Ends. It all ends. It ends now. It ends tomorrow. It ends yesterday.
It is over. It begins. It is still going. It is there. It is here. It is not ours - it is theirs.
It is his.
It ends. He ends it, he comes.
Stephen flew above the city, him and Wong carrying the Turtles in a thread of power. Danvers flew from behind, leaving a residue of light that danced in the air and soon faded. News spoke of a greater light that appeared in the middle of this night, great green and red balls, shaped each like eyes, gathering at the very center of the sky. Then that light gathered above what must have been the most obvious choice of location for Moridin's goal.
Stephen could see the lights even from this distance - that was already enough for him to know. What irked him was the Itch, growing so strong that he felt as if an insect was crawling under his skin, desperately trying to bite its way out. He scratched over and over again with one hand, forced to ease the thread of power in it and hold the greater power in the other. And he could see the Turtles felt the same.
"Ah, I'll die here!" Raph was scratching to the point he started bleeding. "Stop!"
"Hold it in!" Leo roared at him. "Don't be a baby!"
"Look who's calling!"
"Stop it! Both of you!" This is why I never had kids! Stephen then stood in the middle of the air. "What is the situation down there?"
"Everyone has left the Empire State." Rintrah's voice spoke from the device. "I don't even know why are you asking me! Just look down!"
The red and blue lights almost blinded him, even more than unnatural mists above. The police beeps would have made him deaf if they descended got a few feet lower. Even that was made dull by the cries of the people who were running, woken up from deep sleep. One would think they have gotten to used to these events by now. Or that Stephen and the other "heroes" have.
At the moment, he wanted to go down himself and get them all out of there. Save them one by one. He called the other sorcerers to come and they have started opening portals, helping the police to save everyone - Yennefer was leading them. But Stephen, Wong, Danvers and Turtles had to stay here in the air.
The clouds started forming around the top of the Empire State Building, roaring, though no lightning appeared. Mikey stared at the clouds that, from this perspective, looked like a great monster trying to swallow the building.
Then the thunder arrived.
"Don't play with that!"
"I'm not playing, I want to know how it works!"
Rintrah sighed. "You are like a child, Patrick Jane. You want to touch everything you see just for the sake of it!"
"Well...curiosity is a basic human desire!"
"Ha! Then I'm happy not to be human!" He spun around. "And where in Zakkath's name is ALF?!"
Tywin winced while looking at them, then turned back to the TV.
"Hello folks. These are the most important news we could have. The proof that we were always searching for and the truth about our 'heroes'! Just as they disappoint us once again!"
Jameson proceeded to interview many ordinary people, each of them giving accounts of the events. Some were stern-faced, too fear-stricken to even show emotions. Others were sobbing and crying, screaming and cursing, each of them. Some hated the heroes that flew around them and opened portals to take them out, while others praised them. Some were even praying.
And Tywin realized he was just like them - powerless.
Is this what those peasants felt like, when we waged wars for power? Is this how they saw all it? It was not him who did those things, though - his armies killed, tortured and raped, but he never did. He never ordered them to do that either, except when he had killed all the Reynes. That must amount to something, does it not? Does it? Are those excuses?
Suddenly, Fëanor entered the room, walking directionless. His face was cold and his eyes stared into nothing. No one paid attention to him except Tywin, who stood up to see. "Fëanor?"
"He is here." he spoke, without any emotion in his voice.
"Who?" Tywin asked, though he realized quickly. And Fëanor's response only cemented it.
"He has come. The Father of Hatred - He is here."
A lightning struck after the thunder, adorned red like flames. It spread around the sky like fires around the forest. People down in the city screamed even louder. Danvers flew closer to Stephen. "Maybe we should wait for the others?"
"They're not coming, I tried! So we must stop it!"
She went silent, then looked up. "What is that?"
"It's him." Stephen did not know how he understood, but he did. "It's Sauron - his Hand."
Danvers gritted her teeth. "I'll take care of him. You fight the others."
"Are you sure?"
"Oh, don't bother." Her powers gleamed around her and she charged into the clouds. Stephen's eyes followed the trail left by her, then looked back at the top. Below it, the green mist gathered and Stephen noticed few figures going up and down the structure.
"They're still with him."
"We'll try to get them away." Leo said. "Us and Wong will deal with them - you deal with Moridin."
Everyone nodded. "Good idea." Stephen uttered.
He started counting and breathing. If there is anyone up there, help us...Steady, he and Wong charged at the building, keeping the Turtles bound by threads of power. When they were close enough, they both let go and four brothers jumped higher, finding their ground.
Someone was already waiting for them. He walked out of the darkness, cutting the poles and letting them fall. He walked slowly, waiting for their own attack. Ever the worm, Leo thought. Rarely fighting his own battles. Or was that just the memory of the Shredder he knew? He stepped forward, a foot closer to the Shredder than his brothers were.
"Good." the voice spoke through the helmet, having a surprising metallic ring to it. "Let's end it here."
"Saki." Leo knew that would prompt a response in the Shredder, who clenched his fists the moment he heard it. "Stop."
He laughed again.
"We know this has never worked before, but I will try to reason with you."
"I am slightly annoyed by your words. I want to end this."
The Shredder did not listen. He charged at Leo, who managed to avoid the attack by ducking and rolling. Holding the balance he desperately needed at this height, Leo gave a signal to his brothers, telling them to avoid the Shredder and not fight him. They have done so, which only made Shredder boil harder with anger. "Get here and fight!"
"Listen! Once in your life, just listen to us!"
"I have listened enough!" He managed to reach for Leo and throw him, but Donnie offered Leo his staff, helping him jump back to balcony. Enraged at this, Shredder attacked Donnie, who blocked the blades with his staff again.
"You're mad! Has he even told you what he is trying to do?!"
"Take us all back!" he bellowed. "And have us win in our histories!"
"You retarded moron!" Raph jumped and kicked the Shredder in the head as hard as he could. Shredder stumbled, almost falling off the edge, but then he pushed himself closer to the windows. "You know nuts!"
"Dude!" Mikey blocked the Shredder's attack, keeping the blades on the chains of both nunchaku. "That idiot up there is going to release something that will kill us all. That includes you!"
"Pathetic ways to avoid this." He pushed Mikey, who jumped at another pole and held onto it. "I never thought you cowards, but it seems I was mistaken."
Wong flew towards the green mist, while Stephen tried to reach the highpoint. He got high enough for his eyes to glimpse Moridin. He had placed the Stone on the pole, letting it burn with all colors in existence, even one color, indescribable, incomprehensible by Stephen's mind, one never seen before. Moridin's own started shinning with all those light, with a great shadow gathering around him. He looked up slowly to the skies above, just as the lightnings painted them with the color of blood. But Stephen could see small drops of gold in those clouds. Then, Moridin opened his mouth, and started speaking - his voice was strong enough to be heard from a long distance.
All this, he glimpsed only in a few moments, before a shadow followed by trails of sickly green mist grabbed him. Maleficent held him there in the air, just as he tried to get her off. The Cloak attempted to free itself, but then succumbed to the witch's magic. She flew lower, before turning Stephen away from her. "Where is the Golden One?" she uttered with panic in her eyes. Stephen, without even realizing, looked at the sky above, in which gold was battling red. "Good." she sighed. Around them, Stephen could see Wong, trying to hold his own against Mxyzptlk, who was changing all shapes and forms, from terrifying to utterly ridiculous, but chasing Wong through the air. "Good. That makes it easier for me."
Unlike Stephen, Wong had no Cloak and he needed a Spell to fly. That meant the moment he lets go of it... "Oh, no. You've made it harder." He started a fire.
The Turtles jumped around and below, changing the levels when forced to, avoiding the Shredder rather than fighting him. Holding onto the wall, Mikey jumped to a balcony he believed was safe, calming to catch his breath. The shards of glass shattered before his eyes as something broke the window and the noise of a shot echoed in his ears. Daring to look, he saw Deathstroke firing, before jumping to the next level. There, his brothers continued the fight with the Shredder and just a few moments after Mikey arrived, more bullets were fired. "Deathstroke!" Mikey yelled. "Deathstroke!" That was enough to make his brothers to jump up again. But now they were forced to avoid every window and, unfortunately, almost every level was filled with them.
When the Shredder would arrive, there would be no shots, but the moment Leo made a single move backwards, shots went louder. Raph saw that and the moment the shots stopped, he jumped through the broken windows, catching Deathstroke off-guard before he could load his gun. Rolling with him down the stairs, Raph retreated into his shell. Please don't hurt, please don't hurt, please, please, PLEASE!
He pushed Deathstroke away, grabbing both guns. Then he threw them out of the windows, praying that no one will be hurt by them. Deathstroke growled once, then reached for his swords, but Raph stopped that by stepping over his hand. Deathstroke yelled, then pulled Raph down with the other hand, but Raph again managed to reach Deathstroke's throat. "Stay down! Stop it, we're all gonna die!"
"If I have to, I will gladly take you with me!"
"That's not the point, idiot!" Raph did not manage to explain before Deathstroke pulled of his mask and slammed it against Raph's face. He grabbed one sword and swung with it, leaving a cut on a nearby window. Raph breathed in deeply, then reached for Deathstroke, grabbing the blade by the hilt before it could be moved more. He showed Deathstroke his teeth, then pulled both of them closer to a shattered window. He forced himself to his feet, still holding Deathstroke by the throat. They were near the edge and Raph could see that the closest landing was well down there. He held back the instinct and instead thought. Then he thought for another moment, while Deathstroke tried remove his hands. For another moment he thought, prolonging it and fighting the instinct. He imagined every possible scenario of what could happen. He thought as carefully and as calmly as he ever had before. There was no time before in which Raph had thought more carefully.
And in that moment of thoughts, he decided for a compromise. He did everything in a moment - he hit Deathstroke with a full fist and kicked the door behind him. There, as he had hoped, was a long stairway, right in front of the door. He pulled Deathstroke up and threw him over that edge instead of the other one. He heard Deathstroke's screams, followed by a series of hits and breaks. Raph counted to twelve before he heard a loud thump. He sighed again, then closed the door. Maybe he will survive. No, he will certainly survive. He will...What would Splinter say? What will Leo say? He will survive! He will!
Building on that anger, he climbed back to his brothers.
Stephen pulled Maleficent with him through the air, turning on her and daring to spit in her face. She growled at that and caught his Cloak, trying to rip it apart with all her force. Then she screamed in his face, as her eyes glowed yellow. That scream echoed in Stephen's head. Screaming back to release himself of the pain, he made the Spell of Flame stronger, filling them both with intense, insufferable heat. He did not cast a Spell of Endurance on himself, knowing it would weaken the burns a bit. Instead, he let himself burn so hot that Maleficent would feel that heat and suffer it, in combination with her own. She screamed, yelled, bit her own tongue and the green mist grew darker and darker to adjust itself to her pain. At last, it was too much to bear and she pushed him away. Stephen started falling, almost forgetting to undo the Spell. The Cloak carried him above, to Wong. Stephen cast the Spell of Endurance and Healing immediately, breathing rapidly. Instinctively he fired a bolt of energy at the giant clown that chased Wong through the air. He opened a portal behind Mxyzptlk as he pushed him, sending him far away.
He stood in the air and looked for breath again, but then the green mist enveloped him and forced him down. "You will pay for that! You will!" They continued their struggle midair, but Wong then appeared, latching onto Maleficent and trying to pull her away. He cast the Spells of Flame, of Cold, of Vibration, Irritation, every Spell he could think of, hurting her. Maleficent held on more and more, roaring and calling upon her own black magic, ordering every force she knew in the Cosmos to obey her and save her. Stephen and Wong both jumped away from her, feeling the air and gravity had already started to pull them down. Then, they conjured up whips of energy and threw them at Maleficent. She grabbed both with her hands, but immediately regretted as the pain passed right through her body. She screamed as if struck by lightning, then with boiling anger used her magic to throw them. Stephen and Wong, however, still held onto those whips. Both cast the Spell of Might, and pulled Maleficent, throwing her at the tower. Just as the Shredder was fighting with the Turtles, Maleficent's green mist clouded all of them, and she clashed with him. Both Maleficent and Shredder fell from the height. Maleficent, paralyzed from pain, could not do anything, falling like a dead bird from a tree, while the Shredder screamed. Stephen opened a portal for them to pass through, back into the prisons of the Sanctum.
He sat beside the wall to catch his breath. The ringing continued in his ear and a sharp lightning struck again, almost blinding Stephen. Leo ran up to him, touching him on the shoulder. "Stephen?"
"I'm fine." he lied. The pain in his chest was excruciating and, worst of all, his hands had stated shaking. Damn it. "You?"
"We're good. Raph!"
"I'm here." Raph appeared, climbing from the lower level. Mikey took him by the arm, but Raph pushed him. "Stop it. I am alright."
"Sure." Mikey patted him on the shoulder despite Raph's protests.
"Yeah." Donnie said. "But the sky is not."
Red and golden lights continued fighting each other, though the red ones had the upper-hand. They stared at one another, then quickly took the way up. The Cloak took Stephen up, so that he could see Moridin, still enveloped by the shadows. Stephen prepared to cast a new Spell, a Spell of Stillness, one that would put anyone under it into a deep paralysis, leaving them completely incapacitated.
But a long pale hand reached for his throat. It held him above the edge and squeezed. Stephen felt all his breath reach the top of his throat. He saw stars and dots as he tried to free himself, but then he saw a long face, a jaw stretched beyond human normality. Black, soulless eyes stared at him, bleeding. Though the death scream could have filled him with dread otherwise, it was little more than an afterthought at this moment. Stephen saw a shadow in the corner of his eyes, a beast with a long head charging at Wong and Turtles.
His eyes travelled back to Moridin. He had started changing. His form was twisting, mixing shapes in seconds that passed. Images started appearing above the Stone, images of past and present, of a thousand lives that were spread like a carpet, opened for everyone to see.
Moridin twisted once again and thousands of faces appeared in a circle around him. Those faces turned into figures that stood together with Moridin, their eyes all shinning with the same shadows. A second passed and Stephen saw those faces were the same as Moridin's. After a while they would change, but with every blink a shape of Moridin would return, leaving thousands of them gathered in a circle. A golden light above Moridin blinked a few times, before the red light finally had dominion. No gold was left in the sky.
Moridin finished his chanting. The Shy Guy dropped Stephen and did not continue to maul him as he thought he would. The Queen threw Wong once at the Turtles, then ran towards Moridin. The Shy Guy followed her, disappearing in the shadows that stood around Moridins. Then the red lightning struck the stone and then spread like a mist and embraced Moridin. The red light gathered, like the waves of a sea - then it exploded.
The force pushed them away, leaving wounds on Stephen's face. The first dozen levels of the structure exploded collapsed. Stephen first grabbed the Turtles with the Spell from one hand, then with the other, destroyed as many of those pieces up as he could. Most of those pieces disappeared, turning into dust and ash by the fire of magic Stephen threw at them. The few that escaped his magic were too small to matter. Something else fell by Stephen's side, a strange shape that continued to burn in the air, but it was gone before he could know what it was.
Stephen finally opened a portal below all of them, having them land on their feet. He wiped his forehead and stood up. His eyes glanced to the crowd of people who looked at him, with a mix of terror and hope. Stephen helped Leo get to his feet and opened his mouth to ask something.
But then, in the middle of the crowd, sparkles of light coalesced. Thunder rumbled in the sky, throwing a bright yellow object to the ground nearby. When it hit, it sent a wave that everyone gathered around could feel and their legs betrayed them, so they dropped to their knees, staring at the lightning that slowly descended from the sky. That same lightning stood still for a while, until a figure emerged from it. A figure in black robes, with a black crown above his head. The ground rose for him, creating a height for him to stand and look down on everyone.
He gave a short glance to the yellow dot that fell from the sky. In that darkness he was more clear than anything else, even than the dim moon. He gave them a gaze of fire. "So you have chosen?" he said, his voice echoing, as it seemed, through the entire city. "Fine then. My master respects your choice and he will respond in a proper way." He raised his hand and the thunder rumbled again, striking every building around them. Sauron was not doing anything - he was not casting a spell or using his powers. He was just commanding, and the skies obeyed him.
"Hear then! This universe, and this planet in particular, will be the first in the entire Cosmos to suffer the wrath of the Great Lord Melkor! This entire world will turn into a graveyard, and there will be nothing to save you from the coming doom. Your had the opportunity to avoid this, if you had complied. But you have chosen this yourselves. If I were you, common mortals, I would just give up already. Your protectors will not fare much better than any of you." He smiled. "You have spoken. So let it be!"
The fiery circle opened behind him, and his body looked like a black iris in a red eye. When the eye closed, thunder stopped and the clouds went away. The crowd started screaming, but Stephen only focused on the golden dot that faded. He ran towards it, Turtles ran with their friend.
"Stephen!" Leo tried to catch him, but Stephen slipped from his grasp. As he scrambled through the rubble, he used the spell to raise all the broken pieces, and then he found her.
Carol did not look like herself anymore. Her suit was almost entirely destroyed. Her body was bruised and burned on several places. She hugged herself and hid in the nearest corner she could find, as if she was a girl beaten in a school yard.
Captain Marvel - the most powerful Avenger and Protector of Earth - was crying like a toddler, begging Sauron, the Servant of the Devil himself, to spare her.
END OF BOOK ONE
Our Sun sets. The light that gave us life ends and - it surrenders to his power. We are leaving. We are lost. Spare us. Spare us this misery.
- The last death rattle recorded, spoken by a simple beggar who name no one knew, on her deathbed. It is confirmed that dying people really do see things that are prophetic. Their last words must be taken seriously. Or rather, we should have taken them seriously. Now, we failed. It is over.
Heavens help us all.
That's the best way to describe it - phew!
Well over a year of this journey, all to come to this. Sure, I have ended with a cliffhanger, but that's sort of the point - I hope the journey was worthwhile to you as it was to me. The continuation is going to take a bit longer until it starts, in order for me to gather all my thoughts and start thinking clearly
Now, in the next chapter of the story, we will see what happens. Morgoth is close at hand, and the Battle of all Battles, the War of Good and Evil, will reach a turning point in the stories to come. Not a simple story about the Multiverse, but about the only war that ever mattered in history of life - the War between Morgoth and all creatures for survival.
I want to thank everyone for being a part of this journey:)
I will see you all in later stories. There might be an epilogue with Hoid, but again, it will be just that - an epilogue. The first part of the story is over and the foundation is set. Strange and Turtles will remain important characters, but they will share that with other characters as well later on. We will see how it all goes.
See you soon. Ciao:)