The roar of engines wrenched Shan’s attention away from the enthralling sight of his erstwhile Master’s imminent demise. The various Shuttles and Attack Boats descended rapidly, disgorging the check-suited humans and he watched intently as an old woman descended from an open ramp, her young aide holding her upright. The aide was beautiful and Shan felt the stirrings of his perverted lust as he gazed upon her. There was something about the old woman though, something that he should remember…
A venomous green light speared from the old woman’s hand, searing his rotten flesh and driving him to his knees. Raw energy melted into him, boiling what was left of his blood in indescribable agony.
“Now, do you remember…?”
A voice filled with hate and spite ripped and tore at his mind, and he suddenly knew who she was, and despite his overwhelming pain he still had time for fear.
“Enough, worm,” spat Shanna as she threw aside Clari’s unnecessary support, “you were always weak.”
She raised her staff on high, all pretence of weakness disappearing. Clari recoiled in horror as the Witch Woman began to transform, her wrinkled body filling and lengthening. Scales were visible, and her snout emerged with a forked tongue flicking free to taste the air.
“S-s-s-cum-m-m-m,” she hissed and thrust the staff forward, its tip glowing red with heat.
“I think not,” said a cheerful voice, and Clari looked on a beautiful winged God, glowing with purity and light, “this one is mine now.”
Shanna changed her attention to Viker as he dropped in front of the steaming husk of his minon. He was not alone, as other winged monsters surrounded him. As the beam struck, Clari’s vision cleared and she saw Viker for who he truly was and she screamed at the broken wings and blood-smeared face.
Viker flicked a last palm and the beam sped away, striking a group of his followers and incinerating them where they stood.
“Not so ea-s-s-y? Lo-s-s-t your power?” cackled the evil old woman.
“Now…Ngulu,” whispered Viker as he sank to his knees.
Powerful arms wrapped around the witch and began to squeeze, and this apparition was the final straw which drove Clari screaming towards the nearby heights. She did not stop running until she reached the lines of Taartuns who watched in horror as the battle unfolded below them, where she collapsed in front of the diminutive Chosen One.
Her humiliation was complete, as he ignored her and the crackles of released energy as Shanna fought back. Instead he stared at the broken-topped Tower, grim-faced and implacable.
There was an almighty cracking sound and the top third of the Tower spilt way, crashing to the ground in a mix of dust and rubble. Clari felt the deep booming tone of a bell deep within her chest and opened her mouth to ask and question but Cornelius Butt had gone, racing as fast as his legs could carry him down towards the plain below. With a roar the others drew their weapons and followed, an armoured Knight in the lead, leaving a bewildered Clari and her loyal retainers beside the craft she had sent to capture the horrible little man.
“The Chosen One is he?” sneered Clari rising to her feet with what little dignity she could muster. “It didn’t take him long to run away…”
She squeaked as strong arms gripped her shoulders and turned her forcibly to watch Cornelius and his men.
“They go to their deaths, you stupid girl,” growled a voice she recognised, as Warchief MacEdoon at last let her go and she saw a great pair of wings pushing forth from the ruins of the Tower. Dark smoke boiled upwards as whatever was inside tried to burst free.
“And you?” she sneered, “What does a mighty Warchief like you do?”
A weathered face grinned back at her as MacEdoon dragged his sword free of its scabbard, “Why follow of course…”