Episode 129

Flexing his fingers to tight balling fists, Bach straightens his posture and rigidly pivots to face Isaac. Settling his cool, glowing white stare at Isaac, he wrestles a grimace down and sighs. Faint disruptions in the flow within embedded floor channels radiate out, and unseen currents sweep the dust into the air. Bach narrows his collected glare upon Isaac and twists the corner of his mouth. “You know... You’re right.”

Rolling his stiff shoulders, he tenses his form and braces his stance wider. “It really is pointless for me to fight you. You’re better at shaping this power...”

Focusing a resolute stare at Isaac, Bach closes his eyes. “But, you’re right... I do need to help my friends.”

A wave of cool acceptance washes over him. Relaxing his body, Bach breathes out slowly and waits quietly. Between flits of tension in his form, waves of dimming flow ripple out through the translucent floor. Meters away the Sword of Spirit Realm rattles in place upon the floor. Crackles of energy course through the length of the blade and arc out erratically. With sprays of sparks bouncing out across the floor from it, the sword flashes to a bright glow.


The loud garbled voice scrambles into distortion and cuts out. Sebastian’s visage stabilizes, and he glances around bewildered. Searching around quickly, he darts his attention around the room and snaps his full focus on upon Bach.

A towering maelstrom of elder energy geysers up to into the chamber. Rushing around the crimson space swelling into existence, the plume spreads and clouds out the noon sun high above. The torrent of flow continues rushing out, and waves of power flood out from Bach. The tides roll over the translucent chamber floor and brighten the flows passages underneath to a brilliant sheen. Energy seeps into every crevice and spills forth to fill the space surrounding. From the hazy cloud, a pair of pure white eyes coldly stare out and through Isaac.

Isaac pales, and his body stiffens against the translucent currents of power spreading around him. Dormant magitech flutters to life and ancient systems start back up. The spreading volume of energy thickens overhead and plumes further out. Stirring back from unconsciousness, Dretphi blinks her steely gray eyes behind her full face visor and stiffly searches around. Glancing around near her, Cideeda shudders back fully awake and wipes some soot off her light brown face.

Squeezing his fists against the crippling fear, Isaac shakes his head back to awareness. His glowing white eyes search around the area, and he throws his hands out. Spiraling conduits of flow form and pump power from the obelisk into Isaac. Maintaining a calm stare upon Isaac, Bach stands still in place within the constant vortex of power that flutters his duster and gradually lifts his helmet clear of his head. Bracing against a new threat, Noxian builds up his protective barriers and readies flows of energies into his hands. Both Noxian and Bach hold their positions on opposing sides with the obelisk dividing them.

Behind the cover of ancient magitech equipment, Aristespha pants with flickering violet eyes as she directs wavering flows of energies to Sotalia’s red stained midsection. Traces of panic slip into her voice, and she musters up the best calming tone possible. “Just take it easy. I’m a little worn at the moment. So, it’s taking a little longer than it should... I’m sorry...”

Sotalia manages a weak nod as she lies on his side upon the ground. “It’s okay, girl... I’m still here...”

Her golden pupils contrast against the darkening sclera of her eyes, and she summons up enough consciousness to glance around. “What is going on? There’s a lot of power nearby...”

Aristespha uneasily grimaces, quickly darts her violet eyes around, and gazes through stray strands of her silvery blue hair. “I... I don’t know.”

From the roaring pyre of elder energy coating Bach, streams of magical flow launch out and scramble through the air above. Noxian readies himself and braces as he studies expectantly. The threads of power weave into tight conduits as they travel through the chamber space above, drawing in the miasma. Right before they cross the threshold towards Noxian, the streams divert sharply and spread out. As they search for their targets, strange magical machinery materializes within the confines of the tightening conduits. In brilliant flashes, prismatic threads explode out past the machinations and reform into coiling strands.

The first prismatic stream drops down and lands upon Aristespha’s back. Gasping in surprise, Aristespha’s body stiffens, and she shudders reflexively. Collecting herself, she blinks her eyes to a bright violet glow as the prismatic power coats her. Waning flows of magic flush with new vigor. Another prismatic stream sinks down and links onto Sotalia. She startles briefly and blinks her gold on black eyes. “What the fuck?”

Aristespha refocuses her efforts and concentrates upon the open wound in Sotalia’s midsection. As she directs her healing magics upon the torn and burned tissues, medical materials manifest near her efforts. Briefly studying the awaiting magic fabrics, she smiles thankfully and guides the forming supplies to quickly mend and reverse the injuries. The unseen assistant continues to speed up the complex tasks at hand. Sotalia perks up with each passing moment and blinks hard to awareness. Patting around, she finds her belt of pouches and flicks open a few flaps. She rummages through the pockets and pulls out few vials. Narrowing her faintly glowing golden gaze, her brow perks with recognition. She moves the potions into Aristespha’s line of sight. “Are these okay to take right now?”

Aristespha flicks her gaze over, thinks a moment, and nods. “Go ahead. I’ve actually made amazing progress. Just keep still for a little while longer.”

Pulling the vials close, Sotalia blinks at the bulge of prismatic flow upon her wrist. She squints at the energies, and a warm smile grows. With her other free hand, she scoops up some of the flows coating over her and guides them into the vials of colorful solutions. When they start to glow, she pops the corks and drinks each one after another.

Picking herself up slowly, Dretphi carefully inspects herself. After checking the cracking of the enchantment barrier upon a few plates, she pulls her submachine gun close. She examines the weapon, and a faint curl of satisfaction appears at the corner of her mouth. Panning her stare out, she notices the scattered fragments of her flow blade upon the translucent chamber floor. Leaning out carefully, she grips hold of the handle of the shattered sword and lifts it up. Gazing upon the jagged, broken edge after the hilt, she frowns sadly and winces into a pained sigh. She blinks to awareness and worriedly scans the vicinity. Glancing up at the colorful sunlight refracting through the white clouds filling the chamber above, she narrows her stare into the elder energy pyre and the figure within the constant torrent. From above a prismatic stream drops down and connects onto her back. She stiffens in surprise briefly as the rush of power spreads over her. She watches the energy coat over her armor and stares as the cracks within enchantment barriers disappear. When the flow reaches her hand, the power sinks into the handle of her broken blade.

Fine jets of energy spread out from her. Swiftly snaking across the floor, they drive towards metal fragments and latch on. The pieces drift up into the air and coast back towards the sword end. As the shards of metal hover close, the pieces fit back into place and the joints shimmer brightly with a fading molten glow. Gripping the hilt tightly, Dretphi supports the weapon as it reassembles before her shocked stare. Each chunk settles into place. The edges glow brightly, and the pieces fuse to the growing whole. When the last part finds its home, threads of elder drift down the prismatic connection, through the energy coat on Dretphi’s body, and sink in the blade. A slow pulse of phosphorescent energy crackles down the weapon. Layers of age spark off, clogs in the channels pop off, and large gouges smooth to near perfection. After a few moments, Dretphi stares the reforged flow blade and admires the new glints of sheen. As prismatic power reaches out to her submachine gun and hexagonal barriers reinforce her armor, she secures her sword. She stands up, hoists up her blade, and concentrates. A surge of prismatic power from within rushes into the handle. A plume of red ethereal fire erupts and reveals a shining crimson blade. Dretphi grins eagerly as she sweeps up her submachine floating up to meet her with free hand.

Cideeda coughs loudly and spits a bit of soot upon the ground. While snorting out some congestion, she finds her blown out laser pistols. She sniffs the air and scrunches her nose against the smoldering, acrid wisps from fried power cells nearby. Cautiously patting the laser pistols, she picks them up and inspects the blackened bottoms of the grips. She grits her sharp teeth and grumbles at the char within the power cell receivers. Blinking her emerald green eyes, she tenses her body as her situational awareness returns suddenly. As she gawks the elder cloud flooding the chamber above, a prismatic stream drops down. She mutters fvalian swears when she spots the conduit. When it splashes upon her upper back, she shudders wide eyed. She gasps, arcs her back, and shivers as her furry ears twitch. After the initial wave coats over her, she blinks out of her sheer surprise and watches the power flowing over her. When she notices the prismatic energy drift to her damaged pistols, she dons an eager, toothy grin. Narrowing her full focus, her emerald green eyes flutter to a growing glow. Her pistols drift up from her hands and swiftly disassemble under her guidance. Floating in the air, she motions with her claw tipped fingers, and concentrates upon the damaged pieces. With a few quick repairs the weaponry starts to reassemble. She frowns over towards the burned out power cells, as hexagonal barriers reinforce her armor plates. “Damn it... I might have cells with a little left-”

Her emerald eyes dart over and spot magic flow condensing into a facsimile of a power cell. She smiles slyly and perks her brow as she wraps her clawed fingers around the magical part. “Oh, why stop here?”

With help from Aristespha, Sotalia rights herself and kneels near the cover of some magitech machinery on the outer perimeter. Aristespha whispers while inspecting Sotalia. “Take it easy. Please. I don’t think you can handle another hit like that.”

Sotalia nods thankfully and smiles kindly to Aristespha. “I know. I can still cast from cover. I’ll be careful, I promise-”

She glances down as prismatic threads form and weave into layers of protective fabric upon her. The dense mesh materializes upon her neck all the way down to her knees. Thin layers of laminate golden plates form a protective barrier around her torso. She pats down the new flexible armor, and sighs with an amused smile. “Well... Thank you. I’ll try not to need it.”

Shifting his stare between Aristespha, Sotalia, Dretphi, and Cideeda, Isaac awkwardly chuckles and motions out towards the streams of prismatic energy constantly flowing through the air above. “This... This absolutely amazing! Just look at what you are capable of doing! There’s not a reason for us to fight-”

From within the elder haze surrounding, Bach shouts out defiantly and levels a pair of bright white eyes at Isaac. “Again. I’m not going to fight you. I never wanted to fight you...”

He sighs deeply, and white miasma vents out with his breath. “I just wanted to help my brother...”

Flexing his shaking hand, he holds his arm out towards the sword nearby. Clattering up the smooth floors of the chamber, the blade hops up into the air. It rights itself, and Bach grips the handle when it reaches him. He inspects the weapon and watches the drifts of smokey energy swirl down into the blade. As he studies and narrows a brilliant stare upon the sword, it idly vacuums in miasma. Sebastian’s visage manifests next to Bach, and he gazes upon his brother with tinges of worry slipping out. “Hey, bro. How are you... Well... Doing?”

Bach stiffly straightens his posture, turns his head over to Sebastian, and cracks a wry grin. “I’m going to be honest... I can barely move and it’s taking everything I got to keep all this up.”

Concern colors Sebastian’s frown, and he leans close with a soft tone. “Bro... You don’t need to tear yourself doing all this... You can ease it back and-”

With a strained chuckle, Bach smiles boldly. “I think we’re beyond that point. Reasonable ideas got left behind a while ago.”

He furrows his brow and wrestles a frown. “Plus, I get the feeling that Isaac has powered up a lot.”

Sebastian squints through the swirling haze and sighs with a nod. “Yeah. The sword felt him draw in a lot of power. He’s definitely not backing down at this point.”

Bach grits his teeth briefly and tightens his grip of the sword in his hand. “It’s going to take everything we got now to stop him...”

Pulling a bold grin on his tan face, Bach gazes at his brother and laughs softly. “Hey... Man... You up for a crazy idea?”

Sebastian blinks a moment, cocks his head to the side, and smiles eagerly. “Well, I think we’re beyond reasonable ideas at this point...”

After a few seconds of thought, he nods at Bach and reflects a grin back. “Yeah... Crazy is all we got left.”

Placing his free hand upon the hilt of the blade, Bach draws in a long breath and exhales slowly. Bursts of elder energy leap off his body and sink into the sword. Nearby drifts of miasma swirl around in the growing draw from the blade. As the vacuum strengthens, the torrent churns faster and faster into an elder cyclone. The vortex sinks clouds high above in the chamber, and the masses spiral down into the weapon. Splashes of excess power spray out from the blade, float nearby, and fall back into the currents toward the sword. Nearby flow channels and connected equipment flicker. The prismatic streams waver briefly as Bach drops down to a knee. Planting the tip of the Sword of the Spirit Realm down, Bach braces himself up and maintains his focus as bursts of elder flow blast out from his body into the blade. The overhead momentum of the energies drives down the bulk to the cloud, and the giant plume slams into a tightening ball around Bach. Watching Bach strain against the forces surrounding, Sebastian’s ghostly form yells over the roaring torrents of power. “Bach! You don’t have to do-”

Sebastian’s visage fades into the swirls entering the sword. The blade stops absorbing power. Surges of elder energy reflect violently back and a massive cloud explodes out. Within the haze, crackles of power sound out as arcs shoot along the length of the sword and blindingly flash. The streams of prismatic flow brighten back up, and the magitech machinery steadies. Isaac gawks in utter astonishment, while the rest of the team peers through the cloudy haze.

A loud pop of air and heavy thud echoes out into the cavernous chamber. As the surrounding mists wane and the elder plumes drift up with the rising currents from himself, Bach pants heavily. He shakes his head back to awareness and glances around. After a moment, he settles his gaze upon Sebastian, laying physically on the ground. Free of ghostly transparency and feeling the hard surface of floor, Sebastian blinks in complete bewilderment. Patting his body, he feels his chest plate, face, and the hold in his under armor. Finding his healed tan flesh within remnants of the last bullshit attack, a wave of relief stuns him. Reflexes kick in, and Sebastian gasps loudly for breath. As the sound crisply echoes around the chamber, Aristespha’s very long, pointed ears twitch, and her violet eyes widen.

A smile spreads wide on Bach’s face, and he chuckles in a daze. “Holy shit... It actually worked...”

He furrows his brow and levels an irritated stare upon the sword. “This fucking sword is a lair. There’s no way Isaac had that amount power in him.”

Sebastian sits up, inspects himself again, and glances over to Bach. “Bro. This is absolutely fucking insane!”

He grips Bach shoulder and pauses. Feeling the duster upon his brother, Sebastian grins as faint tears well in his eyes. “But... Just as crazy as everything you’ve ever done.”

Bach chuckles softly and shudders back some consciousness to the front of his mind. “Yeah... Yeah... Hey, you think you are able to stand up?”

Sebastian checks his limbs, and gets his boots underneath him. “Think so. I’m feeling pretty good right now.”

Nodding in relief, Bach pants out his fatigue. “Good... Might need some help getting back up myself.”

As the haze rises back up and the elder fog thins away, Cideeda’s furry ears flick around at the sound of Sebastian’s voice. Standing side by side, Bach and Sebastian wave towards the rest of the team. Aristespha reflexively leans out in astonishment as Sotalia keeps her from rushing off. “SEBASTIAN!”

Covering her mouth in shock, tears fall from Aristespha’s violet eyes and run down her ivory cheeks. Sotalia blinks her gold on black eyes in amazement, while Dretphi and Cideeda gawk in delight. Isaac blinks and stares blankly.

Sebastian straightens his posture and steadies Bach. “So... What’s it’s going to take to shut Isaac down?”

Bach stiffly shrugs and cough out a laugh. “I don’t know. He’s drawn in a lot of power and the place seems to be powering up from some other source. He got a better handle on using this power, too.”

Wrestling a frown, Sebastian combs back his brown coiffed hair and parts his white streak off to the side. “So, no battles of attrition.”

Shaking his head, Bach sighs. “Nope. And, it looks like the obelisk is getting close to firing up fully.”

The brothers take a moment and stare at the crimson space coalescing together to massive aether portal. Sebastian fights off a grimace and whispers to his brother. “Yeah. That doesn’t look promising. So, focus on the shutting that obelisk down?”

With a nod, Bach glances over to the central structure beneath the red reality void. “Yep. If I can get to it, I’ll figure something out. Cut the power, rip it out... I don’t quite know yet.”

Sebastian pats Bach’s back gently and chuckles. “You’ll figure something out. But, I think Isaac will take offense to you getting near it. You got anything that’ll help keep him at bay?”

Bach shakes his head and blinks his brightly glowing white eyes as the flow veins out on his face. “Not really... I’m just able to maintain this power output and the connections going. Brute force elder energy from me isn’t going to get through to Isaac... And, you all are going to need all the magical assistance you can get now.”

A new stream splits out from the growing elder fire coating Bach, filters out into prismatic energy, and latches onto Sebastian. As the surge of coats over, Sebastian nods understandingly to Back and sighs. “Yeah. Hate to put this on you, bro. But...”

He grins boldly at Bach and grips his brother’s shoulder tightly. “We’ll see about keeping his attention.”

Bach smiles sly and perks his brow. “Exactly. There’s two things he’s worried about. Me... and the sword.”

Sebastian holds his hand out, and Bach places the blade’s handle into his brother’s grip. Bach snorts out laugh and rolls his white eyes. “You’re the better swordsman anyway.”

Gazing upon Bach, Sebastian smiles proudly. “Don’t shortchange yourself. You did pretty awesome. He panicked when you came at him.”

He glances over the vicinity and whispers to Bach. “We need to coordinate with the team, but I don’t think any of my electronic stuff is working.”

Bach nods and holds up finger. “One moment. I think can manage something between everyone, since we’re connected.”

While Bach concentrates, Sebastian focuses upon the blade as hexagonal flows solidify to enchant his armor and other manifestations of power patch up the hole. “So weird to be holding this thing again... It’s actually pretty quiet, maybe you broke that part when-”


Sebastian rolls his blue eyes and groans out hints of disgust. “I guess we’re not THAT lucky.”

Faint voices of Aristespha, Cideeda, Dretphi, and Sotalia softly echo near Bach and Sebastian’s ears. Sebastian hems and speaks softly. “Hey, can you all hear me?”

After brief lull in the confusion, Aristespha’s voice rises out of the surprise from everyone else. “Yes! I mean. Yes. I hear you... Sebastian. I love you.”

A loving smile appears on Sebastian’s face. “Love you, too, dear.”

He covers up his mouth and narrows a wary stare at Isaac on the other side of the inner circle. “Okay. Everyone... We need to keep Isaac busy and give Bach an opening. What ideas do we got?”

Isaac watches uneasily from the layers of elder energy bubbles and idly squeezes flows of power between his hands. Drifting his attention away from Bach and Sebastian, he draws in a long breath and calls out. “This would be an excellent time for you all to leave!”

He darts his eyes around and narrows his stare through the wisps of white hair swirling around in the air current. “You’ve accomplished all you really want. Everyone is back from the brink. Sebastian has returned from the sword. Why would you want to risk anything more? Walk away and it’ll be a good day for all of us.”

Stepping around in orbit of the obelisk, Sebastian grins brightly and laughs loudly. Rolling his shoulders, he nonchalantly walks with a focused glare at Isaac and curls the corner of his mouth. “Oh! You didn’t think we’d just leave? I mean, I’ve certainly got an old score to settle with you...”

Twisting a grimace on his face, he tightens his grip on the glowing sword and dusts off his newly enchanted armor. “I distinctly remember a very cheap shot that ended our last match. I think I deserve another chance to best you.”

While Sebastian continues a slow casual plod, Isaac bounces his attention between the sword in Sebastian’s hands and Bach standing within the radiant flows of elder energy. Gritting his teeth tightly, he hisses his breaths and tenses his whole body. As the energies seep into his protective barriers, he narrows a glare between Bach and Sebastian.

From a vantage point out of Isaac’s line of sight, a pair of faintly glowing emerald green eyes lines up shots on a pair of magically enhanced laser pistols. A toothy grin curls and clawed fingers carefully squeeze triggers. Twin violet beams drill into the elder bubble around Isaac and drag across the rippling surface. Pivoting around with power sparking in his hands, Isaac holds up a hand. A plume of magical miasma bursts out from the winding prismatic stream distant from Cideeda, and she drops into hiding within the obscuring cloud. Aristespha appears out from behind cover, and concentrates powerful cutting beams from her hands into the barrier around Isaac. Just as Isaac compensates, Dretphi braces her submachine gun upon the top of some heavy magitech machinery and unleashes a volley of empowered rounds into layers of the warping field. Steadying himself against potent barrages, a noise rising from the background grabs hold of Isaac’s attention. “...that sound familiar...”

Sotalia tenses her arms around a swelling orb of visual white noise and stands up slowly. As she strains against the chaotic energies, strands of flow reach out from her arms and help stabilize the growing D-ball. She cracks a humored smirk. Spotting Isaac, she narrows an ireful glare upon him, lines up the orb, and sends it forth with a propelling burst. The ball zips across the distance, steers in the air, and flies down an open attack vector. As the D-ball burrows into the barrier around Isaac, he draws up a surge of power from the obelisk and bolsters his defensive field. Stumbling back against the forces along one side of his shield, Noxian mutters out bewildered. “Gods damn it! When did YOU learn that accursed spell?!”

Backing away from the destructive energies, he wills the flow in his surrounding field and flings the orb off to a distant chamber wall. He snaps his attention back to Bach and eyes him as he remains in the same spot as before. Between laser blasts, submachine gun rounds, cutting beams, and destructive orbs, Sebastian steps closer towards Noxian and lines up his approach. Quickening his pace, he searches for an opening. Noxian plants his feet and braces himself against attacks driving him further away from the obelisk. Sebastian cracks a sly grin and whispers. “Dretphi... Back me up here...”

He charges forth at an angle directly behind Noxian. When he draws in close, he yells out. “Behind you!”

In the momentary lull projectiles slamming into his barrier, Noxian blinks blankly, glances around his shoulder, and watches the sword approach dangerously. He springs back away from Sebastian. He lands back, notices a reddish cast of light behind him, and spins his gaze around. Dretphi swings her flaming ethereal red sword at Noxian, presses the brilliant crimson into layers of his protective bubble, and shoves her full weight into the impact. As the flow blade pushes the barrier close to Noxian, he reflexively jumps back with the force to safety.

Between sneak laser attacks from Cideeda, precision strikes from Aristespha, powerful bombs from Sotalia, and Sebastian and Dretphi coordinating melee attacks, the team grants Noxian no moment to relax. With the constant harassment, Noxian summons up surges of power and releases bolts through his field. An elder beam streaks out for Cideeda and bounces off a barrier flashing into existence. A bolt flies towards Aristespha and a wave of power gently slides her clear. Streaks of elder energy jet out towards Sotalia and an elder beam from a stream above counters the blast. Noxian releases a wave of force of outwards at Dretphi and Sebastian, and protective bubbles engulf them to buffer the forces. With each feverish exchange, the team drives Noxian away from the center of the chamber.

Across the massive space, Bach stares distantly and pants with the strain. Elder hazes slips out with each breath and he tenses his body to keep upright. Yanking his focus away briefly, his glowing white eyes blink. He squints across the room. Carefully sidestepping, he strafes and aligns himself to position the obelisk between him and Noxian, obscuring line of sight. After a thunderous exchange, Bach observes Noxian stumble near the magitech equipment perimeter. Summoning up a surge of strength, he listens to the conversations faintly in his ears and nods to himself. Mustering up his coordination, he calls out. “I’m... Going for it. Just keep him... Pinned down for a little bit. I won’t be able to concentrate as much to defense you all.”

Sebastian’s voice drifts in from the magical connection. “Alright! We’ll cover you, bro. Everyone! Lay down all the fire you got!”

A tremendous volley of laser blasts, energy beams, submachine reports, and white noise orbs merge into the chaotic chorus of combat. In the echoing cacophony, Bach steps forth and quickly walks towards the obelisk, each motion stiff. Despite the rigidity and shaky balance, he picks up the pace and closes in on the target.

Bracing against the onslaught, Noxian stabilizes the protective barrier and searches through the chaos. He squints through the rippling field and hunts around. After a few seconds, his glowing white eyes widen, and he mutters. “...the hell is he...”

Breathing fast, Bach forces each effort forward and maintains a distant stare ahead. With the elder fire billowing from him, a dissipating trail of mist lingers behind. Closing on the obelisk, Bach staggers but quickly catches himself. Drawing deep, he steadies himself and narrows his brilliant white stare upon the obelisk in front of him. His attention drifts to the console display, and he reaches a hand out. The elder flows around his arm wash upon a protective field surrounding the structure. With determination filling his face, Bach pushes his hands into the barrier, and the elder flames to burn through the field.

A shot of terror spikes through Noxian. His full attention snaps to the obelisk, and his eyes focus upon the glimpse of Bach at the system. His rage drives out a scream. “NO!”

An explosion of power launches out from Noxian. Beams, blasts, and bolts relentlessly surge forth from him. Attacks zip dangerously close to the team. With each aggressive volley, countering measures fall back to pure defense and pull the group towards safety. Despite the changes in focus, Bach presses through the field and grips hold of the obelisk. He stares the streams of data from the console, narrows his confusion upon it, and grimaces in frustration. Glancing around at the device, a flit of hopelessness seeps out upon his face. Breathing heavily, Bach winces with a gulp and shakes his head. “How do I-”

After a pause, a confident grin curls on his face. Gripping hold of the sides of obelisk, Bach concentrates, and the torrent of flow pouring out splashes into the obelisk. The elder flames radiating from him rush across and sink into the strange seams of the obsidian monolith. As the crimson space materializes into an aether portal, Noxian charges forth upon pressing the team back. Sebastian shouts out. “He’s coming your way!”

Sprinting with long strides in swell of elder energy, Noxian closes the divide between him and Bach. Stray bolts and beams of magical energy graze off the quickly diminishing protective barrier around Noxian, and he reaches out a hand out. A surge of power pulse down his arm. Pushing through the wavering field around the obelisk, Noxian’s hand plunges into the ethereal white pyre enveloping Bach. Arcs stream between them as the gap closes. Noxian clamps his grip upon Bach’s shoulder.

Elder flames surge up Isaac’s arm. The torrent of power explodes over his body and spreads in a plume of phosphorescent fire. Within a mere moment, Isaac’s confidence burns away, and horror pales his ashen face. A gasp struggles to sink into Isaac’s tensely arched body, and he remains stiffly vibrating while conducting the raw energy through his being. Fighting against his trembling body, Bach slowly pivots his head over his shoulder and stares through Isaac with brilliant white eyes as stray, while faded brown hairs drift with the flows. A shuddering breath slips in, and he releases a shaky sigh with a plume of white miasma. “Understand... now?”

Forcing emotion upon his face against the overwhelming forces rippling through his body, Isaac blinks in utter astonishment. “T-t-this is- Gods! OH. I-I-I- You’ve been- This is why... T-t-this is w-w-why you’ve avoided-d-d using it- Oh gods...”

Bach nods calmly as he watches the mutual understanding form within Isaac. “Yeah... Different than what you’ve been... collecting, I guess?”

Isaac’s pulsating white eyes struggle to focus, and he coughs out. “YES. I’m... I’m...”

A sympathetic frown curls upon Bach’s elder energy coated face, and he sighs. “Scared?”

Blinking his eyes hard to close them, Isaac gulps. “Terrified... Actually.”

A low rumble resonates through the entirety of the chamber. Translucent red mist gently spreads out from the massive void into a hazy crimson space. Through the opening, an elder sheen radiates down a twisting bundle of thousands of ethereal cables of immeasurable length, through swirling clouds of sparkling aether. Parting the refracting waves of an infinite crimson sea and warping space around streaks of chaotic power, an endless structure engulfs the entirety of vision through the growing aether rift. Against the translucent red, an astronomical mass of unfathomable geometry hovers through dimensions beyond viewing. Constant chaotic shifts of uncountable machinations upon the incalculable surface form oceans of order between unknown realities.

Pulses of prismatic flows warp a kaleidoscope of rainbows fluctuating into spectrums unobservable. The ambient mists within the crimson space thin. Swaying with the currents of the void beyond, billions of threads pulse, shimmer, and glow with the changing dimension machinery. The mass weaves in and out. New lines flash into existence. Old ones dim and disperse into the currents of the strange reality. Elder glow beams out from between towering prismatic spires. In still seconds, a new spire design manifests into reality and untold fibers weave into prismatic threads stretching out to destination far beyond.

Aristespha, Sotalia, Sebastian, Cideeda, and Dretphi gawk in awe from their defensive positions. Isaac and Bach stare up into the crimson void. Contrasting the misty swirls of the strange space, six prismatic threads pulsate power to locations near. In stark difference, another prismatic line strains in the weave against a brilliant white flow. Blinking back to some awareness as the torrent of elder power bursts forth and sinks into the obelisk, Bach gazes in wonder at the immeasurable entity in the aether sea. “The prism... So much bigger... Than I imagined...”

Isaac eyes widen as he gawks up the trans-dimensional manifestation radiating with elder and prismatic powers. He glances between the shifts, rotations, reorganizations, redistributions, and rearrangements of constructs. The seamless transitions of fibers weaving into the fabric of prismatic threads. The pulses of power launching out into new connections. The emanations of elder energy reshaping entire sections out the chaotic dance upon the endless surface and merging them beyond into a new unfathomable order.

The long stare into the void leaves Isaac breathless. Familiarity grips him, and the brief astonishment drains into a bewilderment. Sparks of recognition drive him down into confusion. Furrowing his brow, Isaac blinks lost. He searches the abstract prism. He watches he foundational constructs. As his jaw slacks in disbelief, he swallows hard against the constant energies conducting through him. Frightful clarity strangles him and forces out a genuine question to himself. “What... What am I doing?”

Wincing against the torturous power flowing, he levels a lost stare upon Bach. “T-This power... is what you’ve been... contending with?”

Shifting his stare away from the void, Bach nods simply. “Yes. You want to subject others to THIS?”

Doubts flood through Isaac as a chill shivers against the seizing power conducting through him. “I- I- I... N-n-no... Nothing like t-t-his...”

The bubbling vestiges of confidence fizzle with the crackles of elder flow, and Isaac stares distantly into his mind. “Everything I’ve done was for... But... Not this. I wanted to help and uplift people... THIS... This isn’t the way. This is too much- too dangerous...”

Bach briefly eyes the prism drifting in the sparking, rippling translucent sea, and glares through Isaac’s very existence. “What were you even planning on doing when you got access to this?”

Isaac blinks blankly as the frigid reality freezes his ambitions. He glances back up the ethereal dance between order and chaos upon the crimson stage above him through the aether rift. “It seemed straight forward. Their designs and manuals showed a way. It made so much sense then... But... But... This... This is all different. I... I...”

Tears roll down Isaac’s face. The weight of countless damning reflections stab into him. Choking on each word, he gazes into Bach eyes and releases the last of his hopes. “It was madness. I... I can see that now. Madness.”

Shuddering out another breath, Isaac glances around the chamber. “Oh gods... What have I done... I’m so sorry...”

He watches the worn tails of the blue scarf around his neck fluttering in the flow. “Sylvia. Cynthia... Forgive me.”

Summoning up his strength against the crippling strain, Isaac rips his hand free from Bach’s shoulder and stumbles back. Staggering away from Bach and obelisk, Isaac calls out pleadingly. “Bach. I’m so sorry! Please... Do what you must. Before it can harm anyone! I... can’t...”

As Isaac walks away towards the outer perimeter of machinery crestfallen, Bach concentrates fully upon the obelisk. A brilliant flash of elder power bursts down the thread in the crimson void. A surge of energy rushes forth from Bach and sinks into the seams of the obsidian machine. Outer panels upon the central column loosen and drift into a free float away. The device starts to part at the seams. Major components disconnect from the whole and tumble weightlessly into the chamber. Sub assemblies scatter into their basic pieces. Threads of elder energy link the growing cloud surrounding the obelisk framework. The console breaks away from its mounts and disassembles to smaller components. A maelstrom of magitech orbits the disintegrating obelisk. The final interior shields peel away, and a shining orb hovers within a weave of ethereal fibers clouded by an otherworldly red haze.

Reaching through the orbits of parts, Bach grips onto the translucent sphere through the crimson mist swelling. A steady stream of elder energy floods the orb. Bach closes his eyes. Carefully, he pulls the sphere away, and the elder weaves slip off. The connections to the obelisk pieces disappear. As magitech pieces rain down upon the translucent chamber floor, the ethereal fibers slip into the crimson mists. Through the aether rift, the immeasurable bond leading the abstract prism drifts into the dimensional sea. The weave of cables decay into the current.

The astronomical entity of organized chaos drifts back into the sparkling swirling clouds of the ethereal beyond, and the aether rift shrinks. The translucent crimson shrinks away and returns to its dimensional origin. The breach between seals in the silent seconds as the elder flows in the chamber fade. The final traces of red aether disperse with the dissipating orb in Bach’s hand.

The chamber darkens as the last pulses of elder flow cease. Only the overhead sun lights the cavernous space.

Sebastian rushes over across the distance with the rest of the team. Assessing the situation, he spots Isaac and charges forth with the sword pointed forward. Isaac watches the blade approach. He drops down to his knees, tilts his head back, and closes his eyes. He expectantly waits, and seconds pass. Opening is gray eyes, he glances around to Sebastian, Dretphi, Sotalia, Aristespha, and Cideeda surrounding him from defensible positions. Cautiously approaching, Sebastian keeps the glowing Sword of the Spirit Realm ahead and at the ready. Stopping a meter short of Isaac, Sebastian carefully pokes the blade tip lightly into Isaac’s jacket covered chest. “So...”

As Isaac gazes up expectantly with saddened grimace, Sebastian sighs and frowns down. “If you want to live, you need to drain every last spec of elder energy into this damned sword. Understand?”

Gripping onto the blade with both hands, Isaac bows his head forward and speaks, devoid of resistance, pride, or drive. “Gladly... Take all this away...”

A burst of elder flow erupts from Isaac and swiftly sinks into the blade. As the energies light up the area, the overhead prismatic conduits waver. When the sword vacuums last traces of power from Isaac, the conduits connecting the team break apart into clouds of fading miasma. The elder flames wane around Bach and the torrents of flow weaken. The last flits of energy disappear and the brilliant glow in Bach’s eyes dims to a faint blue, and he shakily balances himself.

Sebastian eyes the blade in his hand and perks his brow. “So?”


Tipping his head back, Sebastian chuckles his relief. “Oh thank the fucking gods.”

He glances over Bach and watches him struggle to stay standing. Passing the sword to Aristespha and glancing over the rest of the team, he walks towards Bach. “Dear, put this away, please. Cideeda, secure HIM up. Dretphi, help Cideeda if HE gives her any grief. Sotalia... You have my permission to blast HIM if he tries ANYTHING.”

Drawing a malevolent sneer on her light tan and dark gray face, Sotalia focuses her gold on black eyes upon Isaac and summons up energies into her hand. “Oh. Understood.”

Jogging over next to Bach, Sebastian grins proudly and chuckles. “Holy shit, bro! You did it! Um, what did you do exactly?”

Bach sways unsteadily and strains with each breath. “I... I just disconnected it. The anchor...”

He gazes upon Sebastian with an exhausted smile and coughs a laugh as his posture slacks. “Pull the release? I don’t know, how to describe exactly. I’m not completely... sure myself.”

Slipping an arm underneath Bach’s shoulder, Sebastian supports his brother and glances around the scattered obelisk scrap upon the chamber floor. “Damn... You really didn’t leave much of that anchor thing. Probably for the best, I guess.”

Leaning upon Sebastian, Bach smirks and weakly rolls his dimming blue eyes. “Yeah... No one should... fuck with this stuff... Just leave it to do its thing. Whatever that is...”

He pauses in thought and frowns sadly as his face pales. Mustering up his physical strength, he stands up enough to wrap his arms around his brother and hug him tightly. “I love you, man.”

Sebastian blinks in surprise. Hugging Bach, he smiles with forming tears, and sniffs with a chuckle. “Love you, too, bro.”

With his head on Sebastian’s shoulder, Bach gazes wearily at Aristespha, Cideeda, Dretphi, and Sotalia. Struggling to keep a smile on his face, he closes his plain blue eyes and squeezes his brother tight. “I’m sorry...”

Furrowing with a bit of confusion, Sebastian pats Bach on the back and reassures him. “It’s okay. We’ll tell anyone that the obelisk blew up on its own.”

The last curl of a smirk slacks away from Bach’s mouth. A breath leaves as a single laugh. Bach loses the battle to keep his eyes open. Sebastian dips briefly as the full weight of Bach pulls upon him. Securing his hold of his brother, he supports him fully and smiles. “Well... Yeah, I guess you’d be tired after all that. Not going to fault you there-”

Foreboding terror springs up Sebastian’s spine. He freezes in place and waits. Bubbling horror trickles out upon his face, and he focuses fully upon Bach. “Bach? Bach? BACH? BACH!!”

Pivoting in place clutching Bach tightly, Sebastian powers a frightened scream across the chamber that ricochets off the walls. “ARISTESPHA!”

The sword clatters upon the ground with the scabbard. Aristespha pushes through the sudden shock, and spins around searching for Sebastian with fully open violet eyes. Meeting Aristespha’s stare, Sebastian trembles in horror and yells. “HE’S NOT BREATHING!”

Aristespha springs forth and dashes across towards the center of room. Pushing through the panic, Cideeda’s emerald green eyes dart around and spot Aristespha's medical bag. Vaulting over a piece of dark magitech machinery, she swipes her hand low, latches her claw tips into the fabric, and snatches up the supply pack. As Cideeda sprints after Aristespha, Dretphi gazes with overwhelming worry. With her free hand, Sotalia undoes her belt of pouches and holds it towards Dretphi. “Here!”

Dretphi glances at the belt and Sotalia. “Need to keep-”

Sotalia stares softly at Dretphi and motions towards those tending Bach. “Something might be useful in here, and they might need you to help. I’ve got Noxian covered.”

Without another word, Dretphi plucks the pouches of potions out of Sotalia’s hand and launches over towards the center of the room. Sotalia snaps her gold on black eyes upon Isaac, sharpens her hateful sneer, and summons up more power into her hand. “Try ANYTHING... And I’ll feed what’s left to some whelps.”

Isaac glances up briefly at Sotalia with the faintest annoyance and return his attention to the gathering around Bach.

Aristespha scans over Bach upon the floor with her glowing violet eyes, checks his vitals, and mutters bewildered. “What is happening?! T-This doesn’t make sense.”

With trembling hands, Sebastian darts his terrified gaze at the laid out Bach. “I know! He looked tired, but that’s to be expected! I mean... He was okay one moment. Then, he just stopped breathing and got cold the next.”

His blue eyes spring open, and the color drains from his face. “He’s said... I’m sorry... Oh gods...”

Dretphi gently slides Sebastian away as he struggle against the surge of tearful emotions. Aristespha wills up a tremendous amount of flow and presses it into Bach, and grits her teeth. “I’m going to get basic life support going. Cideeda!”

Cideeda stiffens in place as her furry ears perk upright. “Yes?”

Aristespha solemnly glances at Cideeda and grimaces. “See if you can call the GAA or anyone that can fly a medical evac here.”

While Cideeda deftly works her aetherphone, Aristespha summons up her resolve with a tremor in her tone. “We need to get him to proper facilities. I can only do so much here...”

While the faintest breaths slip through Bach’s mouth under the magical assistance, Cideeda hurriedly scans the frequencies. Isaac leans side to side and squints through to spot the gaps between the team around Bach. Sotalia hems coldly and adjusts her aim. Searching his own mind, Isaac catches a glimpse, and a surge of recognition startles him. Frantically glancing around, Isaac stirs and curses to himself. Sotalia aims a glower down and flexes her empowered fingers slightly. “SIT. STILL.”

Glaring upwards at Sotalia, Isaac grimaces through his irritation and fear. “I need to get over there!”

Sotalia scowls and puffs up her chest with the growing energies in her hand brightening. “And do what? Aristespha is doing what she can.”

Stopping himself from rolling his eyes, Isaac takes a deep breath and calmly explains. “Yes, but this is something no medical professional has encountered for over two hundred years! This is a condition caused by elder energy... It can only be remedied by such! Take me and the sword over to him-”

Sotalia grits her teeth, narrows her condemning glare, and growls out. “And give you a chance to escape with some crazy plan of yours? FUCK YOU! There’s no way I’ll-”

Isaac stares right into Sotalia’s gold on black eyes. “Put your gods damned hatred for me aside! If you won’t let me help, then just fire your spell already!”

Wincing from the memories old, still sharp trauma, he genuinely pleads and bows his head. “I couldn’t help my wife and daughter... But, don’t force me to watch Bach die when we just might have the means to save him.”

Clarity tips Sotalia back. In the seconds of quiet between her and Isaac, she watches Aristespha struggle to contain the fear slipping out on her calm, ivory face. Cideeda frantically calls out on the radio. Sebastian stares hopeless. Dretphi stoically tips the tears inside her helmet visor out of view. The magical energies fade from Sotalia’s hand, and she grabs Isaac’s shoulder. Leaning close, she growls sternly. “GET. UP.”

Stopping to pick up the sword, Isaac and Sotalia rush over to the team. Sotalia interrupts any objections. “He said he can help.”

Isaac quickly follows up as he kneels down next to Bach. “The sword might be able to save Bach. It’s got elder energy. Bach needs it. Please. Let me try.”

After meeting Isaac’s genuinely worried gaze, Sebastian glances up to Sotalia. “Sotalia. Give me him the sword. Please. I know it’s-”

Without word, Sotalia nods and twists a pained grimace as she places the sword into Isaac’s awaiting hands. As Isaac begins his work, Aristespha continues to provide basic life support through her spells. Cideeda speaks over static to someone else on the radio. Sotalia begins mixing up the potions with a reluctance at the forming dangerous concoction. Dretphi steadies Bach limp body and physically assists Aristespha’s treatment. Sebastian awaits Isaac’s next instruction.

Bach’s form remains lifeless upon the cold floor. The post noon sun drifts beyond the roof opening, and the chambers darkens.