Brucien’s mind grew faint as his father, or what appeared to be his father, choked the life out of him. Frustrating was the fact that he knew this couldn’t possibly be real, and yet it felt real enough to kill him.
Suddenly he was unceremoniously dropped upon the ground. Gasping for air, he scrambled across the ground in a effort to get away from his would be killer. He stopped when his father standing before him, without appearing to have moved.
“What are you?!” cried the alchemist.
His father laughed and slowly began to change; his eyes turned blood red and his skin bone white while his hair turned black as coal. Where once he wore peasant clothes he now donned a cloak of darkness.
“Ah it does feel good to take the work clothes off,” the creature stretched its arms and eyes Brucien with a grin.
“What in the void are you?” he gasped. Despite the shock of seeing this monster before him he couldn’t help but feel relieved his father wasn’t really here.
The monster squatted down and examined Brucien like a vulture waiting for its meal to die, “I’m Nightmare.”
“What do you want with me?” he crawled backwards and rose to his feet, trying his best to look strong.
“You? You’re just a little fun. What I really want is your friend,” he changed into the Behemoth, and for the first time Brucien could see the monster he transformed into. It was horrible.
Nightmare changed back into his true form, “You see you’re not living up to my master’s expectations. I’m here to guide the Behemoth on his destined path,” the demon waved taloned hands flamboyantly as he spoke, exuding an air of both insanity and malice, “thankfully, due to your unique dual consciousness, I can do to my work on twin fronts.”
“What destiny? What’s the Behemoth for?”
Nightmare smiled, showing razor sharp teeth, “Why to destroy of course. To destroy everything.”
The Behemoth was so enraged at this point by the elusive Bryan Bannnerson that he was little more than a raving beast. He longed to smash the man, who constantly assaulted the grey goliath with a seemingly endless barrage of taunts and insults.
The infuriating man had gone so far as to attack him with fire and lightning, before causing him to run embarrassingly into a shimmering wall. But the Avatar of Chaos showed him! He shrugged off the fire and lightning and smashed that pathetic wall to shards.
He chased the man ever onwards, until they reached a towering jade wall. In the blink of an eye Brucien’s pathetic father was atop the wall, jeering down at him. With a cry of fury, the Chaos Beast charged through the wall like it wasn’t there, and sent screaming people running in terror.
“The city is breeched!” cried Wong, as the Behemoth crashed through the city walls.
Knowing there was no other choice now that innocent lives were in jeapordy, Stephanos leapt into the air and flew into the path of the Behemoth. Up close the monster was even more terrifying; it stood over nine spans tall, all of it muscle, and its face was mad with rage.
“Go no further child of chaos,” cried Le’Strange, “I will not allow you to harm these people. As Sorcerer Supreme I am forced to stop you.”
The beast didn’t even appear to see him, and would have charged right through him had he not leapt aside in time.
“Crimson Bands of Cytorrak, bind this monster!” He did not really need to say those words allowed, only think them, but in times of crisis, he liked to think aloud.
Thick red bands of magical power manifested themselves around the Behemoth’s arms and legs, dropping him to the ground with a tremor. It lay there, unmoving, and struggled against the bonds but could not free itself.
Stephanos had resisted the urge to call on Cytorrak’s aid, but he had little choice. Cytorrak was a particularly vicious demon demi-god and his aid did not come without cost. He would deal with that later though, for now he had to decide on the best course of action for dealing with the Behemoth.
The decision was made for him though, when the beast shattered his seemingly indestructible red bonds and rose to his feet once more. Once again reaching for something that wasn’t there, the monster charged blindly forward, smashing through building after building.
The Sorcerer Supreme struggled futilely to hold the beast back. He cast spells of frost and petrification, but the magic resistant beast shrugged them off. He erected more barriers but it merely broke through them. Finally he tried spells of the mind, but he found some force blocking him.
Finally the Behemoth reached the Sanctorum and Stephanos mentally cried out in dismay. He fought the urge to give up and thought things through. Even if the beast did reach the secret chamber beneath the tower he would not be able to use the gate to transport him to the pocket dimension. Of course, Raketh Marr would not arrange for his avatar to come this far without preparing for an eventuality like that.
Nightmare, posing as Bryan Bannerson, lead the Behemoth to the great hardwood doors of the Sanctorum tower. Carved hundreds of years ago from a rare world-tree, the doors had withstood countless invasions by ma, orc or worse.
As the illusion of Brucien’s father passed through the giant doors he pondered what enchantments they might have upon them. The Behemoth charged the wooden doors, like he had the dozens of stone walls before him and found himself hurled back by crackling energy.
He landed across the courtyard momentarily dazed and confused, before the anger resurfaced once more. He was sick of being assaulted by unseen forces and wasn’t going to let two large pieces of wood stop him. Once more he charged the doors, channelling all his rage into the run.
This only succeeded in throwing him backwards even further, as well as singing some of his flesh. Venting his frustration by pounding on the ground, he pictured Bryan inside the tower, laughing at him.
“No door will stop me!” he bellowed and charged forward once again. This time though, he leapt, and smashed through the green stone above the doors. Apparently no one had created enchantments for that eventuality.
“It’s smarter than it looks,” muttered Le’Strange to himself.
The city militia had rushed to fight the beast but the Sorcerer Supreme had held them back; they would only get themselves killed. Only he had any chance of stopping this foe, though his chances seemed to be lessening with every attempt.
He followed the beast into the tower and utilised elemental magic to encase his opponent in stone from the floor. Less than a moment later, as he expected it would, the stone cocoon shattered and the beast was freed.
Rather than take revenge on Le’Strange the beast carried on without him. In fact, he didn’t think the monster had noticed him once since it smashed its way into Sanctus.
The Behemoth was currently staring at the floor, and screamed “You can’t hide from me down there old Bannerson!”
He slammed both giant fists down upon the ground and shattered the floor, collapsing the stone down onto the basement below it. Stephanos prayed no one was in the basement at the time, or else they would have been crushed. The tower had two basement levels, and then there was only stone for thirty spans before the secret chamber. As the Behemoth smashed through to the final basement, he levitated down the hole and cast one last ditch spell.
Lightning flared around the basement and coalesced into a humanoid form. The thunder elemental surged forward, blasting the Behemoth with electricity. He bellowed in pain and lashed out at his sparking foe, which only resulted in more electricity shocking him.
Stephanos had noted while the Chaos Beast had shrugged off fire, physical and mental attacks lightning had actually hurt it somewhat. A thunder elemental was an extremely dangerous foe, and not one summoned lightly. Only the most powerful of mages would dare summon one.
The elemental clutched the Behemoth by the throat, and the skin around his neck sizzled and blackened. With a roar the grey goliath did the same and slammed the creature into the wall. Stones collapsed around the pair as the Behemoth smashed his opponent deeper into the rock wall. He jumped back as the wall collapsed, burying the elemental.
Stephanos prepared another spell, while the beast stood weakened and gasping for breath. He hesitated though; the monster was clutching his head, as if to drive voices out. He recalled the creature’s actions earlier; reaching for things that weren’t there, not noticing him and the force blocking him from the beast’s mind.
Clutching the Orb of Agamotto he looked through the fields of magic and saw a white mist with glowing red eyes hovering over the Behemoth. It appeared some entity was influencing the Chaos Beast’s mind, but why. The Behemoth was the chosen warrior of the Chaos God; it should obey the god’s commands without coercion.
Deciding the attack the demon first, the Sorcerer Supreme readied another spell; one specialised for attacking creatures of the planes of shadow. As he uttered the chant and plucked the strings of magical power though the Chaos Beast slammed his fists upon the stonework. Shards of rock flew out in all directions as the beast continued its assault upon the floor. One shard clipped the Sorcerer’s hand, interrupting his spell long enough for the Behemoth to disappear beneath the ground. He relised then that the creature had been digging through solid stone and dense earth with its bare hands.
“Incredible,” he gasped.
“I’ll crush you worm!” screamed the Behemoth, spitting chunks of gravel.
The spectre of Brucien’s father had slipped beneath the ground as if it was water, but that wasn’t going to stop him. Using his tremendously powerful arms he pummelled the stone until it gave way, then began digging furiously through rock and earth, screaming abuse all the way.
Eventually he found himself falling into a circular room devoid of decoration, save glowing orbs on the wall and a large circular platform in the centre. Bryan Bannerson stood within the platform, grinning as always, and beckoned the grey brute forward.
As he charged towards the maddening fiend the Sorcerer Supreme teleported into the chamber and cast his spell against the demon influencing the Behemoth’s mind. A stream of yellow runes flowed from the man’s fingers and wrapped themselves around the beast’s head. The creature, blinded by the light, stumbled upon the platform, but by this time the demon was screeching in agony.
The demon appeared in its true form, the white mist with red eyes, menacingly above the Behemoth’s head. Quickly though, it dissipated into nothingness. The Behemoth looked around, bewildered, wondering where the annoying Bryan Bannerson had gone to.
Nightmare was gloating over Brucien, telling him how because of him, everyone he ever knew and loved was going to die, when suddenly he doubled over in agony. The demon clutched his sides and screamed in pain, and as he screamed, the entire desert landscape because to twist into a jagged version of what it once was.
Gradually, the pain seemed to subside, and Nightmare visibly relaxed, though he was breathing hard and was noticeably weaker. The landscape around them slowly reverted to its original state also.
“Some interfering mortal’s sticking their nose in where it doesn’t belong,” growled the demon, “Thankfully my master Durghast advised me to split myself in two, or else I would have been slain outright,” he looked to Brucien, “thank you for the lovely hospitality within your head but I really must take my leave.”
With that he faded away and the entire desert landscape when with him. Inextricably he found himself back within the Behemoth’s mind, watching on as he always does.
Stephanos relaxed slightly as the Behemoth no longer showed and blind rage. He suspected the demon was manipulating his mind, provoking the beast to become angrier. It was likely the angrier he become, the more powerful he become, not to mention a sharp decrease in intelligence.
A second later his relief was shattered when white mist materialised once more around the Chaos Beast. A second demon! Or perhaps the same one, having somehow survived his spell.
The mist creature glared at him for a moment with its burning red eyed before uttering the fateful words “il fortum lega”causing both it and the Behemoth upon the platform to vanish.
“No!” cried Stephanos as he ran for the platform.
He had failed in every way today and couldn’t help but feel like he didn’t deserve the role of Sorcerer Supreme. He pushed his self pity aside though; now was most definitely not the time. As he stood upon the platform and uttered the activation chant, he wondered how he was going to stop the Chaos Beast from unleashing its exiled masters. He didn’t know, but he would lay down his life before he let it happen.