Immortality, By Kurt

Chapter 1:

   Eyan Baker is a two-bit street hood. He's been this way ever since his
no-good alcoholic father's constant torturing of him finally drove him onto
the streets and into the loving arms of the lowest kind of society you can
get. Eyan's life has been a risky one, but he's happy with it. He's OK with
the fact that he lives by his wits. He's OK with the fact that he works odd
jobs for the mob. He's OK with the fact that some whorehouses refuse him
service for the protection of their girls. He's OK with it all. As far he's
concerned, Eyan Baker has led a good life up to this point. Little does he
know, his life is about to get him mixed up in something that he is totally
unprepared for.

    It started out as a day not unlike any other in Eyan's life. He got up,
showered in his dirty shower, dressed, and walked down the street for some
breakfast at his favorite bistro in Little Nova Roma. After having breakfast,
Eyan took a cab uptown to a classy-looking office building with the words
Davis Enterprises set in marble atop the entrance to the building. Mr. Davis
was a good friend of the mob boss Eyan worked for, and Eyan had done a few
jobs on hire for him in the past. Eyan approached the front desk and, after
spending a few minutes flirting with Melanie the receptionist, took an
elevator to the highest floor.

    The elevator finally stopped, and Eyan exited and walked down the hall
to Mr. Davis' office. He approached the door and knocked politely. The huge
French doors swung open suddenly to reveal a huge office that amazes Eyan
each time he walks into it. The room is decorated with strange draperies and
tapestries that are reminicient of an Arabian Sultan's room. On the walls are
animal trophies of exotic wild animals killed by Mr. Davis (he's an avid
hunter). The most shocking of these, however, is the huge, life-size stuffed
trophy of a cheetaur in attack position next to his desk. Eyan walked in to
see Mr. Davis standing behind his desk, back turned, staring out of the
gigantic window behind his desk. Like the tones of his office, Mr. Davis
appears to be of Arabic dissent. His skin is dark, and he has a jet-black
goatee and slicked back jet-black hair. He always looks totally serious and
he keeps his demeanor that way. He speaks with a slight Arabian accent, one
that has noticably lessened since he's lived here in the States.

    "Greetings, Mr. Baker," Mr. Davis said in a cool, calculated voice,
"Please, have a seat." Eyan walked over to the comfortable leather chair
stationed on the other side of Mr. Davis' desk for people visiting Mr. Davis.
When Eyan had himself situated, Mr. Davis turned around and picked up a file
lying on his desk and threw it to Eyan. Then, he sat down. Eyan opened the
file. Inside was a picture of something that resembled a purpleish blue lava
lamp. It was sitting inside a display case in what looked to be a museum.
Eyan flipped the page and came to a photograph of the New Silmaria Museum of
Natural History, in the museum district of downtown New Silmaria. Turning the
page, Eyan then came to a blueprint of the museum and the sewer systems that
run under it. Turning the page once again, Eyan came to a report on an item
called The Statue of Iblis.

    "I want you to infiltrate the museum and steal this artifact," Mr. Davis
stated. "It will be in the Shapeirian Relics section of the museum, in the
East Wing. This artifact holds great importance to me, and you must not mess
this up. Today is Monday. You must get it to me by the end of this week. If
you succeed, you will be paid an extremely large amount of money. If you do
not.......well, I do not believe you wish to hear what will happen if you do
not." Mr. Davis was deathly serious and stared intently at Eyan with his
piercing eyes. "OK, I'll get you your glorified lava lamp," Eyan said cooly,
hiding his slight fear at the seriousness of Davis' threat. "Good," Mr. Davis
said, "then finally, the statue shall be mine after all this time." Then, as
if coming back to his senses as to where he was, he looked down at Eyan
sharply. "Well, what are you still doing here? Go off and get me that damn
statue!!" This was enough for Eyan to walk up and get out of the office as
quickly as possible.

    Back at his apartment, Eyan opened the file once more and took another
look at the Statue of Iblis. "So that crazy man wants me to steal this for
him, huh?" he said to himself, "Well, Eyan Baker never lets down his friends."


    It was Thursday evening. Eyan had spent the entire week going over the
plans he drew up for the job. He figured out just where to enter the
building, called in a few favors and got the alarm shutoff code, and planned
for every contingency he could think of. It was go time.

    It was a cool evening. The city was sleeping, and the street lamps were
giving East street an eerie effect that made a shiver run down Eyan's spine
as he approached the museum. Eyan stopped for a couple of seconds to get a
good look at the museum front in person, then took his crowbar out of his bag
and pried open a sewer top, dropping down into the sewer. The first thing
Eyan thought as his feet hit the cold stone floor of the sewer, "It smells
funny down here."

    Putting smell aside, Eyan took his sewer map out of his bag and checked
it to see if he was still right where he was supposed to be. After seeing
that he was still good, he put away the map and started walking. It didn't
take long for him to get to where he wanted to be. After all, he did start
out directly in front of the place. Looking up, Eyan saw a maintenence ladder
attached to the sewer wall that led straight into the museum's boiler room.
He was in.

    Robert the Janitor has been the museum's janitor for 20 years. One of
his major jobs around the museum is to set the state-of-the-art alarm every
night from the museum's boiler room. Tonight was no different. Robert set the
alarm and went home to his wife and kids. Of course, this was a good three
hours ago, so it was quite easy for Eyan to walk up to the keypad and disable
it with the disarm code that he bought on the street with a 100-spot and a
20-sack. As Eyan punched in the code, E52SUX, he could hear the alarm
shutting off all over the museum. "Piece of cake," Eyan said to himself as he
exited the boiler room straight into the science hall.

    Since he wasn't interested in learning all about Cranium's Theory of
Pepper Sauce, Eyan made his way quickly into the Shapeirian artifacts area.
According to a newspaper clipping in the New Silmaria Times that was in the
file, the museum had just put on display a new section labeled "The Reign of
Suleiman bin Daod". The centerpiece of the display, as Eyan learned, was the
mysterious Statue of Iblis, which was fabled to hold a powerful and evil
genie. But, of course, nobody's into magic anymore. It's a dead art,
especially since the Wizards of WIT decided to cut off all the dimensional
portals to their realm and isolate themselves forever. Nobody's really
interested in magic anymore, and frankly, beings of magic aren't really
interested in humans anymore either. Not like they ever were, but even less
so now.

    Eyan approached the display case and dropped his bag to the floor. He
then opened it and took out a glass cutter. He placed it on the case, and a
minute later, Eyan had a new lava lamp in his bag. His job done, Eyan decided
to make an exit. He walked out of the Shapeirian Artifacts area, past the
science hall, back into the boiler room, re-engaged the alarm, and jumped
back into the sewer, putting everything back into place as he went. In 5
minutes, he was standing back out in the front lawn of the museum. He could
think of nothing else now but collecting his reward from Mr. Davis, and as he
walked home, Eyan thought to himself, "It better be a damn sweet one too."
But, much to his future dismay, certain events along way home would keep that
reward forever out of his grasp. Don't worry, Eyan, he'd have prolly just
killed you, anyway.


Chapter 2:

    Eyan walked a couple of blocks down East street to a place where he had
a better chance of getting a cab. Even though he was already out of the
museum with the statue, he was still anxious to get off the streets and to
his home where he can stow it away. Being a thief is kinda like being a
basketball coach. Even when your team's 5 points up on the other team with 3
seconds left on the clock, you can't relax until the clock reaches 00:00.
There's always the chance that something can come in and screw everything up,
no matter how impossible it seems.
    Finally, Eyan got a cab and took a ride to his neighborhood. Whenever he
does a job, he never takes a cab directly to his house. He always gets
dropped off 3 blocks away and takes a route through a system of alleyways to
the back door of his apartment building. It seems a little paranoid, but one
of the most important things Eyan learned is that in his business, you can
never be too careful. This is true. The cab let him out 3 blocks away, just
as is Eyan's custom, and Eyan began his trek through the alleys. However,
despite all his precaution, Eyan would soon come to discover that he was
being followed.
    Eyan had not been in the alley more than 10 seconds when he felt a blunt
object hit him in the back of the head. He fell to the ground and landed with
a THUD. His head was on fire from the blow and he was having trouble seeing
straight. As his eyes re-dialed into focus, Eyan turned to see his attacker.
Standing over him was a gang of 4 goblins. They were all holding clubs and
one was searching through Eyan's bag. "Here! I found it!" the goblin
searching the bag exclaimed. "Good, Lycandor," the goblin closest to Eyan,
obviously the leader, said, "bring it to me." Lycandor quickly moved over to
the leader with the Statue of Iblis and handed it to him. "Thank you very
very much for stealing the statue for us, human," the leader said to Eyan,
mockingly, "you saved us some work." Eyan was angry. "Just like a goblin,"
Eyan retorted, "too stupid to do things themselves, so the best they can do
is wait for someone else to do it for them." The goblin leader gritted his
teeth and got in Eyan's face, menacingly brandishing his club. "You should
know how to hold your tongue, human," the leader said, "you never know when
you just might get yourself hurt, bad."
    The leader then turned to his gang and addressed them, "hey, Sampson,
how much do you think we can get for this on the Blackbird Market?" Another
goblin that Eyan couldn't see, called from the back, "oh, I'd say at least
$100,000, Dmitri." Dmitri smiled. "I thought so too, Sampson," he replied.
"Time to move out, guys. We have what we want. You can leave this worthless
gutter trash to rot here. That is, unless, you wish to hurt him first." At
this, the other three goblins smiled and began to circle Eyan like sharks
would circle their prey.
    As the goblins closed in on him and readied to attack, Eyan began to
think to himself. "I've led a good life," he thought, "I regret nothing nor
would I change anything. At least I'll go down fighting, though." And with
that, Eyan reached in his pocket and drew his trusty switchblade, ready to
fight. Then, suddenly, a voice, quite commanding, boomed from the entrance to
the alley. "Leave him alone!"
    All the goblins turned to look, their attention now averted from Eyan.
The man standing in the alleyway was definately strong. He was a little
taller than average height, but just a little, and he was dressed in black
jeans and a long-sleeve burgandy t-shirt. His garments were covered by a long
black trenchcoat that went down to his ankles like a flowing cape. His hair
was dark black and he wore it in a crew-cut. "Drop your clubs, give back the
statue, and leave right now," the man said authoritatively. "Oh yeah, human?"
Dmitri retorted, "make us." A smile flashed across the stranger's face. "My
pleasure," he replied slyly, and with supernatural speed, pulled out a 9mm
and fired it at the goblins. At the sound of the gunfire, Eyan ducked for
cover behind a small collection of trash cans sitting in the alley. As the
bullets hit the goblins, they all screamed in excruciating pain. Eyan was
quite surprised. "Goblins are never hurt like that by bullets," he thought to
himself, "who is this guy?" That's when Eyan looked closely at the bullets
being fired. Despite their velocity, Eyan saw that the bullets were glowing.
In fact, each one was on fire! And not just any fire. Each bullet was
consumed in blue flame!
    The goblins, now in total fear, dropped the statue and made a run for
it. But as they were almost away, a gigantic shockwave exploded into the
alley with a great BOOM. With a flash of light and a puff of smoke, a figure
appeared at the other side of the alley. Coming out of his hiding place, Eyan
saw the person standing there. It was Mr. Davis. Instead of the usual intense
blue, his eyes were glowing red and he seemed to be crackling with a strange
energy. Eyan was taken quite aback. "FREEZE!!!!!" Mr. Davis shouted at the
goblins. Then, they all became ice statues of their former selves. Mr. Davis
moved past them to face Eyan and the stranger. He turned his glowing red eyes
towards Eyan and began to speak. "Terrific job, Mr. Baker," his voice boomed,
"your boss did not lie about your skills." His voice echoed throughout the
alleyway. "Of course," he continued, "this last part was totally not your
fault, I understand. I will take my statue now, thank you." And with that, he
bent down to take the statue into his posession.
    "NNNOOOOOOO!!!!!!!" the stranger leapt into action, tackling Mr. Davis
and knocking the statue out of his hands, sending it rolling towards a
gutter. Eyan was unsure about a lot of things that were happening, but he
knew he had to save the statue from going into the gutter and being lost.
Hurriedly, he ran over and grabbed the statue. Eyan then turned to see the
two men wrestling on the ground of the alley. Finally, Mr. Davis kicked the
stranger away and sprang to his feet. Then, he extended his hand towards
Eyan, and by force of his will, the statue flew out of Eyan's hands and
straight to Mr. Davis'. "Thank you, son," Mr. Davis said, "you were a big
help to me. Seeya around." Then, Mr. Davis began to go through the gestures
of his disappearing spell. "No! Get back here, you monster!!" the stranger
screamed, charging at Davis. While Eyan watched, he did some thinking.
    Eyan Baker is a two-bit street hood. He's done more bad things in one
week than most people do in their entire lives. He may do these things, but
he is a caring person. Although he does things which are considered to be
wrong, he knows when something is too wrong to do. Eyan knows this well, and
letting Mr. Davis get away with the statue seems like one of these really
wrong things. So, coming to this conclusion, Eyan reached into his pocket and
pulled out his switchblade. Holding the weapon by the blade, he cocked his
arm and threw the knife, hitting Mr. Davis in the back of the neck. Mr. Davis
let out a great scream and fell to his knees, abruptly stopping the teleport
spell. This gave the stranger enough time to run over, karate kick Mr. Davis
in the face, and grab the statue.
    Mr. Davis recovered surprisingly quick, and managed to roll behind the
frozen goblins, coming to his feet and facing the two men. With an angry
glare, Mr. Davis spoke with a trembling rage. "Why you little....I shall get
you for this transgression, Baker. You shall pay for what you have done. I
swear it!" Then, Mr. Davis shot out four bolts of magic, and the goblin ice
statues began to shake. Exploding out of them were the goblins, writhing and
screaming in pain. Whatever magic Mr. Davis released in the goblins was
changing them. Before the two men's eyes, the goblins were morphing into
large, super-strong ogres!
    The four ogres began advancing towards the two men in the alley. "Can
you fight?" the stranger asked Eyan. "A little," Eyan replied, "but not well
enough to take these guys head-on." The stranger reached into his trenchcoat
and pulled out a dagger that glowed with a yellow energy. "Here," the
stranger said, "fight with this. It's got magic in it." and he tossed it to
Eyan. Then, he put away his 9mm and pulled out a large sword. Taking off his
coat, he then took a battle stance. Then, as if with a thought, the sword's
blade bursted into flames, the same blue flame that the bullets were engulfed
    Mr. Davis let out a maniacal laugh. "Have fun with my minions, old
friend. We shall meet again soon, I am sure of it. Farewell. Oh, and Mr.
Baker, you my dear friend, are on borrowed time." And with that, Davis
disappeared, leaving the two men to fight the ogres.
    The stranger struck fast. He charged at what had once been Dmitri and
impaled him through the heart with the magical sword. The flame consumed
Dmitri, and he ceased to be anything within seconds. Having taken down
Dmitri, the stranger then spun around, swinging his sword and slicing it
through the second ogre's stomach, cutting him in half and engulfing each
half in flames. Eyan then went for the next ogre. He charged and then,
ducking low to avoid the ogre's swinging fist, came up at the ogre and
stabbed him deeply in his throat. Eyan retrieved the dagger and the ogre fell
to the ground, choking and dying slowly.
    Then, the last ogre caught Eyan by surprise and picked him up by the
head. The twisting around of Eyan's head gave Eyan sharp, excruciating pain.
Then, the stranger charged from behind the ogre and thrusted his sword
through the ogre, all the way through and out the other side of the ogre,
destroying his heart. Then, as was the case with the rest of the ogres, this
one was slowly engulfed in flames. The only problem was that Eyan was still
being held by this guy. "Hurry, get him to let go, now!!!" the stranger
shouted to Eyan. Eyan, knowing nothing else to do, pulled out the magical
dagger the stranger had given him and cut off the ogre's hand that was
holding him, just in time to barely avoid a fiery death.
    The battle won, Eyan and the stranger went back over to Eyan's bag.
"Where's the statue?" Eyan asked. "It was right here before the fight
started," the stranger replied. "Oh, no! He must have taken it!! In all the
confusion, he stole it before he left! Dammit!!" The stranger jammed his
sword into the ground out of aggrivation. Eyan, although worried about Mr.
Davis and the statue, had some different questions on his mind. "Who are
you?" Eyan asked the stranger. "What's the problem with the statue? Why is it
so important? What do you think Davis plans to do with it?" The stranger
turned and looked Eyan straight in the eye. "Do you have any idea what that
thing is that we just handed over to that monster?" the stanger said. "Not
really," Eyan replied, "but I do know that it's dangerous and we have to get
it out of Adam Davis' hands."
    The stranger gave Eyan a quizzical look. "We?" he said, after a short
pause, "What makes you think you're coming along?" Eyan replied, "It's my
fault Davis has the statue. If it weren't for me, he wouldn't have it now. I
need to fix that mistake." To this, the stranger laughed. "Okay, then," he
said, "if that's how you feel, then sure, you can come along. But there are
some things you have to know first. C'mon, there's a bar just down the street
where we can talk. Besides, I could use a drink." The stranger turned to lead
the way, and Eyan grabbed his bag. "Oh, and by the way," Eyan said,
approaching the stranger and extending his hand, "the name's Eyan Baker." The
stranger took Eyan's hand. "Hawke," the stranger replied, "Conner Hawke. Now
c'mon, there are things you need to know." And with that, the two men exited
the alley.

Chapter 3:

    Joe's Bar lay directly in the middle of the worst part of town. Nestled
between an INS office and a Repo Depot, this dive attracted all the lowlives
within a 10 block radius. It was a good place to go for awhile and forget
your worries at the bottom of a bottle. Its seclusion also made it a great
meeting place for some of the more organized lowlifes with dreams of becoming
high society. Overall, this was not a place to take your family.

    The door opened and Conner and Eyan walked into (and up to) the bar.
"Two Djinnweisers, please," Conner said, and the bartender fetched them two
bottles. "Over there," Conner said, pointing to an empty table at the far
side of the bar. The two walked over and sat down, separating and isolating
themselves from the other patrons of the bar. "You said you wanted to help,"
Conner started, "but before I let you do anything, you must know what you are
getting yourself into, for your own good as well as my own." Eyan responded,
"OK. Let's start with the basics, then. What is this statue, and what does a
billionaire like Adam Davis want with it?" Conner looked at Eyan intently.
"Well, first of all," he began, "his name isn't really Adam Davis. He
modernized it when he moved here to the United States of Justinia. His real Ad Avis."

    "It was ages ago, centuries. They were different times. Things were not
as they are today. It was back in the Golden Age of the old world, back when
magic was more prominent and scientists were nothing but crackpot idiots who
thought they were better and smarter than everybody. It was a great time to
be alive. I was just a young man back then, fresh out of Adventurer's school
and out to make a name for myself. On the bulliten board in my local
adventurer's guild, I saw an advertisment for a land that needed a hero. The
place was called Gramarye, a large island in northwestern Europiana. You
would know it by modern-day Britannica. Gramarye today is just a small town
in the country that all have forgotten, but back then, the whole island was

    "It was there where I first decided to try my hand at being a hero. I
traveled a long time and eventually made it to the town. The place was
bustling. The whole town was filled with tourists and people. It didn't
really seem like a land in need of a hero. Curious, I went to the
Adventurer's Guild to see the guildmaster. When I entered the guild, I saw
about 10 people there, obviously adventurers. One, the oldest of them, came
up to me. 'Are you an adventurer?' he asked me. 'Yes,' I replied, 'I read a
post in my home guild that Gramarye was in need of a hero, so I came to take
up that job.' At this, the old man gave a hearty laugh."

    "'Oh, my dear boy, I'm sorry to tell you,' he said, 'but the post you
read was old. A hero has already arrived and has driven away the evil that
formerly haunted this land. We haven't been in need of a hero for a little
over a year now.' I was, to say the least, quite disappointed. My first try,
and already someone beat me to it. 'Don't worry, young man,' the old man
said, 'we could always use another adventurer around here. There are still
plenty of monsters that need dealing with around the island. Gramarye has yet
to become what it once was before the bad times hit us.' This lightened my
heart a bit. I could start out fighting monsters in this land. It would be
fun and it would give me good practice before I go somewhere else to be a

    "The old man walked off and I was approached by another person. He was
younger and bigger than the old man and he seemed to be an adventurer in the
prime of his life. 'New in town?' he asked me. 'Yeah,' I replied to the man.
"I was planning on being a hero here, but it seems someone has beaten me to
it." This made the man laugh. 'Yes, I know how adventurers guilds like to
keep old news up. Sometimes it is very misleading. I remember one time where
I went to a town hoping to help save the endangered antwerp for a good
reward, but when I got there, someone had already caused the population to
increase dramatically.' We shared a lighthearted laugh at the telling of the
story, then traded names. 'I am called Sir Justin,' the man told me. 'I used
to be the first knight of the king of Glendale, but he angered an evil hag
and she turned him into a newt. The kingdom was broken up, the knights all
went their separate ways, and here I am.' I replied, 'Nice to meet you,
Justin. I'm Conner, Conner of Hawksbury. I'm kind of new at this.' Justin
looked at me with an understanding eye. 'A new adventurer? I know how that
feels. Don't worry. You'll get the hang of things soon. Come, I must show you
around the land.' And with that, we went exploring."

    "Does any of this have a point?" Eyan jumped in, "we are kind of pressed
for time, y'know." Conner looked at him with a patient eye. "Calm down,
buddy. We have all the time in the world. Ad Avis needs to wait for a certain
time to do what he needs to do with the statue. We have enough time to be
fully prepared to face him, and you need to know what you're getting into."
Eyan looked a little sour. "Well, okay, but hurry up, I'm ready to face this
guy." Conner gave a little laugh. "Don't worry, we'll be ready soon.
Bartender! A couple more beers this way!"

    "So anyways, Justin and I went off to explore the land of Gramarye.
Looking back, I probably should've paid more attention to its beauty, but I
was young then, and I had no real care for those things. The forest was old,
and it contained much magic. In those parts, the forest contained many
magical creatures, as well as some interesting places. There were two places
in particular that we visited that were of incredible interest to us. Justin
said that he knew of this place and of the mage that lived there, but he had
never himself been there. He said that my being around gave him a good excuse
to see the place. We walked for a long time and got pretty far away from the
town, when we came upon what looked to be a common old hut. 'This is the
place,' Justin said. 'What? who lives here?' I asked him. 'A most renowned
wizard,' Justin replied. 'Come, let's meet him.' Justin knocked politely and
the door swung open."

    "It was a modestly furnished hut. It seemed to be to be no more than the
hut of a woodsman, for there were no things of magic in the hut, only a bed,
a nightstand, chairs, a couch, a table, and a small hearth. The place seemed
deserted. 'I don't understand,' Justin said, 'this is the correct place. I
imagined this place to be riddled with magical items. Where is the wizard?'
And that's when my eye caught something. Sitting on the nightstand was a
glowing object. I walked over to it and saw that it was the shape of a
horseshoe. 'What do you think this is?' I asked Justin. 'I don't know,'
Justin replied, 'let me see it.' He walked over and picked it up off of the
nightstand. 'Hmmm,' he said, 'looks like an ordinary horseshoe to me, besides
the fact that it's glow-' He was cut off suddenly as magic surrounded him.
The space began to warp around him, and he disappeared right before my eyes!"

    "'Justin!!!' I shouted as the horseshoe fell to the floor. I picked up
the horseshoe to examine it, to see what magic had taken my friend. Heh, this
was proof of my inexperience. Lucky for me, there was no risk. But there
could have been. That is why you never jump lightly into anything, especially
when magic is involved. I picked up the horseshoe, and the same magic
surrounded me. The space around me began to warp and shift, and I felt a
strange pulling sensation. I felt and saw the world disappear around me, and
the next moment, another one appeared. As the space began to revert back to
normal and the magic disappeared, I found myself standing in what looked to
be a large cave. Obviously made and shaped by magic, the cave was cavernous,
humongous. Inside, there were all sorts of magic items, tools, and scrolls.
Supplies, ingredients, and the like were on shelves lining the walls of the
large cave. On a small rise of about 6 feet, There was a desk and a
workstation with things such as a crystal ball and a strange pool. On this
rise, I caught sight of Justin, speaking with an old man, obviously the
magician we were here to see. I walked up the steps to the rise and
approached the two."

    "'Conner! I am glad you followed,' Justin said to me. 'Conner, I would
like you to meet the wizard Merlyn. Merlyn, this is Conner of the town of
Hawksbury. He is a new adventurer, and I thought he would be honored to meet
you.' I was taken quite aback. Merlyn Ambrosius was one of the most powerful
and prominent magicians of the time, and it was an honor to be in his
presence. 'It is fine to meet you, Conner,' Merlyn said as he extended his
hand for a handshake. 'It is an honor to meet you, sir' I replied and shook
his hand. When Merlyn shook my hand, a look of immense shock came upon his
face, as if he had seen something that totally surprised and horrified him.
'Is something wrong, sir?' I asked him. 'Oh, no,' he replied, 'It is nothing.
I see that you are a very.......interesting man, Conner. I am sure that you
will have a long career as an adventurer.' His words reassured me and made me
shiver at the same time. I couldn't explain why. 'Merlyn was just telling me
of the strange horseshoe we saw in his hut,' Justin jumped in. 'He calls it
his "mystic magnets". He says that they are used to teleport from one place
to the other. It is how he goes from his home to his workshop.' Merlyn
continued, 'Yes, it is very useful. I created this workshop on another plane
of existence from Gloriana's. It has had many names in its time and shall
have many more to come. It is a plane of nothingness, a "Still Zone", if you
will, where nothing exists. Magicians can make portals to this Still Zone,
but it takes a tremendous amount of power to do so. I made a portal long ago
and traveled here and constructed my workshop. Now, I find it much more
convenient and much less of a drain on mana to use the mystic magnets to
travel to and from here.'"

    "Our conversation was inturrupted suddenly by a loud alarm sounding from
over by the crystal ball. 'What is that?' Justin asked Merlyn over the noise.
Merlyn hurried over to the crystal ball and turned off the alarm. 'It is my
trouble alarm,' Merlyn replied. 'When something of extremely large magical
implications happens on the island, my crystal ball sounds the alarm.' Merlyn
then waved his hand over the ball and said an incantaion. 'Oh, crystal ball,
tell us what trouble it is that you see.' The ball swirled for a little bit
and showed the picture of a cave somewhere in the forest. 'Oh, no, the
Hellmouth!' Merlyn shouted, and hurried over to the pool. 'What is it? What's
going on?' Justin asked Merlyn as we approached the pool to see what was
going on. 'Something is going wrong with the Hellmouth, I am attempting to
use my scrying pool to see what is happening.'"

    "'The Hellmouth?' I asked, 'What's a Hellmouth?' Justin replied, but did
not look at me. 'In Gramarye, there is an entrance to Hades through the cave
we saw in the crystal ball. It is loosely refered to as the Hellmouth around
here. Not many have used it to venture down into Hades before, because it is
guarded by the Hound of Hades, Cerberus, and his legion of Manes. It seems
that something of great magical properties is happening there, and Merlyn is
trying to find out what.' Merlyn put his finger to his mouth, indicating for
everyone to quiet themselves. With a wave of his hand, the image of the cave
began to form in the pool. Looking in, we saw a great battle going on. Manes
were falling everywhere and Cerberus was battling what looked to be someone
trying to leave the cave. Whoever he was, he had an accomplice who was
helping him. Both were dressed in Arabian garb and appeared to be of Arabic
dissent. One looked slightly paler than the other."

    "'No!!!' Merlyn shouted in terror. 'What, what is it?' Justin and I
asked simultaneously. 'That man! That man there! The younger one is named Al
Scurva. He was the apprentice of an evil mage named Ad Avis long ago. Ad Avis
was killed in Shapeir after trying to bind the evil genie Iblis to him years
ago. He was then turned into a vampire and slain again in Mordavia after an
attempt to unleash the Dark One, Avoozl. He has remained in Hades since then,
but Al Scurva seems to have traveled in to retrieve him from that place. The
two are now fighting their way out. This is horrible!!!' Justin said to
Merlyn, 'What must be done, wise mage?' Merlyn turned to the two of us and
said, 'Ad Avis must not be allowed to leave Hades. If he returns from the
dead once more, he shall most definately try another bid for power. It would
be better for all that he did not get that chance. Go to the cave! Throw them
back down to Hades! Make sure that Ad Avis does not get the chance to live
again!!' And with that, Merlyn shot out magic at the two of us. As with the
mystic magnet, space warped around us, the world fell away from us, and
before you could say 'saurus', we were standing in the forest just feet away
from a fantastical battle."

    Conner stood up to stretch a little. "What are you doing?" Eyan asked.
"I may be telling a story, but I'm still human," Conner said. "I have to go
to the bathroom. Order another round, I'll be back in a minute."

Chapter 4:
    The beers hadn't been on the table for more than two seconds when the
Mens' Room door opened and Conner emerged, wiping away the last remnants of
water that the towel didn't get when he washed and dryed his hands. He sat
down back in his seat, popped open the bottle, and took a drink. After he
swallowed it, Conner took a long look at the bottle, as if he was thinking
something over. "You know," he said, after a long pause, "when I was a young
man, I never touched this stuff. I always figured that heroes don't have
vices like this, that they were always perfect and never drank or smoked.
Now, I seem to have one of these every day. It's the years, Eyan. They
finally get you in the end. Sure, immortality may seem fun at first, but that
means that you have to watch as your friends and family wither into old age
and die, while you stay young, forever in the prime of your life."

    "Yeah, I'm really sorry for you, being forever young and all," Eyan
replied, somewhat annoyed, "but could you hurry up and get done with your
story so we can get that statue and get on with our lives?" Then, with a dart
of his hand, Conner grabbed Eyan by the throat and looked him dead in the
eye. He spoke as if the wrath of God was in his voice. "Listen here, son, I'm
trying to enlighted you, to make you see the preciousness of life and perhaps
benefit from what knowledge I have to depart from my experiece. Now I don't
know about the present, but in my day, when an elder departed knowledge, we
took it and learned from it!" Eyan finally got Conner's hand off of his
throat. "Wow, for a centuries-old guy, he certainly has a tough grip," Eyan
thought to himself. "Okay, okay," Eyan replied, "sorry I was rude! But I'm
anxious to get this mistake erased so I can go home and not think about stuff
for a while." Conner looked away, and took another drink. "Okay, so where was
I?" he asked to himself. "Ah, yes....."

    "Merlyn had just teleported us to the cave leading down to Hades where
Ad Avis and his apprentice Al Scurva were in a battle to win Ad Avis' freedom
from Hades. When we were totally teleported in, Justin and I ran full-blast
to the battle. Despite the amount of Manes and the ferociousness of Cerberus,
Ad Avis and Al Scurva were gaining the upper hand in the battle. We intended
to make that change. Unfortunately for us, Manes are hardly creatures that
can be easily controled. Any soul they sense, any sliver of life, they go
towards it. So, in a matter of seconds, we found ourselves fighting for our

    "'You take the Manes, and I'll get Ad Avis and Al Scurva,' Justin
shouted to me. I yelled a word of aknowledgement, but he didn't hear me and I
didn't really have time to repeat it myself. Soon, I was swarmed by five
Manes all at once. I could feel my energy draining, as if I was getting
older. It was painful, but I did not give up. Using potions, I was able to
keep alive long enough to beat the Manes. Just as I had finished the last of
the swarm that took me, I heard an unearthly roar. Looking over, I saw that
Ad Avis managed to beat Cerberus. The humongous hound of Hell's body
dissapated into nothingness. Later on, I was told that Cerberus really didn't
die, as he could not truly ever die, but his spirit went back to Hades, the
Lord of the Underworld, to regenerate."

    "My momentary distraction allowed a Mane to sneak attack me. Before I
knew it, I was pinned to the ground, my life force slowly ebbing into
nothing. Then, as if from nowhere, Justin tackled the Mane and destroyed it.
With my last bit of strength, I downed Health and Stamina potions to continue
fighting. Since Cerberus was now defeated, all of the Manes retreated back to
the Underworld, leaving the two of us..........and the two of them."

    "'Thank you for the assistance, adventurers,' Ad Avis said cooly, 'but
we really must be going.' And with that, he motioned to Al Scurva and they
turned to leave. 'Not so fast, Ad Avis!' Justin shouted to them. They both
turned around. Justin continued, 'We have come here to make sure that the two
of you stay in Hades and never return to the land of the living!' A slight
smirk grew upon Ad Avis's face. 'Is that so, adventurer?' he said dryly,
'well, you are more than happy to try!'"

    "Ad Avis threw a blast of magic at us. We both dove away from the blast
and jumped up into our battle stances. Then, almost simultaneously, we both
charged at an enemy. While I clashed with Al Scurva, Justin took on Ad Avis.
Al Scurva shouted some magical encantations, and a magical sword of energy
took form in his hand. Our swords clashed with a thunderclap. We fought for
what seemed like hours amid the forest of Gramarye. The only other sounds we
could hear besides our battle was that of Justin's battle with Ad Avis.
Finally, after countless swings, thrusts, parries, dodges, and clashes, my
sword struck flesh. Al Scurva was fatally wounded in the gut by my sword. I
drew it out of him, and he fell to the ground, seemingly dead. In hindsight,
I should've looked more closely at his body, but I was too preoccupied with
Ad Avis. With his last inkling of strength, Al Scurva managed to erect a
magical shield around Ad Avis and Justin, not allowing me to help. Then, Al
Scurva died, sent back down into the depths of Hades, probably to become a
Mane or a Lemur or something."

    "I tried my best to penetrate the shield with my sword, but I could not.
I could do little more than watch as my new friend battled the evil mage.
They traded blows, each fighting with incredible fierceness, trying to stay
alive. Then, with a grunt of strength and a shout of pain, Ad Avis impaled
Justin through the heart. Avis withdrew his sword from Justin, and with a
cough of blood, Justin sank to the ground."

    "'NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!' I shouted as my friend fell to the ground,
'Justin!!!!' Ad Avis let out a maniacal laugh. "HAHAHAHA!!!!!' he laughed,
'now, with that done, I can begin my quest once again. I will rule you
all!!!' He let out another maniacal laugh and began going through the
gestures to open a teleport portal. As his portal finished, the shield Al
Scurva erected finally dissapated. I charged at Ad Avis, sword held high to
strike, but I was too late. Ad Avis disappeared into the portal and the
portal closed. I ran back over to Justin, worried for my friend. Amazingly
enough, he was still breathing, but not for long. I held his head up and he
coughed up some more blood. '<cough> Well <cough>, I guess that does it for
me...<cough><cough>,' Justin said, his voice racked with pain. 'Don't worry,
Justin,' I replied, 'we'll get you back to Merlyn and have him heal you.' He
then coughed up more blood. '<cough> Not this time, kid <cough><cough>' he
said back to me, 'I'm <cough> finished. Tell my........tell my wife <cough><
cough>...tell her that I love her.....-' and then, he slipped away, down to
Hades and into Paradise."

    "I buried him at the foot of a large stone and did my best to carve his
name into it. Then, I stuck his sword into the ground. After a few minutes to
mourn for my friend who I did not get to know for very long, I then did my
best to navigate the forest back to Merlyn's hut. I reached it by nightfall,
and the wizard still had not left his workshop. He must have been watching
the battle and coming up with a plan. Just as before, I used the mystic
magnet and teleported to the workshop. When I got there, I found Merlyn
sitting at his desk, his hands in his lap and his feet on the desk. 'I am
sorry that your friend has died,' Merlyn said somberly, 'I had hoped that
noone but Ad Avis and Al Scurva would die, but I have been disillusioned to
that fact. I am sorry.' In a half reassuring, half commanding voice, I
replied, 'Justin was a brave and adventurous hero. He died in battle, as he
probably wanted, and he will be missed.' Merlyn gave a small sign of
aknowledgement, then he stood and came to me."

    "'I did a spell,' Merlyn started, 'and found out where Ad Avis has
traveled. He is now back in Shapeir, for what we can only imagine. He most
assuredly has something planned, so you must be ready to face him.' I replied
to the wise wizard, 'What needs to be done?' Merlyn then gave me a grave
stare. 'You are not ready to take on the likes of Ad Avis on your own,' he
said. 'You have only been an adventurer a short time, and need help. I am
sending you to a good friend of mine in Shapeir. He has been adventuring for
many years now, and has proven himself a hero on many occasions. I will
teleport you to the gates of Shapeir, but it is your task to find him in the
city. I know you will not fail.'"

    "Merlyn's words echoed in my brain, and a question surfaced. 'How will I
find him?' I asked the old wizard. 'I can only point you in the correct
direction,' he replied, 'you will have to find him yourself. In the city,
there is an inn. A man comes in every night and sits at the far table to
watch the patrons and the entertainment and have dinner. He loves to watch
the world unfold. If you approach him, he will ask you a riddle. The riddle
is different each time, so noone will be able to tell you the answer. If you
answer the riddle, he will tell you where to find my friend. Once you find my
friend, listen to his lessons carefully and put them to practice against Ad
Avis. This will assure his defeat. Go now, and godspeed.' And with the last
words of the wise wizard Merlyn, I found the world around me melting away and
a pulling sensation. The next moment, another world molded around me. It was
a land of desert and a land heat. When I had fully teleported, I saw a city,
nestled around the cliffs and majestically rising high. 'Well, this is it,' I
thought to myself, 'my adventure now truly begins.' I had no idea how right I

Chapter 5:

"The Bazaar of Shapeir was a bustling center of commerce for the city.
Various merchants lined the streets, hocking such products as waterskins,
rare plants, beads, food, anything the human soul could want. At the far end
of the plaza, I saw a man that looked like he spoke my language, so I
approached him."

"'I tell-a you, sir, you no find-a better deal in all this-a land or no money
back.' When I approached, he was finishing a deal with someone and handing
over what looked to be a large duck. 'This-a the most useful thing around,
sir. Everyone needs-a a duck.' The buyer, looking somewhat pleased, took the
duck and exited the plaza into the streets of the city. 'So, you speak
common,' I said to the man. 'How-a observant of you, sir,' he replied. 'I
am-a Ali Chica, seller of all-a things useful. Special today: necklace with-a
real Shapeirian centime on it! Only cost-a you one dinar! Best-a deal in
town!' A little tired of the sales pitch, I interrupted him before he could
continue. 'No thanks,' I started, 'but I could use some help. Is there an inn
anywhere near here? Maybe somewhere in town....?' The salesman seemed
surprised. 'Why-a you never heard of-a da Katta's Tail Inn?' he replied,
'Best-a place in town! There's-a dancing, singing, poetry, everything, I
tell-a you! And-a so close, too! Just-a across-a da plaza! You canna miss it
in-a you visit to Shapeir! Just-a over there!' and he pointed to a door
across the plaza with a sign above it. I walked to it and entered."

"I was immediately greeted by a Katta seated near the door. 'Greetings,
traveller!' he said cheerfully, 'I am Shallah, owner and proprieter of this
humble inn! If you sit at a table, my lifemate, Salla, or one of her waiters,
will be happy to serve you whatever you like. At night, my Salla serenedes
the inn with her lovely and peaceful music, and sometimes, my cousin Shameena
dances to her song. She is quite a good dancer, and my Salla and her share a
kindred in their arts. Other nights, my Salla plays a slow tune to the words
of the poet Omar. All in all, there is always something to do or see here!
Plus, we have great rates! 5 dinars for a week's worth of comfort and ease!
If you need anything, or require further conversation, please do not hesitate
to call upon me. I will be right here at all times.'"

"I thanked him for the warm welcome and seated myself at a table near the
back, so I could keep my eye on everything. It was as if I was being watched
by some spell from the moment I entered, because right when I sat down, a
Katta woman dressed in fine native garments came to me. 'Greetings, Wanderer
from Afar,' she started, 'I am Salla, head waitress and co-proprieter of this
inn. What may I get you to drink or eat?' I thanked her for her hospitality
and ordered a meal and a drink."

"I spent most of the day in that inn, watching the patrons and studying their
various movements, trying to determine what they did for a living by their
demeanor and body language. It was something I did to pass the time. There
was a merchant, a caravan leader, a snake oil salesman (I bought some
anti-boredom tonic from him. The only thing it did was remind me,
unpleasently, that I had tastebuds), and a couple of magicians that came in
for a break (they also amused the patrons with magical spells for the heck of
it. I gave 'em a dinar). Then, I was hit with quite a challenge."

"It was getting later in the day, towards dusk, when he came in. Unlike the
other inn patrons, this one was harder to read than most. He was tall and
proud. He looked like he had seen many years of the adventuring life. It was
hard to place him, though. He was a total enigma. He had decent muscles, and
he carried a peculiar sword. It seemed to glow with an indescribable quality.
He walked over and sat at the far end of the room, ordered a pitcher of drink
and a plate of food, and began doing as I was: watching the various patrons
of the inn."

"It got late, and Salla began playing her beautiful music. It was medium
paced, and Shallah did not lie. It was the most serene thing that I had ever
heard before in my life. It livened the inn in the evening, and the mood
became lazy and cheerful. I studied the arrival at the inn and finally, I
stood and walked over to him. He eyed me as I approached, looking me up and
down and studying my various moves. I approached the table and sat across
from him. 'I was sent by Merlyn of Gramarye to seek out a wise and renowned
hero. I believe you have something to say to me.......?'"

"The man gave me a long, hard, determined look. 'No.'"

"'No? What do you mean "No"??' I asked, surprised. 'You heard me, kid,' he
replied, 'no. I got nothing to say to you.' This, understandibly, got me a
little angry. 'Merlyn sent me to you to get a riddle so I can see this big
hero guy who'll teach me how to defeat Ad Avis, this evil magician. Time's
wasting, Ad Avis has incredible magical power, and he sure as hades won't use
them for truth, justice, and the Shapeirian way unless I stop him, so I need
to hear this riddle!' The man looked at me harshly, and replied, 'You don't
"need" to hear anything, kid. Ad Avis is pure trouble. Even with this guy's
help, you barely stand a chance. To beat him, you have to be smart, you have
to have patience, and you have to be able to guess what he will do before
he'll do it, and you can't afford to be wrong. He will kill you without a
second thought, and he most definately already knows you're here and that
you're coming. Now, with that said, do you still want me to give you a

"I pondered the man's words for a second. I figured that he spoke the truth,
that all that was indeed happening and that I did not stand much of a chance.
Still, I took the leap of a hero. 'Yes,' I replied, 'yes, I still want the
riddle.' This made the man smile. 'Okay,' he said, 'a king, a sultan, and a
high priest walk into a bar.......' He only told me a joke. I had a slight
laugh, but I was quite confused. 'I thought I was going to get a riddle,' I
said, 'why did you just give me a joke?' The man smiled. 'Because,' he
replied, 'the test wasn't the riddle, it was the question. Life is full of
riddles, but it is our choices which dictate our destiny. By saying yes, you
have just written out a part of your destiny. Always remember that our
choices are who we are and what we do, and they are never to be made lightly.
Now, let's go somewhere a little more private. You need to be prepared to
face the coming evil.'"

"He stood up and led me towards the exit, then stopped and turned to me
before we left. 'Oh, by the way,' he said to me, 'I am called Devon.' 'Conner
of Hawkesbury,' I replied, and offered him my hand. He took it, and said, 'we
are not where we are from, Conner. We who would be heroes work for the whole
world, not just one place in it.' I let out an amused grunt and replied,
'man, do you always have a lesson in everything?' Devon let out an amused
grunt of his own, cracked a little smile, and replied, "There is a lesson to
be learned from everything, Conner. Remember that, and you'll do well.'"


"Do you really have to go into every minute detail?" Eyan was being patient,
but his patience was wearing thin. "Do you always have to rush everything?"
Conner asked back. "Well," Eyan replied, "When the fate of the world is at
hand, I tend to get a little anxious." Conner looked at his watch. "Aw, don't
worry, Eyan, the world won't end for at least 4 more hours," he said to his
new partner, "but you are right. The time for the story's over. We need to
get some supplies. C'mon." He went towards the bathroom door and motioned for
Eyan to follow. "Oh, no, man, not me," Eyan replied, "I'm not into that
stuff." Conner looked at him, annoyed. "Not like that, you idiot. Now c'mon,
time's a waistin'," Eyan gave him a weird look. "Okay," He finally said, "but
I swear, if you try anything, you're going down."

The two both entered the Mens' Room and, after a quick look to see that the
place was empty, Conner pulled out an object. "Here, grab on to this end," he
said. Eyan gave him a confused look, but did what he said. Suddenly, the
world warped in front of Eyan's eyes and then it fell away. Eyan had a
gut-wrenching feeling in his stomach, like bungee-jumping from a supersonic
jet. Then, he found himself somewhere else entirely.

The apartment was sparsely furnished. There was a bedroom with a
comfortable-looking bed in one corner. Bookcases lined the wall of the
bedroom, holding such titles as "Ancient Nova-Roman Gladitorial Combat
Techniques", "Far Eastern Fighting Methods", "Magical Artifacts of the Old
World", and numerous others that any good adventurer would need. The living
room had a couch, two chairs, and a television and VCR. The bathroom and the
kitchen were small and modest. The main part of the apartment was a huge area
set aside obviously for training. On the wall next to the training area were
various weapons: swords of many different kinds, spears, daggers, staves, and
the like. Against the same wall sat an enormous trunk with a big lock on it -
a Filch Lockmaster Mark LXIV, the latest model. Very advanced and said to be
very secure.

"I need a change of clothes," Conner said to Eyan, "feel free to look around
all you want. When I come back, we'll get organized." With that, Conner
walked into the bedroom and closed the door. "Finally," Eyan thought to
himself. He walked over to the Lockmaster and studied it up-close. He'd read
about them in an issue of Thieving Today, but seeing it up-close was another
thing. Eyan could now see the advanced unique keyhole and locking mechanism
better than he could in the picture. It was indeed a magnificent piece of

Checking to make sure that Conner was still occupied, Eyan got out his tools.
He'd read about the electrical shock that went through the lock picker's body
if anything other than the key was placed in the hole, so the first thing
Eyan did was place his Filch Electrical Systems Nulification Device(tm) on
the outside of the lock to shut down the shock. Then, using his Mark MM
Thieve's Toolkit, spent about 8 minutes picking the lock. It had challenged
his talentes, but Eyan unlocked it.

Opening the trunk, Eyan saw the reason for a lock like the Lockmaster. Packed
to the brim of the trunk were the weapons of the modern age: pistols,
shotguns, machine guns, grenades, smoke bombs, tear gas, wrist-mounted blade
mechanisms, everything you need to fight your own private war. Eyan was taken
aback. "Who is this guy?" he asked himself.

"Someone who needs to take precautions in his fight for right." Eyan jumped
at Conner's voice. "Shoot," Eyan thought to himself, "I forgot all about
him!" Eyan turned to face him. Conner had showered and was now dressed in
black jeans and a black t-shirt that was semi-tight fitting. On his feet were
black cowboy boots, only they didn't have those tacky designs that some have
on them these days. "I see you couldn't resist picking the lock," Conner
said, "I'm not surprised. Any thief with his head screwed on correctly
couldn't resist a lock like that. Thanks for opening it, though. We need to
get some things from there." And without another word, Conner dove into his
weapons supply.

He took various guns and explosives from the trunk and packed them in the
numerous pockets and holders inside his black trenchcoat and in Eyan's bag of
tricks. Then, he went to his "ancient weapons wall" (so called by Eyan) and
took a single sword from it. This particular sword seemed special to him and
special in general. Eyan thought it almost glowed when he looked at it in a
certain light. It seemed to have a peculiar quality to it that Eyan couldn't
put his finger on. Conner placed it inside his trenchcoat as well and then
put it on.

"Okay, we're ready to storm the castle," Conner said. "Off to Davis
Enterprises." And with that, Conner once again pulled out his strange object
and prepared to use it. "What is that thing, anyway?" Eyan asked him. Conner
replied, "Do you remember those mystic magnets I told you about earlier, the
ones that Merlyn used to use to get from his house to his workshop?" Eyan
nodded. Conner continued, "This is an updated form of them. I can take it
with me when I teleport, and it is not bound to another magnet. I just have
to concentrate on where I want to go, and I will be there." Eyan got a
satisfied and impressed look on his face. Without another word, Conner
activated the magnet, and the two men were gone.

Chapter 6:
     The tower that was Davis Enterprises seemed more imposing this night, but for the life of him, Eyan couldn't say why. He'd been here at night before hundreds of times, and it never looked this...well, big. "Ah, I'm just psyching myself out here," Eyan thought to himself, "there's no reason to be paranoid." Later on, he'll think he thought too soon.

     "So what's your plan for getting in there?" Eyan asked Conner. Conner hadn't said a word since they'd materialized on the front steps of the building. He was obviously thinking. This was all right by Eyan, he didn't want to go in half-cocked and get wasted. An understandable emotion, if ever one was felt. After Conner seemed satisfied with what he was going to do, he spoke up to Eyan, still setting things up for their entry.

     "Ad Avis will be doing it high up. He likes heights when doing spells; it makes him feel closer to his power. That's why his office is the entire top floor of the building. One huge office, perfect for looking down at the vassals below, feeling solitary, performing magical rituals...." Conner slowed to a stop in his speech, once again contemplating things. Finally, after about a minute's pause, he said, "Okay, this is going to be a little more than odd. Have you ever seen the TV show 'Fortress: Impregnible'"? Eyan looked at him quizzically, not having a single clue in the world as to what he was talking about. "*sigh*, Never mind. I guess it was before your time."

     Eyan soon figured out what it was Conner meant. Five minutes later, they were scaling the building, climbing the glass and metal mountain that was the skyscraper of Davis Enterprises. The rope was tight and taut, despite the fact that Eyan did not see where it was connected. Later on he found out that it was a magical rope, but now he just felt confused. Davis Enterprises was 239 stories high and Conner and Eyan seemed hell-bent on doing it the hard way (well, at least Conner seemed that way; Eyan would've been perfectly all right with using the elevator).

     "Okay, this is our stop." Conner started to take climbing equipment and other tools out of his pack and using them in whatever functions necessary. "Waitaminute," Eyan replied frantically, "we're nowhere near the top. There's at least another 50 stories before we can even SEE it. What's going on here??" Conner replied in a calm, collected voice as if he was sitting in his living room, not taking his eyes off the work at hand, "I'm well aware of that, Eyan. We're not climbing all the way up to the top. This floor is where the cameras and alarms don't currently work. When lots of extremely powerful magic is used in a very concentrated manner, it has a way of shorting out all electronic devices within a certain range. For the power and amount of magic Ad Avis is using, nothing works at this floor and up."

     A minute later, the window pane at their floor was falling down to the street and the two adventurers were in. Eyan felt pretty cocky at this juncture with the knowledge that not even a pencil sharpener could work at the moment. This made him unprepared for what he and Conner met in the hallway. Conner, however, knowing Ad Avis, found it quite logical to find a small army of secret service looking henchmen awaiting them.

     At the sight of Conner and Eyan, the henchmen began to fire at them rapidly with their 9mm pistols. The two adventurers dove for cover behind whatever they could find. Eyan returned their fire with his own small handgun, desperately searching through his pack for smoke capsules. Conner, on the other hand, was going through some sort of hand motion. "CONNER! What do you think you're DOING?!" Eyan shouted to him over the sound of gunfire. Conner wasn't paying attention. He began to glow suddenly with some sort of golden aura. He then stood up and came out from behind his cover. The henchmen fired at him, but the bullets just stopped inches from his person. Like a bull, Conner charged straight into the middle of the crowd of henchmen. When he reached its center, Conner turned and released an incredible wave of energy. In a flash of light, the noises and gunfire stopped.

     The smoke cleared and Eyan came out from behind his cover. What he saw stunned him. Every single henchman was frozen solid, enveloped in blocks of ice. Their faces held expressions of surprise, anger, pain, and loathing, each being frozen through and through. Eyan looked to Conner for understanding, his mouth wide open in surprise. "It's called 'Honor Freeze.'" Conner replied, answering the question written all over Eyan's face. "Now c'mon, we've wasted enough time already."

     5 minutes later, the two adventurers stood at the stairway that led up to Adam Davis' office, now transformed into Ad Avis' summoning room. Conner stood there in reflective thought. "One thousand years and a year..." he said to himself, his voice barely audible. Then, he took out his sword. Eyan watched the blade become engulfed in that strange blue flame he'd seen it in the other night in the alley. Then, Conner charged the door and sliced right through it, bashing it into the room beyond.

     They stepped through the door into the office. The desk and other furniture had been pushed to the back wall of the office, exposing the huge rug in the center. Eyan had seen the rug before during his previous visits to Mr. Davis, but furniture had obscured the design from his view before. He could now see the full design on it: A hexagram. Placed at the points of the hexagram were candles, and in the center stood a statue. Eyan straight away recognized it as the Statue of Iblis. Standing by a brazeir and making arcane gestures with his hands was Mr. Davis.

     At the noise of their entrance, Ad Avis turned to face them. "Ah, so glad you could join us. I was expecting you. EXPLORARI!!!!" Suddenly, the numerous statues around the room came to life and began to charge for Eyan and Conner. Conner looked over towards Eyan. "Here we go. You wanted action and adventure, you've got it."

     Eyan began to question whether or not he really wanted it.

Chapter 7:
     One thousand and one years ago, the evil wizard Ad Avis attempted to escape the bondage of the Dark Master and rule the world by binding and controling Iblis, the most powerful and evil genie ever to have been. For seventy years, he planned, plotted, trained, and waited for the chance to strike. Using his magic, he duped a well-meaning hero into doing his dirty work for him and fulfilling the part of the prophesy that brought Iblis, bound inside a statue, into his hands. He was later undone entirely by this same hero, being destroyed not once, but twice by him. Ad Avis later cheated death, escaping Hades, to have another chance. So he has waited another thousand and one years for the prophesy to come around again. Now it has, and the fate of the world rests once again in the hands of those who would stop him.

     Eyan and Conner took their battle stances as the statues advanced upon them. "You ready, kid?" Conner asked, not taking his eyes off the opponents. "Ready as I'll ever be," Eyan replied. Conner and Eyan dropped their bags and began to fight. Conner extinguished and sheathed his sword and dove into his bag. A fraction of a second later he was back up, an AK-74M Machine Gun in his right hand and his left hand stuffing something into the back of his belt. In another fraction of a second, the air was filled with fiery blue streaks, the statues being bombarded with a spray of bullets ingulfed in blue flame. Eyan himself came back out of his bag, his hands full of grenades and other explosives.

     "Hit the deck!!" Eyan shouted as he reared back and launched a barrage of grenades at the remaining statues. Conner and Eyan took cover behind an expensive leather couch just in time to be shielded from a mighty explosion. Using his mind, Conner concentrated on the grenades and, with great skill and force of will, engulfed each explosive in the blue flame. As the statues' burned to the ground, Eyan turned to Conner and spoke, "You're gonna have to show me how to do that sometime." Conner just smiled a little and let out a semi-laugh. The smoke began to clear and through it, more henchmen were seen moving their way in, protecting Ad Avis as much as possible.

     "Okay, this is it," Conner began, "I need you to do something for me." Eyan responded, "Okay, what?"
* "How much explosives do you have in your bag?"
* "A lot. I've got Dynamite, C4, TNT, Napalm, CL20--"
* "Good, you're gonna need it."
* "What do you mean? What's going on?"
* "When I say, make a dive for the door. Get downstairs and line this building from head to toe with whatever explosive devices you've got in there."
* "Load the building with WHAT?!?!"
* "I don't care if it's an atom bomb or a stink bomb, just as long as this building'll go down because of it! Now MOVE!!!"

     At Conner's command, Eyan made a bum rush for the door, doing his best to avoid gunfire from the henchmen. Conner covered him with the remaining rounds in his AK-74M. Once Eyan made it through the door, Conner's machine gun was spent. Not having the available time to reload it, Conner once again dove into his bag and came out with something a little more heavy-duty: an Uzi. One by one (well, actually, more like twelve by twelve), the henchmen were mowed down by rapid-fire bullets coming out of Conner's Uzi, each one burning with that mysterious blue flame.

     Eyan was breathing extremely hard. Starting from the bottom up (yes, he ran down that far), any fuse box, any A/C unit, any water fountain was covered in explosives. In ten minutes, Eyan's bag was empty (save for a couple of rounds of ammo and a .22 pistol) and all 239 floors of Davis Enterprises were packed, laced, covered, or whatever with enough explosives to blow up a small country (you know, like one of those ones made when the Mordavian Union broke up). "I don't know what he's got planned," Eyan said to himself, "but I sincerely hope it ends with us miles away by the time this thing explodes."

     The henchmen had finally stopped coming just as Conner was down to his last few rounds in his Uzi. He threw the weapon down to the ground and reached and unsheathed the only appropriate weapon left: his sword. Igniting it, Conner moved forward. "AD AVIS!!!" Conner shouted as he approached his eternal adversary, "It's time to end this!!!" Ad Avis turned to face his enemy. "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!!" he laughed maniacally, "Oh Conner, you are so correct. It SHALL end tonight, but not the way you should think! I had victory within my grasp all those years ago, and YOU took it from me. YOU!!! For that, you shall be the first to die!!!" With that, he threw powerful magic around Conner. Conner slowly lifted off the ground as if two hands were clenching his shoulders. Using his will, Conner tried to escape, but it wasn't looking good.

     Eyan arrived on the scene just in time to see this part. "NO!!!" Eyan shouted as he threw a dagger straight at Ad Avis' foot. This took Ad Avis aback momentarily, but a moment was all he needed to recover himself. However, a moment was also all Conner needed to escape, and a second later he was free and pointing his sword towards Ad Avis. All of a sudden, the blue flame on his sword shot out of the blade and engulfed Ad Avis in it. Ad Avis screamed deafeningly in pain. Using one hand, Conner grabbed Ad Avis by the collar and said to him, "The prophesy is completed, the Immortality sentence should be through. This time when you die, you will NOT come back. Remember this, and remember to STAY in Hades this time. I hope it's hot where you're going." With that, he threw Ad Avis to the ground.

     The two adventurers turned to leave. As they moved towards the door, Ad Avis by sheer force of will rose to his knees. Still on fire and in immense pain, he exended his arms toward Conner in preparation for a spell to finish off his enemy once and for all. The energy collected, and the electricity began to form in his hands. With a scream of determination, he put all his will into the Lightning Ball and let it fly. As it flew ever more towards Conner and Eyan, they still did not turn. At the last moment, just when it was to hit, Conner knocked Eyan out of the way and dove to his right. He turned quickly on a dime and reached behind his back. In a picosecond, Conner's arm was back around, holding in his hands his trusty 9mm. Three shots, and Ad Avis was down for good. The Lightning Ball hit the wall and electricity began to slowly move down the building. Both Conner and Eyan got wide-eyed at this, each knowing that when the electricity of the Lightning Ball hit the explosives, this 239-story powder keg would go up like Heroshema.

     "WINDOW!!" Conner shouted to Eyan. In seconds, each adventurer dove for his bag and collected his stuff. Slinging the bags over their shoulders, Eyan and Conner ran full-force, crashing out through the window and into the open air. As Eyan fell, he began to think that even though he hadn't lived his life so good, at least he ended it saving the world. Conner, however, had another thought running through his head. Reaching into his bag, he grabbed a grappling hook gun and shot out at the nearest building. The hook hit the building and embedded itself in the brick. Grabbing Eyan, Conner swung on the rope to the roof of the nearest building. Landing not-so-gracefully, both adventurers got to their feet and took cover.

     In the now-destroyed summoning room, the Statue of Iblis still sat in the center of the hexagram, surrounded by 5 burning candles and an unlit 6th one. Next to the hexagram sat a burning husk. Ad Avis didn't even look human anymore. It seemed to be over. Then, suddenly, the husk moved. A charred head lifted up, and blackened arms still engulfed in holy blue flame began crawling, dragging the burning body towards the hexagram. Finally reaching it, Ad Avis looked directly at the statue and stuttered out through immense pain the final words. "O--Oh d-d-dark p-powers, bind....b-b-bind....I-Iblis.....t-t-t-to me" The swirling being in the statue swirled and looked at him directly in the eyes. A voice boomed through Ad Avis' burning mind. "YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE TO FREE ME, AVIS. YOU COULD NOT DO SO. SO SHALL YOU DIE, NEVER TOO RETURN TO THE LAND OF THE LIVING. ENJOY AN ETERNITY IN DAMNATION!!!!"

     Ad Avis tried to scream, but was cut short. The Lightning Ball hit the explosives, and the chain reaction gathered. In seconds, fire spewed up from the building, and a deafening sonic boom was heard. Glass melted, metal warped and popped out of its place, machines erupted, and chain reactions went through entire systems thoughout the building. The network of computers all simultaniously burst violently out of their casings. In one fiery and explosive motion, Davis Enterprises was no more. All that was left was a humongous fire, debris, and broken glass in a 3-mile radius of ground zero that shattered from the sound of the explosion. Nothing survived.

     When all the debris had fallen, Eyan emerged from his hiding place. He saw Conner standing there, looking at the carnage. "And so it ends..." Conner muttered to himself. Then, he turned to Eyan and said, "C'mon, let's get out of here." They grabbed their bags, packed everything up, and left.

The End