The Wider World Part IV:- Allies Chapter One
POWER RANGERS :- Demon Wars
The Wider World Part IV:- Allies
Cassie tried not to gape at the impossible eclipse. "I know I'm new at this, but that's not a good sign is it!" she shouted over the earthquake. She wouldn't admit it, least of all to Faith, but she was terrified. It was an apocalypse and for all the jokes and tall tales Dawn had told she still saw it as a small village girl cowering from gods a thousand light years away.
She'd witnessed, what she thought at the time, was the wrath of a god and she'd been so scared she couldn't speak. Somehow this was worse, the tau'ri, the first world, was ending and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.
Then, somehow, Faith was on her feet and even though she had to know it was hopeless the Slayer was defiant. maybe that was what it meant to be a hero, fighting the odds even after you'd lost.
Shaking herself back to her senses Cassie took Faiths hand. "We're not done yet kid!" Faith shouted. "Get to Dawn, I'll see how Sari's doing." It wasn't easy, even with her strength returning Cassie stumbled to her roommate's side, the shaking ground throwing her balance until it was only a matter of luck that she didn't fall on her.
Crawling the last few inches to her friend Cassie quickly felt for a pulse and found it. Weak but steady.Breathing a sigh of relief she began checking for other injuries, burns and the like. Other than some singed hair she was alright, at least she looked it. Cassie knew she couldn't be sure, she tried to reach out with her healing power but just got a brief flicker from it. She was too weak to get any further.
Glancing to Faith and Sari she saw that the two of them were both standing, Sari rubbing he shoulder and Faith supporting her. "How is she?" Faith called as the earthquake subsided.
"Alive," She shouted back. "But I'm guessing the worst of all of us." She looked up, expecting the sun to return. Whatever it was coving it wavered like a bad stain on the sky but remained in place for now, only just thinning at the edges. "What's happening?"
"Don't know, I've never seen anything like it." Faith shook her head, then looked around. "Where's A'Zores?"
Cassie looked to the repulsive totem that had once been Nukeasle, "He was right there!"
"Urm, guys… We've got bigger problems." Sari pointed and Cassie's head whipped around. In the half light she couldn't swear to it but a giant wall had just appeared. It was impossibly huge, stretching for at least a mile in either direction and forged out of her nightmares. Rather than concrete or brick it seemed to be carved out of a single piece of onyx, light just seemed to fall into it but it was far from featureless. Cruel, over hanging, gargoyles, with almost gleaming talons, perched at even intervals. The wall itself had thin windows dotted in pairs across it, a glowing yellow light inside each. Their unearthly pulse making each pair look more like the eyes of some great beast trapped gazing out. In front of them there was what looked like the only real crack in the wall, flanked by two great statues of horrendous, squid things with legs, each tentacle held a sword or spear of some description and caved with such detail they could had jumped out of the black stone. However all that paled in comparison with the the wall itself.
At first Cassie thought it was a trick of the light, but as it changed she knew that was only wishful thinking. As if trapped in the wall itself faces twisted in fear and agony screamed silently at her. The ghostly, hollow, eyes pleading for some sort of realise. "What, what is it?" she gasped, trying to take onboard the horror of it as the sun burst forth with all the warmth of a chill winter morning.
"A Dark Castle!" Sari cried, "We've got to get out of here!"
"She's right." Faith agreed, "We're no match for whatever in there like this. I'll pull Sari through with me."
"I've got Dawn." Cassie nodded and hit the button on her watch.
"Five more minutes Buffy." Dawn muttered before she was fully awake. She felt like a half drowned kitten that had been thrown in a microwave. "Ugh, was I drinking something, or did I hit my head again?"
"Neither." Dr Oliver said, handing her a bottle. "Here, its just water."
"Wha… Oh right. Lighting." Dawn muttered as it came back to her. Forcing herself up she cast a glance at the Former Ranger. "What happened, I thought the suits were supposed to protect us?"
"They did, those blows must have been enough to take out a mountain." he explained. "He hit you so hard it overloaded the suits. I've reinforced the morphing grid, that should stabilise it for now, but I wouldn't suggest getting hit like that again."
"Any other wonderful observations sherlock?" Faith growled from behind her and Dawn turned around, she was in the little med-bay come lab off to one side of the Command Centre. The others were gathered around the controls and had all looked better.
"What happened, after I got fried extra crispy?"
Faith winced. "We got our butt's kicked."
"A'Zores killed his own man." Cassie said in a hollow voice, "It, it was terrible. He never stood a chance, the General just walked up to him and cut his head off."
"What, why?" Dawn asked but Cassie just spread her arms.
"Sacrifice." Faith growled. "They needed a demonic sacrifice to rase it."
Dawn hissed, a sacrifice usually meant something big. Demonic sacrifices was a whole different league of bad. "Was it an Old One?"
"I wish." Faith shook her head, "It's a Dark Castle, Sari was just telling us about them, I wish she hadn't."
Sari swallowed, looking about as bad as Dawn felt. "It's like their factories. They take people, round them up like cattle and take them inside. Once there they're changed, mutated by the castle. They become monsters… I mean demons."
"It's a demon factory, and it uses people as livestock." Cassie spat, she was angry. More angry than Dawn had ever seen before. "It was our job to stop it and we failed."
"We haven't failed yet." Dawn pointed out with a growl.
"Yes we have." Sari shook her head. "It's invincible. We threw everything we had at one, the wall is impregnable. Nothing we did stopped it, not even a nuke. Not even ten nukes. My Earth burnt itself to get rid of them, it's still burning and they're still there."
Dawn saw the look of defeat on everyones faces and hung her head. They were right, this wasn't good news. "What did you mean by factory?" Dr Oliver asked
Sari visibly shuddered; "We broke into one, once. Climbed over the wall and sneaked in. They kidnap people and chain them up inside. Then some are selected, one or two, and taken away. The monsters then drag the rest into the keep in the centre, when they come out they're those rotting minions. It's like they've had their souls stolen."
"That can happen," Dawn said grimly. "So that was his plan all along, get that castle here so he could complete the invasion."
"What happens to the others, the ones they select?" Cassie asked, looking vaguely ill.
Sari winced and Dawn's mind immediately went to food. "They're the ones that show promise I guess. They get the full treatment and are brought before the Crystal."
"There's a Crystal in the middle of the castle. That's what changes the people into monsters. The closer you get the greater the change, they become full warriors. You know, like Nukeasle."
"Nuke-boy was human once?" Faith asked, shocked. "That explains a lot"
Dawn jumped to her feet. "They all were and that's what we'll all be come if we don't stop them."
"I don't know, but come demons, monsters or even Skeksis we'll find away."
Cassie blinked and looked to Sari, who just shrugged, "What's a Skeksis?"
Dawn blinked, "You know, Skeksis. Gelflings, Mystics, that silly little furry football?" The two of them just looked at her as if she was speaking nonsense. "Haven't either of you seen that film, The Dark Crystal?"
They shook their heads.
"I have. Gave me nightmares for a week." Faith admitted. "Hey I was two at the time, and those puppet things freaked me the hell out."
Tommy shook his head. Despite Dawn's little speech he knew that the Ranger's sprites were almost shattered. Sari had all but given up and Cassie had latched on to Dawn reference, desperately trying not to think about the situation.
Only Dawn and Faith had any fire left, but they had already accepted defeat and that didn't sit well with him. "Come on guys." He tried to get thumbtack on topic. "We can't just give up."
"We're not giving up, but other than a rousing we can do it speech you got any suggestions?"
Tommy frowned for a moment. "The Zords, Alpha's still in the hanger. He's close to finishing the rebuild of the Sabre-tooth Tiger Zord. That's something."
Sari shook her head. "I told you, the walls are impregnable. We hit them with everything we had, didn't even chip the stonework."
"A Zord isn't a nuke, and the Sabre-tooth Tiger Zord isn't just that. It's the last piece needed to form the DragonZord in battle mode, all four Zords combined into one."
"No." Dawn shook her head, "This is magical shielding, you can't just keep hitting it and hope it eventually brakes. We need to find it's weakness, we need to know what the deal is with this totems."
"Weren't they just there to create the Castle?" Cassie asked
"Summon the Castle." Dawn corrected. "They pulled it through from some other dimension."
"I see." Tommy clicked his fingers. "You think breaking them might send the Castle back to where ever it came from."
Dawn looked thoughtfully at the Viewing Globe, it showed the five points where the totems were and the five walls of the Castle. only problem was they didn't match up. The totems were facing the walls and castle was a smaller than the over all shape. "It doesn't match." she disagreed, staring at it. "I'm missing something. I know it's important, but I just can't place it. How did the Castle appear?"
"There was an eclipse, an earthquake and then it was there." Faith described it.
"So it came up from the ground?"
The other three looked at each other and frowned. "No. It just sort of shimmered and it h was there." Sari explained.
"Then why did the Totems have to come up out of the ground." Dawn asked rubbing her temple.
"What do you mean? The one I tried to stop was made of water."
Dawn spun on Faith. "What did you say?"
"When I tried to stop Nuke-boy on my own, the totem came out of a puddle and looked like it was made of water. Dirty water, but not earth." The look on Dawn's face suddenly changed, going completely blank as her eyes darted from side to side. She'd had an idea. One of those rare ideas that only came from a moment of insight into something that eluded the rest of them. Then she smiled.
Cassie saw the same thing. "Are you thinking what I think your thinking."
"Pentagram." Dawn smacked the side of her head, smile breaking out into a full blown laugh. "How could I have been so stupid!"
"Okay, not the answer I was expecting."
"What? Oh, yes Cassie you're right it's an elemental spell."
Faith looked between the two of them. "And for those of use not in on the joke?"
Dawn didn't answer at first, she dived for the Viewing Globe's controls and programmed something into it. The five dots pulsed for a second and then began to grow lines, but rather than joining them to the nearest point each line went through the middle. Crossing over each other to reach the far side, becoming a classic five pointed star.
Right in the middle, following the lines perfectly, was the Castle. "I should have seen it!" Dawn cried. "The five become one whole!" she turned to the rest of them. "Look perhaps the most powerful magics come from the four elements; Earth, Wind, Fire and Air. They're the basics and the root of all magics, combined the elements can do almost anything."
"There's more than four elements." Sari pointed out. "And there's five corners." she added, sounding very confused.
Dawn just smiled. "Exactly, the elements are really the four stages of matter. Solid, liquid, vapour and plasma. Magic's a way of controlling matter, Fire out of ice and the like. The thing is with magic you put all four together you get life. A pentagram is the symbolic representation of that, the four becoming five, becoming one whole. Don't you get it?"
"Nope haven't a clue." Faith shrugged.
"We couldn't damage one of the totems because they aren't individual parts, they are all one whole. We have to hit all five corners at once, then we can deal with the Castle."
"I thought it was invincible?" Tommy asked, slightly confused.
"I guarantee, we shatter that pentagram those walls will come down like gingerbread!"
"How can you be sure?" Sari asked.
"Pentagrams are used for protection, more often than not. I promise you those lines are what's holding those walls up. With them gone our Zords won't have any trouble."
"What if A'Zores shows up again?" Faith asked.
Dawn winced. "I don't know about you guys but I'm going to run as fast as I can in the other direction."
"Great plan, I'm excited to be a part of it." Cassie said. "Just one problem, there's five corners and only four Rangers. Unless one of us can split ourselves in two this is never going to work."
"Don't look at me," Tommy said. "I told you, my body can't handle anymore powers. Besides Sari has the last power coin."
"I thought there were two more?" Faith asked.
"Actually there's three." Tommy told them. "But the White and Pink are totally beyond repair and we don't have the Red here."
"Doesn't matter." Dawn shook her head. "I have an idea where we can get some help." She looked pointedly as Cassie.
"Why is everyone looking at me… Oh hell no!"
End Chapter One