A black hovercraft shot into the night skyline, racing towards Elspeth and Jace’s position. They were well hidden of course, but that more enemies were heading for the drill was unsettling for Elspeth. It slowed to a halt over a clearing by the main encampment, and steadily descended to the ground. A technological hatch at the back unhooked itself from the craft, and lowered itself on a hinge to the ground as a staircase. A hooded Phyrexian stepped off the craft and walked towards the encampment. It wore grey robes lined with a metallic alloy shaped into human skulls in many places on its body. As it approached the ground headquarters, it was stopped by Tezzeret, and they began to speak.
Jace could hear through the nearby guards, but Elspeth was left out of the conversation, so she proceeded cautiously towards the two. She got within safe earshot by hiding in a nearby ditch covered with foliage. Tezzeret was speaking. “-…You’re sure it’s not a duplicate? Bring it to Bolas now.” The hooded Phyrexian left while Tezzeret looked around cautiously. Elspeth began to quietly crawl after the Phyrexian. She moved like a blade in a crowd, cutting down foes that saw her, or restricted her pursuit.
It took her minutes to catch up to the hooded figure, and began to listen in as it was addressed by Bolas and his associates. The Phyrexians spoke their insect-clicking language, which was gibberish to Elspeth. “This has been your best work yet Gitaxias. It saved me a lot of effort retrieving the lens and dispatching Sorin Markov. Shall you do the honors Vector Signious?” Elspeth had no idea who or what Vector Signious was, but she knew that Bolas had the lens, and that something had happened to Sorin. She leaped from cover, Godsend extending to full spear form in her grasp as she lunged. She was suddenly on the ground grasping her side. She’d been kicked from midair by the hooded figure as fast as she could blink her eyes. She quickly got to her feet, and crouched with Godsend at the ready. She’d slain a deity with this weapon, and she intended to have this group’s sinister blood dripping from its blade by the end of this day.
The robed Phyrexian lifted his staff slightly from his side, as if mocking her. Rather than charge, as she’d learned her lesson from her original lunge at Bolas, she blasted the group of guards to the right of it, hoping it would do exactly what it did. At the sight of the sight of the blast, it strafed out of the way, not realizing that it wasn’t meant to hit him. As it regained its footing, Elspeth bombarded it with countless blows from the butt of her spear, knocking it from its stable footing. It was certainly stunned by the attack, but not injured. “I’d like a rematch Bolas. That stunt you pulled at the west gate won’t work again.” Elspeth taunted. Bolas looked amused. “And why is tha…” Bolas was roaring and stumbling in pain, confirming that Jace had kept up his portion of their plan.
In the event that Bolas did come out, Jace was to stay back and watch while Elspeth engaged. The purpose for this was so Elspeth could distract him while Jace invaded and attacked his mind. However, rather than attacking his mind directly, (a fight he’d quickly lose) he was to cast a spell connecting Bolas mind with the minds of all the dying and injured soldiers on the battlefield miles to their east. This left Bolas stunned long enough for Elspeth to dive in for a blow with Godsend while two Phyrexian soldiers Jace had taken control covered her.
As she was mere inches away from Nicol Bolas, she was struck to the ground by a force unknown to her. The impact jarred her and left her momentarily stunned. She regained her senses to see the hooded figure and Sheoldred standing over her. She got a better look at the hooded Phyrexian’s face from her position. It had glassy human-like eyes surrounded by warped, half-half machine skin. The bodies of the Phyrexians Jace had taken were no lying in mangled piles by Elspeth.
“Surrender yourself to Phyrexia human, you stand no chance of resistance.” It was the hooded figure, the only one that seemed to speak a human language, which had spoken. It wasn’t commanding though, it was like advice. Almost empathetic. The shock of the situation pushed Elspeth into a painful flashback. She was forced to relive the moment of Vencer’s death to save Karn. The memory was too much for Elspeth to handle, so when she looked for a response to the foe, all she could say was, “The five suns will never shine on a Phyrexian Mirroden!!!” She shoved them off and grasped Godsend, charging for Bolas. The hood stepped in her way to stop her, she charged through him, wielding a barrier of light emanating from Godsend. It could not touch her. She slashed at Sheoldred as she stepped in Elspeth’s path, leaving black oil dripping from Godsend’s tip. Bolas was now free of the spell Jace had cast, or at least free enough to be flying towards the top of the drill with the lens.
Elspeth summoned an angel to carry her to her after Bolas. The four Phyrexians on the ground tried to bring her down, but were quickly preoccupied by Jace’s unbridled, reckless attacks. Elspeth could see he was being overrun by soldiers and enemies, but could do nothing to help. Bolas is too important. She thought. She barreled towards Bolas at terrifying speed, Godsend at the ready. Bolas spun around, half dazed in flight, and slew Elspeth’s angel, sending her flying high into the sky from the momentum of her previous form of flight.
As she reached the climax of her upward momentum, she turned to face down, and began to barrel downward towards Bolas he reached the top of the drill. Time slowed to a standstill as she dropped the remaining few meters between her and her foe. As she reached her target, Godsend extended for the killing blow, a wind pushed her from her original trajectory, causing her to miss her target altogether. She watched helplessly in free fall as Bolas inserted the lens to its position in the machine. She managed to land in a tree on the cliffside, only injuring herself mildly.
Jace had been captured, and was being taken by Phyrexian scientists back to the massive warship to be experimented on. Bolas was now completely free from Jace’s spell, and was on the ground, preparing to activate the drill. Elspeth watched helplessly as a flash of charging mana deposits combined with the natural energies of etherium, and glowed through the machine till it reached the narrowest part of the tip. It stayed there momentarily, then shot out at the speed of light in a thin colorless beam straight into the sky. A moment passed, and suddenly a blast of raw mana shook the world of Dominaria as an age-old barrier was obliterated by age-old artifacts and new-age technologies. A starry universe like none the multiverse had ever seen appeared in the blind eternities, and (thanks to this contraption) in the Dominarian night-sky. It was so undeniably vast, and filled with endless worlds; it dwarfed the multiverse at large.
Cries of victory rang out over the cliff as the waves of energy resulting from the barrier’s destruction shook the cliffside and wrecked the drill, as well as the tower. The collapsing structures gave Jace an opportunity to escape and grab Elspeth. They were chased from the cliff, and were forced to jump off the side and onto a swan Jace had conjured. They raced off towards the camp in silence, all the while Elspeth was still tormented by the reality of what had just occurred. I’ve failed. Again.
Elspeth’s concerns outweighed her shame, she broke their silence. “Something’s happened to Sorin. That hooded one…” “I know. His name is Vector Signious by the way.” “Oh… Did we just..?” “No, we haven’t lost yet. We’ll meet up with the others and figure this out.” Jace assured. They saw the other three warships passing by in the distance, no doubt meeting up with their larger sibling.
As they approached the camp, they saw that the battle still raged on despite the lack of backup the Phyrexians now had. They landed in a clearing by Gideon Jura and the now very awake, and even more alive, Chandra Nalaar. The swan lay close to the ground as Jace and Elspeth dismounted, to avoid being hit by arrows and ballista fire. Gideon finished hacking his current opponent to pieces before speaking. “Where are those warships going, and what was that explosion in the sky?” Jace responded, as he knew best what was going on. “It was a barrier to another plane being destroyed, and the ships are probably meeting up with the larger one to attack it and take its mana reserves.” Gideon looked dumbfounded. “Another plane?!” Jace nodded “it must’ve been around us this whole time, it’s massive. It’s endless, and has millions of planets. With that much mana, who knows what Bolas could do the Multiverse…”
At that moment, Ajani came charging through the lines of exhausted soldiers fighting back the enemy, holding a very lifeless looking Sorin in his arms. He laid Sorin on the ground gently. Sorin was bleeding from the mouth, covered in Phyrexian oil in dozens of places on his body, and was obviously struggling for every breath. Elspeth spat. “Phyrexis! The plague their blasted oil causes in organic life. The only way to survive is to become one of them.” She’d truly failed now. Another universe was in jeopardy, this one was infected, and Sorin, the leader of their group, was on his deathbed.
“We have to fight off the Phyrexians.” Ajani advised. “If we stay here much longer, we’ll be backing up a graveyard. We need to go help that other world. This one’s already infected, that one isn’t. It still has a chance.” Gideon spoke above the rest. “Jace has a point. I hate to abandon these men, but they knew the threat was coming, that world has no idea what’s coming for them.” Elspeth spoke this time, out of concern, “What about Sorin?” It hurt her to speak, she was ashamed of herself. “We bring him with us, till we can get him help.” Gideon responded. “He’ll be dead wait, we can’t help him.” Jace protested. “We’ll find him some help when we can, but we will not leave an ally here to be killed or tortured.” Gideon had the final word with that.
Ajani took Sorin, and Gideon devised a plan. “Once on the other side,” Gideon continued, “We will split up into four units. My Guess is that they’ll have each invasion unit led by a general or commander, like Elesh Norn or Nicol Bolas, we will split up to start a resistance group in each of those areas. We have to give those beings a chance to fight back. If they get the mana reserves in that universe, they’ll use it destroy our homes…” With that, Elspeth, Jace, Gideon, Ajani with Sorin, and Chandra, planeswalked to the new plane. This was Elspeth’s last chance to redeem herself, she couldn’t fail.