Of all the monarchs that have ruled in Ooo, perhaps the most notable should be of the Empress Marceline Abadeer of the Vampiric Empire.

The Empress started her rule as the Queen of Carcedel, one of the six kingdoms that made up the old Vampiric Realm. However for the first two hundred years or so of her reign the Queen was noticeably absent, leaving the day to day tasks to the kingdoms council.

When Queen Abadeer finally took an interest in her kingdom, sometime around 434 2E, Fra'gul, King of Bordel, had invaded his neighboring kingdom of Valhalla, and the vampire kingdoms were plunged into civil war. Fra'gul had formed alliances with the Stone and Forest Nations (names unknown, but we believe these nations occupied what is today the provinces of Gal and Tribuc).

According to records, Fra'gul defeated the kingdoms of Valhalla, Redfront, Chardel, and Hermandas. It was then that Fra'gul turned his attention to Carcedel.

But Queen Abadeer had prepared her forces for his arrival, and the two armies met just outside Black Light Forest. Fra'guls army fell upon the fortified defenses of Abadeers army, and so began a three day battle that would be considered one of the most bloodiest fights of the entire war.

For two days Fra'guls forces assulted the Carcedelian Lines, and for two days they held their ground. On the third day, Fra'gul launched a mass attack against the left flank, and their lines broke. That would have been the end of it, if not for the actions of a man who would latter become the Vampiric Empire's greatest hero.

Finnagan Ryder.

-Extract from 'Monarchs and Matriarchs of Ooo' By Sid Refural

Circa 798 2E


Chapter I

The city of Val Nuel was relatively young compared to other cities that dotted the Vampiric Empire. Built a little over two hundred years ago, it rested in the province of Raoweth underneath a hollowed peak in the Eldritch mountain range that ran along Ooos northern border. Elegant spires towered above the cobbled streets and open marketplaces. In the eastern corner a huge monolithic cathedral rose above the homes and shops. Dark stone gargoyles held a silent vigil over the dark alleys and back streets that ran through its interior. Set against the base of the mountain, a magnificent castle stood, gleaming towers and pendents reaching for the stone ceiling far above. The Castle Redmount.

Three walls acted as Val Nuel's primary defense. The outer wall, known as Iron Hide by the soldiers who manned her, was a towering behemoth of stone and metal, maintaining a darkish gray color, in stark contrast to the color that stemmed from the city herself. Arrow slits ran along its face, allowing bowmen to easily rain hell on an advancing army. Catapults and trebuchets were evenly placed along the top, ready to repel siege towers. Archer towers stood above the two gates, hot oil, boulders, and fire ready to be dropped on any foolish enough to try and smash through. It's foreboding look got the message across to any who saw it. Val Nuel would not fall easily.

Inside Ironhide sat the cities main residential district, designed so that each level of buildings rose above the last, giving retreating soldiers the advantage of the high ground. The second wall was known as the Bulwark. Separating the residential district from the market district, its look was less intimidating then it's sister. Much like Iron Hide, two towers sat above the two gates, and numerous arrow slits dotted her face. But no catapults or ballistas sat upon her. Should Ironhide fall, the threat of siege weapons becomes less of an issue, so The Bulwarks was designed to repel the army that would surely be swarming through the residential district if the outer wall fell. The Bulwark could play host to over 300 men atop her, ready to repel ladders to grappling hooks to battering rams.

The final wall surrounded the castle itself and was called 'Last Hope'. There was one key difference between Last Hope and Bulwark. While Bulwark relied heavily on the blood and sweat of the men defending her, Last Hope could not support the numbers needed to repel all trying to scale her. So her designers went with a different approach. Infused into the very stone that made her up, powerful magic and ancient sorcery resinated within, allowing the wall itself to act as a weapon against an invading army. Fire and ice and lightning all lay dormant within the rock, ready to be let loose at a moments notice.

To the Vampiric Empire, Val Nuel was the crown jewel of their empire, and many citizens praised Empress Abadeer for having it built. A symbol of the wealth, elegance, and power that the vampire race possessed, all were proud to call it their capital.

Only a select few knew why the city was truly built.

350 years earlier...

Finn ran a hand through his less than clean hair, beginning to scratch at the back of his scalp, before bringing it down and rubbing his chin, feeling the layer of scruff that his face now sported.

Two months. He'd been in this owl forsaken mountain range for two months, tracking a damn troll that had been raiding the tiny fishing village that sat on Lunar Lake. He growled in frustration just thinking about it. He had come directly from the village, following its tail for a week when the trail just went cold. For no reason. He had scouted the area. There were no signs of caves, no hidden ravines, no deep streams, nothing. Nothing that could hide a troll. He had tried to go back and pick up the trail again, but had no such luck. He was reduced to canvassing this entire section of mountain range for some sliver, some small sign that would lead him to his quarry. He obviously hadn't found anything.

Finn sighed. It was times like this he really missed Jake, not just for his nose, but for the company. It gets lonely on a hunt. But Jake was back home, being busy being a full time dad, and had been unable to tag along on recent quests.

So here Finn was, alone, looking for a dangerous creature in the ass end of Ooo. It sucked hairy Lich balls.

But Finn was a warrior, a hero, and he fought the elements, the monsters, the misery to keep innocents safe. That didn't mean he didn't wish he had back up. An average forest troll was hard enough to bring down as it is, and Finn was certain the troll he tracked was a mountain troll. Standing a little over eleven feet, with a thick hide, tree trunk arms, and a nasty temper, it was indeed a dangerous adversary.

Finn sighed again. Feeling sorry for himself wasn't going to get the job done. He stood up from the ancient oak he had rested against, grabbed his pack and strapped his great sword across his back. A small stream ran nearby, and he decided to fill his waterskin. He glanced at his reflection, taking a moment to see how much he changed over the last seven years. The wide eyed thirteen year old boy he used to see was gone, replaced by a more gruff looking man. His face, once full of baby fat, was sharper, more defined. A small scar ran down his chin, a lucky clip from a bandit sword. His eyes no longer held the wonder innocence the boy had. They too were sharper, trained from years of experience to notice any little thing that might suggest what he's seeing isn't all it seems. The world wasn't as black and white as he once believed.

As he set out, the sun was once again blocked by the greyish clouds that seemed to forever dominate the sky above the mountains. A light rain had started, and Finn drew his coat closer around him, trying to fend off the cold that would follow. If this was what summer was like in these forsaken mountains, then no way in the night-o-sphere was he gonna stick around for winter.

It was just passed midday when he heard it. A slight giggle, that seemed to resonate everywhere. His hand went back to his sword, ready to defend himself if need be, but all was quiet again. Maybe these mountains were getting to him.

Just as he was about to write it off as a trick of his mind, a gust of wind swept passed, and just on the edge of his hearing he heard it, a sing-song voice that spoke one word before disappearing again on the wind.

'Fiiinnnn.'

Oh. A smirk found it's way on to Finns face. Suddenly so much of the last few days made sense. The odd feeling of being followed. The slight way objects were moved around whenever he came back to camp. He thought he was going insane, that being alone for this long had finally caused his mind to snap. Thank glub he wasn't crazy.

You're tracking a mountain troll alone through an ominous mountain range and you think you're sane? His mind asked him. Finn almost laughed at that, he did have a point.

Not wanting to give away his newfound knowledge, Finn made a show of pretending to be on edge, his hand still resting on the grip of his sword, eyes darting back and forth as though he were trying to find the source of the voice. But he knew exactly what was going to happen next. She'd done it to him when he was a kid. But his mind and ears were sharper now, and he heard the telltale swoosh of cloth behind him and felt a familiar and strangely comforting chill crawl up his back and rest by his right ear.

Quick as a flash, Finn whipped around reaching up, grasping an invisible form and dragging it with him as he let himself fall. A girlish screech was heard, and suddenly a blue skinned raven haired woman materialized in Finn's arms, ice blue eyes shooting a glare reserved especially for him at his grinning face.

'Your losing your touch, Marcy.' Finn said, amused at the look she was giving him.

'No, I've just used that trick one to many times.' Marceline shot back as she pushed herself out of his grasp and stood up, wiping off the dirt that now coated her pants and her black and red stripped shirt. 'It looks like I'll have to come up with something new.'

Finn laughed. Marceline never liked being beat, and Finn just bested her at her favorite hobby. Finn scaring. He sat up and wrapped his arms around his knees. 'It's good to see you too, Marcy.'

For a brief moment, he thought he saw her cheeks redden, no small feat for a vampire, but it was gone in a flash and he might have imagined it. 'So what brings you out this little piece of paradise?'

Marceline looked up from her dusting and that special glare she had for him came out again. 'You, you weenie. You've been gone two and a half months. Everyone back homes been worried sick. Jake was about to come out here himself and look for you when you didn't come back the second week, but one of his little ones got sick, so I volunteered. It took me three weeks to find that little village you had mentioned. And another two to find your trail. I just caught up with you three days ago.'

'I know.' Finn grinned as he pushed himself to his feet. 'You've been following me and messing around with my stuff. Thought I was goin bonkers at first. Your voice on the wind is what gave you away. If you had stuck to giggles I might not have caught on.'

The glare was gone, replaced by mirth. 'I'll remember that.' she said with a laugh that made Finns spine tingle. 'So how goes your hunt? You've never been gone this long before.'

'Aw Marcy. I didn't know you kept tabs on how long my quests last. Do you count the hours till you see me again?'

Marceline pushed him playfully. 'You wish, doofus. Jake was just going on and on about you being gone for a week, and I've kept track of how long I've been away from my lovely cave. You so owe me for making me come and find your sorry ass.'

'It's not like I was lost.' he retorted. 'Besides, it wasn't my fault. The trail went cold and I couldn't pick it up again. I've been scouring this entire region and I haven't seen hide nor hair of the danm thing.'

Marceline blinked. 'I thought you were tracking a troll?'

'I am. Mountain troll to be precise. Big ugly mother from what the locals at the village said. That's why I'm so frustrated. Trolls don't just up and vanish like that. Its been driving me up the wall.'

Marceline though for a moment before speaking. 'Do not fear, Finn, for Marceline is here. I'll help you hunt down and kill the brute, and then we can go home so I can start working on how you're going to make this up to me.'

Finn laughed again. 'Sounds like a plan. It'll be nice to have someone to talk to besides the trees.'

As they started walking Marceline asked 'Trees? What trees?'

'Like that oak, and the occasional birch and pine. Its not a forest, but they do offer some shelter.'

'What do trees have to talk about? Besides the consistency of squirrel droppings.' For a third time, Finn laughed. Marceline could always brighten his mood.

They fell into a comfortable silence, Finn grateful for the company, and Marceline grateful she had found Finn alive and not scattered across some frozen peak.

They made camp that night under a grove of pines. Marceline again expressed her annoyance at Finn, telling him that searching for him had messed up her sleeping pattern, for the clouds had allowed her to search during the day and when they got home she'd be awake during the day and tired at night and changing the pattern again was going to be hell. Finn built a small fire and dug some dried fruit out of his pack. Marceline, too had come prepared, having retrieved her own pack and battle axe. She had opted for a straight forward weapon and not her usual instrument of music and carnage. Finn felt it was a shame. He really enjoyed listening to her sing.

He had no illusions. He knew why he was in better spirits when she was around. Why she could make him laugh. Why he loved hearing her sing. Why that damnable organ in his chest sped up every time she was near. But he pushed it back, hid it well, and prayed for it to pass like it had so many times before with his various crushes. She was immortal, and royalty to boot, so he knew it would never work. That had been straitened out with a certain princesses family years ago. No matter how great his deeds were, he was still just a commoner.

However, Marceline was famous for telling the rules to go to hell, and even if she were to reciprocate his feelings, and somehow get the approval of the Vampire Council (he really needed to get over this, having a plan to get around rules showed he thought about it way to much) there was still the immortality thing. Even at twenty, he saw that days were so much shorter than when he was thirteen. And said days moved fast. For him it'd be a lifetime before he died, but for her...for her he'd be gone in an eye blink. And so he pushed it down into the recesses of his heart and told not a soul.

But it did not pass. No, it stayed with him it the corner of his heart, nagging at his soul, causing anguish when she was near and longing when she was gone, so no matter what he did his heart was in a constant state of turmoil.

Quests helped. Throwing himself headlong into his job, focusing his mind and body into finely crafted tools suitable for combat eased his burden, made him momentarily forget that which he could not have. He was happy to see her. He was. But where she saw friendship, he saw something more, and that opened that little box and released the emotions he locked up for so long to run rampant through his body. He...

'HEY! DWEEB!'

Finn was pulled from his musings and back to reality to find Marceline giving him a worried look. 'Huh?'

'You ok, Finn? You kinda spaced out on me. You've been staring at that rabbit haunch for like ten minutes man.'

Finn glanced down at the food in his hands. Suddenly he wasn't so hungry. 'Yea, just thinkin.'

'Bout what?'

Finn glanced at her. 'Nothing really. Just letting my mind wander.'

Marceline stared at him, looking for any telltale signs that might tell her he was being less than truthful, but found none. She nodded, satisfied with his answer and the knowledge that Finn couldn't hide anything from her. 'Anyway, as I was saying, it's possible that said troll might have scaled those cliffs to the east. Trolls are remarkable climbers, after all.'

'I thought of that, but I saw no signs of any troll coming and going. Even if it did just find a spot, it wouldn't have spent the last two weeks holed up there. And I can't climb them to see.'

Marceline smiled wickedly. 'Oh my. You can't climb an itty bitty wall?'

'Those cliffs reach upwards of two thousand feet, Marcy.' Finn said with a roll of his eyes. She was goading him, but he wasn't about to fall for any of her word games.

Marceline pouted slightly that he didn't take the bait. 'Well, I guess it's a good thing that a certain lady here can fly.'

Finn looked around. 'There's a lady here? Where?'

A grey strawberry whacked him in the face. 'Jerk.' Marceline muttered with a smile.

Finn grinned. Getting Marceline to smile...well, it was one of the few things that made him feel invincible. He stretched his arms out over his head and let out a satisfied grown as he felt the tension in his muscles release. He didn't see the hungry gaze his friend cast upon him. The events of the day caught up with him and his shoulders once again sagged, ready for sleep. He wholeheartedly agreed.

'Well, Marcy, I think it's time I turned in. I'm beat.'

Marceline lifted an eyebrow. 'What's this? The mighty Finn tired already? I've been up just as long as you.'

'Yea, but not all of us can hover.'

Marceline laughed. 'Good point. Sleep tight, ya dork.'

'Night.' Finn muttered, having already curled up in his sleeping sack and on the verge of drifting.

It must have been two am when Finn woke up. The fire had gone out and he could see the stars shining brightly through a gap in the tree branches. He laid there several seconds before it dawned on him that he shouldn't be able to see the stars. The clouds were gone! It would have been good news, if not for one thing. Marceline. If the clouds were gone, then she'd be exposed to the sun. As he pushed himself up, a hand landed on his chest holding him there, and a Marcelines voice drifted over his ears. 'Easy hero. I know the clouds are gone.'

'Marcy?' Finn asked. 'When did you get up?'

'Never went to sleep. Something's on my mind.'

'If the clouds are gone, then we need to get you into some sorta shelter. The sun-'

'Is a long way off.' she interrupted. 'Besides, I packed my sunhat. I'm not an idiot, Finn.'

Finns eyes had finally adjusted to the night, the sleep wearing off of them. Marceline had taken off her long sleeve shirt and now sat in her tank top. She had an odd expression on her face as she looked at him.

She removed her hand and allowed him to sit upright. 'What's on your mind? Are you ok?'

She bit her lip, and Finn knew that was a sign of an internal struggle with herself. He started to worry a little.

'I...' she trailed off. A look of determination crossed her face and she began again. 'I need to tell you something. Something important.'

'What?'

'It's hard to find the right words. I don't know how to...' she faltered again and looked at her hands she had clasped together before glancing back at Finn.

Finn was confused to say the least. Marceline was never hesitant when they talked. Whatever this was it was eating her up inside. He started to speak 'Listen Marcy, if you need help all you gotta do is ask. You one of my best friends. No, you are my best friend, and you can tru-'

Whatever big speech he had planned to get her to talk was lost as a pair of soft cool lips pressed against his. All coherent thought shut down as a fuse blew in his brain.

Marceline pulled back. 'I'm sorry.' she began. 'I shouldn't have...'

But she was cut off when Finn pushed his mouth against hers, his arms wrapping around her waist. Marceline gave a start of surprise but quickly responded to Finn's advances, her arms circling his neck, she felt his tongue slid against her lips and she opened her mouth allowing him access.

Somewhere along the way Finn fell back, pulling Marceline on top of him. He could feel one of her fangs poking his lip as their tongues danced a deadly battle for dominance. When the need for air overcame the need their hormones called for, they broke, Marceline resting her forehead against his.

'Finn.' she said.

'Yea?' he asked, eyes closed, slowly coming down from his hormonal high. Her hand had come back and was gently rubbing his shoulder.

'Finn.' she stated again. Her rubbing sped up. He opened his eyes and looked at her, confused on what she was doing.

Suddenly she was shaking his shoulder. 'FINN!'

Finn's eyes opened. It was still overcast, but bright enough to cause him to wince as he woke up. Marceline was kneeling beside him, stripped shirt on, rolling her eyes in annoyance. 'Bought time you woke up. Do you sleep like that on all your adventures? A train could have been barreling down on you and you wouldn't have known.'

Finn stared at her blankly.

Marceline, put off by this, leaned back from him. 'Okaaay. Well I figured I'd better wake ya, I mean we got a lot of ground to cover. Or cliff face to cover.' She paused. 'Is that right? Doesn't sound right. Whatever. Anyway pack up your gear, the sooner we kill the troll, the sooner we go home.'

With that she got up and began rolling up her sleeping bag, Finn still watching her.

A dream. It was all a dream. As Finn climbed out of his sack, he mentally cursed himself. This crush was getting out of hand.

The Siege of Val Nuel

12 July 4098, Old World Calendar

17 years since the opening of the Breech

The sound of boots echoed along the stone corridor that ran underneath Castle Redmount towards a long and winding stair case. The clash of steel and roar of hell hounds could still be heard above as a procession of seven made their way deeper into the mountain. Four wore pitch black armor, faces hidden behind sturdy helmets, the only variation in color the intrinsical painting of a red rose on each of their shields.

The leader of the small group was a man with ash white hair and piercing green eyes. His face appeared young at first glance, but if one looked closer, they would see a wisdom in his eyes that only came with age. The armor he wore was black with a golden trim. On each knee was a sculpted image of a human skull, with a horn like spike protruding from their foreheads. A huge red great sword rested on his back, the golden handle popping out over his left shoulder.

Two women flanked him. The first was dwarfed by the man in front of her, barley reaching his shoulder. Her skin and hair where bright pink, and a golden circlet jutted out off her forehead. She had on a simple pink gown, with a gold belt wrapped around her waist. Though fiercely beautiful, the bags under her eye and the occasional grey hair relayed her age. She carried an old worn out book, the maroon color on it's spine and back faded. The face of the book was brown, the original having been torn off long ago and replaced so it's contents were better protected.

The second women was tall and proud, her sapphire skin smooth and unblemished by the passing of time, with icy blue eyes peering out from underneath long flowing locks of midnight black hair. She to wore armor, but it was sleeker and much more form fitting than the bulky metal the men donned. Like those before, it to was black as night, save for the blood red ruby painted just above her breast plate. Two elegant dirks protruded over each shoulder, the handles a rich brown leather. And on here head sat a simple golden crown with a single red ruby expertly crafted to sit in the dead center of her forehead.

As the group made their way down the spiraling stairs, the blue skinned women glanced at her pink companion. 'You sure about this Bonnibel?'

A sigh escaped Bubblegums lips. 'No. Not a hundred percent, anyway. Marceline, what we're trying to do here is open a wormhole that travels through the fabric of time. And we know very little about this device. Theoretically it should work, but there's the possibility that activation could unravel the threads of reality itself. But given current circumstances, what choice do we have?'

'Nothing like the threat of an inter dimensional demon bent on turning our little world to ash to put things in perspective, eh?' the white haired man laughed.

'This isn't the time for jokes, Finn.' Bubblegum retorted. 'If the fabric of reality comes apart, then our universe will collapse on itself, creating a space in the dimensional plane and causing other universes to slam against each other. If that happens, the resulting shockwaves that sweep through those realities could potentially decimate thousands of worlds, killing hundreds of beings and causing wanton destruction.'

'True.' Finn replied. 'But there is a chance that the universes that slam into each other are uninhabited. I mean, none of us really know, right? The only evidence is that angry red four eyed jerk who decided to invade our world. And from what we can tell, he and his armies came through the breech from some sort of hellish dimension. I really don't think destroying that would be anybodies loss.' Finn paused and glanced back. 'Besides, we know that he's not going to stop here. He'll keep going, burning more dimensions till there's nothing left but ash and fire. So even if our universe collapses, he'll be stuck here when it happens. And his armies will be destroyed, while he'll be doomed to float in a void. Other universes will be damaged, sure. But not destroyed. It's preferable, I think.'

'I agree.' the blue women added. 'It's the lesser of two evils. However you seem to be forgetting the fact that activating that machine might just save us all.'

'Like I said, Marceline, it's all just speculation.' Bubblegum looked at her. 'If we found the other two books, I might have been able to give you a more solid answer, but they were lost with time. It's a miracle this one survived.'she lifted the text she carried slightly.

The stairs abruptly ended at a rusty metal door. Finn slid it open, reveling a small control room.

Huge computer processors sat against the far wall. A vat with some type of greenish liquid was in the corner. An old wooden desk sat in front of a large shuttered window.

Bubblegum paused a moment, glancing around the room.

'Problem?' Finn asked.

'No.' replied the candy monarch. 'Just...I've been in this room a hundred times. And every time I enter I feel...I don't know...like I should know this place. Remember it. It's just odd.'

The Old World tech hummed a friendly tune as Bubblegum powered them up. A control panel sat to the right of the desk, the small green screen flashing a repeating sequence of numbers and symbols. Above it was an very old picture, frame still intact. Two human children, a boy and a girl, smiled from behind the dusty glass. On top of the monitor sat and old worn fez, the red of the cloth still bright, with a strange symbol on it's forehead.

Finn walked up the window, pulling a small lever that sat next to it. A rumble was heard, and the iron plates began to rise, reviling a large triangular machine.

350 years earlier...

Marceline slowly rose through the air, eyes scanning the rocky wall before her. She had opted to leave Finn on the ground, carrying him would slow her down. But she was tired. She'd been scrutinizing every inch of the stone drop before her, with no luck whatsoever. She was beginning to think that Finn was right. There didn't appear to be any cave entrance anywhere. Just stone and the occasional vertically challenged bush that-

Wait. What was that?

She had just rose above an oddly large shrub, the wind shifted suddenly and she saw it.. Or rather didn't see it. Where there should have been rock, she was sure she saw a glimpse of a void. Excitedly she lowered herself next to the bush and pushed the branches apart. There. A blackness where wall should be. There was indeed a cave behind this plant, but is it the right one? Could it house a troll? Another gust and air from within the cave flowed out.

Marceline almost gagged as the smell of rotting flesh and bile filled her nostrils. Oh yea, this was definitely the danm things layer. Nothing smelled worse than a troll hold.

Excitement started to bubble in her chest as she flew down to their camp. Finn had pursued the beast and it had gone to ground. Now it was time to flush their prey out. This was a good old fashioned hunt. Something she hadn't been on since glob knew when.

She found Finn on a small rock running a whetstone along his sword. She almost fell from the air when she spied him shirtless. With each stroke he took she could see his muscles flex and relax. A scar she'd never seen before ran from his shoulder to his thigh. Her heart ached a little at the thought of the pain that wound must have caused him.

When she had first met Finn, she knew she could never feel anything for him. He was to young, to idealistic. To soft. The world was black and white for him and there was no in between. But over the course of the years something had changed. The shrimpy hero had turned into a hardened warrior. He had lost the innocence he once had, and while it was sad to see such wide eyed wonder go, it was for the best. In all honesty, she was surprised Finn had survived this long with such naivete his younger self possessed. The simple fact that he began to trust her after their first encounter was evidence enough. Suppose she was a traditional vampire, and enjoyed the taste of blood? He would have been sucked dry faster than...she couldn't think of an appropriate analogy.

Jake knew. Jake understood the world better than he did, and she supposed that's what kept Finn alive. If Finn hadn't of had Jake...she didn't want to think about that scenario.

'Finn!' she called, and the young man turned his head, slightly startled at her sudden appearance. 'I think I've found our troll's lair.'

'Where?'

Marceline looked up, scanning the wall again. 'There.' she pointed. 'See that larger than average bush, about half-way up?'

Finn squinted his eyes, following the direction her finger was pointing. 'Yea?'

'Behind that. There's a cave entrance. Large one too. Large enough to fit a mountain troll.'

Finn glanced at her. 'But how do you know it's its lair?'

Marceline shrugged. 'The smell.'

'Ah.' Finn said. 'Well then, there's no time to lose.'

Finn threw his shirt on before reaching into his pack and pulling out a thick rolled up hide. It took a moment for Marceline to realize it wasn't a hide, but leather armor. He pulled it over his shoulder, buckling it up as he went.

'Armor Finn?' she had to ask. 'Never seen you in armor before.'

Finn glanced up from his task. 'Yea well, you learn from your mistakes, right? Got into a nasty skirmish with a couple of jungle banshies. One of there blades gave me a sizable incentive to start.'

'What happened to the banshies?'

Finn smiled wickedly. 'Trapped them in a soul cipher. No escape. They won't be hurting anyone else.'

Marceline raised an eyebrow. 'Trapped them in a soul cipher? Talk about irony.'

'Yea.' Finns smirk fell. 'Wish their was a way I could have saved the souls the banshies trapped. But there's just no way.'

Finn had lost his innocence, true. But his heart still good. He still fought for justice. And Marceline knew he'd never lose that part of himself. She smiled.

The Pink Palace

Candy Kingdom

Images flashed to fast for her to see. Voices she recognized but could not place echoed in her mind:

RUN!

Are you crazy?! Shut it down! KID DON'T!

A time will come in the future where everything you care about will change.

It's getting closer!

Listen demon, I got a job for you.

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT I'M LIKE WHEN I'M MAD?

If you keep digging, you'll meet a fate worse than you can imagine...

I'll be watching you...

MABEL!

Bubblegum woke with a start. Her head pulsed in pain, the sudden headache making her grasp her temple in pain. She glanced at the clock on her wall. Two hours before sunrise. Great. No way was she getting back to sleep.

Putting on her royal robe, she stepped out onto her balcony and stared up at the stars. She didn't know why, but the stars always gave her comfort. Helped her think. And her mind was racing about this strange dream.

Those voices. She knew those voices. But from where? She didn't know. It was like the memories that contained those voices were just out of reach, dancing away as she tried to grab them. It was frustrating beyond belief.

As she watched the twinkling lights, a white streak shot across the night sky, and she smiled.

A shooting star.

The Troll's Lair

The 'Ass End of Ooo'

They moved quietly through the cavern, eyes wide, sword and axe ready. The smell was absolutely revolting, and so pungent it made Finn's eye's water. Something crunched under his foot as he walked, and when he looked down, he saw the remains of a skull. Crap.

'This is a bigger problem than we thought, Marcy.'

Marceline was floating ahead of him. 'What is?' she asked, not looking back.

'The troll's not just raiding the village for shiny trinkets. I...I think it's eating the villagers.'

'Eww gross.' Marceline replied, glancing down. 'Glad I've got a hover upgrade.' She continued to float down the corridor, eyes scanning ahead. Finn followed close behind.

It went on like this for an hour. She was wondering to herself how deep this cave went when she hear Finn give a slight yelp.

'You alright?' she called back, eyes still scanning.

No answer.

'Finn?' Marceline turned back. Finn was gone.

'FINN!' She hollered, quickly flying back up the corridor. Nothing. 'Finn, where are you? Answer me!'

All was quiet.

She returned to the section of tunnel where she had heard Finn yelp, eye's all over the ground. It was like the young adventure had just disappeared. Mareline sank to the ground, mind racing, attempting to come up with a logical explanation for his sudden vanishing act. But none came forward. And her mind was beginning to jump to worst case...

Hold on...

Shouldn't she have landed by now?

Marceline looked down, and found a circular shaft of darkness below her. Where had that come from? She looked up, and could still see the ceiling of the tunnel she was previously in. Her body rose as she propelled herself up, entering the corridor she and Finn had just explored. She looked down. A rocky floor greeted her eyes. Cautiously she reached her hand for the ground, but it never made contact. It passed right through the cave floor. What could have caused this? Hologram? Magical anomaly? Maybe there was something in those strawberries she drained? But if she had imagined it then Finn...

FINN!

Without a second though she dove downwards, hoping that she found Finn alive at the bottom. If she had floated over the hole, then Finn might have simply stepped into the void and fallen. The shaft started to curve, becoming more and more horizontal until she found herself at an opening that dropped away into darkness.

'FINN!' she yelled. Two or three second later her voice echoed back, reverberating through the darkness.

'Marcy.' Marceline looked down, and found her adventuring doofus clinging to the rocks just below her feet.

'Oh glub, Finn!' The vampire reached down and grasped her friend, hauling him up onto the ledge and entrapping him in a tight bear hug. 'Don't you ever scare me like that again, you weenie.' Marceline said into his shoulder. 'I thought...'

Finn wrapped his arms around her waist. 'I'm alright, Marcy. Really. Just have a few bumps from the ride down that chute.'

They stayed like that for a minute, before the relief gave way to awkwardness. Marceline released Finn, refusing to meet his eyes, while Finns cheeks burned bright red. Marceline cleared her throat. 'I spose we should have a look at what you almost fell into.'

She shrugged her pack off her shoulder, and, reaching in, withdrew what appeared to be an ancient pistol.

'What's that?' Finn asked.

'Old World flare gun that's been modified a little with magic.' The vampire replied, popping it open and pushing a shell into it. She rased it above her head and pulled the trigger. A stream of red burst from the barrel, flying upward higher and higher before hitting the rock ceiling far above. A burst of light sprung out in all directions, the flare sticking to the stone and becoming a miniature sun in the vast cavern. Finn and Marceline looked out at the expanse and gasped.

A hundred feet below them, covering almost a square mile, was a forest. Huge green pines stood silently in the hollowed mountain, the curving rock above giving it the look of a living geode.

'Wha...?' Finn stared. 'What is this place?'

Marceline shook her head, having no explanation for what she was seeing. 'This shouldn't be possible. No light has touched this place in centuries. These trees shouldn't be here.'

Her eye's traveled down, and she caught sight of something just below them. Several trees appeared to have been smashed, and as she followed the broken pines, she saw a huge motionless body. 'Look.' she pointed.

Fin followed her finger, and saw the creature below them. 'Troll.' he stated simply. 'Think it's still alive?'

Marceline's sharp sense of sight scanned the beast, noticing that is head was twisted at an odd angle. She shook her head. 'Broken neck. Looks like the fall killed it.'

Finn let out a breath of relief. He wasn't looking forward to slaying the brute, and now it seemed like gravity had done the job for them. But the old wood that stretched out below their feet bothered him. There was something unnatural about it. Something not quite right. As his eyes roamed across tree tops, he noticed a break in the foliage.

Dead center of the cavern was a clearing in the trees, and he could make out what appeared to be a roof. 'Hey Marcy, whatcha think that is?' he gestured towards it.

Marcelines sharp eyes focused on the pointed roof jutting out among the trees. 'I dunno. Wanna check it out?'

'Duh.'

The Siege of Val Nuel

12 July 4098, Old World Calendar

Below Castle Redmount

They were coming.

Fighting could be heard in the hallway they passed through. Inhuman screeches and the anguished cries of solider echoed down the stairwell. Screeches Finn knew well.

Genestealers.

Finn glanced at Marceline. 'They're coming.'

The soldiers drew their swords and readied themselves. Finn drew a heavy chain from a chest next to the door and proceeded to wrap it around the handle and a steel pipe that ran up the wall.

'Bubblegum, keep working. We need it online now.'

He drew his great sword and looked at the guards.

'Men.' he said. 'I don't have to tell you what's gonna be coming through that door. We've all seen them. We've all faced them. Those are hells elite coming for us right now. I'm say we take that as a complement. There desperate. They know what we've got an ace up our sleeve. And they know what it could mean for them.'

Finn grinned wickedly. 'Well I say if they're gonna stop us, then they gotta pay the price. I say that we coat our blades with their blood and cover the floor with their bodies, that our price is high and we will not relent. We know what's at stake. We've all lost people. Friends. Family. Casual acquaintances. Well this is our chance to change all that. This is our chance to close the breech. To decimate hells armies and send that four-eyed freak who calls himself Trigon back to the pit he crawled out of. This is our moment. Are you with me?'

'Aye.' the guards shouted.

A rousing speech, Marceline thought. Better given to an army than just four men, but her husband always had a flare for the dramatic, no matter how many where watching. Marceline drew her dirks and spun them in her hand.

'No.'

Marceline glanced up, surprised at Finn. 'What?'

Finn gave Marceline a hard look. 'I know you like being in the thick of it. But I want you back with Bubblegum. When she gets the portal online, go. We'll be right behind you.'

Marceline glared at her husband. 'If you think that-'

'Marceline.' Finn cut her off. 'Getting you through that portal is top priority. You're the only one who can convince the Vampire Council of the time what's coming. We're not risking you. Understand?'

Marceline growled , but she knew Finn was right.

The screams got closer, echoing down the stairwell and reverberating through the metal door. Finn unclasped the cloak around his neck and let it fall to the floor. 'Might wanna hurry up there PB.'

Something slammed into the old steel door, leaving a sizable dent in it's face.

'Get ready!'

Again the door was slammed into, but it still held. Finn's great sword was in his hands, ready to strike with deadly efficiency. The door burst from it's railing and four genestealers scrambled into the room.

The genestealers were the stuff of nightmares. Their heads were somewhat egg shaped, the skin a dark pinkish color, with eye's on either side, and a mouth full of razor sharp teeth and a lizard like tongue. Purple armor plates covered their torso. Each walked on it's hind legs, and four arm sprouted from their bodies, each with three claws that were so sharp they could rend dragon scales.

The genestealers wasted no time, quickly charging at the armed guard. The first went down easily, with Finn swinging his heavy great sword in a huge arc, splitting it's face in two, blood and brain spraying the floor. But the other three were already upon them, and one of his men screamed in anguish as a clawed hand forced its way through his armor up into his chest, lifting the soldier off his feet and into the air.

Finn spun, bringing his sword down onto an unarmored portion of the beasts limb, severing it. The knight fell limply to the ground and did not rise. Finn sidestepped out of the way as a second pair of mandibles swung out at his belly in an attempt to disembowel him. A second guard fell, his head cleanly removed from his shoulder's, and two of monstrosities broke through the other knights moving quickly at Bubblegum.

Suddenly Marceline's agile form leaped through the air, landing on one of the genestealer's back. The extra weight threw it off balance and it stumbled, clearly not expecting the attack. It was all Marceline needed as she plunged one of her dirks through the top of it's head. An agonizing shriek escaped it's mouth, before her other dirk embedded itself in its throat, and it fell silent. The lead genestealer continued it's mad dash for Bubblegum.

But The Candy Queen was not as defenseless as she seemed. From her dress Bubblegum produced what appeared to be an ancient handgun. But as she pulled the trigger, a beam of white hot energy shot from its muzzle slamming into the charging monster's face and exiting the back of it's skull. The brute collapsed, a cauterized hole in it's head.

Finn and the wounded genestealer circled each other, each looking for an opening to strike. A sudden blast from Bubblegum's heat gun impacted it's boney armor. Though causing no damage, its eye's shifted to the new attacker, and Finn surged forward, bringing his sword down onto it's neck, severing it's head from it's body. It fell limply to the ground.

More screeches echoed down the stairwell.

'PB, hurry up!'

Bubblegum typed furiously into her consol, not responding to Finns goading. The screeches were getting closer, and Finn adjusted his grip on his sword hilt.

Suddenly Bubblegum gave a triumphant woop. 'It's working!'

All eye's turned to the upside down triangle that dominated the window. Bright teal lights now outlined it's exterior, while the center ring that surrounded the hole flashed a continues sequence of symbols around it. With in the circle a white light began to form, widening until it filled the entirety of the hole.

A wormhole had successfully formed.

Finn let out a sigh of relief. 'Finally. Alright Marcy, we're leaving.'

He turned to the two remaining knights. 'Alister. Tosh. Cover our retreat. When we're through, start the countdown sequence and then move your ass's through that thing. You'll have about thirty seconds before the charges detonate, so you'll have to move quick. If it blow's before you're through...'

One of the knight's nodded. 'We know, my lord. We won't let you down.'

Finn smiled. 'Alright, now then. Bubblegum we've gotta...Bubblegum?'

Unbeknownst to Finn or the others, Bubblegum had had here eye's glued to the wormhole since it first opened. She had never powered it up before, but the light...the symbols...she knew...

She was hanging onto a lever with a bright red button on it. Behind her a white light was steadily growing, illuminating two people pushed against the wall in front of her. The first was a boy, maybe twelve or thirteen, wearing a red shirt with a blue vest, a white and blue baseball cap on his head.

The second was an old man in a tux. She didn't know how she knew it was a tux, but it was. A red fez sat on his head, and a pair of rectangular glasses donned his face. His mouth was open...

He was yelling something...

'BONNIBEL!' Marceline screamed, shaking her. Bubblegum blinked. What had...?

An anguished cry reached her ear's and she turned and found the remaining knights shredded, gore spattered across the ground. Lesser demon's rushed through the door, flaming swords in their hands. Finn gave a defiant battle cry and swung his broadsword in a side sweep, cutting a demon in half.

'MARCY! GO!' he yelled back. Marceline turned, drawing her dirks. 'I am not leaving without you Finn!'

'Marceline Ryder!' Finn screamed back, skewering the body of another demon, 'You move your fine ass out that door and through that portal this instant! No arguments!'

Marceline's mouth opened and closed, for an instance unable to respond to her husband slaying demons and giving her orders while somehow managing to slip in a comment about her ass.

White hot fire streaked by her, Bubblegum drawing her own weapon and sweeping it across the oncoming monsters streaming through the door, giving the warrior a brief respite

'Finn.' she called. 'Go!'

'What?'

'I'll set the charges! Then I'll be right behind you!'

'But how will you...' Finn began to ask, an instinct as old as time peaking through.

'I'm not defenseless Finn.' she shot back, sending a blast through the doorway again, screams of agony illustrating her point. A look of indecision crossed his face, before Marceline grabbed his arm and began to drag him towards the only other exit in the room. She glanced back at Bubblegum.

'Go.' Bubblegum said. In that moment Marceline knew she wouldn't be following.

Bubblegum could activate the countdown, but with demons this close, someone had to stay behind. If even one got through...

Marceline gave her a sad look before pushing Finn through the door out onto a catwalk that led right up towards the wormhole.

'Marcy, we can't just leave her.' Finn said, trying to push past his wife and reenter the room.

'Finn.' Marceline said, grabbing his head and forcing his eye's to meet her's. 'I need you to think. Someone's gotta stay behind, and she volunteered. She's buying us the time we need. But we gotta go now.'

'But she...'

'Finn! She chose this. We can't let her sacrifice be in vain. We need to go!' Despite her words, the situation was obviously affecting her. Tears leaked from her eyes.

'But she's not a soldier.' Finn replied.

Marceline shook her head. 'The day that breech opened, we all became soldiers. Come on.'

Grabbing Finn's hand they raced down the catwalk stopping right before the wormhole.

Marceline's eyes shifted to Finn. 'Just incase this doesn't work...' She reached up and pressed her lips to Finn.

Pulling back, she said: 'I love you, Finnagain Ryder.'

A small smile crossed Finn's lips. 'And I you, Marceline Ryder.'

One last glance was shared between them, before they turned towards the wormhole, and jumped.

Bubblegum watched her friends disappear into the swirling white vortex. She had actavated the counter as soon as she saw them running for the portal.

Another demon rushed through the door, and she pulled her trigger, blasting it. But the demons kept coming and coming. She shot two more.

13...

12...

11...

Another demon fell. And another.

10...

09...

08...

She pulled the trigger again. But all she heard was a click. The demon charged her. From her leg she drew a dagger, swinging it across the demons throat. It fell with a gurgled yell. Something dripped down her stomach.

07...

06...

She looked down and found the demons sword plunged into her body.

05...

04..

03...

Bubblegum blinked, falling back into her chair. As her world darkened, a voice seemed to echo in her head. I'm impressed. You've done well Shooting Star. Rest now, and know your efforts were not in vain.

02...

01...

00...


So...hi.

I am so so so so so so so sorry I haven't been around lately. Life, ya know? So as you may (or may not) have noticed, I took a couple stories down. Mainly because they were the ones that I had no idea what I was thinking when I wrote them.

However, I'm working on a re-write for the Nimbus Incident. That chapter wasn't exactly going how I wanted or the idea I originally had. So I left it up. It'll be the same premise, but at the same time different , closer to what I was basing it off of.

But for now, enjoy my new story that I haven't thought a name for while I write this but will probably come up with one by the time I post it.