CHAPTER 1: THE SUMMONING
Once, he had been a child, caught in the body of a hideous monster.
Now, he was a warrior, a servant of the Goddess of darkness.
He was Nexus.
The reptilian kat was resting in a ‘throne’ created of bones of demons and a ghost-dragon. It had been one of the young ones, so it had been easy to defeat.
Nexus yawned as he lazily slid a finger along the curve of the horn on the demonskull where his arm was resting. It had been three weeks since he had returned to this world, and he had been working quite hard to get a few things done on time. He leaned back further, his whole body relaxing in the bony throne, absently listening to the sounds emitting from the swamp, the plantimals growling and sneering at each other in the basements of the enormous tree. Nexus narrowed his eyes, the golden shine in them seeming more powerful in the darkness of the dusk, which had started to spread its cape across the swamp. Soon, it would be time.
He raised up from the throne and stretched his muscular body, making a small dash with his long tail, reaching out after a large scythe with a silvery blade that was leaning up the wall next to the ‘throne’. As Nexus grabbed his weapon, he absently slid his hands up and down the shaft of the wooden handle. He chuckled as he remembered Hei Ying’s words when he first got it. He had been ten, and the scythe had been much too heavy for him.
“When you can lift the scythe, then I shall teach you how to use it.”
Those were the words Hei Ying had used. And, she had kept her promise. Six years passed in Hei Ying’s realm, six years which would be counted as nothing more but three hours in his own world.
Exactly the same day he had turned sixteen, the same day he had been able to lift his scythe. And, Hei Ying had started his training.
Swinging the scythe in the beginning had been difficult. There *had* been a few accidents, involving a minoring of Hei Ying’s demonservants, and once or twice where Nexus had sliced off his own tail or another of his body parts. The amazing thing with his body was, that he within minutes, hours or days, depending on the size of the injury, would easily be healed. The snakekat smirked as he was looking at his own reflection in the silvery blade of the scythe. A ray from the setting sun slipped in through a window, shining on the blade and making it seem like it was glowing. Nexus looked up, narrowing his eyes once again, the glow in his eyes competing with the setting sun.
“It is time.”
In the deepest parts of the swamp, places where no one, not even the past resident of the swamp, Dr. Viper had dared to go, a ancient creature was resting. The nature surrounding it gave it perfect camouflage along with its body, so it could only be seen by the trained eye. Its size could be counted as the lengh of about twenty tanks lined up in one line, its head being the largest part with a diameter that would fit for the size of two F16 jet airplanes placed on top of each other. When breathing in its sleep, it could easily be taken for a faint breeze in through the trees of the swamp, and the scales on its body were covered with all sorts of slime, moss and other sorts of plants. Once in a while, the creature would turn around so it would lay on its back, its stone-grey belly exposed and the eighteen stumpy legs pointing up in the air, easy to mistake as old crooked trees. The claws on the enormous paws were strong enough to scratch the toughest surface, and the strong beak which was the creature’s mouth, could bite through the strongest steel.
It was then that it heard the calling.
The beast opened its silvery eyes, looking around and about, trying to find the troublemaker that had disturbed the creature’s rest. It lifted its enormous head, staring around in the darkness of the night surrounding it, the darkness only interrupted by some fireflies buzzing around. Then it saw him.
The figure stood lonely on a small hill, one hand on his hip and the other holding a deadly-looking scythe, which seemed to have a silvery glow despite the darkness of the night. The creature opened its beak-like mouth and roared, zooming towards the stranger who had desturbed its rest. It stopped within a few inches and backed away with a slight screeching, recognizing the mark around the reptilian kats left eye. The mark of the creature’s mistress and creator, Hei Ying.
Nexus grinned slightly.
“I see you recognize the sign of the Goddess whom we both serve.”
The creature hissed in response, lowering its head so it was on height with Nexus, who reached out and patted its beak.
“I have a message for you, from Hei Ying,” he said calmly. Then, he began to talk in a strange language, which only he and the creature could understand. When Nexus had given his message, the creature roared, its way of telling that it was accepting the mission which Hei Ying had given it. Holding the scythe with both of his hands, Nexus raised it high up in the hair.
“Summon your brothers, mighty swamp beast! SUMMON THEM I SAY!!”
The swampbeast howled, the sound echoing across the swamp, and vanished in the waters of the swamp.
Nexus grinned. “Mission accomplished…” Then, he returned to his own lair.
The red wine flowed from the bottle and into the goblet in one easy motion, glowing in its crimson glory from the light of the few orbs spread around in the room. Nexus carefully raised the goblet to his lips and flickered his tongue across the crimson surface of the red liquid. Ahh yes…Elvenblossom wine. It was the sweetest and strongest kind of wine you could get, taken from the land of Qualinost in the world of Krynn*, made from sweet berries and perfumed with cherry flowers. As beautifully crimson as it was, as strong it was in its high strength of alcohol. The Elvenblossom wine was perfect for its purpose, to clear you up if dozy, or if you needed to get a proper night’s sleep…. without dreams.
Nexus scowled at the thought.
“Dreams. Who needs those!?” he hissed as he walked over to his throne and settled in it, taking a furious sip from the goblet. Due to that he was used to the strong drink he didn´t choke on the heavily perfumed alcoholic drink, like the ones who tried it the first time would. Then, lazily, he reached out and flicked his wrist, an orb appearing in his hand. He narrowed his eyes as he concentrated, his mind searching for one particular person….
Elrod was unbelievably tired. He had been working hard the last few days in order to find an antidote for David, but they had not found anything yet. Zyme watched the other kat, worried as Elrod, for the fifth time or more, was about to fall asleep while reading through some formulas. With a slight frown, he went over and gently shook Elrod’s shoulder.
“Purvis, you’re dead-tired. Go home and rest.”
“N…no I can´t….the cure….”
“…Is something that can be handled by one person,” Zyme said calmly. “I´ll take over from here, Purvis. You go home and rest. You need it.”
Elrod sighed. He knew Zyme was right, and he was too tired to argue. “Fine, I´ll be going…and Zyme?”
Zyme turned around to face Elrod. “Yes, Purvis?”
“I´m…. sorry about those things in the past… You know, trying to steal the mutagen and all… If I hadn´t done that…I wouldn´t be in this situation now.”
Zyme shook his head.
“It’s in the past, Purvis. Now we need to think of the future. And, you need to think of some sleep. Come back when you are fully rested, OK?”
“Yeah…OK….” With that, he left.
Zyme sighed as he, through the window of the lab, watched Elrod head for his car, get into it and drive off.
“The poor fellow. Who would have thought, that the young, loudmouthed smart-alec tom-kat would end up trying to find a cure for his son because of what happened back then?” He sighed again, then turned and headed back towards the table to begin his work.
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