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Luke
Luke5252 258435580650 889750650 8340321 612324 n
Vital statistics
Class Dark Cleric
Gender Male
Race Chosen Human
Faction Gongshow:Gaiden
Level 7
Power Source Black/White Mana, Chakra
Feats Library of a Planeswalker
At Will Abilities 4xDarkblast, 4xDouse In Gloom, 4xConsume Spirit
Encounter Abilities 3xThoughtseize, 3xGift of Orzhova, 2xHarm's Way, 2xPillory of the Sleepless, 2xLingering Souls,Vertical Water Slicer, Planeswalker Ability: Target creature gains lifelink, 2xBloodghast,2xTidehollow Sculler
Daily Abilities 1xSun's Bounty, 1xHealing Salve, 1xMutilate, 1xGravedigger, 1xRend Spirit, 1xSickening Shoal, 1xShining Shoal, Water Prison, Water Shark Bullet
Fortitude 0
Reflex 2
Will 5
Modifiers +1 Speed, +2 Fortitude (Endurance), +1 Cold Resistance, +4 Magical Experimentation
Weapons Mace
Weapons Training Mace, Sword
Armour Shivering Isles Leather Armour, Mirror Shield, Oakley Shades, Silver Gauntlets
Equipment Key of Solomon, Ball of Yarn
Status Active
Companions Morte, Haunter, Aerodactyl

Adventurer from Origin Earth, and a prominent member of Gongshow:Gaiden.

Luke's ThoughtsEdit

Chapter 2Edit

Mark was closer to Garruk's graveyard, and I was closer to Liliana's. Honestly, that's the only reason that I initially went for it. I found it very strange that Liliana had access to any white mana - why would she have Carom at all?

We fought as hard as we could, but tragically, the priest had been killed by Liliana in her search for the stone. Garruk killed her for us, or so we thought. Seems she had sent a shadow clone, or something similar in her place.

At this point, my new life had been made clear. Pacifism is weakness. Weakness is death. I would do what it took to survive. I apparently had a connection to black mana, and the Drain spell. This would be my greatest asset in this new life.

Mark had learned to summon creatures himself, and to use a crude version of Giant Growth. So he's got green and very possibly white mana, given what I knew of his background. I had white as well, which was unsurprising, but black mana was a surprise. It even seemed easier to call upon than white...

I remember a story in the M:TG universe about a white-aligned mage being reluctantly taught red magic by being tasked to light a fire in an arctic campsite. He focused all his energy on his adopted mountain homes, but his subconscious took him to his original home on the plains instead, every time. He ended up lighting the fire with a massive phoenix of holy light, attracting enemies to the camp.

Was I in the same situation? Where was my subconscious going when I used black mana? There are sloughs, dugouts and small swamps on the old man's property - which seemed like the most obvious source of black to me.

Mark didn't have any more insight than I did into this. Still, at some point, I would have to learn from his abilities and he'd have to learn from mine.

Chapter 4Edit

I'd need to think about this one and experiment somewhat. At this point, my thinking was still constrained by M:TG.

Moving along, we went back along the path to see if another village hadn't been burninated, or if there were survivors or something. On the way, we saw a green pipe covered by branches and brush. Well, good to know that those were still around, I guess. Down we go!

We made our way across a dangerous platforming challenge, somehow. Surprisingly, it was less difficult than I initially feared. (Sirmills - if memory serves, I had good rolls until Bowser's castle for platforming, and this is where I saved Chris and Steve from spikes/falls) I even managed to save Steve from a spike pit, which was surprising. He'd definitely owe me for that.

Soon we came upon a small room with Mario, drunk and passed out. I thought it best not to disturb a hero, especially if he might think that my powers were evil. Most weaker minds do think that Drain is evil, but I by now saw the ability to drain life as my greatest asset. I was uniquely ... understanding enough in our group that the ability to save myself by draining the life from an enemy was simply pragmatic to me. It's not like the enemy wouldn't drain my life to save himself if he thought it would help him.

Unsurprisingly, Topher decided to wake up Mario while Steve and I searched the room for clues and supplies. Lots of booze and food. Why wasn't I surprised that Mario was a boozer?

The others thought it would be a good idea to talk to Mario while he was barely conscious. I thought it better to let sleeping dogs lie, especially ones that could probably take us out without very much effort.

Topher's bad Italian imitation wasn't helping.

After letting Mario nap to sober up, he woke up full of energy. Seems sober enough, but he can sure put it away. As we headed out, Mario explained that once again, Bowser had 8 boss minions with keys to his castle. Shocking. At least there wasn't much indication that the Mushroom Kingdom had been corrupted by outside forces yet. Bowser was ... a concern that we'd need to deal with soon. We had at least 8 more fights to improve our powers.

The first boss was a giant beetle. I didn't recall which game or level he was from, but fair enough. Mario immediately jumped into the fray ... and straight into the beast's mouth. Looks like he wasn't all that sober after all. On the downside, we had lost an incredibly valuable ally. On the upside, I had lost a potential enemy that may have been unnerved by our abilities, especially Drain. I'd have to remember to keep my black mana hidden from allies outside our group unless the situation really got bad.

In the meantime, we had enemies to fight and my powers could be unrestrained.

Most of us tried to get to the back of the beetle's head from its back. Chris' training in fighting meant that he was best suited to fight the beetle straight on and try to keep it from hitting the rest of us. I used Drain on the beetle's weak point and hit it a few times, but Chris managed to kill it straight up with his sword in its mouth. Very nice.

We got the first key and headed to a warp zone. Wasn't expecting that, the warp zones are usually quite hidden in the games. Oh well. As is traditional, we took the last one, hoping to skip some of the bosses.

We ended up on a stone platform, with everything seemingly made of stone. Surely, we'd encounter Thwomps soon.

Only the largest Womp of all appeared, a massive stone wall that came to life. Could I drain a being made of stone? There was only one way to find out. It was, after all, alive.

Luckily for me, it did work, once the Womp King fell forward, exposing his weakness and allowing us to climb upon his back. So I can apparently drain things that are alive, even if they're made of stone. Nice.

After a short battle with him and his spawn (one of which I drained completely. Excellent), we defeated the Womp King.

Again, we went to the last warp pipe behind the Womp King's room and again, we appeared in a closed off, stone hall. First thing we encountered was a bob-omb. Crap, crap, crap. Drain was a touch attack at this point, so I couldn't use it against a bob-omb safely. Steve and Chris were fine for the task for now, but I definitely would need a ranged attack to deal with things like this in the future.

Next, we found a giant Bob-omb with a crown sleeping on a throne. There wasn't much I could do safely against a regular bob-omb, let alone a king Bob-omb. This boss was beyond my ken, but this was the reason we had two ranged attackers in our group.

Apparently this line of reasoning escaped Topher, who charged in anyway. Unfortunately, the ranged attacks from Chris and Steve took the crown off his head, then lit the wick. The king was naturally furious, and charged straight to Chris as the rest of us fled the room. Brave one, he is. He cut the wick and it flipped in the air, relighting the rest of the wick. Shiiiiiiiit.

At least the key survived, along with a warp pipe. Come to think of it, it always seemed odd that very little could actually damage the pipes in the games. Oh well.

We also had only encountered bob-ombs and thwomps as regular Mario enemies. What happened to the goombas, the koopas, and those fucking spiky guys?

To The Camp!Edit

Through the pipe, we found a small camp of koopas. Mark, it turned out, had been camping out with them the whole time after crash landing nearby. In the mean time, he'd figured out how to use the Witch's broom a bit. Sweet, another mobility technique in our group. But why were these koopas starving and hiding away from their own boss?

We soon found out from the oddly elderly Magikoopa, who had been leading their group, that Bowser had changed somehow (gee, you think?) and had cannibalized the koopas. Huh.

I also learned how to better redirect the effects of white and black mana, meaning I could redirect the lifeforce drained by my drain life spell and the damage redirected by Carom. Perfect. If I can redirect the path of an attack, maybe I can form mana into a shape that I can control. I'd have to think on that one.

We had 5 bosses left to fight.

The most important parts of our time in the Mushroom Kingdom were those battles, so I will try to be brief about the rest of the story.

We made our way up a giant pyramid and across some panels to a monster consisting of two hands with eyes in their palms. I was grabbed at one point and managed to Drain its eye directly, at point blank range. It then dropped me, making the effort far easier than trying to wriggle free. We soon defeated the creature and got another key.

Through the next pipe we came into an industrial castle. After struggling through a line of fireball-shooting turrets, we rested for a while. As one of the party members downed by a fireball, it definitely hurt, and thinking back on it, I wonder why I didn't use Carom to save myself. I would need to remember to use it more often, and use it in more ways.

(Sirmills - I'm just throwing this bit in for flavor, I know it didn't happen in the session, but hey, what the hell.)

While we rested, I took a short nap. This was the first of my nightmares that happened after I gained power.

Our group had come into an arctic landscape, and were, for once, prepared, with winter clothing, camping supplies, and so on. We were hunting for something or someone and started to lose hope. After long hours of searching, we came across a grisly scene.

Blood had been splattered in six directions from a central point, and at that point laid Mark. His staff was broken, the Broom was missing, and his clothes were soaked with frozen blood. It was at this point I realized that the Broom was in my hand, and the rest of the group was looking at me expectingly with tears in their eyes. I used it to fly above the scene, and this is what I saw:

Deathmark

After I described the scene to the group from above, the next thing I saw was a Chaos Bolt (or was it a Magic Missile?) flying in my direction. That's when I woke up, before the rest of the group did. I made sure to keep this dream to myself because I knew that the only spell that did that was an M:TG black spell .

We moved along to the next room in silence.


The next boss was a giant robot rising from a huge 20ft pit. Shit, a robot, too far away to Drain, and unlikely a Drain-able target anyway. Couldn't really use Carom against the giant Bullet Bills either. We managed to turn the bullets back at the robot, and Chris tried to attack the robot from behind. Chris fell off the robot's back and landed in its hand (strangely lucky). Once we defeated the robot, Topher fell from its shoulder and Mark couldn't save him with the Broom, so Topher tried to teleport a third time. He disappeared, and Chris appeared to be in great pain. It was hard to tell why this happened from a great distance.

This fight made me realize that I needed another attack spell that didn't require Drainability. My nightmare made me think that it should be a black spell.

Through the next pipe was a lava-filled cave, with a mesh net hanging overhead. Naturally, we climbed along the mesh to a large room with a cage full of Goombas. After fighting the Robot, these goombas didn't seem like much of a threat. Once the Giant Centipede showed up and ate several goombas, however, we saw the threat.

Chris hadn't apparently gotten the memo, and blasted the centipede with several Chaos bolts at once, cutting it down to its head only. Wow. Going to need a defense against that. Apparently, Chris' vomit cleared something out of his system and helped him kick some serious ass.

We quickly defeated the beast, but Topher wasn't finished. He electrified himself and put his hands on the metal cage holding the goombas. Since the rest of the group was standing on the metal mesh and I happened to be closest, I Caromed his electricity into the open air (neat effect - might want to keep that one in the back of my mind). It only helped for a second, and soon the goombas were wiped out.

And so it was that we headed back to the koopa village with a new source of food.

Back to the Camp!Edit

We came back to the village to discover Sarah, Topher's daughter. She had discovered how to shapeshift.

This was getting truly disturbing - even a child can get powers in this new crazy multiverse? I hesitated to think of how she got this power. At this point, I realized that even if the Earth had survived, there was no possible way that life would return to normal for us. If powers were this widely spread through the Earth population, there was no telling what the political repercussions would be if the Earth had indeed survived. On the upside, this meant that at least some people who weren't near the towers had indeed survived.

We stocked up in the village and slept overnight, to prepare for the last part of our journey through the Mushroom Kingdom. This time, I didn't have a nightmare ... more of a revelation.

(Sirmills - again, just throwing this in for flavor)

We seemed to be in modern Vancouver, and the city was being invaded by reptilian aliens. Our group was running with the civilians (blending in? or maybe running from a powerful foe?) when I saw them - the superhero group a couple of us imagined in a gaming campaign. I saw Decibal blasting aliens with a soundwave, Dr. Fubar squishing another into a gelatinous flesh cube (a favorite hobby of his), and the character I had played. John Martin, aka Riddari ("Knight"), the archeologist who discovered ancient Atlantean armor and had started to undergo the transformation into a Machination. Nanites were replacing his blood, and would grow an incomplete set of plate armor from his own hair follicles. He looked directly at me as I stared in wonder at the events occurring in front of me. Then I saw my own face in his, as the helmet was grown over his eyes, and his massive sword came into being in his hands.

"Of course!", I thought. There was no reason to be restricted to M:TG abilities with my mana. I could take inspiration for new powers from one of my own creations.

I thanked Riddari as my mana circulated around me, forming a black demonic wing on my left shoulder to contrast the white angelic wing on my right. I flew into the fray as a great lance grew from mixed black and white mana around my right arm, piercing the first alien that came at me through the skull.

I Drained the next alien, and Caromed an energy blast from one to another. The lance, after I let it go through the initial attacker's skull, had pierced the concrete in a sidewalk and started to form a void around itself, sucking in the aliens nearby. I was too focused on my own battle to realize that the rest of my group had left me behind, no evidence that they had powers at all. Were they afraid of the battle? Of the aliens? The superheroes that had come to fight them? I doubted all of these, and realized that they were afraid of me.

A sad thought to say the least. But they weren't afraid of me yet. There was still time to prove that I had no reason to turn on them. So it was that I woke up with a peaceful, hopeful heart.

The next boss was a giant Piranha Plant that immediately summoned Thwomps all around it. Huh. I wasn't going to be able to get close to this thing. Sarah didn't seem to agree, and sprinted to it in the form of a badger.

I barely got to a spot between the thwomps, about 10 feet from the beast. Well, getting closer to it would probably mean getting squished. I had no ranged attacks ... or did I? I took a deep breath and reached for its lifeforce with my mana. Only barely did I reach it, but now I knew. I could Drain from a distance. The next time I did it from that distance, I could breathe in its lifeforce with no difference than it would be up close. Perfect.

My new power didn't give me much luck against the beast, and I, like some others in the group, was knocked unconscious. I got back up for a bit, but was knocked down once again, and didn't get up for a while.

The group was too busy fighting for their lives to notice that I was indeed alive, watching the Stormtroopers and their Sith mistress (after all, why would a Jedi be working with Stormtroopers?) struggle against the beast and almost get ... something ... from Chris. I got back up, struggling to my feet.

By the time I got back up, the beast was defeated, the Stormtroopers and Sarah gone and Topher facing down a small red demonic child. This couldn't go on - but I couldn't stop the fire demon from possessing him when Chris shot a Chaos Bolt at it.

The situation had taken a big turn for the worse - not only was Topher now possessed, but Steve had also started going mad with misguided love or need to avenge the Sith that had shown up. He had also started getting paranoid about the Joker's influence in our new lives. On the upside, we got a Sith artifact, along with a Jedi ««artifact. On the downside, Steve had them. Would he get Force powers from the devices? Would I be able to stop him from going on a mad quest for revenge if he did? That thought stuck in my mind as we headed back to the village with the last key. We also recovered two blaster rifles (for Chris and myself), along with a set of Stormtrooper armor for Mark.

Back to the Camp, this time with Feeling!Edit

Once again, we rested, and once again, I dreamed.

Debtor s Knell MtG Card Art by w4ffl35

No ordinary bell...

This time, I was alone in a massive cathedral full of enemies - gargoyles, thrulls, and ghosts chasing me to the central vault of secrets. I couldn't use my powers, it felt like they had run out, and I simply couldn't fight so many anymore. Bloodied, I nearly reached my goal - an ordinary-looking rope, used to ring a bell. But this was no ordinary bell. I was in Orzhova, Church of Deals , and finally, I would have reached my goal. It wasn't to be, however, as I felt some sort of magical attack hit my back. It felt oddly familiar, but it didn't matter, because I soon felt myself coming out of body. What happened next disturbed me for quite a while afterwards...

The Orzhov minions left my unconscious body alone for quite a while and cautiously approached it to make sure I was actually dead. One of the thrulls tapped my corpse's shoulder, and nothing happened. Then it turned its back, and my body stood up once again. Black mana came out of my corpse's back in a furious storm and formed into a menacing creature, the likes of which I had never seen. Not that I'd ever want to see such a thing again. The beast stood behind me and lashed out at the minions nearby, causing my corpse to mimic its actions in a sick puppet show. Was this thing the source of my black mana? I had no idea where that mana had come from, but used it to survive. Was I just feeding this beast the whole time? {C Death's Shadow

It raged and raged, destroying the walls. Every so often, a minion would reach my corpse and try to hurt it, which just seemed to encourage the black beast. They could do nothing against such a creature. Neither could I, but in a surprising, seemingly instinctual action, my corpse cast Drain, killing some poor thrull. This seemed to shrink the beast, surprisingly enough. I felt my spirit compelled to move back to my body, but I wasn't sure I wanted to while that beast was there. My body used Drain again, and as the minions were forced back, the beast shrunk again by the time I made it back to my body. When I was able to move again, I turned around and faced the creature. It seemed to nod and smile at me, if it could be called a smile. We had done well, and survived to boot.

I woke up in a cold sweat.

I had theorized about the source of my black mana for a while, and had decided there were three sources.

Mark had decided that M:TG powers were tied to the lands you knew - he had white and green mana because he was from an area of plains and forests. Fair enough, and that was a possible explanation - if that were true, I should have access to white (plains), green (forests, there were a few small 'forests' around and near my birth home), and black (there was a particular grid road intersection near home with a 'swamp' on each corner). I wasn't quite satisfied with that, however. I would have a connection to black, but it wouldn't be very strong. But I was using black mana far more than white now.

I had thought that mana was not only tied to land, but also to philosophy and attitude. I had thought of myself as somewhat Orzhov, protective of my small social circle, but fuck everyone else. I had some ways with money and diplomacy when I needed them. I was much more comfortable with that idea, because it meant that Drain was simply pragmatic, rather than some power trip. Which it also was.

This wasn't quite right either, because it didn't seem quite right that Mark would have green, white, and now blue mana from his philosophy only.

The more disturbing idea is that some external force had given us our powers - sure, we had gotten them from Liliana's and Garruk's 'graveyards', but was that intentional on their part? I doubted it. We would really need to think on this one - it could be the determining factor in our survival.

(Sirmills - going off of memory for the rest of chapter 4, feel free to correct or use this material to finish off ch4)

We asked the Magikoopa for any final tips about facing Bowser, but he didn't have any really good ideas for us. I was so lost in thought that I forgot my backpack (with the Witch's spellbook inside) in the village as we left. Didn't even think of it until we got to the castle. We headed finally to the castle, which was surrounded by a classic moat. The drawbridge was up - this was something we didn't think of. Chris and I went to get a ladder or something to cross the way and we soon found one in the village. That was strange, finding an intact ladder in a burnt village, but I was with Chris, which I was starting to think meant that crazy shit was bound to happen.

Chris and I returned with the ladder only to discover that Steve and Topher had dived in and found a locked warp pipe with a lock for each key, not that it had labels for which lock went with which key or anything.

As Topher went underwater again, the rest of us stood watch, hoping that nothing would notice us, or maybe that the water was clear of threats. We saw a shadow moving through the water, making us fear for Topher's well-being. We tried to get him to get out, but it seemed that we didn't think of how to talk to each other through the water. Not that it mattered because the giant fish soon struck Topher as he activated his electrical attack. Electrical attack ... underwater. Well done, Topher. The fish was stunned and swam away from us.

Mark and Chris noticed underwater that there was an anchor with a ring large enough for the fish to fit, but too small for it to swim through completely. They got the fish stuck there, and we finished it off quite easily. I Drained it from the edge of the moat twice, and tried to shoot it with the blaster to really cook it, but discovered that the lasers fired by the blasters reflect off of water. Good to know, but what a pain in the ass at this point.

As the fish struggled, it managed to pull the anchor up a foot or two. We realized that the anchor was actually a plug, covering a drain that the water in the moat escaped through. Poor fish, he thought we were to be trifled with and eaten like minnows. The rest of the group decided that seafood sounded like a delicious meal, but I wasn't hungry. Weird, I had been eating nothing but those fucking mushrooms for days now, but delicious fish didn't seem delicious? Maybe Drain has been having a stronger effect on me than I had originally thought. Was I eating lifeforce? Why would I eat anything else?

Topher tried to drink some water to go with the fish, but it turned to sand in his mouth. Uh oh. Does the demon inside of him not like water? Why would it turn water into sand? That sounds like something a Djinn would do. At this point, there was nothing I could do to help Topher, but I'd have to keep an eye on him, just in case the demon made him do something really crazy. Rather, made him do something really crazy against the group, instead of to himself, like he usually does.

We eventually got the keys into the pipe and got the lid off, so we could head inside that way instead of messing around with the drawbridge. Off we went!

First we emerged in a cave, which we found our way through really easily. Odd. Oh well - we headed through the cave and got out through another path. Along the way, we got two red mushrooms, that Mark used and Chris held on to, Steve got a blue flower. Interesting, I don't recall blue flowers, they were always orange. I even got to experience the Star's power. Hell yes, I thought, as I ran forward, faster than I ever had, trying to find something to take out in one swift blow.

We emerged in a typical Mario castle level, stone floors, lots of lava, rotating platforms, fireballs, good times. I barely kept up with the rest of the group, and Topher was finally able to teleport reliably enough that he lead the way. Just before a particularly difficult stretch of platforms, Chris decided to see if he could find another way. Fair enough. Mark flew, Steve dashed, Topher teleported, I nearly fell to my doom. I really needed to find a mobility spell. But how could Carom and Drain lead to one?

We finally made our way to a huge set of red wooden doors. This was most definitely it. Topher peeked inside and discovered Bowser sleeping with the Princess unconscious in a cage nearby. We slowly opened the doors and Chris and I stood by the entrance, blaster rifles ready. The others snuck in trying to get behind Bowser to deal a quick killing blow. For some reason, I was compelled to blurt something out in a loud voice. Fffffuuuuuu....

Bowser woke up and growled. The platforms started moving seemingly at random. Chris and I fired the blasters, missing both times. No wonder the Stormtroopers were always so hilariously inaccurate in the movies, these things sucked! I figured I might as well use the thing quickly until I figure out a true ranged power to use instead. There wasn't even an indication of how much power the batteries had left. Lame.

We fought with all we had against Bowser. I managed to get right up in his face and thought that this was the time I really needed all the power I could get. I called upon the black beast from my dreams, thinking it just might be real in this multiverse, and asked it for more power. Apparently, it didn't get the memo, as my uber-Drain failed. That was reassuring, in a way, as maybe this meant that the black beast wasn't the source of my black mana.

Still, I would have rather Drained Bowser than shot at him with the stupid blaster rifle. On we went, Draining and hitting him with our weapons when the platform came close, blasting from afar when the platforms went away. Then Topher found something interesting behind Bowser's massive throne. An axe. Seriously, you had to be joking. As soon as Topher touched the axe, the floor started rumbling and crumbling away. Good thing we were all on platforms, or next to the Princess' cage. Bowser fell into the lava and we thought we were through. Phew. That was ... a lot easier than it really should have been.

We soon discovered that we weren't done with Bowser, because the Princess woke up and said "Orior" in a voice that was clearly not her own. Bowser stood back up, lava and all, in his massive 40ft frame. Shit. This could be bad.

I was across the room, and saw 2ftx2ftx2ft blocks start appearing in the air near us. There was one about 20 ft from me. If only I could reach it. Time to experiment with my white mana. I knew I could redirect a magical force near me to another path, maybe I could redirect my own mana and shape it into an object. I was initially hoping for an orb that I could throw at the block, making its powerup appear. Turns out, as I looked at my hand and concentrated on its motions, trying to shape the mana correctly, it coalesced into a hand. Interesting.

I reached as far as I could with a clenched fist, sending the white hand flying into the block. I punched the block perfectly with a hand made from white mana from 20ft away. Perfect.

It was another blue flower. I tried again to reach it with the hand and bring it back to me. It reached the flower and bumped it right off the block. Shiiiiiiiii....

Luckily, Mark was nearby and flew on the broom, catching it. Bowser was weak against the ice attack the blue flower gave us, and now both Mark and Steve had it.

We kept on fighting and had Bowser on the ropes. As per usual, Topher teleported to his head, really got in Bowser's face. He fell twice, but could only really teleport once more. On the third try, he disappeared again, in a poof of insanity. This time, Chris couldn't reach through the Logrus and grab him, but he was busy trying to kill the Princess. Good thing he stopped himself.

Steve reached a block near him, complete with a Star. In spectacular fashion, he executed a charge attack against Bowser and killed him in one hit. I wanted that killing blow with a Drain, but I wasn't about to argue, since I had been knocked unconscious.

When we woke the Princess up, a great black smoke escaped from her mouth. I knew what this was - she was possessed by a demon from the Supernatural universe. Possessions, the Joker shooting people, undead Bowser, black mana, life was getting real interesting.

And where the hell was Topher?

Back to the Camp, the FinaleEdit

We took the unconscious Princess back to the Koopa camp - what else were we going to do?

While we were gone, the Magikoopa had translated the Witch's spellbook - apparently it was the Key of Solomon, an old text that sounds like the Sam and Dean Winchester handbook. It had banishing spells, exorcism rituals, seals of warding, and all sorts of things.

The most interesting thing I saw were rituals to bind Demons/Spirits to my command. Magikoopa seemed to agree and noted 3 in particular - Barbatos (allowing speech with animals), Ose (shapeshifting) and Dantalion (mind magic and "world walking"). "World walking" to me sounds an awful lot like planeswalking. The idea of using someone else's ability to planeswalk, instead of my own, especially a demon royal, sounds like a reeeeeally bad idea. If I understand correctly, planeswalking ability manifests in mages with some sort of traumatic experience and usually quite suddenly. I would think that if "the spark" is real and that if I had it, it would have manifested by now. Maybe it had manifested in Topher, which had given him the ability to planeswalk (and teleport), but he didn't understand the mechanics of it yet.

This was a frightening thought - the only member of our party able to planeswalk was also our most reckless and likely to be killed by his own actions. Not to mention that he was possessed. If he went to another plane, we'd have to go and find him. He could have only come back because of ... whatever Chris did. Speaking of which, was the Logrus somehow connected to the planes or even the Blind Eternities - the space between?

All of this was too complex to deal with on my own, I'd need some help from the rest of the group to figure it all out - not that we could do experiments or anything at this point.

On the upside, I had a source of exorcism rituals, and it was possible I could at least get rid of the demon inside of him. Maybe even that black beast from my dream. But then I'd probably lose my black mana, one of my best tricks for survival in the multiverse.

Worse, my memory has always been pretty bad, so doing an exorcism ritual might be difficult for me if I lose the Key. I should let Chris and Mark read the book at the very least - I worry that Steve might bind some demon to him in his crazy quest for revenge.

Seems that the rest of the group (Mark aside, since he seems to be the most cautious of our group - which makes sense, given his newfound blue mana) was willing to get the balloon back up and running, so we could head to another plane, in hopes of finding Topher. Besides, this village didn't seem to need us anymore. The Magikoopa proclaimed that we had done more for them than any hero had before. Maybe that old Orzhov priest was right about me after all.

After saying our goodbyes and repairing the balloon, we started the ascent from the castle's courtyard.

Chapter 5Edit

As we flew higher and higher, we soon encountered a storm (again) - at least this time we didn't crash. Chris had gotten pretty good at flying the balloon, and we weren't fighting over the Broom this time. Almost a good thing that Topher wasn't around to do something really crazy.

Then the giant flying bird thing attacked us. We hit the deck, and it smashed into the balloon basket, nearly tipping it over. It came around for another pass and Chris managed to blast it with a Chaos Bolt at the last second. Really in need of a ranged attack right about now.

We let the heat out of the balloon to descend and soon saw a contemporary town. Well that was good, at least. We'd be able to get real supplies here, if we could get our hands on some money.

Soon we landed on the rooftop of an apartment building and realized that the situation was not nearly as nice as we initially thought it would be. Flaming wrecks of cars, not many people around, things in chaos. We saw the cause of the trouble right away.

Zombies. My eyes must have widened as soon as I saw them. This was a threat I hadn't thought of, but really should have. They're one of the most common enemies in the multiverse, I would think, and depending on the rules involved, they may be immune to Drain and attacks like it based on black mana.

I helped Chris pack up the balloon as quickly as possible and barricade the door. I thought that maybe the new wards from Supernatural would be helpful, so I put one on the door. Who knows? If it worked, then that was definitely something I could do against the zombies. If it didn't, I'd need to improvise.

Rule 1: CardioEdit

Over the roof edge, I saw one of the human survivors running from the zombie apocalypse get taken out. It didn't take long for him to get back up. It seemed that regular humans really didn't stand up well against zombies, but regular humans don't have magic.

There was a gas station across the street, and we needed fuel for the balloon, so after we barricaded the door, it seemed like a simple plan to sneak across the street, with Steve using Magic Missle from above to cover us (not to mention distracting the zombies by shattering windows across the street. He didn't seem totally together, especially not after he managed to crack open the artifact he had retrieved from the Sith that killed the Piranha plant.

Mark, Chris and I went down the fire escape easily. Nice way to get up and down the side of the building without letting zombies in ... I guess. It needed Steve to unlock the stairs and if he was taken down somehow, we'd be stuck. At least Mark can fly up there and Chris might be able to take out multiple zombies at once.

We made it to the gas station easily enough and I grabbed all the food, especially salt, that I could find and dumped it into my bag. I was hungry and freaking tired of mushrooms by this point. A zombie was chewing on some poor schmuck as we looted the place. Chris slashed at it, and I smashed its head in just after. Gotta make sure.

Rule 2: Double TapEdit

We were soon attacked as we made our way back to the apartment building. We fought on the street next to the apartment building,

I wanted to stay away from the zombies, but I didn't have any ranged attacks or minions like Mark and Chris . Mark does have Giant Growth, and logically, as a black mana user I should be able to cast a spell with the opposite effect on an enemy.

Concentrating, I remembered my powers are based on pushing (Carom ) and pulling (Drain ), so I tried pulling the strength out of the nearest zombie, maybe 10 feet away from us. I couldn't pull the strength into myself and, in retrospect, it's probably better that I didn't.

The zombie was slowed down a bit, and that was a start. Thus was Darkblast born.

I was swiftly tackled into a concrete wall and my head hit the wall, knocking me unconscious.

I'm very surprised and lucky that Mark flew me to the roof. I was bitten, but I didn't feel any ill effects yet. Maybe the virus was transferred in another way. Maybe black mana made me immune some how. Still better than being a zombie, I suppose.

Once I woke up, I was on the fire escape's middle level and headed up the ladder only to find that a zombie was looking down at me over the edge of the roof. If a zombie was free to stand there and look at me, that must mean the zombies broke through the ward I drew on the roof door. Did that mean the zombies were non-magical and thus ignored the ward entirely? Or did it only last for a certain amount of time? Only one way to find out - chances are good that if they are magical, Drain won't work on them, or worse, it would heal them.

I don't know if I just forgot that Draining a zombie in some universes hurts the caster instead of healing them, or if my lust for lifeforce had grown such that I couldn't remember that little bit of information. So when I reached the top of the ladder, I grabbed the zombie's ankle and Drained.

It was a sickening, agonizing experience, Draining a zombie. Was this what it felt like to be Drained? I soon fell unconscious again, back to the middle floor of the fire escape.

When I got up again, I knew that I would need to change my approach. The zombies had surrounded the others, and I would need to help them instead of being weak to my addiction. Yeah, at this point I had realized I was addicted to Drain. It was so much ... simpler than eating. More efficient transfer of life from one thing to another. You could say that Drain was a logical next step in evolution.

Chris was closest to me, burning the zombies with WD-40 and a lighter. He's a good person to have on your side, you know. Always coming up with awesome things to do with random shit. It's like having Macgyver on your team.

Anyway, I thought that if black-aligned attacks were ineffective against zombies, maybe a white-aligned attack would be better. I shaped my Whitehand and mimicked a slapping motion across the face of the zombie in front of me.

Whitehand must have been much more effective than I thought, because the next thing I knew, that zombie was flying off the roof. Sweet.

The fight continued on, Mark learned to cast a shield spell - handy thing, that - but why would I use that instead of Carom?

We finally managed to kill all the zombies (I made sure to hit them again in the head for good measure) and started to wonder what to do next.

And where the hell was Topher?

Rule 3: Beware of BathroomsEdit

The next thing we decided was to barricade the top floor of the building, so that we could freely sleep and/or shower in the building. Not to mention any supplies we might have found.

The suites were surprisingly empty of zombies - guess they were out of 'food'. We looted the places and found many more supplies, getting most of the things that Steve was looking for. I thought it was unreasonable to expect that he wanted to get a sword, armor and guns, in a contemporary post-apocalyptic world. All the weapons were probably in use already. We found a family huddled together, dead, behind a locked door. Looks like they had starved to death after giving up any fight. Good to know that locked doors will stop zombies at least.

Chris and Steve spent some time barricading the stairway with old furniture and a tripwire. In the meantime, Mark and I thought we would try an experiment to ward the room against zombies. In M:TG, this would probably be a Circle of Protection: Black - but what would that do to me? Besides, we didn't have a clue as to how to cast a self-sustaining Circle of Protection. So first, Mark decided we should try warding against lamps.

I was starting to get the sense that my powers were all offense, all the time. They just happened to be versatile enough to be used defensively. That didn't bother me that much, I'd just need to be sure to kill my enemies before they could kill me, or have allies nearby that do have defensive powers.

Our ward was a minor success - we managed to ward a 2ft diameter circle against lamps. Hurray? We had to be standing near it, feeding it with white mana to even get that much. It wasn't practical yet until we had something self-sustaining.

We got Steve, then Chris to throw a lamp at the thing to test it. Steve missed the circle almost completely, almost hitting Mark in the process. When Chris threw the lamp over it, it hovered over the top of the lamp and landed on the other side. Nice.

I gave up on it for now, but Mark kept working on it - I noticed that Steve had left the Jedi artifact on a shelf nearby and was too focused on the Sith one. Clearly he was frustrated about his inability to unlock the Jedi artifact, even asking the Sith one how to open it.

Okay, Steve's going nuts. Wonder if I can solve the Jedi artifact for him and help him out. Learning about the Force in return seems only fair to me...

After a bit of fiddling and consideration on whether or not to feed white mana into it to fiddle with it some more, Steve suddenly lashed out and took it from me. He screamed "LEAVE!!!" at me in a voice I had never heard him use. So enraged and horrible that I just knew it was a result of the corruption of the Dark Side. Or he really was just going insane with bloodlust. Either way, I wasn't going to mess with him for the moment.

I went back to a corner of the room and started some work on a spell that might help fight against Steve if it were really necessary. I remembered the dream fighting alongside Riddari, the swirling mana-lance I used. I really doubted I would be able to use it straight away, so I started with a whirlpool of black and white mana.

The black flowed one way, white the other - I kept the swirl going with a light Carom push every couple of minutes and let it sustain itself for a little bit. It didn't do very much, but I was hoping it would be enough to form a basis for the Vortex Lance. The swirl also helped me focus on what was going on, it emptied my mind of more mundane worries, like my growing and worrying hunger, despite the food I munched on earlier.

Mark and I had a long, surprisingly philosophical discussion on the nature of our magics, not that I can remember now what was said.

Philosophical ViewEdit

We were civilians with no real fighting experience, but now we have been thrust into savage lands and battle situations. We're soldiers now, with no commanders but each other. Not only are we soldiers, we have magical powers, which in my case specifically, has further moral questions. I have a few rules of engagement I try to follow:

  1. Do not harm non-combatants, or through inaction, allow them to come to harm.
  2. Kill as few humanoid combatants as possible. Disabling enemy combatants is preferable, especially given that I now have Pillory of the Sleepless. Use intimidation to convince combatants to surrender.
  3. Protect myself and my companions, breaking rules 1 and 2 if strictly necessary to do so. As much as I hate to admit it, they're all I've got.

Some general theories:

  1. Most magic has no inherent moral value one way or the other. Darkblasting someone is the same as stabbing them, morally speaking.
  2. Magic with no analogue in science (ex: Necromancy) have their own rules. For necromancy, zombification for combat purposes is inherently immoral because it could create or spread a zombie plague. For combat purposes, instead 'extract' 'spirits' from corpses, since they cannot do so. When doing so, give the corpse a burial of some kind. I don't know if this will have any positive effect, but I'd rather not find out the hard way.
  3. Magical experimentation is fine. Stabbing someone in a new way is no moral issue, so why would using a new combat spell be any different?
  4. Our original universe had no gods, so when some decided to interfere (for some reason), it caused that universe to explode in a puff of logic. Several of those gods chose us (for whatever reason), and granted us powers to help us survive. My assumption is that they have their own plans for us and we simply have not learned them yet.

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