Author's Verbal Diarrhea: And now for a look briefly at the other side. By that, I mean the Wizard World. Oh yes, it's time to see what's going on there, and how much Alex Russo is really influencing events around her and beyond.

This has been rewritten.


Chapter 6: The Shadowbreaker

Bolts of lightning arced through the skies and thunder echoed its power across the realm of wizards. Many throughout the lands were stirred and could not sleep easy this night. As they all felt something dark and ancient has risen. From the shadows of the lands, figures moved across empty lands. When the lightning flashed, there, for brief moments, their hideous and twisted forms could be seen. They were once elves. All people loved elves naturally. It was part of their charm. But these ones were now twisted mockeries of what they once were. Now, not even a blind mother could love their sickly green hues or their horribly scarred faces and bodies. But the problem lay in that they were not only twisted in body, but also in mind.

The work of Aérùen Elf-Kin.

Now they return, drawn by the call of an awakened spirit. There are others. Deformed giants, vile dragons, creatures of the Wizard World that few ever see travelling so boldly across open lands in such gathered strength and numbers. Only one thing could draw these type, and only if people were watching the lands rather than huddling away from the terrifying storms coming from both ground and sky, they might have realized how close they were to inescapable peril.

Darkness, unnatural and terrifying, began to form over the skies, concealing the light of the stars. The focal point of the darkness centers around a ruined circle of towers and a large monolithic structure, gruesome and impossibly mauled in appearance. It reeked of death and decay, yet there is now twisted life in and around it. High atop in the structure, seated upon a obsidian throne, the shadowed form of Aérùen Elf-Kin watches, as his immortal followers gathered to him. Already he can hear their united voices, chanting vile prayers of praise like that which was once given to him. Clad in blackened steel plates, and a face-shaped mask with a thorny crown adorning the head, he rose and lightly glided across the rotted flooring, dark wisps of cloudy tendrils danced about as he moved, and a deformed attendant, looking like a cross between a gnarled man and a hissing insectoid creature, followed closely in the shadows.

Aérùen emerges at the balcony and observes the army. The wizards are unprepared, the shadow has gathered too quickly. There will be no rescue for them all. Not this time. And the only Russo that may have posed a threat to him is now within his control and did not even know it. Her family will be proud of her, love her more, and then lose her before they know what happened. It is revenge, and security all at once. When he speaks, his voice is raspy, like a skeletal hand grating over metal, and the sound of a thousand tortured voices echo in his every word, "See….the time of the wizards is at an end…and the time of the mortals as free creatures….will end with it."

"Master," the twisted servant behind him drawls huskily, "There are still those who have fought you before…they would remember."

Aérùen does not turn to look when he replies, "They are too few, and too old. They are not like me, even if they are immortal. The memory will be dim in their minds."

He reaches with a gauntleted hand and touches the steel plate of his face-mask, "They would not recognize my face"

"But I will." A young man in wizard robes says as he boldly walks into the throne room, approaching the nine-foot tall form of Aérùen. His staff is finely crafted, and holds in place a crystal sphere that shifted in color and flashed light all around. "I can never forget a face. Least of all, yours, Shadow King."

Aérùen turns around and looks at the young man. He is handsome and strong looking, dark tousled hair, gentle-yet-firm eyes, thinly pursed lips and a strong jaw. His look is grim and determined, and he held his staff ready. The shadowy former elf recognized him, and uttered only one word: "Sojourner"

Aérùen's twisted servant hissed and lunged forward, waving clawed, gnarly hands threateningly at the young wizard, "You do not belong here!"

The one called Sojourner simply waves at the servant with his staff, the light in the crystal growing blindingly bright and the servant quickly shies away, "Be gone, underling, I have no words to spare for the likes of you." And the creature shrieks as it leaps to hide deeper in the shadows.

Twisted elves, now orcs, and other creatures of the dark begin to slowly melt out from the shadows, deigning to approach the hateful light, showing no fear for the brazen wizard, and Aérùen approaches him. "Do you come then, to kill me? Do you believe you alone will be sufficient?"

The wizard looks around, equally without fear before such nightmarish beings, and then gazes steadfastly up at the former elf. "No, Shadow King, not while there is still hope left. I have come to tell you that I will see my duty fulfilled."

Aérùen simply nods, "I see…all the millennia, and you have not lost hope? How…interesting. You are truly the Shadowbreaker, and the Hopebringer. Will you fight for me, then?"

The Sojourner grips his staff and raps it once on the ground, causing a loud echo to thump across the structure, "I will fight for you, and I will fight for the wizards."

Aérùen shakes his head slowly, and the creatures of the shadow draw closer, "You will die…if you make such a…choice, Sojourner. If you would choose to serve me, and oppose me all at once….you will know no joy, and know only the eternity of suffering."

"I will see my duty fulfilled. I have made my choice."

There is almost a trace of sadness in his voice, and the twisted ones began to slink back into the shadows, dismissed somehow, "Such…devotion. I regret how….matters cannot be changed, Sojourner, not even for you…there is no escape for me, nor…for you."

The Sojourner shakes his head, "Wrong, my friend. There is always hope. You can turn away from this now. You can make right all the wrongs, and turn away from darkness. The shadow can be broken, and we can dwell in light once more. All you have to do, is decide."

"Would….that it be so….simple, old friend. But you did not face me…millennia ago….the wizard family did."

"Wrong, Aérùen." The Sojourner replies, "I was there, and I learnt of my duty and responsibilities. The Russos performed a unforgettable service to the realms. Now it is our turn to serve them, in remembrance for all that they sacrificed. I will fight for them, and for you. My duty will be fulfilled." He raps his staff on the ground and disappears in a flash of light.

Aérùen lowers his head in sorrow, "So be…it. Your duty will be done."