Beyond the Sphere

The group gathered in the parlour.

“Thank you for your help, and keeping the entire Universe safe.” Cheryl Olive began.

“Oh, it was nothing!” Firetop commented, not exactly sure what he had done.

Beryl looked at Lycralad, who looked away quickly and into the eyes of Adam. He then looked away quickly once again, down to the floor. Adam smiled broadly.

“OK,” Charlie wanted to know what they had just been through. “It feels calmer now, somehow, that is very clear, but will you please tell us what has just gone on?”

Merrell began. “When we captured Ganthenex, the demon of all demons,” “Yes, we get that…” Firetop was now impatient. Merrell glared at him for interrupting, and he sat back sheepishly. “We made sure he was securely incarcerated in the Realm of the Underworld.” Merrell continued, regardless. “But we hadn’t taken into account his daughters.”

“As soon as Ganthenex had been imprisoned,” Beryl took up the tale, “his daughters captured the three of us, and trapped us separately within three crystals. They then took our forms, our thoughts, our memories and our places. We were scattered across Middlehaven Isle in the daughters’ hope that we would eventually be forever buried, thus lost forever.”

“They didn’t take our minds into account,” Cheryl Olive now took over. “Using our final source of available magic, we enchanted the crystals to be guarded by whomever so found them, which they were by these three. When the time of their reveal was necessary, we made it clear that there was to be little resistance in their finding, as you have all discovered.”

“I wouldn’t exactly say ‘little resistance’” Lycralad now interrupted, “but you did make it rather easy for us.”

“Ganthenex’s daughters,” Merrell continued, “needed to destroy the crystals at midnight on the day you know as Hallowe’en, when the mystical energy levels are at their lowest. And with the crystals destroyed, the gateway to the Realm of the Underworld was opened, and Ganthenex would once again be free.”

“So Adam was a guardsman?” Lycralad asked, nodding towards Adam.

“As was Ammeloc the Elder,” Beryl gestured toward the elderly man, who smiled towards Firetop. “And the banshee” Beryl continued, looking now at Annabeth. Charlie watched as Annabeth changed her appearance, quickly to that of the banshee, before returning to her normal human appearance. She smiled as Charlie jumped slightly in his chair.

“But I found Annabeth the mermaid by chance,” Charlie asked, thinking back to the cliff top.

“You did,” Annabeth responded, “and you graciously helped me for which I am eternally grateful, but the banshee are a collective, and are from many forms. Mermaid, human, any form.”

Lycralad looked at Adam. “Shadow is a banshee?” he asked, desperately trying to keep up.

“No, my strange friend,” Adam laughed, “Shadow is merely a horse, but the Huntsman’s horse. He has the same tracking abilities as I, hence our ability to reach you tonight as swiftly as we did.”

“Ah…” Lycralad thought he understood.

“So how did Sue know to…?” Firetop suddenly remembered the mouse Sue was speaking to him through. “Sue – “

“I was wrong, Firetop. I felt so small; I thought I was ‘inside’ a mouse. It turns out it was a spider.”

“Ugh!” Cheryl Olive shuddered. “I can’t stand spiders!”

“Ah!” Firetop snapped his fingers, thinking of the scene with the spider in the garden. “But wait – the son? Me?”

“You are not the Son of Ganthenex, Firetop,” Cheryl Olive laughed, “although the son is still free somewhere. The Children of Ganthenex have strength when together, so, although still powerful, he shouldn’t be too much of a threat should he surface.”

“Once Sue connected psychically to the crystal energy through the daughters’ reflections in the crystal ball, we were able to send our locations directly to her, and command your ‘methods of transportation’ to bring you to us. The daughters thought you had selected them through their enchantment, but it was us. We apologise for the rather uncomfortable journeys you would have undertaken to help us.”

“Think nothing of it…” Lycralad commented, remembering the scripulus.

“The daughters’ intention was to destroy the crystals, but by selecting you four from the Elite Force of Britain they actually entrapped themselves.” Beryl said with a smile. “That was a little intentional on our part. We have to protect ourselves, you know! And, of course, we knew you were the perfect choices for the job.”

“So, the Universe is safe once again!” Sue declared. “On that note, I think it is time we start to bid our farewells, and make our way back to the EFB headquarters in Mid.”

“One of these days I’m going to save the Universe actually knowing what I’ve done!” Firetop said, feeling quite good that another job had been well accomplished. “Thank you for your help, Ammeloc” he said to the elderly man, shaking him vigorously by the hand. “I told you I wasn’t a demon.”

“You are still the Son of Igbon to the tribe, my friend,” Ammeloc replied, “but I shall make them understand that rather than being the swallower of light, you are in fact the giver of it!”

Invisible Charlie walked out of the parlour with Annabeth. “So, what are you going to do now, Annabeth – or…”

“Annabeth is fine,” she said, “I like it. I’m going to stay here. By the coast I will become mermaid again, and all that luring takes its toll, even if we aren’t fully aware of what we do. But, that is one aspect of the life of a mermaid. I’m still banshee as well, so going back to the lighthouse may also mean I rejoin the collective; I’d like to give being human a go!”

“Good choice!” He said, giving her a warm hug. She hugged back, starting to feel just a little more human already.

Outside, Lycralad spoke to Adam, who was patting Shadow. “Thank you for your help, Adam,” Lycralad said, “We seem to share a bond you and I.”

“It is entirely my pleasure, Alex,” Adam said, “Although you hide behind name and mask, I understand the bond of which you speak. Feel free to return here at any time, and call upon my help whenever needed.”

“And the same goes to you too, Adam.”

Adam mounted Shadow and waved with a smile as he sped off through the trees into the darkness beyond.

“Seems you’ve made a good friend there,” Sue said, placing her arm around Lycralad’s shoulders. But you’re good at that.”

“Helloooooo my sweeeetttt…” the scripulus whispered from behind Sue. Lycralad made a move to run back inside, and Sue stopped him.

“Relax!” She said, and Lycralad suddenly felt very calm. Sue then looked at the scripulus. “Thank you for your help also. I release you from my control and compel you to return to your kin. You will also be compelled to forget what has happened here… although,” she looked at Lycralad who was looking across the garden towards Igor, “I think I shall keep the channels open. If we are to be fighting demons, you may be of great help to us.”

“Offff courssseee……” the scripulus replied, “take care of my sweeeetttt…” She took to the skies, and also vanished into the night.

Lycralad and Sue walked over to Igor. Lycralad released him from the tether. “There you go, Igor. You are free once again. Return to your family, and thank you for your help.” The wyvern gently rubbed his head into Lycralad’s chest before flying away from the cottage.

“I sent him that way.” Sue said, with a smile.

“I thought mind control was bad?” Lycralad asked.

“It is,” Sue replied, “But gentle prompts don’t hurt. Besides, we can’t have your friends at each other’s throats now, can we?”

Lycralad smiled, as he and Sue joined Firetop and Invisible Charlie in the centre of the lawn.

Beryl, Merrell and Cheryl Olive, and Annabeth, stood before them.

“Thank you for all your help this evening,” Cheryl Olive said. Cheryl Olive, Beryl and Merrell then lifted their left hands, and in a flash they, Annabeth and the cottage were gone. In front of the EFB now were the helicopter and the clearing in which they had landed upon their arrival to the island. A couple of wyverns flew overhead.

“Another job well done,” Invisible Charlie said, “Let’s go home… And Happy Hallowe’en everyone!

As the flames struck the amulet, red, blue and gold lightning erupted from the plate. The elderly man let go of the object, and swiftly ran beside Lycralad.

Firetop continued sending his fire to the amulet, which now had began glowing white hot.

“Pleased to meet you!” Adam said, taking Sue’s hand as this was taking place. “Finally!”

“And you, Adam!” Sue replied. “Charlie, could you pass me the crystal ball?”

Invisible Charlie dashed back inside the cottage, and returned with the crystal ball as Sue requested. Sue held the crystal ball high into the air, and closed her eyes. She thought of pure energy as the ball lifted from her hand, and transported itself over to the glowing amulet. It struck the amulet in a blaze of multicoloured shards of light, and three large masses formed from the combined object. They were flung to the bottom of the garden, when three more solid looking energy masses appeared. Each of these masses went to Cheryl Olive, Merrell and Beryl, and in turn pulled them inside. They could be seen hammering on the inside of each mass, unable to break free. Suddenly, their forms altered to become green and lizard-like, with their eyes once again glowing white. They appeared to be shouting, or saying something, but the sound, like the Witches Three, were trapped inside. A second later, the masses then travelled back toward the smelted amulet, which now lay within its own burnt circle on the ground. The masses shrank in size, and travelled inside the glowing remains. In another blast of light, the amulet returned to its metal form, and upon it once again were three crystals: a red one, a blue one and a gold one.

“It is done!” Sue said.

“It is done?” Lycralad asked. “What is, Sue? Just what is going on?”

“I’m not sure it is done,” Invisible Charlie joined in, pointing to the garden. Cheryl Olive, Beryl and Merrell were making their way towards the group.

“It is good to see you once again, sister!” Cheryl Olive said, speaking directly to Sue.

“And you too, my friend!” Sue replied, warmly.

Charlie, Lycralad and Firetop were all confused. Adam couldn’t help but laugh. “You three have wonderful expressions at the moment! You will all understand in a moment!”

Annabeth walked over to Adam, who was also joined by the elderly man. Beryl and Merrell also joined them, and Cheryl Olive stood slightly in front.

“Please,” Cheryl Olive said, warmly, “come inside the cottage and we will explain everything. It is the least we can do after all your help!” She started walking toward the cottage, Lycralad and Charlie stepping aside to let her, and then the group, through. Sue nodded, encouraging them to follow.

“Igbon!” Cheryl Olive declared, walking through the doorway.

“Don’t start that again!” Firetop whispered, as he walked behind Charlie and Lycralad. Sue smiled and walked in beside him, placing her hand reassuringly on his shoulder.


Horses hooves! Lycralad was hearing hooves in the distance, not thunder, rumbling along getting louder and therefore closer.

A black horse broke through into the edge of the garden, and galloped towards the group, Causing Lycralad to run for cover around the side of the cottage once more.

The Witches Three and Firetop, still with their white glowing eyes, were slow to move, and unfortunately for them the horse ran directly through them, knocking them in four directions. Firetop fell backwards and hit his head with some force into the cottage wall, sending him into the realms of unconsciousness.

Merrell took more of the brunt from the horse than the others, and she too hit her head, on the ground this time, and was momentarily stunned. Lycralad saw that her eyes had returned to normal, as she blinked them open several times. Lycralad also noticed Adam on the horseback, this time joined by what looked to him to be a wizard.

“No!” Screamed Cheryl Olive, as she realised their link had been broken by both Firetop and Merrell losing consciousness. She ran over to Merrell and started shaking her ferociously. “Wake up!” She shouted, desperately. “WAKE UP!”

Adam and the wizard dismounted from Shadow, and the wizard ran inside the cottage. Adam walked over to Lycralad. “Good to see you are well, my new friend!” He said, shaking Lycra by the hand.

The elderly man then walked out of the cottage, with Annabeth, Charlie and Sue. Lycralad noticed that everywhere was now in darkness, the green glow had disappeared.

“I’m not even going to pretend that I know what is going on…” Lycralad said, still seeing chaos around him.

Beryl had joined Cheryl Olive, and Merrell was sat on the ground with her head in her hands.

“We still have time!” Cheryl Olive declared, as she picked up another stick to draw another circle in the ground.

“I think not!” Firetop opened his eyes and saw the elderly tribesman, who he last saw cowering at his feet, addressing the Witches Three. Once again he had the amulet, although this time he was holding it aloft with this left hand. Firetop saw that instead of the blue diamond being in the centre, the gold diamond had replaced it. On one side of it, there was now a red diamond, and the blue one was opposite it. The elderly man looked at Firetop. “Welcome back, ‘Son of Igbon’!” he said, followed by what seemed to be a mocking laugh. “Your flame!” the man directed Firetop, “Use your flame to destroy this amulet!”

“No!” Cheryl Olive screamed, and ran towards Firetop at speed, intending to knock him into the wall and out cold again. As she connected with him, a huge spider leapt from Firetop’s shoulder onto her face. Screaming, Cheryl Olive stepped backwards and tripped over the stick she had intended to use, and fell on top of Beryl.

“Firetop,” Psychic Sue said, “do as the man has asked. Use your flame to destroy the amulet.”

Reluctantly, Firetop raised his arms and sent fire toward the amulet.

Psychic Sue couldn’t move her body. Through the green glow, and within her mind’s eye, she could see Annabeth and Charlie trapped alongside her. She brought her attention to the crystal ball in the centre of the room. She reached out with as much of her psychic strength she could muster. Come Now! She pleaded, the chaos is commencing! She hoped that her message had got through.

Streams of the green energy that were holding the three in this strange stasis were now reaching out to all of the candles around the parlour. Each candle the energy came into contact with erupted into a great green flame, before dwindling away into nothing. The electrical lighting above flickered on and off, before exploding into a cascade of sparks. The room was slowly being plunged into an eerie green darkness.

Outside, Lycralad looked at Firetop, who was still holding Cheryl Olive’s hand. Beryl and Merrell had limped their way over and were beginning to ‘worship’ Firetop, just as Cheryl Olive was attempting to do.

“Get off me!” Firetop shook his hand free. “I am not the Son of Igbon. And I am most definitely NOT the son of Ganthenex, the de…” he suddenly remembered the elderly man and the tribe of people who began to worship him in a similar manner earlier “…mon…”

The porch lights exploded above Lycralad’s head, making him realise that all of the lights in the cottage were now out. The green glow from the parlour was now extending to the kitchen / dining area and the hallway.

“Blessed Be!” Beryl bowed before Firetop. “Blessed Be!” Merrell joined in. Lycralad couldn’t help but smile at Firetop’s expression as he watched these two strange women with straggly skin bobbing up and down before him. “Blessed Be!” Cheryl Olive had now joined in. Firetop cupped both of his hands in front of his chest, in preparation to send out another burst of flame to distract the three witches, but then remembered how his last blast caused the lightning strike. He decided not to use his flame and put up with being worshipped instead. He glanced over to Lycralad and rolled his eyes once he saw Lycra’s smirk.

“Beryl, what’s happened to you all? You seem…” Lycralad couldn’t finish his question.

With white blank eyes once more, the three witches simultaneously stopped their bowing and looked at Lycralad, moving their mouths in unison, but speaking only in Beryl’s voice. “We are the daughters of Ganthenex. We have summoned the Son of Ganthenex and by the Power of Four we shall revoke the cage that holds our father and free him. This time, Ganthenex shall rule the entire world for thirty five minutes before bringing forth the Darkness of the Ultimate End. Then we shall see the truth of our everlasting peace and darkness.”

Lycralad looked at Firetop, who now too was looking back in his direction with the same blank white eyes. The four of them now moved their mouths at the same time, but the voice Lycralad heard this time was Firetop’s. “By the combined power of four from three, the swallower of light we invoke thee. Come forth this night and set yourself free, come forth Ganthenex and so it be!”

Lycralad swallowed as he heard more thunder in the distance.

“Igbon!” Each of the three witches chanted in turn, their eyes focused upon the glowing orb which hovered above the stick in the centre circle.

The sky above grew cloudy once again, with the clouds being highlighted by the bright Moon. A loud shriek from somewhere within the trees caused the Elite Force of Britain members to look over, slightly startled.

“Help meeee, my pretttttyyyyyyy….” screamed a familiar voice.

“Oh no, not again!” sighed Lycralad, recognising the scripulus and her dulcet tones. She flew into the cottage garden in such an awkward way, that Lycralad noticed one of her left arms and her left wing were badly damaged.

The scripulus fell directly into the circle, colliding with Merrell and knocking her into the centre of the circle. Merrell’s right shoulder hit the stick, lifting it out of the ground and breaking the connection to the orb, which blinked out of sight for a second.

Only for a second, however, and when it returned, it was a lot brighter with sparks of electricity emitting from it in all directions.

“DO NOT BREAK THE CIRCLE!” cried Cheryl Olive, her eyes now pure white, her voice filled with rage and what appeared to be skin hanging loosely from her face.

Merrell regained her position in the triangle; her eyes just as white as Cheryl Olive’s. Beryl’s eyes too were the same; she also showed signs of her skin starting to peel.

“Igbon!” They chanted, trying to get themselves back into the perfect rhythm they had before, but failing immensely.

Igor the wyvern appeared once again and flew into the group, his tail swishing ferociously. He was chasing the scripulus and could smell her blood. He landed between the witches’ circle and the cottage, with his tail swishing strongly behind him by the witches.

One final swish of his tail caught Cheryl Olive with such force it threw her out of the circle and into the edge of the garden by the trees.

With the circle now being broken, the orb fizzled out of sight once more.

In rage, Cheryl Olive stood and pointed both hands towards the circle. “Frallack!” she shouted, as a beam of energy flared forwards from her, connecting to the stick which still stood in the centre of the circle, and causing it to burst into flames.

Her eyes were back to normal, but her skin was hanging loosely from her cheeks. Both Beryl and Merrell were now in the same condition.

“We must use our own personal powers!” Cheryl Olive shouted as she ran back to Beryl and Merrell. The three then knelt within the large circle and placed their left hands on the spot where the stick had been.

From the wall of the cottage, the four heroes and Annabeth looked on slightly bemused. The scripulus was running around the garden desperately trying to steer clear of the wyvern, and the Witches Three were desperately trying to continue with their ritual whilst constantly being interrupted by the creatures running amok.

“Igbon!” the witches cried, still out of sync.

To make matters worse, thunder rumbled overhead and the rain started. Lightning flashed in the skies above.

“It is working, sisters!” Cheryl Olive shouted. “Prepare yourselves for the lightning strike.”

Psychic Sue looked at Invisible Charlie. “They do not seem to be the same people we shared dinner with earlier, do they?”

“They seem to be a trio of nut jobs!” Charlie answered, “In a nice way, of course!”

Sue then looked over to where Lycralad had been and noticed he’d disappeared. Annabeth was feeling a little weak, and Firetop had taken her inside the cottage to lie down. When he came outside Sue asked him “Is Lycra in there?”

“No, Sue. I saw him walking around the garden before I went in.”

Sue looked toward the bottom of the garden, and saw him waving towards the wyvern, and then chase after it as Igor once again chased the scripulus.

“My goodness!” Sue said, louder than she’d intended to. “Everyone is turning!” At that point a loud scream came from the parlour inside the cottage. Sue and Charlie dashed inside, to find Annabeth encased in a bright green beam of energy that was coming from the centre of the crystal ball. Within a split second, they too were caught within the same green glow.

Outside, the wyvern had caught the scripulus by her left ankle, and flung her towards the cottage, directly into Firetop. Igor was about to pounce on top of the now terrified scripulus, so Firetop fired a warning blast of flame across his path, which caused him to cower. Lycralad managed to catch hold of the young wyvern, and tethered him with a strong thread he’d created with his own strange abilities. He gently patted the wyvern’s head, and managed to calm him.

“Thaaaank youuu, my fierrry friend,” the scripulus said, weakly. “And thannnk youuuu, my Lyyycraaalllaaaad…” she passed out. Lycralad and Firetop dragged her around the side of the cottage, away from the wyvern’s line of vision, hoping that he would forget about his large plaything.

At that moment, a bolt of lightning struck dead centre the witches’ circle, casting aside the three witches out – but not before burning each of their hands. Beryl was sent over to where the wyvern was tied up, Merrell to the far corner of the garden, and Cheryl Olive found herself beside Lycralad and Firetop as they returned.

Cheryl Olive held her hand, and looked at Firetop. “Your flame ignited the mystic energies needed to open the portal…” she grabbed his hand with her un-burnt one, “You have done what we couldn’t. Igbon is rising. Igbon is free!”

Lycralad looked at Firetop. “What is she babbling on about?”

“I dunno,” Firetop really didn’t know. “I thought Igbon was something to do with candle light…”

“Igbon is the swallower of light,” Cheryl Olive declared, her torn face now revealing green flesh beneath her skin. “Igbon, the swallower of light. Igbon the master. Igbon rises! Igbon has been resurrected as was foretold. The resurrector is the son. Behold the Son of Igbon! Behold the Son of Ganthenex!”