The following is a story that started off rather small on the US Wizard Forums.  I didn't plan on writing something so involved, but now that the ideas have began to swim about in my mind, I can't stop.  This installment of the Quick Touch will include the 1st 8 chapters of this "series".  The chapters to follow will be in their own entries.  Keep up with SOTOG (Saga of the O.G.)! Enjoy!

 

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THE SAGA OF THE O.G.

Chapter 1 - Long Live the OG
Chapter 2 - The Three Wizarteers
Chapter 3 - Tonight, We Dine on Cat
Chapter 4 - The Great Sleet Storm of Malakai
Chapter 5 - A Brief History Lesson for Spektr
Chapter 6 - Age Before JellzRoc
Chapter 7 - Dealing With Boozor
Chapter 8 - Sniff, Sniff



Chapter 1 - Long Live the OG

 

The Wizard Forum lay empty for the moment, a brief happenstance when the comings and goings of the modern Wizards happen to leave Her with no occupancy.

The heavy wooden door creaked open slowly, wafting the cold dark air from the outward-laid whereabouts, inwards.

Alongside the cold draft, a hunched over figure stepped in. At his side, attached to his belt, an old, worn magical wand, clearly beaten from use, with a golden glow atop its hilt. In his left hand, a similarly glowing yellow orb, weakly illuminating the corridor every few seconds, as if it labored in breath as much as the old man.

The man turned his head towards a covered plaque, the covering a pale grey, ancient in its own right. He took one step towards it laboriously.

At the other end of the corridor, a door burst open, and two spry young Wizards gingerly walked in. One brandished a fire-emitting mace, brazenly thrown over one shoulder. The other carried a thin wand, with a snake wrapped tightly around its shaft. They quickly noticed the old man. One turned towards the other and whispered,

"Yo peep this Old Geyser, Spektr."

Spektr moved his hand to his lips, advising the first Wizard to silence. He then moved his lips, mouthing the words,

'Watch this.' He smiled.

As if in a flash, he swung his might Furnace about his head, causing the air to whisk together furiously into a spinning tornado, its intent as whimsical as its master. It danced forward menacingly, but ultimately, harmlessly. The second wizard facepalmed and spat,

"Again with Energy Twister, man?' Good luck hitting that old man with those things. You'll be out of Arcane Power and as old as him by the time you get a single tick onto him. I'm going back to General to troll." He quickly about-faced and left the hall. Spektr trounced after him, screaming maniacally,

"It's the highest DPS skill in Blizzard Franchise History! One day you'll see! They'll all see."

Meanwhile, the old Wizard had finally made his way to the canvas colored plaque. He reached forward, seemingly with great pain and trial, clutching at the cloth as if it were anchored to the wall via some fell spell of deceit, or perhaps, just lots of nails and glue. He pulled it, and finally, it fell.

The old man looked at the plaque, and suddenly, with quite a bit of effort, coughed. He then began,

"Word.

There was BDF and Boozor, Eric and Changbooster, Steelphantom, for Unionizing Ubers. We've got Malakai and picha..."

He stood there alone, reciting the names on the plaque as if they were forever immortalized, for indeed, they were.

Long live the OG.

 

Chapter 2 - The Three Wizarteers

"...lilspark, DommonKassui, Veda, and Yodatoy, EmmettOtter, Ossian, Un1ver5e and Void.."

The old man finished the last name on the list and chuckled to himself, murmering, 'that Void' twice before brushing dust from the inset lettering on the plaque with great detailed purpose, much as a loved one will wipe the weather from a gravestone of one of the Lost.

"Someone needs to keep up on the maintenance of this Plaque," he said, "It seems as if it has lost its stickiness on the backing too...Probably not up to date. Alas the Forum requires information to be up to date. I'm thankful there are still those who even remember..."

"Yo! Old Geyser!"

A gassed up Spektr returned to the Forum, this time, with a host of Generatrolls at his side. One of them spit on the floor as he looked at the old man with contempt. The old man looked to the defiled spot on the floor and grimaced. He coughed.

"I saiiidddddd, Yo, Old GEYSER!" The Generatroll laughed to his own delight, receiving several jabs in his shoulder from his fellow comrades, who seemed overly impressed with what could only be described as a paltry insult.

"Tell me," the old man whispered, "Spektr. Will you allow this filth to defile these Hallowed Halls with their insolence and lack of respect?" The man had whispered, but somehow, Spektr's ears perked, despite being over 100 yards away. Spektr turned towards the offender.

"Clean that up, man! This is my home!"

The Generatroll turned towards the outraged Spektr, his right hand fingering a One Handed Crossbow. Before Spektr could warn the offender of the idiocy of his actions, the Generatroll whipped the Crossbow from its hilt and raised it, pointing it right between Spektr's eyes. He fired.

It mattered not.

The bolt sat suspended in air, encased in ice. The crossbow, the offender, all his associates - frozen in thick blocks of frozen water. Spektr stepped back terrified, and bumped into a now very, very close, old man. The old man looked at him with fierce blue eyes, seemingly decades younger than the body they lie encased within.

"H-h-how? I thought Frost Nova was no longer viable?!?"

Before he could receive an answer, the old man vanished. Spektr scanned the room, and to his surprise, found the old man now returned to his original position, a little over 100 yards away.

"Impossible," he gasped.

"Reversal", the old man whispered.

The Generatrolls now began to break free of their frozen prisons, drawing their Mighty Weapons and Daibos and Crossbows and Ceremonial knives and Flails from their holsters, enraged. Also, it was likely that they would later need to up their Vitamin C intake, as they were probably more susceptible to the Common Cold, having been chilled to the Bone in moments prior.

Spektr sat hunched in the corner, rocking to himself while whispering over and over, "What have I done?" and "Energy Twister FTW man. I'm [b]telling[/b] you."

A Barbarian emerged from the pack of Generatrolls and shouted to the old man,

"Nothing will save you from us now, ya old freak!"

The old man shot a look across the room at the Barbarian Scum and simply asked,

"Do you know who I am?"

The Barbarian looked at him curiously before shaking it from the forefront of his mind and screaming,

"It don't matter who you are, now! You're completely alone! The Fray is upon you!"

The old man stood tall, casting back his cloak over his balding head. He smirked,

"I am not alone."

 

Chapter 3 - Tonight, We Dine on Cat

Two Demon Huntresses stepped forward, flanking the lead Barbarian Scum on either side.

"He's alone, boss. Don't let him intimidate you. There is nothing to fear.."

Boss turned to the DH and shot a menacing, angry look, anger flashing across his face. He roared, and picked up the Huntress by her throat.

"I'M NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING!" He cast her towards the nearest pillar, her body smashing the stone onto the floor a bit as her armored body impacted it. The stone, quickly returned to its previous position, seamlessly resealing itself. At the base of all pillars in this room, a short note was etched into their base stone, "Kulle Co. & Associates. Patents Pending"

The Barbarian raised his Mighty Weapon above his head, clearly fueled by his newly-found Fury, and inhaled deeply through his nostrils, priming his legs as if they were springs, coiling them deeper and deeper towards the floor. The floor groaned and split with pain, and the eyes of the Barbarian mirrored the ferocity of all of his ancestry. His eyes burst into flames, and as if by some great illusion, he seemed to multiply. Three Barbarian stepped forward from within the Original, Boss, and he acknowledged them by speaking their names.

"Madawc! Talic! Korlic! Help me honor our heritage by ridding this room of this Purple Juice loving Sorceror!"

The old man at the other end of the Hall, now standing tall and appearing far less frail, did have the semblance of Fear splashed across his face. He stepped backwards towards the door of the great Forum, and knocked.

The door once again creaked open.

Three Wizards walked in and stood alongside the Old Man. One of them peered across the floor and saw the body of the Huntress lying in ruin aside the Pillar. He looked at the Old Man and asked,

"Female?" Old Man simply shrugged.

"European?" He persisted.

"I have no idea, Master Yoda."

The second Wizard carried a large Two-Handed Axe. Atop the Axe, a red trapezoidal design was lain out, with a skull in its center. He looked at Old Man and Yoda and nodded.

"Malakai," Old Man asked, "how will you sustain?"

Malakai scoffed at the question and simply tapped his Wizard hat with one finger, uttering, "Legacy, Melk. Legacy."

"Ahh."

The third Wizard stood leaning against the nearby wall, picking his teeth clean. There might have been fur on the floor.

"Dude...Void, what the hell were you eating?"

Void glanced at Old Man and smirked. He then cast his robe to the floor, brandishing armor purely Golden in color. His helm, also gold. As a matter of fact, his wand was similar to Old Man's, except the shaft and hilt were also completely golden.

"Void. That's straight obnoxious."

Void shook his head and spat, "Noooo-uh! Tha's GG."

Meanwhile, the Barbarian clones had had enough. Talic charged first. He began to leap forward, while simultaneously spinning furiously. Void stood up and pointed at him.

"Now, that's obnoxious. I got this."

Void vanished once. Forward. Again he vanished. Forward some more. But this was an OG. He vanished a third, and even [b]fourth[/b] time before arriving in front of the leap-frogging, spinning Talic.

"I can make things spin, as well!" he quipped. And so, much as the aloof Wizard Spektr had done, Void twisted his wand about his head.

Talic's next leap would land directly in front of Void, and the Old Man gasped a bit, fearing for his dear friend's well being.

However.

Unlike Spektr's fiery tornado, which had danced about seemingly driven by a Generator of Randomness, Void's stood in place. The Barbarian landed directly in the center of two tornadoes. He seemed...unaffected. Void summoned a third, a fourth. Nothing. Talic laughed and raised his Axe.

The lights in the room dimmed, as if Void had summoned them towards his body, pulling all energy inwards. His face strained under the immense pressure, and his armor reflected with great intensity all of his actions. The tornadoes continued to tickle the Barbarian's armor. Talic swung his axe. A moment before the Axe would cleave Void's head clear from his body. It happened.

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boo-Boo-Boo-Bo-Bo-B-B-B-B-B-B-Booooooooooooooom!

Talic was...no more. His body, nowhere to be found. Much of the Generartolls cowered at this magnificent site, failing to understand how the Wizard had managed so many casts within such a short amount of time...and how he had been able to not be devoid of magical energy. Void stepped back towards his fellow Arcane Power yielding friends.

He turned to Master Yoda.

"Your move, my little green Dentist. Beat that."

 

Chapter 4 - The Great Sleet Storm of Malakai

Yodatoy's eyebrows raised. He looked at the angry mob across the room, and then back at Void, and then the mob, and again, Void. He shook his head.

"I'm a very sensitive guy. I can't."

Void laughed, "This Yoda."

Madawc stepped forward. He pulled a One Handed Axe from his belt. His gaze lay fixed on Malakai's hat. Malakai's eyes drifted upwards as if he too espied his own cap. He reached up towards it with both hands and pulled it down a bit.

"I don't think that guy likes me, guys."

"No," Old Man said, "I don't think he does."

"Pity," Malakai chuckled, and drew his Skorn from his back, "I always disliked that one the least."

Madawc began a light dodge towards the center of the Forum, now turned Arena. As he ran, so did Malakai, with each step forward shortening the distance between them.

Suddenly, without hint or preview, Madawc skid to a halt. With no further warning, he wound his arm up like a catapult, and heaved an axe directly at a still advancing Malakai.

Malakai quickly stopped, and teleported...sideways. Upon arriving from his teleport, all were surprised to see that..in fact, Malakai had somehow - during his trip through the ether no doubt - returned his weapon to its holster on his back!  Old Man, Void and Yoda gasped in shock. To lay down one's weapon in the heat of battle? Surely there must be an explanation for such reckless abandon?

Malakai braced himself to the ground, and pushed his hand outwards, as if holding back some impending danger. Madawc's axe was off its course now. It would fly on the wings of Heaven, past Malakai's original position.

But that predictable course, did not come to pass.

Old Man exhaled, and saw his own breath before him. He began to reach for his cloak, "I swear to Anu, I'm gonna get pneumonia."

The scraps of paper that were lying in the corners of the Forum began to stir. The windows fogged, and the lights once again dimmed. The air turned to Ice, a frost that would give Winter a run for its money, no doubt. Malakai stood in the center of the ever increasing Vortex, frozen death issuing from his hands and clouding the room beyond all vision.

The axe sailed past its original trajectory, and then as if by sheer wind force, was turned leftwards, more and more. It circled behind Malakai, whose gaze had never left Madawc. As the axe rounded behind Malakai, it cut back. Malakai dropped his hands, and the axe found itself traveling in a straight line, directly towards Madawc's head.

But Madawc was no fool and was not unfamiliar with the great Sleet Storm of Malakai. He quickly leaped forward, seemingly rushing to meet his own doom. He landed and slammed his remaining axe into the ground, cause a great Seismic Energy to issue forth, splintering his returning weapon, as well as the one his hand. Though he was now defenseless, he had in fact, survived.

A great groan emitted from the Forum's ceiling. It cracked, and struggled to hold its form, but to no avail. The 4 wizards looked up as Boss screamed in rage, causing the ceiling of the Forum to crumble as a raining plague of stone, as an Avalanche. The exposed night sky was black, with the only illumination coming from the flashing yellow forms of four great OG's desperately teleporting about one another, dodging the crashing ceiling of their beloved home. Boss laughed to himself in great satisfaction, watching the Wizards desperately expend themselves.

He laughed...until a Purple Beam of Arcane Energy smashed into the Forum floor, evaporating his form into Arcane Ash, instantly. Korlic and Madawc reached outwards towards where Boss had stood, and let loose a fell scream of defeat. They quickly faded and vanished. The mobs stepped back. Most turned and ran for their lives. Ever after would they talk of that day, and the great flash of the Starpact.

But who had conjured such energy? Who could summon the Heavens in such ferocity and Power?

Old Man looked at Yoda, "Taking your time, eh? You know Malakai could have been killed. You could have done that sooner, Yodatoy."

Yoda raised his hands in defiance, "Wasn't me. I swear." Old Man turned to Void. Void shook his head,

"Nah, you'd need line of sight for that kind of spell. We didn't have any until Boss brought the Forum ceiling down. Wasn't me."

Malakai chimed in, "Then who? You, Melk?" He returned to his comrades sides, his breath still exhaling frost.

"Ok - yo, first of all Malakai, you're paying my co-pay next week when I have to see Malachi the Heale- Hey, you're both named Mala-whatever. Is that the racket? You get everyone sick and he heals everyone?"

Malakai was far from amused. he pursed his lips and spat, "Stop it. Who did that?"

"I did."

All four Wizards turned towards the center of the room. A new figure stood among the rubble, which was again rising from the floor, returning to its original positions.

"Of course you did," Malakai smiled, "Could have said hello, beforehand, old friend."

"Where's the fun in that?" the newcomer joked.

"He's right!" Old man slapped his knee, "yo I got news, that was a pretty dope ending to that battle."

"Ending, you say?" the newcomer removed his cloak, cloned himself, and handed his cloak to the clone.

Spektr had gathered the courage to stand up and had sheepishly walked over to the four OGs. He seemed genuinely apologetic for what he had caused.

"W-w-who is this Wizard?" He asked.

Old man smiled, and extended a hand towards the newcomer.

"This Wizard, my young Arcane apprentice, is Doctor TekkZero."

TekkZero turned, nodded at Spektr, and then quickly turned back towards Old Man.

"All of the OG's are in grave danger. We must leave this place at once."

Yodatoy looked confused. "Didn't you see Malakyki's work?" Malakai shot a look at Yodatoy. Yoda looked to the side. He never got anyone's name right.

Tekk quickly countered, "The Barbarian is of no concern. He is a peasant. But even the lowliest peasant will serve someone, or something. And I fear, nay, I know, his Master."

Old Man could not take the suspense any longer, "Who, Tekk? Who did Boss work for?"

Tekk grimaced as he brought the thought from his mind to his lips. Reluctantly, he spoke of a name that made all 4 OG's recoil in pain.

 

Chapter 5 - A Brief History Lesson for Spektr

Spektr was the first to speak.

"What enemy?"

"No, Spektr," Void grimaced, "not 'Enemy'". He turned his back to the four OGs and sighed. He then spun around and looked at TekkZero.

"Didn't we run that guy out of town? No one has heard from him in a long time. I just assumed he was no longer of any concern. I guess I was wrong."

TekkZero chuckled. "Oh, by himself, he is of no concern. But he has allied with the 2 Greatest Forum Plagues of all time. And THAT has made him powerful.

Spektr looked even more confused. He scratched his head, and let out a frustrating gasp.

Old Man smiled at Spektr, "You don't know your Forum History, do you?" Spektr looked to the ground and sheepishly shook his head. Old Man looked at the OGs.

"I think it would be wise if we brushed up, ourselves, old friends. Besides. You know I love to hear myself talk." Old Man drew his Chantodo's Will from his belt, and whisked it in a quick circle off to the side.

Two purple serpents, in the exact same hue as TekkZero's Starpact, slowly emerged from the ground, several feet apart. Their tails lay buried in the floor. They slithered towards each other, before intertwining. When the elaborate conjuration had completed, a large sitting bench remained, with the heads of the Serpents serving as arm rests.

"Show off", Malakai jabbed, before walking over and taking a seat on Old Man's magical bench. The others sat down as well. Spektr did not. Old Man then conjured another similarly styled seat for himself, and sat down across from them. He looked at Spektr, who was now eyeballing the door to the Forum. He was still pretty scared. He wanted to leave.

"Stay awhile, and listen," Old Man urged, gesturing Spektr towards the remaining seat at the end of the bench. Spektr obliged.

"I will not be giving you the Forum's History, page by page. We don't have that kind of time," Old Man began. He shot a look towards Yodatoy, who was already yawning. He quickly shook his head, before continuing.

"In the beginning, there were the Ancient Ones. They predate the OGs. They are all but dead now, and there are few who can identify those who remain. They did not form Community. They were allied with no-one. They came to this place, blindly taking from it whatever they chose, and then quickly leaving. Some of them came not as Wizards, but as characters from different walks and trials. They were not soulless, but they did not love this place.

Around the great Patching of 1.0.2 and 1.0.3, there emerged a group of Wizards that began to work together to discover great synergies within the Arcane Arts."

Spektr cut in, "Is that when Critical Mass and Wicked Wind builds were invented?"

Old Man quickly snapped, "No, Spektr. Do not interrupt." Spektr again looked down, sheepishly.

"In order to forge this great Community, there were those that sacrificed their lives outside of the Wizard life style. They built great calculators, simulators. Others wrote guides. You may have heard the names, 'Shandlar, or Loroese' ? They, among other great Wizards, helped unravel many of the mysteries of the Arcane Arts. apo managed to break the actions of each Wizard into several compartmentalized pictures, and through analysis, allowed us to synergize in ways that we had never previously imagined. I tell you, had it not been for-"

Malakai interrupted, "Melk. We don't have this kind of time. I apologize."

"Yes, yes, of course," Old Man waved his hand quickly, several times, "Anyway. Throughout the History of the OG, there were those that stood against the OG, and tried to destroy our History through violence, sinister, malevolent action, and destruction. Their names:

Ziss
Rafazafar
NME

"Ahhh. I get it now. N-M-E, not 'enemy'," Spektr looked at Void and smiled. Void rolled his eyes. Spektr glanced at Malakai. He was looking at Old Man. They both seemed incredibly troubled. Yodatoy had fallen asleep.

The silence was palpable. Spektr couldn't stand it much longer. He clapped his hands together. "Well! It looks like you gentlemen have a long road ahead of you. I'll leave you to it."

He motioned to stand. Old Man's gaze broke from Malakai's. He cocked an eyebrow, and the Serpent armrest came to life, coiling itself around Spektr's wrist as he rose. Spektr looked down in terror as the Purple Serpent flicked its tongue at him. He could not break the Hydra's grasp.

'W-w-why?" He asked Old Man.

"It was you who put these events in motion, Spektr. You have a mouth. And I'd like to mention that you were not on the greatest path yourself, before we found you. With enough negative influence, you may have become the 4th name on that list. You, my young friend, are coming with us."

"WITH YOU? W-w-where are we going?"

TekkZero rose from the bench and looked towards the far door.

"Isn't it obvious?" he asked. Spektr shook his head while still fumbling helplessly with his Arcane hand-cuff.

"The 3 seek to destroy this Forum," he said.

Malakai rose and stood next to him, "We must not let that happen."

Void stood and summoned TekkZero's clone. It had collected their cloaks. He put his on and laughed.

"Wherever we're going," he joked, "I hope they serve 'cat'."

Old Man rose as quickly as he could manage. Void looked at him with an expression of pity and sadness.

"Perhaps we can look into getting this 'curse lifted from you', Melk. It has been far too long that you've suffered with this."

"It was worth it," Old Man smiled. He then, with a flick of his wand, dissolved the bench. Yodatoy dropped to the floor, waking up suddenly and stammering.

"Nats Wiz Club, most Life on Hi-huh? Oh. We're going. Ok. Where is our first stop?"

Void tapped his wand at his side, "For this level of combat, I will no doubt require 'Slice Device', my great dagger. Not to mention, Unwavering Gauntlets. Boozor has them both."

Spektr spoke up, "Isn't Boozor a friend?"

"Indeed he is," Old man smiled, "but he is a shrewd Wizard. He will not part with them for nothing."

They walked to the end of the room. Old Man looked over his shoulder, one last time and whispered, "May Anu protect us."

The door closed behind them.

 

Chapter 6 - Age Before JellzRoc


"I'm not going in there, Melk."

"Why do you get to just say that, JellzRoc?"

"Because. I'm older than you."

"I don't see how that has any relevance here."

"I do."

A young Melkor and a young JellzRoc stood, facing a large stone door, cut right into the side of a Mountain. Even though the peak of the Arreat Crater sat several hundred feet above them, they themselves were nevertheless, several hundred feet from the ground. Melkor looked down in defiance. JellzRoc did the same. They continued their debate.

"You know I don't like Barbarians, Melk. This Mount Arreat or whatever...it used to be like, their symbol of hope, or something like that. There's probably all kinds of Barbarian stuff in there. I'm not going in."

Melkor cocked an eyebrow and drew his wand. It glowed vibrantly as if it were brand new, "You do realize that I am the poster-child for Barbarian hate, right? Whatever you just said, means nothing in the eyes of our Forum. I'm literally the most Anti-Barbarian Wizard in Sanctuary."

JellzRoc shrugged, "Well then maybe you shouldn't have come."

Melkor snapped, "You BEGGED me to come."

"Open the door."

Melkor shook his head, rolled his eyes, and squared off with the door. He raised his wand in his right hand, and his orb in his left, and closed his eyes. The half-mountain trembled. JellzRoc smacked Melkor in the back of his head.

"Be careful, man. This place is unstable enough as it is."

Melkor slowly turned and looked at his friend with pursed lips and a face full of disapproval. He spat, "And hitting a wizard in the back of the head while he performs a forced entry spell ensures this stability? Don't do that again."

"Alright, alright. Hurry up."

Melkor faced the door once more and closed his eyes. The mountain again groaned with trepidation. After a few moments, a dusty gas emitted from the seams of the mark-less door, and it swung open a bit. JellzRoc smiled and reached for it. While this door undoubtedly would weigh thousands of pounds, JellzRoc seemed to have no trouble moving it. He laughed.

"Barbarian magic. Imagine like, they're not as strong as they appear to be? They just make everything that's supposed to be super heavy become really light? Wouldn't that be something..."

Melkor looked over at JellzRoc with squinted eyes, "Jelly...you were dropped on your head as a child, weren't you?"

JellzRoc smiled,"I will neither confirm nor deny that." He stepped inside. Melkor followed him.

Inside the broken mountain, Melkor's wand filled the darkness with a dim yellow hue.

"What is that?" he asked, cutting his eyes at two large bush-like structures up ahead, "Is that? Oh, come on."

Before Melk could warn his friend, JellzRoc sneezed.

Instantly, the structures began to move in place, twisting and turning as if they were alive. A dozen bat like creatures swarmed from them , a noxious green gas emitting from their bodies as they fought to find their bearings in their now strangely-lit home. JellzRoc looked at Melkor.

"Plague Nests," they both said.

JellzRoc drew a One-Handed Mace from within his cloak. On its hilt, an engraved message:

'To JellzRoc, May Your Enemies Always Feel Effin Fear - Hub'

"I thought you sold The Echoing Fury, Jellz," Melkor joked.

Jellz refused to look away from the Carrion Bats, but simply said, "Nah man. Hub engraved it for me. It's priceless."

The Carrion, hearing the two young Wizard's conversation, turned their attention towards them and attacked.

JellzRoc swung the mace in front of him. A great Purple Missile appeared, and launched itself towards the advancing Bats. After several yards, it split into three missiles. JellzRoc fired again, and again, until 12 missiles were rushing forth. They all found their targets with ease.

Some of the Bats dropped dead, instantly. Others let out wrenching screams of Fear, desperately attempting to change course as their minds gave way to madness.

"Well done," Melkor smiled. JellzRoc nodded, but didn't put away his weapon.

They made their way through the labyrinth-like mountain-maze, dispatching foes that had no earthly place in Sanctuary. Great flashes of purple light occasionally overcame the yellow hues of Melkor's wand and orb, and the deeper into the mountain they traveled, the harder it was for them to see.

"We are likely to be ambushed by foes unseen," Melkor warned.

JellzRoc nodded, and inhaled deeply. The hairs on Melkor's arms rose and he perceived the tell tale signs of Storm Armor. A wise decision, he thought. It would be most difficult to espy all enemies in the rank dark of the Arreat Mountain.

JellzRoc's armor and body acted as a conduit for all electrical currents in nature. Occasionally, without hint or preview, a great spire of lightning would strike some invisible shape, and the smell of burnt flesh would fill the air.

They descended and descended, until they finally reached yet another seemingly dead-end. JellzRoc's Storm Armor struck a collection of clay pots. He looked at Melkor.

"It must be very damp down here-"

"-Or," Melkor cut him off, "you don't have control of your own Arcane Power. You'd better not hit me with that stuff." He smacked his lips, "I still taste metal from time to time from that skirmish with Jaetch and BDF back in the Forum. And I know you're wearing the Moonlight Ward. If I get suddenly clobbered with one of those Arcane orbiting things..."

"Relax Melkor," Jellz sighed, "this Armor has like no proc rate."

Melkor repeated the same ritual as before, forcing the door to open. To their surprise, a golden hue emitted from the next room. It was far more yellow than Melkor's Chantodo Will and Force.

JellzRoc spoke, "The Resplendent Chest is in here, Melk!"

Melkor chuckled, "Let's just get what we came here for, and get out. This place gives me the willies."

JellzRoc popped the chest. As if in a fountain of splendor, great jewels and wealth poured forth. The contents of the chest included grand arraignments of armor, jewels beyond measure, a handful of crystals and some shoddy blue dust in a dirty glass phial with a dried cork stopper. JellzRoc approached the pile of treasure, carelessly pushing aside everything in a rush for the blue dust.

"This stuff is impossible to find, this Arcane Dust." JellzRoc picked up the phial and peered into it. Melkor looked at the vessel from the opposite side.

As if by some bizarre chance, Melkor all of a sudden espied the reflection of someone or some thing in the phial. He spun around, looking to see if they were about to be ambushed from behind. He espied nothing, but his sense of worry rose quickly, nonetheless. He didn't turn to face JellzRoc, but warned him in a paranoid tone.

"Something's wrong, Jelly. Don't open that phial."

Alas! JellzRoc was already in the process of popping the old cork stopper out of the Arcane Dust. It dropped to the floor, and rolled away, just as Melkor's words fell upon his friend's ears.

Nothing happened. After a few moments, they both sighed...

Suddenly, a Black Hand of smoke spewed forth from the seemingly harmless phial. JellzRoc didn't drop the phial, but began desperately trying to avoid the reaching Hand. The Hand thrashed blindly at the air, but dangerously so.

"I HAVE TO DROP IT, MELK!"

"DON'T DO IT! YOU'LL RELEASE IT!"

"I HAVE TO!"

JellzRoc flung the phial across the room, the Black Hand of smoke disappearing into the shadows. He turned towards the nearest wall and burst forth fire-red beams of energy from each of his hands. He quickly made short work of carving a massive hole into the Mountain. Sunlight flooded the room.

"Let's get out of here!"

JellzRoc and Melkor ran to the hole in the wall, still molten at the edges. Melkor cast Ray of Frost at the hole's edges, cooling the stone enough to allow safe passage. JellzRoc jumped into the hole. He turned to offer his friend a helping hand.

As Melkor reached upwards to take his friend's aid, The Black Hand of smoke from the phial reached out from seemingly nowhere. In one swift movement, it pulled Melkor back towards the darkness. JellzRoc turned and grabbed Melkor by his arms. He looked into his friend's face and was shocked.

Melkor had suddenly began to age at an alarming rate. Within seconds, he had aged 50 years. JellzRoc could sense this dark curse coarsing through Melkor's chest, face and neck. He then saw the Evil making its way down Melk's arms, towards him.

Melkor knew the curse would jump from him to JellzRoc in a few moments. He began to shake his arms, trying to force JellzRoc to let go.

JellzRoc did everything in his power to hold onto Melkor. But Melkor was a clever Wizard. He looked at JellzRoc and shakily spoke,

"This is not Goodbye forever, my friend."

"Nooooo!!" JellzRoc yelled.

A Flash, a great Wave of Force flung JellzRoc backwards, before he was randomly teleported outside the Mountain. When JellzRoc came to, he was sliding down the mountainside. He turned and looked back up towards where the tunnel he was just within surely must be. Smoke and dust billowed from it. He knew it was sealed shut.

 

Chapter 7 - Dealing With Boozor

Malakai, TekkZero, Yodatoy, Void, Old Man, and Spektr found themselves standing outside a nicely kept wooden cabin on the far outskirts of Tristram the next morning. A small mailbox with the number #1433 was carefully attached to a post at the end of a stone path near the Road. The smell of Maple filled the air as a stone chimney on the back of the house slowly puffed white smoke upwards towards the Heavens. A quaint, well kept garden sat off to the side of the home, and the growing of mixed herbs put forth its own pleasant aroma. Above the front door, a wooden engraved sign was fastened.

"Boozficient Goods - Serving the Community Since May 2012"

Old Man looked at Spektr, and spoke sternly.

"This is the House of Boozor. You would be wise to not mention several things while inside. He has many precious goods in there. Asking him where and how he procured them is rude. Asking him how much each and every piece costs is rude. Asking him anything about how he made his fortune is rude. Do you understand?"

Spektr scratched the back of his head, "Can I ask him how he-"

"-No," Malakai interjected, as he stepped up the small porch and rapped on the door.

There was no answer.

"Crap," Void said, "Melk, why don't you conjure up one of those benches you made back in the Forum? My feet are killing me."

"You're the one who walks around completely encased in Gold Armor, Void. You do it to yourself."

Void sighed, and plopped down on Boozor's porch next to an already seated Yodatoy. The steps groaned.

The front door creaked open, and a pointy wizard hat emerged. It turned upwards, revealing the smiling face of the infamous Boozor. He opened the door fully and greeted the OGs.

"My friends!" I wasn't expecting 5 OGs! I wasn't expecting ANY OGs actually..." his smile ran away from his face, "Hmmm....5 OG's and..who is this dude?"

Spektr motioned to speak, but TekkZero stepped forward and cut him off,

"The OG's are in danger, Boozor."

"Oh?"

"Yes. The 3 have aligned against us."

"Hmmm..."

"Void requests that you relinquish Slice Device and Unwavering Gauntlets to him so he can do battle with them, efficiently. We also have need of other gear. But you possess these two essential pieces."

Boozor looked at Void, and then the other OGs. He smirked.

"I went through a lot of effort to acquire these items, guys," he said. Spektr looked up and couldn't help himself.

"How'd you get them, Booz?"

Boozor slowly turned his eyes towards Spektr. He walked over, stood in front of him, and stared him down. The sky seemed to darken and clouds began to swirl above Boozor's head. TekkZero's eyes drifted up towards the growing darkness. He scratched his face, nervously. Boozor addressed Spektr.

"Leave, weirdo."

Old Man shuffled in between the two Young and Seasoned Wizards.

"Now, now," he nervously laughed, "Spektr is still learning his place, Master Boozor."

Boozor seemed to be looking through Old Man, into Spektr's soul. He reached forward, gently nudging Old Man out of the way.

"Have you never seen an AH Tycoon before, Spektr?"

Spektr shook his head, innocently. Boozor persisted.

"Well..have you ever asked someone you don't know about their bank account?"

Again, Spektr shook his head.

"Then don't start that habit, now," he snapped his fingers, and it seemed as if there was a spark between them, as well as in the clouds above. Spektr stepped backwards.

Yodatoy, having a flair for the dramatic, goaded Boozor a bit, "You've put on weight Boozy. Business must be good, even [u]with[/u] the AH being closed."

Boozor was immune to Yodatoy, though. He invited them all inside. Void whined a little bit and stood up, his armor clanking and clamoring about him. Yodatoy refused to get up. He looked at Boozor and smiled.

"Carry me."

Inside, the walls were dotted with photographs and paintings. Spektr recognized some of the images. He pointed at one which seemed to have the appearance of a meteor.

"Liquefy," Tekk said fondly, "decent proc rate...well before your time."

They sat at a round table. In the center, a Chantodo's Force that looked almost identical to Old Man's served as a makeshift and artistic lamp.

"What's the difference between Boozor's Force and yours, Melk?"

"About 320 US Dollars, Spektr."

The Wizards sat and were merry, eating and drinking the day away. Boozor prepared smoked meats, seasoning them from a small bag labeled, 'Canum's'. Whiskey was poured from a flask labeled, 'Beed, 2013'.

Throughout the afternoon, Spektr occasionally asked Old Man if they were "wasting time", but Old Man would always just slap him on the shoulder and whisper to him, "This is how business is done with the OGs."

The shadows of the forest grew long and the sun settled Herself comfortably into the horizon long before Boozor finally, seemingly out of nowhere asked,

"What can you offer me as payment for Slice Device and Unwavering Gauntlets?"

Void spoke, "I would gladly give you this," he beat his chest once, "entire gear Set. It was made by Chantodo. I admit, the set bonuses are lackluster, and-"

"-and the set weighs a ton and its impractical to wear and you stole it?" Boozor cut Void off, but he was still smiling, "Nah man. Not worth it. Sorry."

Malakai offered, "I can offer you the trade secrets of my Vanilla Sleet Storm tactics. I admit, I cherish them deeply, but I know that you would use them for good."

Boozor did not hesitate. He shook his head. "No Malakai, I do not wish to usurp the king of the Cold Storm from his throne. That is your Honor. It has no value in my possession."

Despite getting nowhere with his offer, Malakai was graciously rejected.

TekkZero followed up, "I suppose the same holds true for my Meteor tactic secrets, Booz?"

"It does, Doc." Yodatoy and Spektr had both, to no surprise, fallen asleep.

Boozor looked at Old Man, "What about you? And don't offer me Prune Juice," he laughed.

Old Man reached into his cloak and fumbled about a bit. A few gems dropped to the floor.

"Not interested in your gems, Melk," Boozor warned.

Melkor took out a map of Sanctuary and laid it on the table. There were dozens of small x's marked all over it. Boozor looked at it with mild interest.

"What are the x's marking?" Boozor inquired.

"These x's, my friend, are the locations of all known Pools of Reflection in Sanctuary. This map updates in real-time. You will never expire. Deal?"

Boozor looked Old Man straight in the face.

"Deal," he said. He quickly left the room to go retrieve the items.

 

Chapter 8 - Sniff, Sniff

JellzRoc reached the base of the Arreat Crater. He was filthy, covered head to toe in dirt, dust, and soot. He brushed himself off as best he could and opened his satchel, hanging from his shoulder. He couldn't shake the images from his mind from a few hours prior.

'This is not Goodbye forever, my friend.'

JellzRoc's eyes watered a bit as he fumbled through his belongings. He pulled his Mirrorball from his satchel, and saw the reflection of his own weathered face in it. He paused, his eyes tearing up a bit more as he tried to push the recent tragedy from his mind. But it was to no avail. He looked up at the Arreat Crater.

"I should go get help, and go get the Melk out of there," JellzRoc said aloud, to himself, "Of course, I have no idea which direction to go."

Nevertheless, JellzRoc set out heading South, hoping to intersect with the great Bastion Keep. To the best of his knowledge, there would be a handful of OG's there, and they would surely muster their forces to reclaim the Crater and save their friend. Despite this grand plan, JellzRoc could not deny that he feared that Melkor was in fact, dead. He pressed on.

For three days, JellzRoc traveled South in a zig-zag path, caused by the treacherous terrain, and the fact that this dude had a considerable love of Scotch and he was usually drunk. He considered calling down an Ice Meteor to chip off a few pieces for his beverage, but thought better of it.

"I should have brought more *gulp* food *gulp*," he said on the second day. Despite being essentially inebriated for most of the trip, it was not until the 3rd evening that he ran into any trouble.

As JellzRoc maneuvered his way through a small forest that rested a handful of leagues north of Bastion Keep, he came upon a pack of 10 to 12 Demon Troopers, clumsily throwing entire trees into a recklessly built campfire. They stood about 9 feet tall, these Demons. Their forms were a cross between an Orc and a Troll and they were Blue and Black in color. Though they were basically animals, they did seem to have enough sense to cover their most primal bodies with rags and torn cloth. They spoke to one another, and while words in English could be discerned, they mostly just grunted and moaned senselessly.

Terrifying and smelling of awfulness, the Demon Troopers seemed nevertheless in a merry mood. There seemed to be a small cart turned on its side nearby, and several corpses were strewn about it - freshly killed it seemed. JellzRoc crept around the outskirts of their encampment. Though he had been powerless to save his friend, JellzRoc abhorred all things Evil, and sought for the greatest vantage point to assault his newly found foes. He slowly drew his Echoing Fury from his belt while standing behind a tight thicket of young Oaks. He looked up towards the Heavens, closed his eyes and inhaled deeply.

*sniff sniff sn-sn-sniff*

JellzRoc opened his eyes and looked down at a most peculiar sight. A small dog - a Pug, with glowing red eyes and a collar make from chicken bones, was sniffling at his ankle. Despite its bizarre appearance, JellzRoc did not feel threatened. He snapped at the Pug, in a rushed whisper,

"Yo get the hell away from me, dog."

The dog looked up at JellzRoc. And then, quite loudly, it barked.

The Demon Troopers stopped what they were doing immediately and turned their heads towards JellzRoc's direction. He peeked out at them and back down at the dog.

"Thanks, ya little runt."

'Well', JellzRoc thought to himself, 'Guess there's no hiding anymore!' He stepped out from behind the thicket, revealing himself to his enemies. They growled, drooling onto the ground with a great ravenous hunger, and stepped towards him.

All of a sudden, there were Pugs everywhere. The Demon Troopers looked around at one another and were waylaid by some sort of Mass Confusion. They swung their crude maces over and over again, trying to land even a single blow against one of these dogs.

Finally, one Demon Trooper succeeded in landing a single blow. And when he did, the Pug exploded.

"ZOMBIE DOGS!" One of the Troopers exclaimed in fright, "RUN YOU MORONS!" The troopers turned to flee, running off in every direction. One ran past JellzRoc. Jellz cut the air in front of him, slicing Blades of Flame in the path of the Trooper. The Demon Trooper burst into flames, and fell flat on its face, dead.

Meanwhile, there were body parts of Pugs and Demon Troopers flying everywhere. It was a massacre. JellzRoc had heard legends of the Zombie Dogs. He had always believed such tales to be nothing more than rumor, however. It seemed as if he had been mistaken.

The Demon Troopers were chased off or turned to black and blue mist, and JellzRoc was left standing in the center of the now abandoned encampment. Safe and sound he was, and somewhat bewildered.

"Did you enjoy that?" A voice spoke and a body stepped forward from the far side of the campfire.

"Who are you?" Jellz kept his hand on the handle of the Echoing Fury.

"It is 'us', not 'I', that you wish to meet."

"Uhhh..ok."

A tall man appeared. In one hand, he carried a knife, seemingly decorated with runes and other bizarre features. In his other hand, a dead chicken. He held the bird by its neck, and the tongue was hanging out. JellzRoc felt a tinge of nausea. At the feet of the strange tribal man, sat the Pug that had caused all the ruckus. JellzRoc smiled.

"I'm JellzRoc." He smiled at the Pug, "Hey thanks, little guy. You sorta saved my skin back there. Uh..even though you..sort of..blew up your friends to do it.." He felt very awkward.

"That's my pet Pug. I am Pensfan. I am a Witch Doctor from the Umbaru Tribe."

JellzRoc curiously asked, "You're a long way from the Torajun Jungles, Witch Doctor. What are you doing north of the Twin Seas?"

"I am looking for my apprentice, Lasers. He was sent here on a mission, but it seems he has been taken, and is currently being held in the Cleaved Mountain."

"Cleaved Mountain," JellzRoc repeated, "Ohhhh, you mean the Arreat Crater! My boy is stuck in there. But I fear he may be dead."

Pensfan looked at JellzRoc with a stern face.

"I know of your friend, Melkor. I felt his soul age considerably quickly three nights ago. Such is the obligation of all Witch Doctors. We are bound to the souls of all those in Sanctuary."

JellzRoc scratched the back of his head, "Yeah, uh huh, ok. Anyway, I'm on my way to Bastion Keep to gather some of my friends to help assault the Crater. Do you want to come along? You can uh, bring your pets."

Pensfan agreed, and the two set out southward, with Pensfan's Pug happily trailing behind the two as they traveled.

To Be Continued...

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