The Realms of Chaos
Chapter 15: Gigas Destruction
Rating: High PG
Author's Notes: Yes, this is the final chapter. 15 chapters, one year of writing this story, has finally come to an end.
In-between the din of two armies killing each other and a palace unspoiled by the world around it, three reptiles raced for their lives. Snowflake, Ripto, and Spyro, now using the time that Wart has bought for them with his final breath, bounded across the soft carpet-like grass of the plains beneath them. They only slowed down when they heard the cry of several people at once. That told them that Wart, a creature they barely knew, was dead at the hands of Changeling.
"I swear, when I get my claws on that cat, I'll-" Spyro hissed. Snowflake stopped him for he could say anything nasty, despite the fact that she was thinking the same thing.
"No time to swear now, Spyro. If we don't keep Wart's promise, his death will be in vain..." Snowflake said, her head turned to watch the chaos as she raced forward. Even though Wart warned about looking back, the white dragon could not help but watch Scorch carry the body of one of her new friends away from the slashing swords.
"He was such a good friend. He didn't deserve to die like that..." Snowflake couldn't help but state as they came ever closer to the beautifully sculptured Diamond Palace. The sun glistened on the magical gemstones that crafted the building.
"Didn't deserve to die? He threw himself onto Changeling's sword willingly, for crying out loud! I say he wanted to die. After all, suicide is still a very plausible concept in a dragon's mind..." Ripto replied. The surface underneath their feet changed from soft grass into hard tile. Neither Snowflake nor Spyro answered Ripto when they considered Wart's fate, so the only sound that accompanied the conversation was the steady clicking of their claws hitting the tiles.
In the speed that they raced up the ornate steps of the palace, the three heroes didn't even notice that the tiles depicted images of the Gigas Crystals and their elements with amazing craftsmanship. Nor did they notice the beautiful diamond statues of fauns and dragons in stolid tranquility. The Diamond Palace was truly a work of art, but beauty is such a trivial thing when death was on your tail.
"Well, this is it. I hope you two are prepared..." Spyro stated as they stepped into the palace. Inside the Diamond Palace was a giant circular room that took up most of the building's space. The reptiles had to strain their necks in order to see the skylight hundreds of feet above them. The room was designed so that, even though the room had a simple shape, it was nothing but simple. The wall was covered with stories written in ancient Avalarian, engravings of monsters fighting brave knights, and notes weaving a song long forgotten.
The three let their eyes stray down in unison to the middle of the room. Six identical podiums, each with a Gigas Crystal-shaped hole at the top, surrounded the middle of the room in a wide circle. The podiums were designed like Roman pillars with the precise form that only a master sculpture could create. The circle of podiums surrounded a large hole that was as big as the skylight, and down on the ground, the trio of reptiles could see that someone Bane's size wouldn't have any trouble falling through the hole.
"...Sweet Elders above..." Spyro whispered. The hole in the floor led to a dark, swirling pool of Avalar's uncontrollable magic. The air around this cauldron of magic bristled with a strange static-like power. Even Ripto, who tried to pass off as not afraid of strange things, backed slowly away from the pit filled with untamed magic.
"So that's what they did with the leftovers of the Gigas Crystals..." Ripto tried to pass off his nervousness as a joke, but Snowflake and Spyro could tell that he was scared. And he had reason to; Spyro remembered a time when Elora lectured him about the raw and unalterable magic still lurking in Avalar.
"This, my friends, is what's left of the ancient magic that shaped Avalar's past and what created the Gigas Crystals." Spyro explained, switching into lecture mode. "It swirls forever in the confines of Diamond Palace, contained in this very pit to prevent it from escaping. This magic is so strong that no one knows what it could do to you if you decide to jump in."
Spyro then smirked playfully. "Let's find out by tossing Shorty into it."
"Not if I toss you in first!"
Snowflake rolled her eyes, but couldn't help but smile. One month of traveling across Avalar and they were still fighting like any good rival should. She watched as Ripto chased after Spyro with the Red Gigas Crystal glowing red in his specter and then remembered the task they had to do.
"You can test the raw magic of Avalar with your bodies when Changeling isn't trying to kill us. We have to get our Gigas Crystals into the pedestals so that no one can use them for evil!" She shouted.
"That's a fine idea Snowflake, but where do we put our Gigas Crystals in?" Spyro asked. "Magic can be very chaotic if you start sticking things into places they don't belong. Something as powerful as our Gigas Crystals must have some sort of order to them..." He led their attention to the podiums again. There was a moment of silence as the three studied the imposing structures of rock, before Snowflake let out a giant sigh.
"Great. I always did stink at puzzle solving..." She approached a podium, and spent a moment studying the handiwork. It looked exactly the same as its brethren, only Snowflake noticed something scratched right in front of the Gigas Crystal shaped hole. She traced a claw over the writing. It was written in a language not her own, and yet she could suddenly read it.
Snowflake read out loud. A tingling sensation filled her chest, and the white dragon noticed that her Gigas Crystal was glowing more brightly then before as a result from Snowflake touching the podium. With a shrug of her shoulders, the dragon unlocked the crystal from her necklace and placed it into the hole.
Snowflake was knocked back suddenly by a powerful force. The Green Gigas Crystal spurted green rays of light everywhere, reacting to the podium. And then, with a final crackle of magic, silenced. Snowflake smiled to Spyro and Ripto. "Well, at least we know how to figure out the puzzle now." With a nod of agreement, the two male lizards went to separate podiums to test the Gigas' magic. After two tries, Spyro found the Blue Gigas' rightful podium.
The Gigas Crystal that Kraken once coveted with a thirsty greed now was sealed in the podium, first sending a beam of blue light and then silencing like Snowflake's Gigas Crystal.
The Gigas Crystal that was Ripto's birthright and what Incinder was destined to guard came off the sorcerer's scepter and lay in the very place it was supposed to belong to. Ripto gave a sad look to his scepter, now nothing more then a golden wand with no powers whatsoever in its working.
"Well, that's three down..." Snowflake murmured. Spyro and Ripto both cheered, celebrating a moment of happiness together. None of them seemed to notice that they left a minor detail out until all three of them glanced at the empty three podiums in unison.
"Oh no. We need the other three Gigas Crystals!" They cried out in unison. Only then did they realize that Wart's plan wasn't entirely foolproof. He had thought of a way to get the first three Crystals into Diamond Palace, but sadly, he had forgotten that you needed all six to lock the Crystals away from Changeling's grasp.
"Yes. And guess who has them!"
The three heroes felt their blood turn to ice. Changeling stomped confidently up the steps, her robes billowing dramatically against the wind. None of the insanity that seized her in the plains showed anywhere in her body except for her eyes, which glowed unnaturally with pure malice and bloodlust. The would-be heroes all narrowed their eyes when they saw her carry a turquoise sword with her. It still dripped with Wart's blood. With her, the three remaining Gigas Crystals glowed in a combined beacon of light that signaled the end for the three of them.
'It's going to be okay. She probably doesn't know about the little detail we learned back in the camp.' Spyro thought to himself.
"You lizards really think that I don't know about the seventh and eighth Gigas Crystal? I've seen them myself around twenty years ago, shortly before I killed Otpir. It was Wart that assumed that there were only six of them, and he paid for his shortsightedness with his life."
"Don't you talk about Wart like that!" Snowflake yelled. She launched herself towards Changeling, only to find her body frozen in place by magic. Snowflake felt her mind submerge itself in panic as she tried to struggle out of the bonds placed upon her. Changeling cackled madly as she froze Spyro and Ripto in place too.
"I see your fairy tale has come to an end, Snowflake." With a wave of her right hand, dark blue tendrils of ice rose from the ground and wrapped themselves around Snowflake's immobilized body. Snowflake whimpered as the vine-like crystals wrapped themselves around her snout. "In the real world, good does not always win. That's why Otpir was able to rule Avalar. And like you, the old fool fell before my power."
Ripto made a wordless cry of anger as more of Changeling's hideous vines appeared from the ground. Snowflake watched helplessly as Spyro and Ripto were bound as well, unable to flee or escape. "And now, Avalar's rightful ruler will rise. You three should consider yourselves lucky. You're going to be the first to witness the rise of Queen Changeling, Ruler of Avalar."
With a flick of her tail, Changeling commanded the vines to spin Snowflake, Ripto, and Spyro so that they were all facing the six podiums. All of them watched as Changeling casually sought out the correct podiums and placed in the Yellow, Purple, and Silver Gigas Crystals so that they were locked in place like their three siblings. Only Snowflake noticed a shadow quickly dart across the wall, signaling the appearance of an unknown visitor. For once, she was thankful of the vines because Changeling didn't even see her smile.
The room filled with a melodious humming sound as the six elemental jewels of power were locked in place, never to be guarded by Guardians again. The beams of light switched directions so that they fell on Changeling, the one that placed the last Gigas Crystal in. Ripto and Spyro protested loudly despite their position. Changeling shouted in glee as the light shone brighter until it cloaked her entire form.
"YES! AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!" The light faded, and all three of the reptiles felt their hearts sink. Changeling now held two Gigas Crystals in her hands. The one in her left hand was as black as her heart, like it was cut from the void of which everyone goes once they breathed their final breath. The Crystal in her right hand was as white as the feathers off an angel's wings and it contained an immense beauty of its own. It was the Black Gigas Crystal that commanded death in all its forms and the White Gigas Crystal that commanded life, and now they were Changeling's.
"So, any last words before I show you why you shouldn't have crossed me?" Changeling asked. Snowflake made a gesture to show that she couldn't talk, so Changeling used her magic to free Snowflake's mouth from immobility. Snowflake took a moment to return the circulation to her jaw before speaking.
"Yes. As a matter of fact, I do." Snowflake said, watching the person behind Changeling prepare an attack that will hopefully free Snowflake and her friends from the cat's evil bounds. "Surprise!"
Before Changeling could figure out the meaning of the word, a flash of green light hit Changeling from behind. Several things happened at once. The palace was filled with the cat's screech of pain as she sailed through the air and onto her back. Changeling's magic became disabled, and soon the tendrils wrapped around the three reptiles crumbled into dust. As Snowflake, Spyro, and Ripto regained power of their limbs, a Gigas Crystal landed on the ground just inches from Snowflake's arm. It was the White Gigas Crystal, and it was dropped during Changeling's short trip through the air.
Changeling turned to her attacker, and nearly cried out in fear. It was Eledor, but from the looks of it, she wasn't the little rhynoc girl that Laigon and Wart kidnapped from Kraken's cave anymore. Her eyes glowed with an intense hate that made even Changeling shiver, and the air around her was buzzing with black magic. Even though Eledor didn't speak, everyone in Diamond Palace knew what she was thinking. 'You killed Wart, and now I'm going to make you pay.'
"Insolent little girl!" Changeling shouted, her confidence returning. Snowflake felt her blood freeze when she saw the Black Gigas Crystal still in Changeling's left hand. Eledor only glared maliciously at Changeling and sent another wave of green magic at her. The bolt could've easily killed Snowflake, Spyro, or Ripto if they were the targets, but Changeling was more skilled in magic then them. With the power of the Black Gigas, the magic dissipated in front of her.
"DIE!" Changeling shouted. The Black Gigas Crystal shone brightly in her hand. Eledor gave a strangled gasp and then dropped to the floor. Snowflake, Ripto, and Spyro stared at the female rhynoc and saw that her chest was not moving. They had just saw the magic of the Black Gigas Crystal perform its work.
"Y-You killed her!" Spyro stammered. The villainess kicked the corpse aside with her foot.
"Yes, and I can kill more then just her." The Black Gigas Crystal began to glow once again in her hand, its dark magic surging through her veins. "I command you all to die!"
Ice began to spread to Snowflake's lungs. She gave a startled gasp as warmth began to suck out of her body. Spyro and Ripto hit the floor beside her, already dead from the magic. Snowflake could feel fear pounding through her head, but confusion arose as she stood there with her veins as cold as Winter Tundra. Wait...Why am I still alive?
The White Gigas Crystal, still clutched in her right hand, began to pulsate with magic. Snowflake felt warmth return to her body. Changeling made a gasp of surprise as she saw the dragon still standing, while her friends Spyro and Ripto lay next to her feet, dead as Eledor. The white dragon, still staring in disbelief at Spyro and Ripto's corpses, heard a voice in her head as soft as silk.
'...You must not die, my granddaughter. Evil will not win a second time...'
"How did you survive?" Changeling hissed. Snowflake could only shake her head in amazement in response. She still couldn't believe the fact that she survived a spell that had killed the hero and villain of Avalar. The Black Gigas Crystal still pulsated with black magic as Changeling brought it forth a second time. "Very well then. If that last spell can't kill you, then maybe this one will!" She pointed the Black Gigas Crystal towards the skylight.
"NO!" Snowflake found will to speak, but it didn't stop Changeling from sending a spell into the cosmos. The dragon could only watch as the black magic blocked the sun and spread towards the armies still fighting.
"Look outside, Dragon." The villainess commanded. Snowflake slowly walked out of the Diamond Palace like a zombie, keeping her eye on the horizon and watching the Gigas Crystal of death command its power over the land. Tears filled the back of her eyes when she saw every creature in the Blood-Soaked Plains dropped silently to the ground in the same fashion that Eledor, Spyro, and Ripto did. Scorch and Incinder dropped from the sky limply and landed on the still forms of soldiers below them. Grunge, Bane, and Kraken, whose forms towered above all the other fighters, gave surprised growls before they too succumbed to the Black Gigas spell.
Every last person that had gotten themselves tangled in the events of the Gigas Crystals was now dead. Elora will never give Snowflake another job to do. Kraken will never steal another boatload of treasure. Grendor will never see his sister again. They were all dead, and Changeling was their murderer. Snowflake's sorrow turned into fury. She turned her head to Changeling, tears of anger flowing down her face.
"YOU MONSTER!" All the experiences Snowflake had spent with all of her friends fueled her fury. With a wordless scream of rage, Snowflake shot herself towards Changeling and knocked her over. Dragon and cat rolled across the ground, the light of their Gigas Crystals combining to form an abstract Ying-Yang. They finally rolled to a stop, with Changeling on the bottom staring up at bloodshot green eyes.
"Power needs not the fools that follow the wrong side. If they were alive at the time I become ruler, they would've made my government weaker. Your boyfriend would've done the same thing!" Changeling retorted. Snowflake only snarled in reply. The Swiftclaw kicked upwards and freed herself from the dragon's tight hold. She picked up her sword.
"Oh, well. I guess I have to kill you the old-fashioned way!" Changeling said, waving her bloody sword in front of her as a form of a threat. Snowflake gave a confident smile that mimicked Ripto's egotistical grin as she picked up the only weapon she could find; Ripto's jeweless scepter. She attached the White Gigas Crystal to it, creating a scepter of her own.
"I do believe you're mistaken, Changeling. Death is a powerful thing, but another powerful thing is the person who saw her best friends die." Snowflake raced to meet her attacker, and swung Ripto's scepter at Changeling's sword. Changeling, who was very confident that she could beat someone half her age, held up her sword to block the attack. To her surprise, the White Gigas Crystal shattered the sword into a million pieces on impact.
"What?" Changeling asked shortly before she was knocked backwards by a swing of a scepter. For once, Changeling was at the blunt of the attacks. Snowflake swung the White Gigas Crystal scepter repeatively at Changeling. Her movements were not her own, but rather the combined force of four different people. Her confidence and magic-wielding skills came from Ripto, her confidence and will to succeed came from Spyro, her ability to find weak spots in her attacker and hit them came from Wart, and the raw fury came from herself. Changeling found herself knocked senseless around by the combined force of four Gigas Holders.
Changeling stumbled and fell when a well-aimed blow caused her leg bone to shatter. The blue-furred cat looked up at Snowflake with purple eyes filled with pain. She growled in annoyance. "H-How...did you...do that?" The cat asked tears of pain flowing down her face. Snowflake pointed the scepter at Changeling. The voice that arose from her voice was cold and cruel.
"You've lost, Changeling. Evil will not win this time..."
"But...But I have the power of death! Nothing is more powerful then death itself!" Changeling whined. Snowflake was disgusted. Here, the murderer of two armies and her best friends stood before her and protesting like a little child that lost her lollipop.
"Correction. There is something more powerful then death, and that is life!" Snowflake then pulled the White Gigas Crystal free from the scepter and pointed it at Changeling's chest. Snowflake wanted her statement to strike fear into the heart of her enemy, but all she did was to cause hysterics into the murderer. Changeling, despite the fact that she was beaten into a pulp by her attacker, kept laughing at the foolish remark.
"What are you going to do, Ms. Lover of Life? Are you going to heal me to death?" Changeling hissed. She tried to stand up, but her hurt leg crumpled underneath her. She didn't have the power to heal herself, now that the Gigas Crystals were no longer hers to command.
"No, but I think it's better if you tangled with the lives you've stolen from my friends..." Snowflake closed her eyes, letting her consciousness seep from her body into the crystal. A flash of white light erupted from the gem, and then something horrendous happened.
Silvery-blue light began to pour out of the mouths of her dead friends. Changeling backed away a couple of inches when she saw the light form into the shapes of Spyro, Ripto and Eledor, their eyes nothing more then empty eye sockets. The souls of the two reptilian heroes and the rhynocian sorceress could only blankly stare at their killer, but the sight of them chilled Changeling's black heart.
"No...It can't be..." Changeling's jaw hung slack when more silvery blue lights filled the spacious chamber of the Diamond Palace. Snowflake could only watch as the magic she commanded brought the souls of all the creatures that died from Changeling's magic to her need. Both the dragon and the cat furry saw the faces of familiar creatures that joined them on their quest. Grendor, Cobra the snake cook, Bane, and many others stood staring ahead with empty eye sockets that saw nothing.
But Changeling was frightened mostly by the spirit standing right in front of her. It was that of a horned dragon with one ear, a chipped tail, a ripped wing, and a large gaping hole in the middle of his stomach. Silvery-blue blood still dripped out of the wounds as the ghost of Wart stepped forwards. He turned his head, dream-like, and stared at the body of Eledor, her body limp from the spell that took her life away. A single tear left his eye socket as Wart's face twisted in anger. "Killing me was not enough for you. You had to kill the one person that cared for me too, Changeling."
Changeling pointed the solid black Gigas Crystal at him, her voice trembling. "Wart! I swear, I never wanted to do those things to you. The Gigas Crystals made me-" Changeling's voice was cut off by the specter's voice. It rose from the earth itself as it droned lifelessly to Changeling.
"My name is not Wart. That is the name that you gave me when you inflicted me these mutations. The name that you shall remember me by, with your final breath, will be Airazor Volgeri."
The dragon named Airazor then gave a mighty roar. Snowflake and Changeling both cringed. It was a horrifying and lifeless sound that filled both of them with sadness, hopelessness, and emptiness. The other spirits reacted to this sound. In unison, they all turned their attention to the ghost of Wart.
"Changeling, for your crimes against Avalar, you shall receive the punishment that fits your evilness most appropriately." Wart droned. He lifted a single finger and pointed it at Changeling. "I punish you...with the death of a thousand deaths. For all eternity, you will die and continue dying, and your soul will never reach the other plane."
Snowflake gasped. Even for Changeling, that punishment seemed severe. It was one thing to kill someone. It was another to prevent their soul from accessing the afterlife. Suddenly, the whole room was filled with the lifeless screams of the dead. The spirits all surged towards their killer in a single force. Snowflake could only watch helplessly as the White Gigas Crystal's magic did its work. Changeling clawed and screamed as the souls all pushed her towards the swirling cauldron of raw magic.
"No, this can't be! I was invincible! I can't die now!" She shouted. The spirits kept going with the force of a river, unaffected by their victim's struggles. Changeling made a strangled cry as she felt the ground disappear underneath her feet.
"NOOOOO!" Changeling fell into the swirling abyss with a splash. The spirits, unaffected by the magic, floated above the pit and watched as Changeling met her end in the raw materials of Avalar's magic. Snowflake could hear a faint mewing sound rise from the pit, like that of an injured kitten, shortly before the screaming and the struggling stopped. Snowflake gasped in horror, but the spirits just kept watching.
The strange sound that had alerted Snowflake of an intruder in Winter Tundra all those weeks ago erupted from the pit. Suddenly, a beam of purple light poured out of the abyss until something rose from the abyss.
It was a giant crystal, colored in all the untamed colors that Snowflake saw in the cauldron of untamed magic. It slowly rose from the abyss, it's large form filling the hole leading to Avalar's dangerous magic. The six Gigas Crystals in the pedestals reacted to this appearance of the crystal, and with a crackle of static electricity, the six Gigas Crystals lit the dark crystal up with six separate beams of elemental magic.
The spirits and Snowflake cheered when the six combined lights of the Gigas Crystals showed the form inside the crystal. It was Changeling, her eyes gazing out of the crystal but seeing nothing, her body twisted in a way that seemed unnatural, her mouth agape at the horrors she saw. She was dead, and until the end of time, her body will remain in a place that she had always wanted to be; cloaked in the light of six Gigas Crystals. Now and forever.
One by one, the silvery blue forms of all the creatures that passed away disappeared, back to the great beyond. They all faded away except for five that lingered. Snowflake felt tears come to her eyes when she saw Spyro, Ripto, Wart, Elora, and Eledor standing before her. They rose their hands in a wave, and Snowflake silently responded.
When they gave her a sad look and disappeared completely, Snowflake found herself smiling. All the strength leaving her body, the dragon collapsed to the ground near the bodies of Spyro and Ripto. She tried as hard as she could to stand up or even move, but all she could do was lie there next to her two dead friends, the White Gigas Crystal still clutched in her right hand. Her willpower wasn't strong enough to stop the blackness from seeping into her consciousness. Before Snowflake passed out, she whispered two words to herself, no living ears ever hearing her.
No one knew exactly how long the white dragon maiden lay there unconscious against the bodies of her deceased friends. She slept dreamlessly in a coma among Spyro and Ripto, unaware of how cold their bodies were compared to hers. With each exhale, Spyro's wing fluttered in her breath, imitating the life it once contained.
The Diamond Palace was a desolate place, surrounded with bodies of over thirty thousand fighters, good and evil slumped together. Lizardmen and rhynocs recruited by Grendor lay dead on the ground, their weapons still clutched in their hands. Bane, who had several of Changeling's soldiers crushed in his mouth, was stretched out on the ground with his scales glittering in the sun. Even the Guardians were unable to escape Changeling's spell; A large squid-like dragon lay among a pile of dead leaf litter and the ash of a phoenix.
Somewhere away from the battlefield, the corpse of a large bat-like creature had fallen near the newly killed body of Wart, the leader of the Peacekeepers. The little dragon was laid gently underneath the shade of the only tree in the plains. Not a sound disturbed this area of death except for the sea dragon machines that some of the Peacekeepers used to pilot. They still stomped around mindlessly with their operators slumped over the controls. Other then that, the land was like Judgment Day had come.
In the light of the sun, a shadow fell on the form of the white dragon. The sudden change in light made her eyelids flutter. A winged figure stepped over Spyro's corpse to whisper into Snowflake's ear. "Awaken, my child. It's not wise to sleep here..."
"G-Grandmother?" Snowflake rasped, her eyes shielding the blinding white light in front of her.
In front of her was the figure of a white dragon of the same shape as Snowflake. However, this dragon looked a lot older and a lot wiser then Snowflake. The dragon's webbed ears were long and elegant, running down from her head to the back of her shoulders. A billowy gown of dark red surrounded the dragon, designed in such a way that it didn't get in the way of her wings. What Snowflake noticed the most were the wings. Instead of the usual draconic webbed wings, the dragon had wings made of the downiest feathers of pure white.
"Yes, my granddaughter. I am here for you." Snowflake's grandmother confirmed. Her voice was soft, yet firm and full of the responsibility that only an elder could have.
"Grandma Passiflora?" Snowflake put a hand out in front of her to touch her grandmother's face. She let out a cry when her claws went right through the figure in front of her. Tears began to flow from the young dragon's eyes when she remembered. Her mother always told her that Passiflora had died in the Battle of Wind Valley that happened when Stormwing tried to rise to power in her world, but Snowflake knew the truth. Just as Spyro and Ripto died when Changeling tried to rise into power, Passiflora died protecting the crystals from Otpir.
"Do not cry for me, my granddaughter. I have been dead for over twenty years."
"...Am I dead?" Snowflake murmured. Passiflora shook her head. "No. I am nothing but the Guardian of the Crystal you hold in your hands."
Snowflake looked down on the White Gigas Crystal and then back at her Grandmother. She was still groggy, but she remembered something that one of her friends told her shortly before Changeling killed them. "But Robin said that the White and Black Gigas Crystals don't have Guardians..."
"Course they have Guardians! Robin doesn't know what's she talking about!" Snowflake flinched when she heard a voice behind her. She turned her head, and saw a large orange Riptoc bigger then Changeling standing behind the corpse of Ripto. He had a single horn on his head that split down the middle to form ram's horns near the Riptoc's head. He wore black and white robes much in the fashion that Ripto did, and he held a large staff the size of Snowflake in his left hand. Despite him having claws on his hands and feet, a tail behind him, and sharp teeth, Snowflake knew exactly who he was.
"Otpir?" Snowflake asked.
Otpir the Merciless smiled and said. "Yep, that's my name. I guess even with the Guardians, Changeling still got her dirty claws on the Black Gigas Crystal. And just as I feared, she killed my son." He walked over to the giant crystal and tapped his staff on the place where Changeling was the most visible. "You even killed Changeling in the process! You have guts, kid! Real guts!"
Snowflake didn't take any pride in knowing that, like Changeling, she was the cause of a death. "Ripto's your son? But that must mean that-"
"-I'm his father? Yeah, afraid so. I had many sons and daughters, but Ripto was the tiniest I've ever seen. When he was born, he had no claws, no tail, no anything! And lo and behold, he didn't grow much during his young life."
"Such a shame he's dead." Snowflake sighed. Tears began to flow from her eyes when the truth dawned upon her. They darkened the tiles around her as she let all her sadness translate into tears. "Everyone is dead. Everyone!"
"Not exactly." Otpir said. He picked up the Black Gigas Crystal. "Just because my Gigas Crystal can kill doesn't mean that you can't bring them back. There was a reason why the Elders made two crystals, you know."
The information dawned slowly on Snowflake. It seemed impossible. "You mean you can bring everyone back?" Passiflora only nodded in reply.
"Place the White Gigas Crystal on Ripto's body, and I'll do the rest." Passiflora instructed. Snowflake slowly walked to the still form of Ripto the sorcerer and bent down on her knees. She couldn't help but let some drops fall from her eyes when she stared face to face with Ripto's corpse. A quivering hand placed the gem on his forehead.
Passiflora started to hum, a peaceful sound that filled Snowflake with a fuzzy kind of warmth. The White Gigas Crystal started to grow hot in her hands, and Ripto's form started to glow. The glowing ceased as quickly as it came, and Ripto quickly opened his eyes.
"What am I doing on the gr-?" Ripto was cut off when Snowflake gave him a hug. Her eyes were wet with tears as she felt Ripto's heart beat against hers. It was too good to be true. After seeing his soul attack Changeling, she was thoroughly convinced that nothing could bring him back. In her joy and Ripto's confusion, Passiflora picked up the White Gigas Crystal and revived Spyro and Eledor.
"Was I dreaming all that or did I really die?" Snowflake heard Spyro ask. The dragon unwrapped herself from Ripto and smiled at her now living dragon friend.
"It was all a dream, Spyro. Nothing more then a bad dream." She said. The white dragon noticed that Eledor seemed no longer crazy with grief from Wart's death. She only gazed around in a confused manner, as if she had no idea why she was in the Diamond Palace. Snowflake then knew the answer when she saw the look that Passiflora gave her. The White Gigas Crystal could also clear impurities of the body and the mind. She had healed Eledor from the insanity that seized her in her sadness, and now the rhynoc was back to her old self.
"Come, children. We must heal the others." The soft voice of Passiflora instructed. Only then did Snowflake notice that her grandmother didn't actually stand on the ground, but hovered a few inches off the ground. The angelic dragon ghost led Ripto, Snowflake, Eledor, Spyro, and Otpir out of the Diamond Palace. Spyro, Ripto, and Eledor, who were not alive to witness the death of the two armies, froze in their spots when they set their eyes on the destruction.
"...What happened?" Spyro choked out as his eyes scanned across the horizon. Nothing but dead forms and uncontrolled sea dragon machines met his eyes. Beside him, Ripto made a choking sound as if he was keeping himself from vomiting. Eledor started crying hysterically when she saw Bane lying dead in the distance. Passiflora and Otpir both felt like they were the ones responsible for the mess, for their ghostly forms were slumped shamefully.
"I'm sorry I had to marry a girl like her. I should've killed her when I had the chance." Otpir whimpered, no longer possessing his boastful tone of voice.
"There, there. We all make mistakes. Now, before I restore all these poor souls back into the land of the living, I have to show you all something." Passiflora said, her voice as smooth as silk. Her ghostly form then began to glide over the Blood-Soaked Plains, passing through any bodies in her path. Snowflake, Ripto, Spyro, and Eledor had to walk through the morbid maze of bodies.
Passiflora led the four heroes away from the dead armies and to a hilly area shaded underneath a single ancient oak tree. Wart lay there, a smile still on his cold, dead lips. If it wasn't for the fact that anyone could easily see the battle wounds and the large gaping hole in his stomach, one would suspect that he died a peaceful death.
"...Poor Wart. If only we could've helped him." Snowflake found herself saying. Passiflora glided towards the mangled body and wrapped a ghostly tail around the dragon's chest. She grimaced at the deep wound that had spelled the end for the brave creature, but it didn't put an end to her grace.
"Hand me the White Gigas Crystal, Snowflake. Maybe there's something I can do." Passiflora instructed. Snowflake didn't hesitate to give the legendary gem to her grandmother. The white dragon hummed to herself as she held the White Gigas Crystal in one hand and gently caressed Wart's head in the other.
"Restoration is the key, bring Wart's soul back to me." Passiflora chanted. The White Gigas Crystal glimmered in her hand so brightly that Snowflake, Spyro, Ripto, and Eledor had to look away. The White Gigas Guardian placed the gem gently on the sword wound on Wart's stomach and the glowing transferred from the gem into Wart's body. Soon, his entire form was cloaked with white light.The glowing faded, revealing a dragon with smooth gray scales, wings made of the softest leather, and a horn the color of the purest pink. The only sign that he was ever the slave of Changeling was a ragged pink scar that ran vertical down his stomach, showing exactly where the blade entered his body. Wart opened an eye and rose into a sitting position, gazing at the people staring at him with beautiful dark brown eyes. "Why is everybody staring at me? Did I mutate into something worse then a pickled toad with wings?" The healed Wart asked.
"No. Something better." Eledor could only say, her eyes filled with tears of joy. Wart scratched his head in confusion, and then made a startled grunt when he didn't feel any bumpy warts underneath his claws. He raised his claws out in front of him and looked down at perfectly normal arms. His jaw dropped. "I-I'm normal again!?! But how?"
"It's my way of saying thank you for giving my granddaughter a fighting chance. If you didn't throw yourself on Changeling's sword, Changeling would've gotten to the Gigas Crystals first and would've summoned the death spell on Snowflake as well as Spyro and Ripto. You gave Avalar the chance it needed, and you deserved the impurities to be washed from your body in thanks."
Wart grinned. "I guess I can't call myself Wart anymore. From now on, refer to me as Airazor Volgeri." Eledor and the newly revived dragon embraced lovingly, both of them lost to the world in their happiness. As the rhynoc and the rhynoc/dragon hybrid hugged, Passiflora handed Snowflake the White Gigas Crystal.
"You know what to do, granddaughter." Passiflora whispered. The white dragon nodded her head and held the White Gigas Crystal above her head. Just like Changeling did in the Diamond Palace, Snowflake sent a wave of magic into the sky.
For a moment, the sky became as white as pure marble. Suddenly, the magic began to do its work. One by one, Peacekeepers and Changeling's horde members alike rose to their feet and gazed around the land in confusion. The sea dragon machines ceased their aimless prowling as soon as their controllers sprang to life. Somewhere near the armies, a pile of ash burst into flame, forming a phoenix with purple eyes. Among the ranks of heroes and monsters, a single snake hissed in confusion.
"What in hell happened? Wassss that a part of the plan?" Cobra hissed. When Laigon died, Changeling had appointed him Second in Commander shortly before the war started. He was about to call forth some troops when he felt a wand tickle his throat when Grendor stepped forward.
"No, but I'll tell you your next move. Changeling is dead, and the war is over, so you better tell all of your troops to surrender or else." Grendor instructed. Cobra was about to protest when he saw the shadowy form of Otpir the Merciless appear behind the rhynoc. The snake bowed his head until his forehead touched the ground, for he was one of the few horde members that had served Otpir before Changeling took over.
"I sssshall obey." He replied. He then turned his attention to his army. Many of them, now regaining strength, were reaching for their dropped weapons in hopes of killing some Peacekeepers. "HORDEMEMBERSSSS! CHANGELING ISSS DEAD! WE HAVE LOSSST!" Cobra shouted at the top of his lungs. The horde members, while bloodthirsty, were loyal to Changeling. They murmured angrily as they listened to the instructions of their new commander.
The Peacekeepers cheered as the horde members all left under their new leader's command. One by one, they marched out of the plains and into the desert, never to be seen again by the winners of the war that determined the possession of the Gigas Crystals. Sgt. Byrd took the moment to send fireworks out of his cannons and into the skies, illuminating the day with the lights of their victory. Snowflake, Ripto, Spyro, Eledor, and Airazor all grinned at the idea of victory, and soon, they wasted no time in running down the grassy hill to join the others in their celebration.
In the happiness that filled the Plains, no one noticed the two lone ghosts fade away, their time in the living world spent. Passiflora and Otpir gave one final look at their flesh and blood before ascending into the heavens.
Otpir looked down at the living creatures below him and let a final tear flow from his eye shortly before disappearing completely from the living world. After twenty years in which the jewels of his power were hidden away from view, the legacy of the Gigas Crystals was finally over.
A week after the defeat of Changeling, Autumn Plains was abuzz with celebration.
The entire courtyard was filled with celebrating creatures. Slaves that had been stuck in the dungeons in Castle Changeling since Otpir's death ate greedily from the many tables of food that were set up on the grass. Children from many different species were either seated by elderly slaves, listening to the tales woven or playing with the sea dragon machines that were originally intended to level an entire city to the ground.
Even the Guardians found themselves taken up with the celebration. Grunge was taking delight in telling stories to those willing to listen about his kingdom and the reign of Otpir the Merciless. Kraken and the High Chieftain Moss found themselves conversing about the years lost. Kraken even admitted to his sea dragon brother that when Moss's daughter Goldenscale had been sent to the trials to get the Blue Gigas Crystal, she had died in the attempt and ended up as a meal for Kraken.
"Well, thisss isss certainly awkward. I end up eating the only daughter to my younger brother..." Kraken laughed uncertainly, rubbing a slimy claw against his squid-like head. Moss said nothing, but one could tell that the old chieftain wasn't exactly happy about the news. As for Robin, Incinder, Squall, and Fissure, they were popular with the kiddies as they impressed them with their magnificent powers given to them by the Gigas Crystals.
But most of the celebrators were formed into a crowd in front of a great stage. Cheers rose into the air as Snowflake, Spyro, and Ripto stood on the stage, awaiting their rewards. Elora tapped a finger on the microphone the Professor gave her shortly before talking into it.
"Ladies and gentlemen! I'd like to present to you the heroes of Avalar! Without these brave reptiles' help, Avalar would have to face the tyranny of Changeling Swiftclaw and the power of the eight Gigas Crystals. Now, I shall present to them their rewards."
She stepped first over to Spyro. Spyro bowed his head and let Elora slide a medal across his neck. It was a medal with a blue gem set inside the golden face. The purple dragon beamed as Elora gave her congratulations. "Without Spyro's bravery, Azura City would've been leveled to the ground. As the Blue Gigas Holder, he has received the Medal of Azura, crafted by King Moss himself!" The crowd cheered wildly, drowning out the sound of everything else. Somewhere behind the audience, Kraken lifted his head and gave a mighty roar in honor of Spyro.
Elora then walked over to Snowflake. Snowflake gave her boss a handshake before receiving a medal with a green gem set inside. Grunge roared as Elora announced Snowflake's achievements.
"Snowflake is the person who made the threat of Changeling Swiftclaw known to Avalar. Without her selflessness, the Red Gigas Holder would've been lost at the hands of the cruel monster. The Green Gigas Holder has received the Medal of the Kingdom of Mist, for her ability to see beyond what most others see!" Snowflake could feel tears spring to her eyes.
Finally, Elora walked to Ripto. Elora shook her head, as if she didn't ever imagine herself doing this, before giving Ripto his medal. Ripto laughed hysterically as he held up his red gem-incrusted medal for all to see.
"Ripto, who was a rather big menace to us a while back, has gone against the odds to save Avalar from an even bigger threat. Ripto, son of the Avalarian tyrant Otpir the Merciless, receives the Medal of Otpir to honor his bloodline. We thank you Ripto, but don't use this chance to terrorize us again!" Elora shouted. Cheers rose from the crowd, but none were louder then the two dinosaurs standing beside Incinder the Guardian. Crush and Gulp, who were enslaved by Changeling shortly before she attacked Ripto in Winter Tundra, roared alongside Incinder.
"And, our final award goes to the one who helped us save Avalar. Without his courage and ability to tell right from wrong, Changeling would be ruling this land with an iron fist. I'd like to present the Medal of the Mystic Mountains to Airazor Volgeri, for tampering with Changeling's evil plans from behind her own ranks!"
Somewhere in the crowd, the dragon formerly known as Wart felt himself shoved towards the stage. Airazor stepped uneasily to the stage to receive his medal. As he felt the medal draped across his neck, he heard everyone in the crowd cheer. This was a dream come true for the dragon, for he felt himself crying tears of joy for such an honor.
"Now, Moneybags will give them the next part of their awards." Elora said. Moneybags stepped onto the stage, and was greeted by boos from everyone watching. The fat bear gave a nervous laugh as he took the microphone from Elora.
"I'm not known as being one to just donate my gems to charity..." Cries of agreement rose into the air. "...But without these fine young examples of heroism, I would've still been a slave to Changeling. And without further ado, I give them 10,000 gems each!"
Gasps were heard from the audience as Moneybags handed Snowflake, Ripto, Spyro, and Airazor large bags of money. Snowflake opened up her bag, gazing into the golden and purple gems she saw within. "This enough to pay my student loans!" She shouted.
Airazor gazed at the gems in amazement. "I've never seen so much money in my life! Why are you so generous all of a sudden, Moneybags?" Several people in the crowd murmured in agreement at the dragon's statement. Moneybags took a handkerchief from a pocket and wrapped it across his brow.
"I don't remember a worse time then the time when I was with Changeling. Before she handed me to Bane for him to eat," Bane the sea dragon nodded in acknowledgement, much to Grendor and Eledor's surprise. "She gave me to these lizardmen for them to have their fun. All night they scratched at me, yelled at me, and beat me! Their cold, hard stares and their razor-sharp teeth will haunt me for years to come!" And with that, Moneybags ran off the stairs as if he was pursued by the demons of his nightmares.
After the rewards were given, the festivities really began. Dancing, singing, and partying filled the air with a harmonious music of its own. Spyro, Ripto, and Airazor joined the party shortly after the rewards, and they were the life of the party. Spyro was soon telling the extravagant tales of his journeys as Ripto and Airazor added in their comments. For once, Avalarians were cheering for Ripto as he described the death of Jira, the leader of the Outlaws of the Balance, in great detail.
Only Snowflake didn't join the festivities. She was talking to Elora away from all the parties. Cloaked in the moonlight, the white dragon explained her current situation to her boss. "I guess you won't be working for me anymore, now that you have enough money to pay off your debts back in Tylia."
"Yeah." Snowflake watched as the night sky lit up with reds and greens as Sgt. Byrd set off more fireworks. She had enough money to pay off her student loans and prove to her human and phoenixican friends that she really could work, but that also meant that she had no reason to stay at Avalar anymore. Even though she had only stayed in the world of Avalar for two months, one of which was filled with the adventures of the Gigas Crystals, she felt like she knew this place her whole life. She leaned against the castle wall and sighed.
"...You don't have to leave, you know." Elora suggested. She stared off into the distance, and was able to pick out Spyro's voice among the din of the festivities. "Just because you have debts in Tylia doesn't mean you can't stay in Avalar."
"But I promised to my friends that after I spent a few months in Avalar paying off my loans, I'd come back for good." Snowflake said. She absently let the gems in her money bag shift so that they tinkled lovingly against each other. Elora smiled at her ex-employee and said softly, "You have a choice, Snowflake. You can go back to Tylia, pay off your loans, and live as a Tylian dragon, just as you wanted to do back when I hired you. Or, you can go back to Tylia, pay off your loans, and live as an Avalarian citizen."
Snowflake made no indication that she heard the faun's words. She stared off into the night and thought long and hard about this. She remembered all the fun times she had with Crystal, Minerva, and Doomfeather back at Tylia. Ten years of childish bliss spent with a human, a blue phoenix, and a purple phoenix exploring the lands of Tylia and fighting off monsters like dracogriffs and hydras. She had spent most of her life in Tylia, and it was her home, her birthplace, and her society.
But then she remembered the fun times she had with Spyro and Ripto. She remembered the weeks spent with them, learning their personalities, becoming friends with the hero and villain of Avalar. And then, she remembered Castle Changeling. She remembered holding an unconscious Ripto against her, hoping that her embrace will somehow rekindle the life drained by Changeling. For the first time in her life, Snowflake actually knew that she was in love, and that love was for a dragon-hating riptoc that carried a scepter.
Giving one final look at the festivities, Snowflake turned around and headed straight for a portal that would lead into her hometown called Willowbranch.
She had made her decision.
And in the end, it was what her heart had decided on.
As the celebrations continued in Autumn Plains, a stray wind blew in the Forgotten Desert. Not a single soul was in this desert, and if it wasn't for the fact that several tents of raw hide laid there, one might suspect the desert as completely barren.
A red macaw flew across this desert, flapping with an injured gait. It was none other then Squawks, Changeling's pet parrot that once told her a month ago that Ripto was with Snowflake and Spyro, still alive. It seemed such a long time ago for the bird, and its memory just wasn't as good as its anthrotized counterparts.
"Caaaw?" the bird cooed. From below, something glimmered in the sun. Its short attention span got the better of it, for soon it was spiraling in a dive towards the strange new object. The bird then noticed that it was two scimitars buried in the sand point first so that they created a marker. Squawks landed on the marker, resting its wings. It saw these strange weapons before, but on whom?
Somewhere in front of the scimitars, the sand shifted. Squawks gave a confused whistle as the sand and grit started to rise. Suddenly, without warning, a yellow claw burst out of the sand followed by another. A sinister head with eyes burning with feral anger rose out of the sand, still crusted with blood.
"...Where's that dragon...?" A voice hissed in a tone that came from beyond the grave. Squawks watched with interest as the monster dug itself completely out of the sand, ignoring the grit pouring out of a wound that was still fresh. It was Laigon, the Slave Master that Wart had slewn fair and square during a match not too long ago. Little did Snowflake know that when she wished for all the lives that were taken away by the war to come back, she had wished for Laigon to be revived as well. The magic had been weakened from the long trip it took, as Laigon's sword wound was a very deep scar that still leaked blood and sand.
"Slave Master Laigon? You look horrible! Caw!" Squawks called out. Laigon just then noticed the bird sitting on his grave marker and smiled.
"Squawks. Tell me of Mistress Changeling. Did she win against the scum?" Laigon hissed.
"Caw! No, she has been murdered by dragon folk!" Squawks answered monotonously. For a few seconds, Laigon considered the words of the parrot. Then he threw himself to the ground and started screaming like a wounded animal in the knowledge that the only thing he loved in this world more then killing others was now dead. Tears flowed from his eyes and darkened the sand in a way his blood did a few days ago. Squawks was a bit uneasy about this display of feelings, so he added another comment onto the situation.
"Weren't you Second in Command?" Suddenly, the intense sadness was replaced by a dark, sinister glee. Laigon rose from his position on the ground and gave Squawks a crazy look that frightened the young bird.
"I was Second in Command when Changeling was the master, and now she's dead. That means that I'm in control of her entire army. I'm the master now! The lizardmen will listen to Laigon now!" He shouted. A new light twinkled in his eyes, a light that unnerved the nonanthromorphic parrot. Even with it's small brain, the parrot could see that his newly found power has gone to his head.
"Uhhh...I guess I shall be leaving now..." Squawks said. The bird jumped off the perch and started to fly away.
Laigon saw this as a test of his skills. The sea serpent wasted no time in unearthing one of his blades, blowing the sand of the poisonous surface, and then later tossing it in Squawk's direction. The blade hit home. Squawks fell to the ground, his left wing completely destroyed by the scimitar. "That's what happens when you disobey Master Laigon! You face me, and you face death!"
The last thing the parrot heard in its short life was the challenge Laigon issued to Spyro, Snowflake, and Ripto.
"You may have killed Changeling, but you won't kill me reptiles! I'll show you who's the most powerful force on Avalar! I'LL SHOW YOU ALL!!"
I see I left room for a sequel. :)
Yes, yes. I bet you're all confused by the turn of the events. I'm sorry if the ending was not what you wanted it to be.
I was very happy as to how this story turned out. That's why I shall continue writing about the heroes and villains of Avalar in further stories, least of all not the sequel to this story known only as...
The Realms of Desolation
Be sure to keep an eye out for this sequel and more stuff at my website. Fanart, fanfanfiction, and more is at my site.
You must leave a review. After 14 months of writing this, you better!