Season 1: The Neitherworld Saga
Episode 20: The Final Battle – Part 4
That night they pitched their tents and camped under the stars. Aldar stood watch with three others, guarding the camp at four sides with alternating shifts. He looked out along his surroundings to survey the land for any sand soldier stragglers but found nothing amongst the barren land. His mind wandered back to the time when these lands used to be covered in light bluish-green blades of windgrass, a grass that held with it the fragrance of a cool waterfall breeze and was soothing to a weary traveler. The wild flowers of various colors and shades made the field look even fuller of life. 'The land of the dead seemed to be a nicer place to live while it was peaceful and calm. Wanderers could roam with a sense of peace that they would once again return home to the awaiting arms of their loved ones. Children could play without fear of letting monsters get them. Oh, Naria what have you done?' He thought to himself as a teardrop fell down his cheek.
The night was eventless and the group of misfits arose from their camp rested and fully relaxed. Lydia awoke from her sleep to the sun beaming its light onto her face. It was a warm day and the march was going to be long. She exited her makeshift tent to try and stretch out the kinks from her sleep only to find Aldar awaiting her near the entrance. "We should have been marching two hours ago. We still have another day's journey ahead of us and we still don't even know what the land layout looks like." He complained to her. "What did you expect form a group of vigilantes? We're not exactly accustomed to war as you are. And as for the land layout, I can send Beetlejuice ahead to scout the area. His ability to morph should come in handy for a mission like that." Lydia suggested. Beetlejuice walked up to them with both of his ears lit ablaze. "My ears are burning. You two talking about me?" He asked innocently. Lydia shrieked at the sight of his ears lit on fire and grabbed her own out of slight pain. She soon realized that it was in her head though. "Beetlejuice, you ears!" Lydia then quickly said to him. He then placed his right hand on his right ear and felt the fire burning at his fingers. "Ah! What the?" He then stopped panicking as he realized that he wasn't feeling any real pain. "Literal translation?" He then retorted with annoyance. "Literal translation." Both Lydia and Aldar responded in unison. After Beetlejuice beat out the flames that danced on his ears, he returned to his earlier question. "I heard my name being used. Did you need me for something?" "Yes." Aldar jumped in before Lydia could begin talking. "We need you to move ahead of us and scout the area where my sister is attempting to open the temporary door. After you figure out the best place to stage an ambush, you need to come and report it to Bertha and I. We need to know the exact location to strike." Beetlejuice looked at Aldar like he possibly could be crazier than he. "Why don't you just ask her about her current plan?" He asked. "She found a detailed world map in the castle library and kept it. She already knows the layout of the land." That information came as quite a shock to Lydia but Aldar still kept his stern look. "She may have a map, but no one knows where my sister has her troops stationed. That kind of information may give an even better advantage for the battle to come. And only you have the ability to spy on them unnoticed in a completely open area." Reluctantly, Beetljuice morphed himself into the Neitherworld's fastest flying creature. Looking similar to a falcon in so many ways but he still couldn't escape the black and white stripes along his wings, he flew off in the direction that he knew the march was headed at three times the speed of the group's march.
Within eight hours, Beetlejuice reached the enemy camp. Noticing a flock of crows perched in a nearby tree, he morphed himself to blend in with the crowd and spy on the army. Looking out of the eye located on the left side of his head, he began to count the massive numbers, taking note how many were in a platoon and then counting the numbers of platoons and ranks. Around five hundred thousand sand soldiers, and sand golems he counted and over ten dozen sand worms all ready to take over the Outerworld. Beetljuice gulped heavily at the sheer numbers of both sand soldiers and sand worms. 'This is going to be a lot harder than I thought. She must have brought every sand worm in the Neitherworld. There won't be any way of even getting close to her if we engage them with the equipment we have.' He thought to himself. 'The first grenade would alert them of an attack and then we would lose our advantage and they may scatter, making the grenades less effective. The best way would to attempt to take on the witch immediately and take her out quickly. But how to do that?' He looked around for any place to set up the ambush without too much risk of being spotted too early.
From his perch, he could clearly see a set of ruins a simple half mile to the left of the army. The only problem was that he also could clearly see a small group of sand worms from there. And if you could see a sand worm from that distance, they could definitely smell you. And destroying them was out of the question, they scream loudly as they die. He continued to look around when he noticed another set of ruins just behind the tree he was perched on. The wind blew to the east as Beetlejuice looked around to get his bearings. Naria stood at the closed doorway of another ruined building that resembled a kind of temple. On either side of the doorway, stood two golden statues that looked like centaurs aiming arrows made of silver from their golden bows right through the door. She faced to the south as her army also did. She had her arms raised to the sky chanting in a demonic tongue the words to open the pathway. Her army was divided into twenty platoons each consisting of countless numbers of sand soldiers or sand golems. Four platoons of sand worms were placed on either side of the massive main army. Beetlejuice felt the wind blow in a westward direction and was relieved that it wasn't carrying his sent to the sand worms. A brilliant idea then hit him like a ton of bricks and he flew back off to meet with his comrades.
He met back with the group within five hours of flight. Feeling tired from all of his flying Beetlejuice landed in front of Bertha to try and save time. He then morphed back into his original form and relayed his information to her remembering every detail of her massive army. Upon coming to the same conclusion, that the best way to end this quickly is to take out Naria herself as soon as possible, Bertha continued to march with the group while mapping out the best possible method of doing so, consorting with Aldar to have her plans thought over by a professional General. The only problem that was consistent was how they were going to reach Naria to take her down. Aldar reminded everyone that his sister can now read her opponent's thought in advance simply by looking them in the eye and that she was no pushover either. "First things first." Bertha stated to Aldar. "We need to clear a path to her and get to her fast. If we all attack at once, she might not be able to catch up with a barrage." "That's all good, but what about getting surrounded on all sides? Cutting down the middle is extremely risky." Aldar responded. "Our only option is to use these grenades to take out as many as possible and utilize long ranged combat for as long as possible. After that we take the rest head on." Bertha hated to admit that but it was the truth. With thousands of soldiers and dozens of sand worms to contend with, all she could do was hope that the sand worms were distracted by the smell of the gun powder long enough to take control of the battle. Suddenly Prudence piped in, "Well, you do need to save a group of grenades for the sand worms. Any of them that aren't killed in the blast will most definitely be disoriented for a time by the shock wave as long as they are close enough." Aldar and Bertha looked at each other with bewilderment and then turned back to the tiny girl. "Prudence, you're a genius." Bertha exclaimed. "Yah, I know." Prudence answered with dead honesty and lacking any hint of an ego.
They were nearing the ruins that Beetlejuice described near the crow's tree, and finally settled down for a rest from their march, making as little noise as possible. Aldar, crept around, letting as many of the troops know of the plan as possible and the rest spread it through whispers, while Prudence made calculations to time the grenades well enough to explode without sitting there too long and giving away their position. After making the appropriate calculations she used a small knife borrowed from one of the Neitherworldian residents and cut the grenade fuses to the appropriate length. As she handed the altered grenades off to one resident each she reminded them, "Remember, throw as close to the middle of the platoon as possible." And to any that were assigned to take out sand worm platoons she said, "Throw high, as close to their heads as you can get. Just be sure to get it there." As she handed them out she continued to calculate numbers from what she witnessed back at the castle as one destroyed the cauldron. Remembering the enormous red and green fireball engulf nearly half of the castle tower and continue outward destroying even the castle wall that was attached and anything else that was nearby. She presumed that the throne room was engulfed in flames as well as nearly an eighth or more of the entire castle.
Two more hours passed by as the Neitherworld's orange sun finally fell below the horizon to allow the darkness of night to fill the sky. The stars began to appear one by one for a time and then began appearing in clusters that grew in numbers until the number of stars in the sky became countless, each representing a grain of shining courage among the sixty or so nervous and untrained soldiers of the rag-tag rebellion. On Bertha's command, each took their grenade in hand and lit its fuse using Beetlejuice's right thumb after he used the literal translation trick to his advantage. One by one the grenades took to the sky and one by one came down upon its targeted group. Prudence realized that she had made a slight calculation the moment the first one went off. Its explosion was massive, wiping out nearly forty or more soldiers in a single fireball.
The land began lighting up with fire as Naria turned around, startled at a loud deep noise. Her eyes widened as more explosions continued to rain down upon her army and even destroying many of her sand worms. "What magic is this?" She shouted as more fireballs erupted from the ground. Suddenly she noticed a single white ball with sparks nearly touching its surface fly near the corner of the building that she was using to open the gate and erupt in a large fireball that covered her completely and destroying the two statues at the door's entrance and the door entrance with them. She instinctively used some of the power she inherited from absorbing souls with magic capabilities and manipulated the flames around her to keep herself safe. What she didn't expect was the shockwave just before the flames. Once it hit, she was thrown back and into another flaming ball of fire. Manipulating any flames that came near her with magic, she stood back up and cleared the flames away only to see her brother at the head of a small group of archers with arrows loaded. As he thrust his sword toward the ground, the troops released the arrows and sent them flying at random dazed and confused soldiers. She saw as the archers then quickly and smoothly loaded another arrow onto their strings and firing just as fast. Their accuracy was astounding for a group of fighters that obviously banded together recently. "Don't just stand there and get slaughtered. Attack!" She shouted to her soldiers. They quickly regained their composure and picked up weapons they came across before charging in. "Demattix?" She then screamed back toward the castle. "Demattix where are you?" As she gazed in the direction of her castle, she noticed a plume of smoke rising up from its approximate location.
"For the Neitherworld, charge!" Aldar yelled as even more rebels poured out from behind the ruins stationed near the tree. As they did the roar of ten thousand men boomed from their voices like the number of the stars in the sky, proving once and for all their courage. As the main attack commenced, the archers rushed into the heat of battle drawing their bows, firing arrows and reloading at quickened speeds. Others swinging weapons of their choosing and the two 'Monster-across-the-street' parents, both wielding large war hammers. The final battle had finally begun for the fate of the Neitherworld. Even Lydia clumsily swung a sword that she had picked up from the battle field. With her spider silk shield protecting her from harm, she slew soldier after soldier with Beetlejuice at her side who also wielded a sword of his own.
Desperate, Naria turned around to the gate only to see that it was leveled to the ground and that she would have to rebuild it from scratch. Furious, she turned around and set her sights on her brother who she found offing more of her sand worms with ease since it took them so long to recover from disorientation. She briskly began to walk toward him, picking up a crimson spear off of the ground during her approach. The remaining six sand worms had fallen victim to their own fear as they hurriedly slithered away to the nearest cliff to drop back into the sand pits. Naria, however, fixed her gaze on Aldar ready to thrust the spear through his back. He turned around just in time to parry with the soul eater and grind the blade up the spear's shaft and deadlock his sister in combat. Sparks flew as the blade glided upward toward the tip of the spear and stopped around eighteen inches from it. Naria glaring at her brother with pure hatred written on her face and Aldar with justice and determination written on his. Naria pushed away with the spear to regain some distance between them and use the spear's long reach to her advantage. Aldar blocked with his sword and pushed the spear toward the ground. A group of sand soldiers decided to aid their queen and tried to fight Aldar alongside her, which Aldar had no problems dispatching.
Firing arrow after arrow, Claire found herself taking the combat idea pretty well considering that she was completely nervous about the whole thing at first. Every time she released an arrow, she thought about her parents. She soon found herself running low on arrows until she felt herself kick something on the ground. The sheen of silver caught her attention as she looked down to the ground to find a gleaming silver arrow from the destroyed statues. Upon examination, she noticed that it actually was a real arrow with silver colored fletching. She quickly picked it up and loaded the peculiar arrow into her quiver just before she was knocked over by the fist of a sand golem. She flew twenty feet backward before she skidded to a stop, dazed and winded.
Sierra, Lydia and Beetlejuice left Ginger and Jacques to their battle, with Ginger tossing small balls of web to blind the soldiers and Jacques swinging his crimson spear to take them out. Somehow they made a perfect team and Ginger never missed a target. Beetlejuice made his way as quickly as he could to face off against the evil queen. Once he was face to face with her he motioned for Aldar to step aside and said to Naria, "It's payback time for the last time we fought. This time you have no sand worms to back you up." Holding his katana directly in front of him he readied himself for battle. "Oh, but it'll end all the same you freak." Naria taunted back before thrusting her spear in his direction. A battle continued to rage on between the two. Sparks flying from every one of their strikes and parries. Beetlejuice nimbly jumped and dodged her strikes while Naria focused her attention on Beetlejuice's eyes to predict as many of his moves as she could. They soon began making taunts while battling each other. "I should have sent you to oblivion long ago. I should have been queen after her! I deserve it all!" Naria started in her blind rage. "After the way you ran the Neitherworld into the ground, you barely deserve the power to communicate to the sand worms." Beetlejuice retorted in his own anger. Before Beetlejuice could then react, Naria reared her right arm back to her head and thrust it forward, letting loose a lightning bolt from her palm. The lightning bolt then struck Beetlejuice in the chest, throwing him backward around sixteen feet and flat onto his back. Lydia cringed at the pain she felt from Beetlejuice's injury but was relieved to see him begin to get back up to his feet. Suddenly, she felt a strange new sensation. Rage and hatred boiled up from inside of her for no apparent reason and she dropped her sword, feeling as if she was going to be swallowed into darkness. Her consciousness fell black as her body began to transform with the building rage. Naria turned to see Lydia sensing something different with both the girl and her guardian ghost. Turning her gaze back and forth between the two she noticed Beetlejuice transform at the same time as Lydia. Realizing that it was most likely an effect of the guardian ghost pact she turned her full attention back to Beetlejuice. "What in the hell are you?" She whispered to herself. She witnessed as Beetlejuice's and Lydia's eyes turned crimson red along the whites and the iris' turning a dark and foreboding gray. Lydia's fingernails began to sharpen and lengthen while Beetlejuice's nails became as razor sharp claws. Beetlejuice's hair began to tint red and even lengthen while all of their canine teeth lengthened and sharpened, built for tearing into flesh.
Suddenly, both Beetlejuice and Lydia felt a hard knock against the back of their heads and Beetlejuice then fell unconscious, face first on the ground, with Aldar standing behind him. "Sorry friend, this battle's mine to fight." He said, as he saw Lydia slowly transform back to her original form. Any sand soldiers that witnessed the event simply ran away in fear, a primal instinct embedded onto the core of every soul, and something that Naria wasn't able to remove when infusing the souls into the sand bodies. Lydia's consciousness returned to her as she was now confused as to what happened only to see Beetlejuice collapsed on the ground in front of Aldar. "Aldar! What did you do?" She screamed barely noticing the panicking sand soldiers. All he said in return was, "Look after him, I'll take my sister." Without warning, he then dashed toward Naria to continue his battle with her. Sparks flew as the soul eater clashed against a crimson spear. Not even uttering a single word to each other, they fought more ferociously than anyone could possibly imagine. Each clash of weapons shook the legs of every walking creature on the battlefield. Naria spread her mist wings and took to the air as the eye on the soul eater began to glow with power. Aldar clenched his teeth as he felt his soul be drained from the soul eater's exchange as his entire body filled with pure physical strength. He then leapt off of the ground like he was launched out of a cannon, sword in hand ready to strike down the witch until he felt his back sting as six arrows buried their tips in his flesh.
Sierra witnessed as six arrows lodged themselves into the back of her lover. "Aldar!" She screamed and then shifted her gaze to see six sand soldier archers aiming again at him. She immediately drew an arrow and fired at the closest archer, striking him down and turning him back into sand. The other five then turned their attention to where the strike came from just in time to have another one take an arrow in between the eyes. Sierra then quickly drew another arrow and struck down another sand soldier just as the other three loaded their own bows looking to strike her down and send her to the Underworld until another arrow struck one in the back. The other two fell consecutively without even firing a shot. Behind them stood Claire with her bow lowered and a smile on her face that said, 'you're welcome'.
During that time, Naria took advantage of Aldar's wounds and used the spear to knock the soul eater out of his hand. The sword fell to the ground below as the witch then spun the spear around and thrust its tip through her brother's chest without thinking. Aldar yelled out in pain as the spear head plunged through his body and out of his back. Sierra watched in horror as Aldar fell from the sky and landed with a thud on the ground below. Once the reality of the situation set in, Sierra screamed at the top of her lungs and rushed to her lover's side, while Naria slowly turned her slightly horrified gaze to her right hand, noting that it was covered in her brother's blood, never even dreaming that one day her little game of cat and mouse would end like this. In the past she would often dream of toying with her brother until he decided to join her, now she had just shattered her own dream. She hovered in the air waiting for the reactions of the others to try and sort out what had just happened. She watched as the Atlantian princess rushed to his side and cradled his head in her left arm while placing her right arm over his body, grabbing onto his left shoulder. She continued watching as tears streamed down Sierra's face like a river flowing down a steep mountain. Aldar, slowly and weakly opened his eyes to smile at her and attempt to talk even though his blood was leaking into his throat. Sierra screamed in random directions, calling for what they named 'medical broth' but no one came fast enough. His body faded from her arms while she repeatedly said, "No" louder and louder as the suspense built up. His body finally vanished, leaving behind the soul eater only twenty feet away, with its tip buried in the dirt and keeping it stuck straight upward with the handle pointed skyward.
Naria then slowly floated back down to the ground, landing gracefully and trying to keep back her own tears. The feeling of sadness wasn't exactly new to her, she felt it on a regular basis when no one was looking, regretting every action she had ever taken but still letting it eat her up inside. Suddenly, Sierra stood back up, snatching her bow and drawing an arrow from her quiver, her eyes filled with hatred for Naria's actions. She fired the arrow at the queen only to have her catch the arrow with her right hand. Sierra quickly drew her next arrow and fired it at her again. Naria caught the arrow with her other hand and Sierra reached back to her quiver only to find it empty. Naria smiled evilly and then felt a stinging thud in her chest. Her breath quickly left her as she looked down to find a silver arrow sticking out of her left breast, her own blood the same color as her brother's. Naria then looked in the direction that the arrow came from only to see the blond girl with her hair tussled from battle. Her bangs fell over her nose and her side bangs fell just in front of her ears. Her hair lay upon her head like a golden battle helmet. Suddenly the words of the prophecy came back to the mind of Lydia who witnessed the whole thing. "After a thousand years of peace, a shadow envelops the land. And the shadow shall rule with a grip of iron and sand. The silk of the spider shall emerge from her great sleep. And protect and free the oppressed, hungry, and week. As the great gates open and the battles begin. A maiden shall slay the shadows of sin. With a golden helmet upon her head, and a silver arrow upon her bow, she'll slay the shadow in the spider's stead and the land will shine with a new dawn's glow." Just as she finished repeating the words a dark and sinister voice rang in the minds of every Neitherworldian and Lydia. It said, "For your many sins, I now claim your soul to torment." Suddenly, a ring of crimson energy formed on the ground around Naria. The energy closed in on her and began covering her boots. Suddenly, shriveled arms with rotten flesh hanging off reached up, grabbed Naria by the legs and began dragging her down into the energy like it was quicksand with zombies. Naria began to struggle violently screaming at the top of her lungs, "No, I can't go now. I'm sorry brother. I never..." Her words were cut off as the decayed arms pulled her quickly under the energy. The energy then simply dissolved into thin air as silence fell.
Moments after that, the sand soldiers and sand golems began falling into dust on their own. One by one they collapsed, not only releasing their captive souls, but restoring them to their former selves. Lightly decayed zombies, vampires, werewolves, other Atlantians, even dead humans returned to being themselves. The only ones that didn't return were the ones slain in battle, the ones eaten by the soul eater, or the ones still held captive by sand worms. Lydia then heard a groan come from behind her. "What hit me?" Beetlejuice asked groggily. Lydia smiled with relief as she saw her guardian ghost sit up from being knocked out by Aldar. Then she remembered Sierra and turned to see her bawling her eyes out over her loss. Not knowing what to say, Lydia simply lowered her head to pay her respects.
The next day, Lydia, Ben, Claire, Bertha and Prudence went back to the Outer world with heavy hearts for their fallen friend. They still had a few more days before their school vacation ended so they decided to actually camp for a night. That night, Lydia cried herself to sleep once again dreaming about her mother's death and wishing that there was away to see her again. It was a heavy time for all of the girls. And they all had heavy dreams to go with their experiences.
End of The Neitherworld Saga