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Mission to Middlehaven: 20

Hooves!

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.

Mission to Middlehaven: 19

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.

Mission to Middlehaven: 18

“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!”

Mission to Middlehaven: 17

Cheryl Olive hastily drew the circle into the ground, using a smaller stick than before. She then drew the triangle, and finally the large circle that surrounded everything. This time, she placed the stick directly into the centre of the triangle, and knelt at the top point, the point facing the cottage.

Merrell knelt to the point on Cheryl Olive’s right, and Beryl knelt to her left.

They joined hands, and focussed upon the top of the stick.

“Rallek!” declared Cheryl Olive, and a glowing orb fizzled and hissed into view atop the stick. Tiny bolts of lightning were firing out from the orb in all directions, but swiftly vanishing into nothing.

The orb began to glow, brighter and brighter. Soon, the light was so intense the garden and side of the cottage appeared to be in brilliant sunlight.

Psychic Sue stepped outside, and had to cover her eyes the light was so intense.

The Witches Three were now kneeling with their arms outstretched, palms facing upwards and no longer holding hands.

“Igbon!” they chanted in turn.

A scream overhead preceded the sudden arrival of Lycralad, who was thrown with force into the cottage wall beside Sue. Although he was stunned, he was OK, as Sue found out when she knelt to check him out.

A red hand grabbed Sue by the shoulder, and threw her into the middle of the witches’ circle, causing the orb to vanish and the three to lose their composure, and knocking Beryl completely off-balance.

Lycralad cleared his vision, and through the bright light could make out the familiar face of the scripulus peering and sneering down upon him.

“Helloooo my matee,” she said, frothing at the mouth. Bright sunlight caused the scripulus to go into frenzy, accentuating their every desire into uncontrollable urges. Magical sunlight amplifies the effect. “Come with meeee…” she said, as she once again lifted Lycralad by his shoulders.

Like a rag doll, Lycralad dangled. The scripulus had taken him high above the ground, and was preparing to drop him. They enjoyed treating their ‘mates’ as toys and playthings, and she was ecstatic with frenzy.

She dropped him, and quickly flew and caught him, throwing him up into the air. This was in very quick succession, and Lycralad didn’t have time to concentrate to activate his powers. Again he was thrown.

He looked down, and saw the witches had gathered their places around the triangle, the glowing orb back in place. Sue was looking up at the scripulus, when…

Igor grabbed the scripulus by his right claw, and carried her away from the cottage. Lycralad breathed a sigh of relief and flew down to be with Psychic Sue. He watched as the juvenile wyvern and the scripulus vanished into the darkness. “Good old Igor!” Lycralad shouted, “Handy we brought them along today!” He looked over to the circle, and noticed it becoming covered in a dark shadow.

Two figures were expelled from the centre of the shadow, and both rolled over to the edge of the woods at the bottom of the garden. Invisible Charlie got to his feet, and tried to pick Annabeth off the ground.

Instead of her tail, she now had two legs. And, he noticed, completely naked.

“Thank you,” Annabeth said to Charlie. “You have freed me from the sea demon’s curse by bringing me into land. However can I thank you properly?”

Charlie looked over toward Lycralad, who had run over to the couple. “Can you cover her?” Charlie asked, and Lycralad used his material controlling abilities to ‘grow’ a long flowing dress around the now human mermaid. He even made it green to match the creature’s eyes. “That’s much better,” Charlie said, “Not as uncomfortable now!” he looked at Annabeth. “Sorry about what I said earlier. I didn’t really mean it…”

“I have no recollection of your words,” Annabeth said, “but I am forever grateful for you helping me.”

Charlie looked over to Sue, who had also joined the small group. The three witches were still chanting in their triangle, in almost as much frenzy as the scripulus had been.

“That’s what they do?” Charlie asked Sue, remembering what she’d said earlier about the mermaids.

“Well, in my fairy tales they do,” Sue said, “they must be different in these parts!”

They all felt a tremor in the ground, and then another. The tremors became very strong; Sue suggested they all run over to the wall of the cottage so as they weren’t out in the open.

A hole in the ground emerged, close to where they had been standing, shortly followed by a figure being expelled from it.

Firetop had now returned to the group, after being spat out from the ground where the bony hands had carried him. In his hand he grasped tightly the amulet from the old man.

Sue checked that Firetop was OK, after his trek through the earth, and took the amulet from him. She also retrieved the diamonds from Lycralad and Charlie, but she made sure that none of the Witches Three saw her do it.

“What’s going on, Sue?” Firetop whispered, noticing how discreet Sue was being.

“I’m not exactly sure yet,” Sue whispered in return, “but look at them. They seem so intent on their chanting, they don’t seem to remember that we are actually here. Something doesn’t seem to be making sense.”

“I thought that,” Lycralad whispered. “I thought that I found my diamond far too easily.”

“Yes! Me too!” Firetop clicked his fingers.

“Shhh!!!” Sue held her palms up to Firetop, looking over at the Witches Three, although she didn’t really need to worry as they were in a world of their own.

Mission to Middlehaven: 16

PSYCHIC SUE

“I’ve lost them.” Sue said, thumping the table in desperation.

“They are still connected in our reflections,” Cheryl Olive advised, “just because we cannot see them or communicate with them, they are there.”

“They are on their way back to us.” Beryl said.

“They have retrieved the diamonds for us, and are returning via their selected methods of transportation. It should not be long before they return.” Merrell stood up from the table. “Hurry! We must prepare the circle in readiness of their return, otherwise they will be trapped in the Underworld forever! We must swiftly open the gateway”

Merrell, Beryl and Cheryl Olive quickly stood and ran outside. Sue looked around the room, sensing something was slightly amiss.

They’ve left the room like this. They’ve left this circle open here. According to Cheryl the connection is still open. Surely they should have closed this circle before opening the other one? My intuition is telling me the psychic link will cause a problem with them returning, why do they not know that? Something isn’t right.

She turned her attention back to the crystal ball, and quickly tried to concentrate on one of the areas where she knew she had a connection.