to see Sir Razor again.” A smile grows on her face as she thinks of her hero.
“In the time thou wilt be sent to, he is already betrothed, my queen. Do not pin thy hopes on his becoming thy husband. He shall be completely loyal to whom he is betrothed to,” Eugene states.
The smile disappears from her face. She looks at his impassive, ruined face, attempting to scry his thoughts. The feeling of familiarity, that she had known this Kat once before, intensifies. D’Karian also looks at him inquisitively.
“When canst thou start the casting?” she asks D’Karian, finally, unable to read Eugene’s thoughts.
“Immediately,” D’Karian replies.
“Very well. I am ready,” she says.
“I must scribe the spellscroll first, but that shall not take long.”
“I must cast a scrying shield over the castle. I shall see thee in a short while, milady, and assist D’Karian in the casting.”
“Both of you, meet me in my chambers when thou art done.”
“Yes, my queen.” Both mages bow at the waist, and leave the room.
* * *
The PastMaster stands over the second mage he had just killed in reclaiming his clock tower, “Ah, my tower. You foolish mortals always think you can stop me? Not even the SWAT Kats can fully stop me!”
Reaching under his cloak, he produces a golden crown, one that pulses with a dark magic. He dons it and exclaims, “With the crown of the Liche King, I shall rule supreme over all undead!”
A blast from his watch at each corpse, and the two mages raise to unlife. “I have given you magical abilities and eternal undeath, now, defend the outer passages of this tower from all intruders!”
He turns as the two liches walk out of the chamber. “Now Callista, to begin our courtship anew! Hahahahaha!!!”
* * *
November 12, 1995 Jake is on his way to to an antique shop to buy Callie an engagement ring. As he walks in the shop he sees MadKat’s Kat-in-the-Box. He shudders at the thought of MadKat recognizing him. MadKat stays silent, trapped in the Kat-in- the-Box. Jake walks up to the shopkeeper and asks him if he has any antique engagement rings. The shopkeeper takes Jake over to a small display case, and Jake picks out a pretty golden ring that has a half-carat diamond and a quarter-carat emerald on either side. He looks at the items on the wall as the shopkeeper rings his purchase up. He notices a familiar sword, the one he had wielded.
He gasps and exclaims, “That can’t be it. There is no way that is the DragonSword.” He goes over to the display, and inspects it carefully. “It is,” he starts slowly. “It is! Is it for sale?”
“Yes, it is. It is priced at $1399. Why do you want it?”
“I–it’s an old family artifact. It was thought to have been forever lost after an ancestor of mine slew a dragon with it in a battle with the PastMaster.”
“Very well, I will sell it to you.”
Jake buys the Sword and walks out with it and the ring. He heads to the Salvage Yard. Upon getting there, he finds Callie waiting to pick him up for a date.
He approaches her and gets on one knee and asks her, “Ms. Calico Anne Briggs, will you marry me?”
She looks at him and smiles, “Yes, I will.”
He stands up and puts the ring her finger, and they kiss. When they stop kissing, he pulls the sword out of the truck. He tells Callie that he’ll be back out in a minute. She follows him anyway, wondering what he is doing with a sword. He goes into the house and walks over to Chance and Felina, who are necking on the couch.
He holds it up and asks Chance, “Recognize this?”
“Huh?” Chance stops kissing Felina for a minute and looks at what Jake is holding. “The DragonSword!?”
“Yes, I found it in the antique shop I bought the ring from.”
“Dragon Sword?” Callie asks as she stops behind Jake.
“A legend we fullfilled over eight hundred years in the past,” Chance replies between kisses.
“I’m not Ann Gora, but I smell a story,” Felina says while Chance is kissing her on her face and neck.
They stop kissing and make room so Jake and Callie can sit down. Jake and Chance start telling them the tale of ‘The Bride of the PastMaster’.
Chapter 1: Into the Past
July 14, 1236
“There, the casting is complete. I can already feel your attempts to break the spell, PastMaster,” he says, smiling as he relegates the spell’s control to a corner of his consciousness. Eugene teleports to the Queen’s chambers. He is met there by D’Karian and the queen.
“The scrying shield is in place. Let us begin, quickly.” As they enter her chamber, Eugene says, “I shall telepath to thee the time and place that she is to be sent to.”
“Thou soundest as if thou knowest when that is.”
“I do. ‘Tis a terrible responsibility knowing any part of what the future holds.” Eugene’s voice grows soft, and a tear forms in his eye. It falls to the ground, and both of the other two sense mournful sorrow from him.
D’Karian give Eugene a small pouch, and his spellbook, “Since thou knowest the time, take this spellbook and these reagents. Turn to the eighth circle, page 97, and chant the words, ‘Vas Rel Tym Por’, then concentrate on the place and time while casting the reagents onto the floor where the gate shall appear. Make sure that you use one deep breath, and expel the entirety of it chanting those words only once.” Eugene nods while D’Karian addresses the queen. “Milady, thou shalt see a silver doorway appear in front of thee, simply walk through and thou shalt find thyself there. Look for…”
Eugene interupts as he raises his hood, “Look for nothing. The place you will find thyself is where they may commonly be found.”
After quickly glancing at Eugene, D’Karian continues, “Very well, then. This scroll hath been enchanted to create a time gate like the one that will shortly appear, not a portal like the PastMaster’s. They will not be able to come in their flying machine.”
* * *
“What’s this! A scrying shield! No matter, do those puny mortals think they can stop me?” He attempts to break the shield, only to have his power rebound back upon him. He is thrown back by the force of his own magic.
“D’aaach! No mortal is that powerful, except…” With that, he stands and walks over to his small library and searches for a book. He finds it and pages through. “Ahh, as I thought, a time preserver! There has not been one in two-hundred years and will not be again for another eight-hundred! Damn that Time Lord! His heroes have always given me problems!” He slams the book shut. “At least, the Preservers rarely ever know whom they serve.”
He detects a flicker through the scrying shield. “What’s this? Some kind of time portal? It is Sosarian magic. Only Sosarian Archmages and Dragons can cast that powerful a magic.” As he searches his books, he detects a second of the same kind of magical flicker. “A second one? What do those mortals think they are doing?”
* * *
November 12, 1995
As Jake and Chance are describing the fight with the Dragon to Felina and Callie, they hear a high pitched keening outside, which turns into a low thrum. The thrumming stops after a few seconds, and Chance checks it out. Jake continues to tell the tale as Chance walks out to the garage, then into the yard. Chance returns a minute later with a shaken look on his face, and Queen Callista follows him into the living room. Jake and the two She-Kats stand as she does.
“Sir Razor?” she asks.
Nervously glancing at Callie, he replies, “Y–yes, my queen.”
“The PastMaster hath returned, I need thy help, Sir Razor. I came here to retrieve thee before he can attack.”
“Whoa-whoa-whoa-wait, he has returned, but not attacked yet?” Chance asks.
“Yes, Sir T-Bone, he just arrived and has just retaken his keep.”
“What are we waiting for, let’s go kick some PastMaster tail!”
“Thou cannot take thy flying machine this time, ’twill not fit through the portal.”
“Perfect chance to test my modified Cyclotrons!” Jake says gleefully.
“We’re coming too,” Callie says before Felina can say the same thing.
“Are you sure, sweetheart?” Jake says to Callie.
“Yes, absolutely,” she replies as Chance opens the living room hatch and jumps down.
“What’ll you wear then? You can’t wear….that!” Felina says, gesturing to Callie’s dress. (Callie is wearing a pink [of course!] evening gown.)
“She can wear my spare G-suit,” Jake says as he jumps down the hatch.
“If I can fit in it, you’re smaller than me!” Callie retorts.
Felina runs out to her car and returns, putting on her Enforcer jacket, bullet-proof vest, and holstering her sidearm.
Callie manages to climb down and sees Razor running about here and there to gather extra equipment for her.
“My other G-Suit is dirty. I’m not going to let you to wear it, so I’ll find
something for you to wear!” Razor leaps halfway up the hatch and scrambles out. She follows him back up the ladder and starts up the stairs just as he barrels down them, while carrying a well-worn pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and a pair of boots. “Try these on,” he says while giving her the clothing. He continues down the stairs and leaps down the hatch again.
Callie goes up to Jake’s room and starts changing. She ends up searching for a belt and a different t-shirt, as well as socks to wear with the boots.
* * *
They all three gather ammo for their glovatrixes, rockets for Razor’s bazooka, and a laser rifle that Hackle had given them and start loading everything into backpacks. Some of the backpacks they tie together to form makeshift saddlebags for the two Cyclotrons. They all three don rocketpacks in addition to deltapacks, then grab the remaining backpacks. They load everything they might possibly need.
“Let’s load our stuff on the Cyclotrons,” Razor says.
“What’s been modified on them?” Callie asks as she climbs down the stairs, wearing Jake’s clothes.
Razor starts helping her put on a deltapack, a rocketpack and a glovatrix.
“Well, they have better off-road handling now, heavier armoring, extended fuel supplies, and the turbochargers spool up faster, as well as provide ten more pounds of boost at full throttle.”
“Anything else, Razor?” T-Bone asks.
Razor looks sheepish as he adds, “Yeah, the turbocharger boost is so high now, I’ve had to use JP8 mixed in with the gas for them, just to prevent melted pistons and cracked heads.”
T-Bone only shakes his head. “Inventors.”
Razor starts giving Callie quick instructions on how to operate the equipment she’s wearing.
Queen Callista simply watches them run about collecting and packing equipment. T-Bone and Razor go upstairs, while Felina and Callie activate the garage lift, placing everything on it, then re-activating it and bringing the two Cyclotrons up to ground level. Callista comes up and walks out into the yard. T-Bone comes back down with a second backpack and won’t let anyone near it. Razor takes the DragonSword and places it next to his bazooka on the one Cyclotron.
They wheel the Cyclotrons out to where Queen Callista is standing, and she opens a spellscroll. She thinks of the exact time and place she left, while chanting the words on the scroll, and a high-pitched keening can be heard. The keening grows in intensity as a shining silver-colored portal springs out of the ground. As the portal stabilizes, the keening turns into a low thrum. Pushing the Cyclotrons through, they enter.
Chapter 2: Knowledge and Time
As the first portal closes, a second rises in its place. As Razor and Callie come through pushing a Cyclotron, Eugene turns to leave.
D’Karian says, “Wait, the Queen may yet wish to speak with us.”
As T-Bone and Felina walk through, Eugene whispers fiercely, “Do not force me, D’Karian, to stay. My time has yet to come. I shall speak to her later.” He then gathers his robes about him and walks off quickly.
Queen Callista walks through as the portal starts destabilizing, just in time to see Eugene’s tail disappear around the corner. “D’Karian, I wish to speak with thee privately,” she says as the last gleam of the portal disappears.
“As you wish, my queen.” * * *
“D’Karian, hast thou any idea who he is?”
“None, my queen. He hath rarely shown his face, and he is so old that what little of his fur thou canst see is whitening with age.”
“I suspect I know now who he is, but I cannot confirm it.”
“He is very secrative, I have spent these last two years here and have not found out more than what I have told thee.”
“Canst thou find out more?”
“For the fact he can maintain a scrying shield while casting a time gate, without the use of a focus, he is beyond even my power to scry anything from. I suspect he is more powerful than the PastMaster in the magical realm.”
“If he is more powerful, then why doth he not destroy the Pastmaster?”
“I believe I can answer that.” Eugene walks into the room, with a staff. “Change the past, what happens to the future, hmm?” He holds his staff up and points it to Callista. “Change the future and what has happened to the past? The present is a balance between the past and future. What has happened must happen, and what must not happen must be prevented from happening.” He points it at D’Karian, “Yes, I can destroy the PastMaster, but what happens to the past? It is lost, and the future changes. These are risks that cannot be taken, thus the reason I had thee summon the Heroes, my queen.” He sets his staff in front of him and places both paws on it.
“Who art thou, really?” Callista stares at Eugene, as does D’Karian.
“Thou dost wonder who I am, I will not tell thee. And, when this quest is done, I shall leave. Thou wilt not need my council much longer, my queen.”
Callista starts, but isn’t able to finish, “Eugene…”
Holding his staff out, Eugene disappears with a flash. He teleports to his chambers at the top of the castle keep. There he summons an illusory wall in the place of the door, then drops his hood.
Fighting tears he says to himself, “The course of time must be maintained, even at the cost of losing love, life, and friends.” Sitting at the table, he starts writing again.
* * *
“Allright, let’s get our gear on and set up. We need to make our way out by nightfall,” T-Bone says while unpacking a backpack and sorting ammo.
Razor is loading rockets into his bazooka, while Felina is practicing with her glovatrixes.
Razor then struggles carrying two fuel cans while Callie packs the remaining Glovatrix ammo into a backpack. She then packs all the remaining backpacks into one, then puts those next to the fuel cans. T-Bone throws a tarp over it all and weighs it down with several nearby rocks.
From the window in Queen Callista’s chamber, Queen Callista and the Captain of her Guard stand talking, all the while watching the four kats stow equipment.
“Sir Razor. He is handsome, is he not?” she says while smiling.
Her captain, a slender, tan colored tom with light brown eyes looks at her and says, “My queen, thou hast pined o’er him for these last four years and refused all suitors in the hopes he may return. Now he has returned, but is betrothed to another. Thou art not planning to kill her, art thou?”
“Thou wouldst question me, Captain?” she draws herself up, looking eye to eye with him. Anger shows on her face.
“If I may be so bold, my queen, yes, I do question thee. Would he love thee if his love were killed by thee? Couldst thou live with what thou hast done if thou were to kill her?” With that remark, she looks saddened as the truth strikes her.
She sighs and responds, “Thy council is as wise as ever, Sir Roland.”
“Let him go, my queen, and seek thy husband elsewhere.”
They are interupted by a guard, “Sir Roland, thy brother is stirring up trouble in the tavern again, come, quickly!”
As he turns to leave, and she asks, “Would thou marry me, if I were to ask it?”
He stops and considers this for a moment, then says, “No my queen, I could not. I am not worthy of one such as thou, especially with the dishonor of my family.” He walks off at a brisk pace, his chainmail armor jingling with every step.
Sighing, she moves away from the window and sits on her bed. “Refused by all…,” she whispers, then starts weeping.
* * *
D’Karian enters Eugene’s chambers, and once again dispels the illusion that blocks the doorway into the second room. He enters to find Eugene writing furiously.
“Enter, D’Karian, I have been expecting thee.”
“Eugene, I know now who thou art.”
Eugene only glances up from his writing, “So does Queen Callista, I’ll wager. My identity must be kept secret from the four who have been summoned.”
“My and my partner’s greatest enemy will come soon. I must be here to banish him to the future, else we will not exist as heroes. If we do not exist as heroes, we will never come back to save the queen from the PastMaster, thus the future is irrevocably damaged.”
“That is why thou art here. To keep time intact. I understand this completely.”
“Yes. The heroes must not find out. Not until the preappointed time. If thou will wait but a few more minutes…”
Chapter 3: Battles
“Allright, we’re ready. Let’s go,” T-Bone says. He gets on a cyclotron and turns the ignition switch.
“Hold, Heroes!” they hear a shout as the Captain of the Guard comes down the nearby staircase with several guards.
“What?” Felina asks, about to start the Cyclotron she and Callie are on.
“Take two of our best warriors with thee, they may be able to help thee.”
Two knights on horseback ride out, one a short rust-brown colored tom dressed in chainmail and carrying a bow, the other, a tawny colored tom dressed in platemail carrying a battleaxe. Razor’s jaw drops open upon being introduced to the two knights. “My orders. This is Sir Nathaniel and Sir Robert.”
“Lets go, try ta keep up, willya?” T-Bone addresses the knights.
The captain turns to the guards with him and says, “Now, the rest of you, follow me to the tavern, my brother is causing trouble again.”
Razor gets on T-Bone’s Cyclotron while Callie gets on Felina’s. Wheeling around, T-Bone drives off at a very mild pace so the horseback riding knights can keep up.
After they had gone a short way, T-Bone says through the comm, “Razor, the one looks kinda like ya.”
“Nathaniel’s one of my ancestors, T-Bone. Why else would my parents give me that for a middle name?”
* * *
“There thou art, Daniel.” Sir Roland and four guardskats walk into the tavern. Chairs, tables, and unconscious kats are strewn across the floor.
“Ah, the honorable Sir Roland has finally condescended to see me, eh?” A Kat that looks much like Sir Roland staggers up to him and, while weaving back and forth in his drunkeness, points a finger at him. His clothes are torn, and he’s showing blood in several places.
“Thou art drunk. Guards, take him to a cell where he can sleep it off for a night.”
“Oh, yes, thou ask thy guards because thou don’t have the guts to throw me in prison thyself. Honor, HAH!! It’s thy honor that keeps thee from what thou want the most.”
“How wouldst thou know what I want, eh? Thou art so drunk all the time thou cannot even…”
“Oh, be quiet with thy prattle, brother. Remember, I control our inheritance.”
“Thou drinkest it away for the both of us.”
“I’d rather drink and wench than have no fun playing soldier-boy. You spineless coward, always hiding behind…honor and…duty. You…” He weaves back and forth, then pukes at Roland’s feet before falling unconscious.
Roland sighs and grabs his elder brother by his tunic, and hauls him outside to the well. He draws a bucket of water, then dumps it on his brother, who wakes up spluttering.
“I am not brave enough to drag thee to a cell myself, eh? I’ll show thee, thou drunken embarassment.” He grabs his brother by his tunic and hauls him to his feet. He pushes him off toward the castle, “Get moving!”
Daniel turns and takes a swing at Roland, who ducks it, and punches Daniel in the stomach, hard. He then drags Daniel to the castle by the back of his tunic.
Upon arriving, he tosses Daniel into a small cell and locks the door. He sighs as he turns away, trying not to listen to his brother’s ranting. He starts pacing around the Castle, keeping mostly to passages that are not often frequented.
* * *
D’Karian stands there as Eugene finishes his writing. Taking the book and placing it in a bag, he gathers all of his spellscrolls and his spellbook and places them in it as well. He takes four yellow potions and places them with the books and scrolls. He goes over to a chest and pulls a key hanging from a chain around his neck. He unlocks the chest and places a few things from it into the bag. He takes off his robe and his outer clothing, then dons an old looking blue and red piece of clothing. D’Karian nods as he recognizes it as what the heroes are wearing. Eugene pulls his old brown robe back on, to cover the G-suit he’s now wearing, then he turns to D’Karian and says, “You may come with me, if you want.”
“You know the future. Do I come with you where you are going now?”
“You decide. Just because I know whether or not you do, doesn’t mean I should force you by deciding for you.”
“Then I’ll go.”
“Very well, D’Karian. Let us make haste to the stables, then make our way to and join the Heroes.” Raising his hood, and grabbing his staff and bag, he teleports both of them to the stables.
A short time later, Queen Callista watches as both arch-mages ride out of the Castle at a full gallop.
* * *
The PastMaster watches through a crystal ball as four SWAT Kats and two of Callista’s knights ride out of the castle. “So, that is what I detected, the SWAT Kats!” He gets a glimpse of Callie and focuses the crystal’s view on her, “Wait! That…yes, she is! So the queen of the future is here as well, eh? That gives me two brides to choose from! Hahahahahaha!!!”
He walks over to the balcony of his tower, and raises all the dead Kats in the cemetary below. “You, my servants, destroy the living!”
He scrys the location of a small mercenary camp and sends the horde of skeletons there, so he can raise more undead from them.
* * *
As they ride along, Sir Robert stops them, “Dost thou thou hear that? The sound of battle!”
They all turn toward it and ride off and run into two wounded Kats who are fleeing.
“Aidez-nous, s’il vous plaît!”(Help us, please!)
“Gaulish Mercenaries! Attack, Nathaniel!” Sir Robert cries.
As Nathaniel fits an arrow to his bow, he sees a huge throng of skeletons approaching. “Skeletons!”
The hear galloping hooves behind them and see both mages riding toward them.
D’Karian intones, “An Xen Corp!” while throwing a small pouch of prepared reagents toward the skeletons. The skeletons fall back, repelled by the spell.
“‘Twill not last long, this way, while we can!” he shouts as he turns his steed away.
Eugene dismounts, helping the wounded onto the horse, then sends the horse after the others, saying, “Suivez-eux!”(Follow them!)
The two mercenaries shout, “Merci!”(Thank you!) as they ride after the others.
He smiles as he summons an ettin, magically directs it to attack the undead, then he casts a magic spell of speed on himself and runs off after the others.
* * *
The Pastmaster watches the battle, “So, you are the Preserver, eh? Puny mortal. Go ahead and destroy my skeletons, shortly, there will be more than you could ever deal with!”
* * *
Queen Callista gazes into a crystal and views the mages and their actions. She also detects the PastMaster’s scrying the same area and wonders how Eugene was able to cast the magic spells he had while maintaining the scrying shield over the Castle. She stops scrying the area and sits down in a nearby chair, pondering these questions. She starts scrying the area that the Heroes are riding through.
* * *
As they enter a small valley between three hills, more undead appear between two of the hills, directly in front of them.
“More skeletons!” Sir Nathaniel shouts as their retreat is cut off.
“Let’s kick some tail!” T-Bone says, stopping the Cyclotron and unsheathing his claws.
“Hold!” They see the one mage stop next to them. The two mecenaries stop as well. Then the other mage appears, running toward them at a good clip. As he comes near, the second mage casts a spell over them all. A wall of fire, twelve feet wide and five feet high surrounds them.
“M’lord D’Karian. What about these Gauls?” Sir Robert asks.
“They are to live,” the other mage says as he runs up. “D’Karian, can thou see to their wounds?”
“Now to fight,” he sighs, and looks at his paws. “This is too draining.” He looks at T-Bone, “You.”
“Huh?” T-Bone looks at him and is struck by how alike they look.
“I shall telepath the structure of the fire ring spell to thee.”
“Thou art a sorcerer.”
“I know. Now, recieve the spell.” Eugene starts projecting to T-Bone the fire ring spell, and T-Bone concentrates on it.
Eugene releases the spell from his mind and starts meditating. After a few minutes, he gets up and walks to the edge of the ring. D’Karian joins him. “What art thou planning?”
“I need thee to attack the skeletons as a dragon, while I slay them with my magics.”
“Now I know how you know my Trueform.”
“Trueform? I only thought thou could take on the shape of a dragon, not that you are one.”
“I am a Dragon of the Weyrmount. Loyal to the Virtues and…”
“Never mind, just tell them what thou are about to do, else they may attack thee when thou change shape.” Eugene points his finger toward the group.
“I shall. Be right back.”
D’Karian walks over to the group and says, “I shall change my form to that of a dragon, do not attack me.”
He steps away, and they see his form shimmer and shift as he grows into a red dragon that has blue legs, wings, neck, and tail, then continues growing until his wingspan is twice that of the dragon the Pastmaster had ridden. He launches himself into the air and circles the group.
* * *
“What are you planning, mortals?”
He watches the one mage change form to a dragon and take off. The dragon swoops low over his army, and breathes fire onto the undead army, setting the skeletons on fire. The other mage teleports out of the fire ring and starts casting various spells at the skeletons. He reaches into his bag and pulls out the spellscrolls, casting their magics at the undead.
“D’aaaach, NO!” The PastMaster runs almost out of the tower to the two liches guarding the entrance. “Attack the mortals who would destroy my undead!”
The two move off toward the battle, and the PastMaster returns to the top chamber of his tower to summon more creatures.
* * *
Eugene summons stormclouds and has the clouds start striking lightning at the skeletons. Alternately, fireballs and lightning play from his paws, striking down skeletons left and right. He summons another ettin and has it attack, and it bashes a path through the skeletons before it is destroyed by the skeletons.
D’Karian is swooping low, breathing fire upon a large swath of undead, when two lightning strikes from the ground hit him. He banks away, and lands near Eugene, shifting back to his Kat form. Holding his side, with pain written across his face, he reaches into his bag and again throws a small pouch of reagents toward the skeletons, intoning “An Xen Corp!”
At the edge of the spell’s effect, they see two undead mages stop.
“By the Virtues, liches!” D’Karian gasps. He closes his eyes and fumbles for a few reagents in his bag so he can cast healing on himself.
Eugene casts several fireballs to keep the liches off-balance. The liches return the favor, and Eugene dodges.
“In Mani!” D’Karian intones in a gasp, then the pain lifts, and a healing power washes over him. He sighs in relief, “Ahh, better. What now?”
“We destroy them before reinforcements arrive. Use the magic of thy world, I cannot cast much more, I need to meditate.”
D’Karian pulls reagents from his bag and intones, “Tym Vas Flam!” focusing the spell between both liches.
Before the delayed blast goes off, he pulls more reagents from his bag and incants, “In Jux Por Ylem!” Swords shoot out of his paws, flying toward the liches. Then, they fan out, surrounding a lich, shredding its rotting flesh. After a second, the swords disappear with a puff of smoke, a couple seconds after the delayed blast goes off. The delayed blast sets both liches on fire, just as the liches cast lightning at the two mages.
Eugene holds his paws up and wills the lightning back upon the liches. In a contest of wills, the lightning bolts ball up, and stay in one place, moving only slightly toward Eugene, then slightly back toward the liches.
D’Karian presses his advantage and takes several reagents, then concentrates deeply as he incants, “Kal Vas An Grav!”
The ground quakes violently as a wall of fire and lightning explodes from D’Karian’s paws toward all undead on the field, enveloping all of them in its power. It consumes most of the remaining skeletons where they stand. The liches lose their concentration, and Eugene sends the lightning bolts back on them.
D’Karian smiles as he intones, “Flam Kal Des Ylem!” and flaming meteors fall from the sky onto the remaining undead, crushing and burning them all.
T-Bone cancels the Fire ring, and they all come out to the two mages, just as the last of the undead is destroyed.
“We’re not called ArchMages for nothing, PastMaster!” D’Karian cries out at the top of his lungs.
Eugene clutches his staff and barely manages to stand upright. “Yes, ArchMages. I’m not feeling very Arch right now, and now is when I need my powers the most.”
* * *
Callista views the battle, and, as she sees and hears all that is done, she knows that there is more to both mages than meets the eye. She sees the party split and hears Eugene apologize to her for canceling the scrying shield. She feels the effect of the shield dissapate and tries to take control of it herself, but is overwhelmed by its complexity and power. She falls unconscious from the effort.
* * *
“No! Undead cannot stop them! This calls for something more…evil.” He pores over a spellbook, and sees the perfect summoning. He smiles as he says, “A Shadowdemon. Purely evil, hating all living creatures, and capable of summoning lesser demons. Perfect for destroying the Preserver, the Sosarian, and the SWAT Kats!”
Chapter 4: Endgame
“While I was flying, I saw the Pastmaster’s Tower, a quarter of a league that way. If we hurry, we may get there before he can summon more undead.”
“‘Tis not undead he is summoning, D’Karian, ’tis worse, much, much worse.” Eugene whispers. He then turns to the group, “Heroes, ride there as fast as thou can and keep the PastMaster from summoning more creatures. Knights, return to the Queen, thy lives are in danger. D’Karian, take the mercenaries to the nearest seaport and make sure they get on a ship bound for Gaul. I will make my way to the tower on foot.”
They all go their seperate ways, the knights riding hard for the castle, D’Karian leading the two mercs to a nearby city, and the SWAT Kats racing toward the PastMaster’s keep.
Eugene looks to the sky and says, “I need all my powers for the battle ahead, my queen, I must drop the shield o’er thee.”
He cancels the scrying shield over the castle and starts meditating.
* * *
“What was with that crazy old mage?” T-Bone wonders aloud through the comm.
“I dunno, buddy, but he is pretty darn powerful.”
“No, I mean, he knew I can cast magic and made me take on the spell that protected us while he and the other one destroyed all those skeletons.”
“I’d be afraid of the other one,” Felina states through the comm as she pulls parallel to T-Bone.
“The one who could turn into a dragon?” Razor asks.
“That was pretty impressive what the other one could do. Did you see that wall of fire and lightning?” Felina declares.
Callie finally says, “The old one seemed strangely familiar.”
“How so?” T-Bone asks.
“I don’t know,” Callie replies. “He just does.”
“Uh, guys, we’re there,” Razor states.
They dismount and grab their equipment. They run inside the tower, up the stairs, into the main chamber. The PastMaster is summoning a large Kat-like creature.
“Game’s over, PastMaster!”
“Not, I think yet, SWAT Kats!”
He strikes both of the toms with a blast from his watch as Callie and Felina fire their glovatrixes. The missiles race toward him, and he dodges them. They hit the spellbook, and it burns up in the missile explosion. The summoning goes awry just as the creature starts to take form.
Razor fires his bazooka at the Pastmaster, and he is thrown backwards as the missile explodes in front of him. His watch flies out of his paw, and, as it hits the floor, the crystal in it shatters, releasing a magical surge that begins to banish the PastMaster. He flies through the air and hits the creature he had been summoning. As the Pastmaster, whose form is rapidly fading from existance, hits it, the creature cries out in pain. The golden crown flies from the PastMaster’s head as he hits the creature. A surge of energy comes from the creature and the PastMaster, striking all four SWAT Kats, knocking them all unconscious. The PastMaster’s banishment saps most of the magical abilities and the near immortality from the Shadowdemon, leaving the creature almost as vulnerable as a normal Kat.
At that moment, Eugene teleports in, “There you are!” he shouts at the creature.
The creature looks at himself, “I, I, am…”, then looks at Eugene, then at T-Bone, then back at Eugene, “You are!!!”
“You are banished!” Eugene is holding the Tome of Time, and incants, “Hear the words of this mortal Mage, send this Kat to a future age!” A small Time Vortex opens up and starts drawing the creature into it. “NO!!!!” a familiar roar comes from the creature as it resists the pull of the vortex. A small pink winged imp comes from the creature, and it flies at Eugene. Eugene grabs it and throws it as hard as he can at the creature. The imp strikes the creature in the chest, knocking him back, and the vortex draws both of them in, then closes.
Eugene falls to his knees from fatigue, but uses his staff to struggle to his feet and over to the Crown. He picks it up and says, “You do not belong in this world, artifact of evil though you are. I cannot destroy you, but I shall send you back to your resting place.”
He pages through the Tome of Time and finds a world travel spell.
“Hear me well, O words of Power, place this crown in StoneGate Tower!”
A rippling vari-hued vortex opens, and Eugene hurls the Crown into it. On the other side of the Vortex, the Crown lands on a stone altar surrounded by unlit candles and skeletal remains on the floor. As the Vortex closes, he puts the Tome of Time in his bag and pulls out the book he had been writing in and a yellow potion.
Razor awakens to a bitter fluid moving down his throat. “Gaagh!”
“Shh, I know it is bitter, but it will heal your wounds.”
“No, Sir Razor, not Sir T-Bone.” He pauses, then says, “Sir Razor, give this book to old Professor Hackle. Do not open it, for what is within is not meant for you. Mention my name and he will know what to do with it.” He pulls out two more potions and gives them to Razor. “Now, take these potions, and give them to Sir T-Bone and thy betrothed. I shall give this to her.” He pulls out another flask of yellow liquid and points at Felina’s unconscious form.
Eugene walks over to Felina, and, while keeping an eye on Razor, he gently kisses her on her lips. “I love you, now and always,” he whispers. He then uncorks the potion and starts giving it to her. She wakes up, and he almost repeats what he said to Razor as she nearly spits it out in his face.
“Chance?” she asks as she opens her eyes.
Her vision clears, and she sees an old, greying tom who is missing an eye. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be, milady. Come, let us help the others.” He gets to his feet, using his staff to pull himself up as she scrambles to her feet. They help wake the others up, then he teleports to the castle where D’Karian was waiting.
“I am leaving Queen Callista in thy care, D’Karian,” Eugene says as he packs the last of his belongings in his bag. He looks up and smiles at D’Karian. “I have always considered thee a friend, even when we were at odds the most.”
“That is a dubious honor, at best, Eugene.” D’Karian grins widely.
“I could say the same of thee, thou rascal. I am giving thee this.” Eugene takes a tome from the shelf,and gives it to D’Karian.
“A replica of thy spellbook. Well then. That demands a favor done in return. Take my spellbook, I have several like it. It hath spells I have collected from Sosaria and several other worlds.” D’Karian produces a spellbook from his robes and gives it to Eugene.
“Thank thee, D’Karian.”
“Remember, the spells within that tome require reagents to cast. There were four artifacts, any of which would allow thee to cast these spells without the binding of reagents.”
“What are their names?”
“Only one of these four is still known to exist. The Ring of Shal. The Ring of Shal was lost on Pagan, somewhere in the ocean near Tenebrae.”
“I may seek it.”
“If thou do so, Eugene, beware, the peoples of that world do not take kindly to any offworlder, and will probably try to kill thee. ‘Tis because of an offworlder that they all nearly died.”
Eugene walks to the window, looks at a point on the horizon, then states, “So much to do, so much time to do it in.”
Eugene takes out the Tome of Time and casts a spell to take him elsewhere in time.
* * *
Several hours later, in the courtyard of the Castle, D’Karian casts the Time Gate spell, and a silver gateway rises from the ground. The four SWAT Kats bow before Queen Callista and push their equipment through. When they had all gone through, D’Karian closes the gate. He then teleports himself to the top of the keep, where Eugene had resided for four years.
As soon as the gate has closed, Queen Callista turns away and heads to her chambers. She passes Sir Roland on her way to her chambers. She notices that he’s in a foul mood.
“Captain.” She stops, and turns toward him.
“My queen.” He stops and bows at the waist.
“What is wrong?” she asks, showing concern for him.
“I tire of the dishonor of my brother, I tire of him besmirching our name with the soil of his deeds. If our father were still alive, he would have been disowned.”
“I remember thy father well, he was one of my father’s best knights. He treated me like a daughter, and, sometimes, would dandle me on his knee when I was a kitten. He died shortly before I inherited the throne.”
“I remember that. He always wanted a daughter, and thou were the closest he had.” He looks like he wants to say more, but can’t bring himself to it.
“What of thy brother, canst thou disown him?” she asks, taking half a step toward him.
“He is the elder of us and controls the family inheritance. Since I cannot stand to bear our surname, I am forced to a path I would rather not take.” He leans against the stone wall next to him, and looks at the floor. After a moment, he looks at his queen and says slowly, “I will no longer bear the surname Steele. I know not what surname I shall take on, but I will not bear that dishonored name. My father, I’m sure, would agree.”
Smiling, she takes his paws in hers, “Then come, walk with me in the gardens, Sir Roland.”
“My queen, no. I am not worthy of thee.”
“Only in thy eyes, Captain. Come.” She tugs at his paws, drawing him toward the courtyard and the gardens.
* * *
As soon as they arrive, Razor moves some stuff off one Cyclotron and gets on.
“Where you going, Razor?” T-Bone asks.
“To deliver a book,” comes the response.
“Why? To whom?” T-Bone asks.
“I was asked to, and Professor Hackle,” comes the replies. Razor starts up the Cyclotron.
“Who asked ya?” T-Bone pressures.
“That crazy old mage.” Razor calls to Callie, “I’ll be back in a while for our date, darling!”
“As tired as we both are, why don’t we just spend a quiet night together at my house?”
“Works for me, I’ll see you at your place later.”
With that, Razor takes off on the Cyclotron, book in paw, and heads to Professor Hackle’s house. He is greeted at the door by the professor.
“Good day, lad. I believe you have a book to deliver to me?”
“Yeah, from someone named Eugene.”
“Yes, I already know. Come in, would you like something to eat or drink? You look very tired.”
“Uh, no, thank you Professor. I have to get back. I’m late as it is.”
“I know, I just figured I’d ask anyway. You and T-Bone stop by sometime and keep an old kat company.”
“No problemo, Professor. I’ll see ya later.”
Hackle turns, carrying the book, and heads into his house. Razor gets on his Cyclotron, and heads back to the Salvage yard.
Inside Hackle’s house, he opens the book, and reads it. He smiles and says, “I forgive you, buddy. Thank you for forgiving me for creating two of our enemies before I regained my memories. I shall see you in the future. We have much to talk about and much to do.”
Closing the book, he hobbles over to a small closet and unlocks it. He stands there for a long time, looking at the red and blue G-suit that hangs there, then places the book next to a glovatrix and helmet. He shuts and locks the closet, then says softly to himself, “I must prepare for what lies ahead.”
Sighing, he turns and heads toward his laboratory.
To be continued…
Navigate This Author's Stories
Disclaimer: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 1995. All other characters and material within this page are the property of their respective creators.