Guardians of the Rift

The heroes of the Seventh World have gathered at the Black Door. The full might of the Plague pours through the Rift, only by standing together as one can they stop it from consuming their world and the last vestige of the Maker’s creation. Meanwhile, Alec’s journey of destruction comes to an end as well – on the elven homeworld Ki'minsyllessil. There he must face the infection’s source and the hellish manifestation it has birthed into reality. This is the final battle -- the ultimate test of the living. But without the power of the Destroy can the Chosen stop the Plague from entering their world? Will the Chosen prove strong enough to stand against the oblivion of the Void and the endless forces of the Dark Army? Or will the Servant of Death claim them all in the end, transforming all that the Maker has wrought into chaos?



LeCynic and Coba


Life . . . Death . . . it all tasted so sweet.  And oh the power it bestowed . . . 

Through the cold, dark night he hunted; the barren wasteland created by the Destroyer a virtual buffet of beings both living and undead.

Everything was prey now.  Reality itself was his to feast upon.  He moved through the land a blur, a ripple of black in the otherwise eerily still night.  Those he hunted never saw him coming.  By the time his eyes of glowing blue flames lit up the night they were well on their way to death; their bodies shrunken and withered, their veins empty and dry.  The last thing left to them was their souls; but he fed on those as well.  When LeCynic was done with them, they fell to the earth – a pile of dust, and before their dust settled, the scent of life (or death) filled him and the hunt began once more. 

How he loved the hunt . . . he lived for it.  For as long as he could remember it had been so.  He had always been a hunter; preying off of those who were weaker, growing stronger as he tore them apart, physically and mentally.

In his human life, he quickly rose to Alpha male by dominating those among his pack – the Order of the Magi.  He ascended their ranks because none came close to challenging his power – none would dare!  With little effort he had the Magi pups bowing before him and whimpering as he walked among them.  Even the former Keeper, Dertois, reeked of fear when he drew near.  Both men knew it was only a matter of time before Dertois relinquished his role as pack leader for the younger and more powerful LeCynic.    

Back then he felt as though nothing could stop him, and oh how he longed to prove the truth of it to the entire Seventh World.  So, like a fool, he did the unthinkable . . . he entered the Rift. 

No matter his current strength, or the heights of power he was soon to achieve, nothing will ever erase the sting of that failure.  How easily he was defeated . . . how humiliating his defeat.  The Tree took him and his loyal army with the utmost of ease.  He had been so consumed in his own arrogance and power, he dismissed his opponent and failed to understand its true nature; that the Tree was death incarnate, and would never be defeated by a mortal. 

Despite his unheard of skill with the Singularity, death claimed him and made him one of its own. 

He had hoped to find glory in the Black Door, but instead he found catastrophic failure.  He was beaten, humiliated . . . infected, and suddenly more powerful than ever before. 

LeCynic survived and returned to the Seventh World, bringing with him the Hunger . . . and something else . . .

LeCynic was no longer alone.  Another entity dwelt within him.  Hidden in his Plague infected blood, it grew inside him.  It sensed his world and the life within and it followed him back to the Seventh World.

No sooner had the Plague finished filling his veins, then the entire Dark Army began filling his world. 

He remembered collapsing at the base of the Rift, his body consumed with pain, and power.  He cried out; a scream part agony, part ecstasy.  Meanwhile the dead flooded the valley, limping, snarling, and clawing their way to the great Red Wall.  They paused only to catch LeCynic’s scent, then they passed him by. 

They shouldn’t have done that.  They should have finished him when they had the chance.

LeCynic arose.

He watched as the undead filled the Seventh World – his world!  The Hunger grew within him as the infection continued to spread, urging him to join them; to annihilate his people and desecrate his world until it no longer existed. 

They sought to take everything from him; his world, his flesh, and his mind.

LeCynic vowed to give them nothing. 

He would never become like them – a mindless slave to the Hunger.  Nor would he sit back and watch them turn the world he had so rightfully earned into a dead planet.

He summoned his power . . . his powers.  The Singularity alone wasn’t enough to fight the will of the Tree, but he had their power now.  No longer was LeCynic a mere mortal.  No longer did he fear death – he was death!

He turned the field of battle into a bonfire.  The flames of the burning corpses could be seen from the entire city, the smoke from as far as the Outlands.

It became a beacon.  It roused the defenders to line the wall and defend their world.

But it was just the beginning . . .

For three long days LeCynic continue to burn his enemies to ash.  During that time many unimaginable horrors came from the Rift to test his might . . . he killed them all.  Even so, it wasn’t enough.  Even with all of his powers it wasn’t enough.  On the third day for the battle of Lock Core, even LeCynic surely would have met his end.

Had it not been for the Destroyer . . .

Some say it was a victory, some a defeat.  To LeCynic it was both.  The enemy lingered on, inside him, and his battle continued.  Afterwards, it took every bit of his power to keep from losing himself; to be erased by the evil spirit of the undead tree.  Desperate, he grasped at any possibility of defeating it.  The blood of the Destroyer seemed the likeliest of solutions, so he drank it in gallons.  The Hunger was appeased, but it only grew stronger.  The infection accelerated, as did the decomposition of his body.  To hide his rotting flesh, he was forced to veil his symptoms with the Oneness. 

He continued to keep the Destroyer as his prisoner, but instead of drinking the man’s blood, he drained it, then used his power to study it.  He learned a great deal from the man, but sadly, before he could unlock his secrets, he was taken from him.  Fortunately, some of his blood remained, and with it he began his own experiments.  He took his own infected blood, mixed it with the Destroyer’s and then altered it with the Singularity.  He continued to toy with the recipe, all the while testing it on various captives of the Triad of Races.  Most were utter failures, ending in foul deaths, or becoming monstrosities too horrid for even LeCynic to endure.  Children, however, seemed to produce the most interesting results – those with Mage-blood, far more interesting than all the rest.  So he began to collect them, these young Magi who were blessed with the blood nearly as pure as his own.   Regrettably, all of them died during the course of his experiments.  But from their deaths came the seeds of LeCynic’s new army -- the beginning of his new pack; one more loyal and subservient than ever before.

They were his children – his wraiths . . .

He unleashed them on the Outlands and his new pack quickly grew to a legion of undead followers; all of which were bound to him by the power of his own infected blood.  And for a time he ruled them all; the Triad of Races and the forces of the Plague. 

Once more he thought himself unstoppable . . . once more he was proven wrong.

During the battle for Shattered Rock, he came face to face with the Destroyer, and suffered the full brunt of his ability.  The Destroyer proved LeCynic’s Plague-born immortality to be false and the gift of the Singularity an illusion. 

The power of the Destroyer was the purest thing of all -- pure annihilation. 

Through his eyes of Mage-fire he watched as it dissembled reality.  The army of undead at his back became dust, and then the dust fractured into particles so small even LeCynic’s eyes of mage-fire could no longer detect them.  Their division continued without end until eventually they became one with the wave of death and moved on, dissembling the rest of reality in its path. 

To survive it, LeCynic gave all his power to his shield.  For a moment it held, glowing brightly against the onslaught of darkness.  But the rage of the Destroyer had no match.  LeCynic’s shield evaporated – and his body soon after.  There was pain beyond belief, and through the pain LeCynic fought on.  Even as his flesh was no more, his bones crumbling, he fought on; refusing to accept that this was his end.  That, for all his greatness, his life ended by another; a drunkard and a fool, and that in the end he would die a failure.

He survived . . .

He faced the very wrath of the Void and he survived.  It wasn’t because of his vast reserves of the Oneness, or his enhanced biological strength from the Plague.  The reason he survived was simple, LeCynic refused to fail. 

Yes, in all honesty he died . . . and he met his end.  But what he encountered in the oblivion of death was a new power.  One he never dreamed of possessing.  He found the Void.

The Destroyer possessed it, and now so too did LeCynic.

The undead tree that infected him, that sought to claim his soul, it should have left him alone.  It never should have fu***d with LeCynic.  Now he was free of it, and growing more powerful by the minute.  LeCynic was coming for it, this “Evil Tree”.  Let it send its armies against him.  He will feed from them all, the entire Dark Army will become his feast.  The legendary ‘infinite’ army of the Plague will provide an equally limitless source of power.  He will drain anything that stands in his path, and then he will turn that power against the tree. 

LeCynic will return to the Rift, and this time he will burn the Dead Tree to the ground.

Then, after that . . . nothing in the universe will be able to stop him . . .

Including the Destroy.



LeCynic was truly a god now . . .

Coba had always thought as much, but now there could be no doubt.  The powerful being he once was had been unmade by the Destroyer, and then born again through the blood of the living and the dead.  By will alone he had survived the power of the Destroyer.  It was that primal instinct, the will to survive that kept him here.  And now those base instincts he unleased upon the world; the need to feed, to hunt.  Whether they were the living or the undead, it mattered not.  He fed from them all . . . and with each feeding his power grew. 

Yet fearful of his new master and god, Coba took a back seat as the hunt commenced.  One victim after another, he watched as the Singularity spewed from LeCynic’s eyes in blue flames to burn away his victim’s flesh, while the dark gifts of the Plague transformed his body to black threads to tear them apart.  LeCynic was in command of both powers now, and masterfully, he wove them together as one to create an unstoppable killing combination.  At times he was a man; handsome and young.  A head of dark brown locks, and strong chiseled features.  His eyebrows were full and dark, casting a shadow over his ever burning eyes of blue-fire.  A robe of energy covered his body, blacker than even the moonless night.  But when he killed he became something else; a dark inferno.  His robe vanished, melding with his flesh which became living flames of black.  Wisps of blue fire danced along his body, while his eyes continued to burn azure blue.  To behold him was to drown within him – to lose one’s soul in the blackened pit of fire that was LeCynic, the Keeper of the Wall, the leader of the Plague, and to Coba, a god.

They picked clean the desolate wasteland that was Shattered Rock, and then together they hunted the outskirts of the city; feeding off the survivors of the Destroyer’s cataclysmic blast.  Scattered groups fled the city, wandering the scorched land in hopes of finding a glimmer of life – a sign that the entire world hadn’t burned beneath the Destroyer’s wave of death.  What they found was LeCynic . . . or more aptly, he found them.  One by one, one group after another he fed – and oh how his power grew.  Other hunters lurked in the night, but they found them as well.  They were the undead, remnants of LeCynic’s former army.  No matter how rotten and foul their flesh, he consumed them too.  They even fell upon a pack of his personal guards.   Still garbed in their fanged wolf-helms, the guards thought to contest LeCynic for dominion of the area.  As though to demonstrate his control of the land, he took them with particular savagery. Crushing their wolf helms like tin cans and spewing their innards out of their suits of armor in a geyser of black goo.  When at last they laid as crumpled bits of armor and mush at his feet he then summoned the fires of the Oneness, and burnt them to dust. 

For his obedience, his god, LeCynic, left plenty of scraps – though Coba could only feast of the living.  Mostly they were morsels of little nourishment; soldiers near death, or crippled and elderly humans too weak to move.  His god tracked a steady stream of the latter, a trail of them leading to the city of Lock Core.  When LeCynic passed over the old souls, Coba liked to believe he was leaving them purely for Coba’s benefit, but then he sensed what his god likely had a long time ago – there was a larger group ahead of them, a group not of half-dead humans, but one filled with great power, and an unbelievable feast of life.  In his excitement, he nearly asked his god what could create such a power, but he caught himself, realizing that he dared not show his ignorance in LeCynic’s presence.  He was all too aware of the fact he too could become a snack for his god should he prove an inadequate devotee.  He had to put faith in his god, and that he would deliver him unto a bountiful feast. 

They continued heading to Lock Core, sparing but one refugee in their path; an elf, his body and soul already sustenance for another dark power – a power remarkably similar to LeCynic’s own.  They kept their distance as they passed him by, his gaunt body obviously already claimed by another demon. 

All the rest they encountered they consumed . . .

Empowered by their undead gifts, they tore through the scorched land, quickly gaining on the distant party.  Eventually, the landscape changed.  The ash-covered earth was replaced with fields of wheat and lush swaths of grass.  Before them, a forest loomed, and beyond that, the great Gorian chain rose to the sky.  It was a mountain city, a wall.  The great red wall of Lock Core.  They continued on, leaving the fields of wheat festering with disease, the blades of grass and the leaves dropping from the forest trees; withered and brown. 

As they closed in on their prey, the sensation of life grew.  In the presence of the power, the corruption that he had become was felt more profoundly than ever before.  So much so, Coba’s twisted soul screamed for release, the true death.  Had it not been for the presence of his god, Coba would have turned and fled.  It was visible now as well, a beacon in the night, as if the being’s power spilled from the very heavens.

. . . Another god? Coba wondered, staring at the beacon in awe . . . and fear.  Could even his god take such a being?

He realized his mistake the instant LeCynic stopped – being a god, LeCynic most likely was party to Coba’s every thought, his every doubt.

Though he didn’t require air to live, Coba realized he was holding his breath for what seemed like an eternity.  He satisfied the instinctual urge and exhaled, believing his god would have killed him by now had he so desired.  Something other than his moment of doubt caused his god to pause.  Having no desire to risk any further lapses, he waited patiently beside LeCynic until the reason presented itself.

Suddenly, he wasn’t alone with his god.  As powerful as Coba was, he never saw the other being approach – nor did he sense him.  The child parted the dark night as if it was a curtain and was standing before them.  He wore a pair of shattered spectacles that hung awkwardly on his face.  His flesh was white as bone.  He gazed blankly at them, his eyes empty and black. 

By all appearances he was lifeless, infected.  But Coba saw through the façade; beneath the rotting flesh he sensed a beating heart that was very much alive. 

And he was very powerful.  Close, perhaps, in strength to his god, but certainly not LeCynic’s equal.   

Coba expected his god to engulf him, take the child’s power as his own.  Instead, his evil, undead god smiled . . .

“What a pleasant surprise,” LeCynic said to the child.  “I thought this ‘Destroyer’ had surely taken you from me.  But I see you too have survived . . . and changed.”

The child was motionless, expressionless, as LeCynic’s voice thundered down upon him.

“And you hunt them as well.”

Coba jolted back in fear as his god’s laughter rent the air. 

“Surely, there is enough power to be shared.  Join us, Whimly.  Together we shall feast on their souls.”


Coba’s god was no longer amused.

He changed from a man into a blackened pit, threads of pure blue energy crackling outward, stopping just short of engulfing the child.

“You would deny me, child.  Perhaps I take their power for my own . . . and yours as well.”

The child continued his dead stare, even as LeCynic’s black tendrils tickled his flesh. 

“You do not fear me . . . I sense your power, but rest assured, even you cannot stop me, nothing can stop me now.”

“You’re wrong,” the child flatly replied.  “She will stop you.  If you attack them she will kill you . . . if they don’t kill you first.”

The black threads took hold of the child, flames of mage-fire crackled from LeCynic’s body.

“She travels with the One Elf . . .” the boy continued.

The blue flames faded, the tendrils of black withdrew.

Finally, the child showed emotion, a mix of sadness and hate.

“And there’s a boy,” the child said.  “One as gifted with the Oneness as yourself.”

“Our master has no equal,” Coba blurted, charging the child.  “He will take them all, including the One Elf.”

LeCynic was a man once more.  Before Coba knew what had happened, the hand of his god was wrapped around his neck.  Coba offered no resistance as his god flung him back.  Even if he had resisted, he doubted LeCynic would have noticed the difference.  Coba fell to the ground, the touch of his god a smoldering hand-print on his neck.

“The One Elf,” LeCynic said, his hand flexing as if eager to crush something in his grasp.

Coba scuttled backward as silently as possible. 

“An encounter with the One Elf may not be worth the price.  Even for her . . .” LeCynic continued.

LeCynic seemed to gaze remorsefully at the beacon of light.

“I only sought to protect the Master, and see his desires fulfilled,” Whimly said, bowing his head.

Coba saw the lie, clear as day.  Surely his god did as well.  Why then, did LeCynic not strike the child down?

“I suppose, there will be plenty to feed from in the city . . . not to mention a limitless amount inside the Rift,” LeCynic said.  “Besides, it’s past time I return to Lock Core.  I have much to attend to before I can see my vengeance fulfilled.”

His burning blue eyes focused solely on the boy.

 “Join me, Whimly.  I know you desire her, though for another purpose.  I know too, that you crave vengeance.  Prove your loyalty, and I promise that one day you will have them both . . .”

He didn’t wait for a response, instead LeCynic became a black inferno and became one with the night.  Coba picked himself off the ground, taking a moment to glare at the child before following his god.  Whimly continued to stare into the darkness, as if the encounter with LeCynic had never occurred.  After a time, he roused, and turned to the beacon of fire that was Emily.  Her blue fire glimmered within his black orbs.  Then, as suddenly as he appeared, Whimly vanished.




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