The Saga of the O.G.
Chapter 14 - PB&J Sand Storm
Boozor stood atop a giant hill of sand, one hand semi-covering his face and eyes as he looked out over the seemingly endless ocean of sand that made up the Kehjistan Desert. Slowly climbing behind him, a severely aged and decrepit Melkor stumbled to reach the top of this mound. He reached the summit and leaned on Boozor, who slumped a little by the sudden weight of Melkor's body. He turned and looked at his friend with great worry. Sand-filled gusts swirled around and between them, menacingly licking and stinging their skin wherever it was exposed.
The situation was certainly grim. They had taken on a considerable amount of risk, attempting to travel to Caldeum in this fashion. Melkor had insisted that the company travel by foot a about a week ago.
"Ziss may be slow... but he's methodical. He will know I am weakened and he will not expect me to travel by foot, making this the safest choice," he had reasoned cheerfully as Yodatoy, Boozor, and himself made their way across the Twin Seas, four days prior. They had hired a private charter, captained by the seldomly-seen Fisherman/Wizard, Ceforium.
"All that guy talks about is fishing and... and... car seats," a rather perplexed Yodatoy offered as the trio departed Ceforium's vessel on the western shores of Kehjistan.
"Silence, Yodatoy!" Melkor hissed, "Ceforium can still hear you!"
And so it was, 3 days later, that Boozor and Melkor found themselves looking out into the desert, in search of... anything other than... more desert. Yodatoy seemed to be traveling even slower than the near-dead Melkor. He finally made his way to the top, huffing and puffing something fierce.
"This sucks. I don't get it. I'm exhausted," Yoda whined. Boozor rolled his eyes and faced Yoda.
"Well let's see Yoda. First of all, you spent all day yesterday casting Blizzard - Unrelenting Storm in front of you to try and keep cool. When that didn't work, you tried to make a makeshift carriage or cart or whatever out of Frost Hydras but then realized you had nothing to push it with," Boozor chuckled as Yoda looked down sheepishly, "and today? Today, you've spent the last 5 or 6 hours casting Mistral Breeze at your feet and running after the tornadoes. No wonder you're exhausted, dude-"
Melkor jumped in at the end of Boozor's recap, "-Yeah, and for the last time, you're not doing me any favors when you cast Frost Nova on me."
Yoda offered, in a helpful tone, "But it's like a million degrees out here and I ju-"
"-Just stop doing it, Yoda, ok?"
Yoda scratched his head but said nothing. The three of them finally decided to move on. As they traveled east towards Caldeum, the sun settled into the horizon behind them, casting long shadows at the Wizard's feet as the day wore thin. They eventually came upon a collection of massive rocks, settled smack in the middle of the desert like an island. The three agreed that the swirling sand would be dealt with most easily when nestled among and between the huge stones. They set up camp, but lit no fire.
"I've had enough heat for one day," Boozor quipped as the three simply collapsed with their backs against the cool stone. They peeled their packs from their backs and began looking through them for any remaining food or drink they might have rationed.
"We're gonna die out here if we don't find like...a Dahlgur's Oasis or something like it," Boozor admitted solemnly to the group.
Melkor was in very bad shape. Though the stone was cool, he found no comfort in it. It was as if the cool touch of the rocks could not pass from the stone to their bodies. He found this to be very odd, and likened it to a twisted curse. On top of the fact that he had seemingly aged another 10 years since Boozor's home had burned to the ground a few weeks back, Melkor had begun to wonder if he would in fact, die. His mind was swimming in a sea of morbidity. It was now dark in the Desert, and the temperature had fallen to the point where even Boozor was beginning to reconsider his adamant disdain for a campfire.
Something stirred behind one of the rocks, and Melkor, though barely conscious, perceived. He whistled low to Boozor and Yodatoy, who repositioned themselves, ready to pounce on whatever entity or entities lurked behind the rocks. Yodatoy slowly drew an Icy Spectral Blade from seemingly nowhere, and leaned against the closest rock. He motioned to Boozor to come closer to him, but Boozor was looking elsewhere. To get his attention, Yodatoy lightly tapped his Blade on the stone.
The stones suddenly groaned menacingly. The trio jumped to their feet, backs to one another.
"Dafuq?" Boozor exclaimed.
As if by defying Physics, (which to be honest, at this point in the story, should no longer surprise you), the large stones began to roll onto one another, rising higher and higher into the darkening desert sky. At first, the towering seemed senseless, but as the trio watched on, they began to sense that the rocks were forming into bodies, into large Stone-Gollum like Beings. Boozor yelled out, his voice competing with all the loud grinding and groaning.
"I think these are Sand Dwellers! Elite Sand Dwellers! They have resistances against almost all the elements except Arcane! What are you guys spec-ed as?"
"Frost! I'm all Frost!" Yodatoy yelped.
"I'm of no use...regardless of my spec," Melkor helplessly offered, "I'm so weak, I don't think I even have any Arcane Power."
Boozor cursed their luck as he drew his wand from his belt, "I'm spec-ed for Lightning...and none of us can change our load out during combat. We'll have to do our best! We technically CAN kill them! Don't let them hit yo-"
Boozor quickly teleported back about 8 feet as a now fully assembled Sand Dweller brought down its fists in a great and grave thunderous slam. Though the Dweller missed its mark, the force of the impact nevertheless flung Boozor backwards. He landed on his back very forcefully against a sand dune about 15 yards away. The impact forced the air out of Boozor's lungs, and he panicked as he found himself now unable to breathe. Melkor hobbled over to him and tried to help him sit up and catch his breath.
Yodatoy looked on in horror, but ultimately found enough courage within himself to attempt an assault on a smaller but no less dangerous Dweller. He cast an Unrelenting Storm above the pack of Stone Giants. The Blizzard bit and gnawed at their joints. Though the enemy seemed to take only very little damage, their movements instantly began to slow. Luckily for the three Wizards, they ground to a halt. Yoda ran over to Melkor and Boozor, panting and wide eyed.
"What do we do?!?" he asked Boozor, who was still coughing and breathing very shallow. He obviously could not respond. Then, as if by answering his own question, he followed up with, "We need to get as far away as possible and spec for Arcane."
They helped Boozor to his feet, but Melkor knew they were doomed. Despite it being far colder at night in the Kehjistan Desert than during the day, it was not cold enough to keep the Sand Dwellers frozen for much longer.
The Dwellers groaned and moaned as they struggled to break the shackles of their icy prison. Large sheets of ice eventually slid from their temporary homes on the Sand Dwellers, crashing down at the Wizards' feet. The ground quickly melted their forms and greedily drank their water.
These were massive beings, these Sand Dwellers. Even while frozen, the three Wizards struggled to see past and around them.
"You fools should run," Melkor begged. Boozor had finally stood up and had collected himself.
"Nah, we'll face this together."
Yodatoy said nothing but also didn't move.
The Dwellers surrounded the OGs. Even if Melkor had been able to teleport, no line of sight was possible. They would be pummeled.
One of the Dwellers stood up tall and began to raise his mighty stone arm. It seemed to rise endlessly, a precursor to its own function as a hammer of Death.
Suddenly, seemingly from behind, a great Purple Beam cut through the shoulder of the Sand Dweller like a laser, and the arm dropped. The OGs inside the circle moved away from the falling stones as quickly as they could, but had little room to maneuver. They turned and faced the second Sand Dweller. It lifted its leg high above them, preparing to step on them. Melkor felt a swift breeze next to him. A great host of Bears ran past him and his companions. They leaped onto the Dweller's grounded leg and began running straight up its body. The bears' claws bit down into the Sand Dweller's stone body like a hot knife through butter and the Sand Dweller groaned and moaned in rage. When the five or six bears had made their way to the top of the Dweller's body, it toppled backwards.
The third Dweller turned to run. The Purple Beam appeared again, this time slicing through the retreating Sand Dweller's legs in one swift hewing.
This Sand Dweller's body rocked and began to fall...towards Boozor and Melkor and Yodatoy. It was in this moment that the source of the Purple Beam revealed itself.
A being that could be described as nothing other than pure energy, glided up to the trio of Wizards. He had the form of a man, with no features of face. He did not stand, but floated freely as if by his own accord, with every facet of his Being bathed in shades of rich and deep purple hues. Boozor and Melkor smiled.
"Jaetch," Melkor was in so much awe, he almost giggled.
The legless body of the Sand Dweller toppled in their direction. Jaetch twitched, and a great sphere expanded from the center of his body. The falling stones seemed to slow to a point of almost no movement. Boozor and Yodatoy helped Melkor move out from the deadly path of falling debris, Jaetch waiting patiently until his friends were safe. He then gracefully glided up to the fallen Sand Dweller's remaining form. In a great display of Arcane Prowess, he brought his fist down onto the collapsed Sand Dweller's chest. The Dweller was instantly pulverized, its body returning to the sand from whence it was originally conjured. A shockwave pulsed from the center of Jaetch's strike, and sand blew outward in every direction.
Meanwhile, the Bears had accomplished a similar result...in a more animal-like capacity. They had ripped their Sand Dweller to pieces. Melkor looked over at the mystical Bears, and couldn't help but think of the stories that JellzRoc had told him about the Witch Doctor, Pensfan and his 'Zombie Pugs'. Something about these Bears seemed to fit a similar description, if only in theme and spirit. The Bears suddenly vanished into thin air, dissolving into nothing and whisping away into the Kehjistani winds. All but one remained, and he was actually in fact, a man. Tall and pale, he was dressed in traditional tribal fashion, wearing a necklace with great big teeth of all sizes hanging from it. A dead chicken hung from his belt, its head wedged under the belt strap, its tongue hanging out. He wore large sandals with thick and ridged soles. His head was covered in great headdress, with ornate purple hues. The purple was oddly familiar to Melkor. It felt, familial. He walked over to the group and smiled.
"I think you can transform back into 'Normal-Jaetch' now, my friend."
The purple Being nodded, and lowered to the ground. His feet touched the Earth and in doing so, his form began to change. First, only the color of the Being changed, but then the form gave way as well. Within no more than a few seconds, a rather tall and thin man stood among the Wizards and Witch Doctor.
"That never gets old," Jaetch smiled. He gestured towards the Witch Doctor, "My friends, may I present, PeterBiz."
"Hi! European?" Yodatoy blurted out.
"Yoda!" Melkor yelped. He turned to PeterBiz, "Are you a friend of Pensfan, the Pug Warrior?"
PeterBiz spoke as if Melkor had asked nothing.
"Why have you come to Kehjistan?"
Melkor sighed heavily, "I'm cursed. I'm here to see my friend, BDF. He may have a cure for me."
PeterBiz squinted at Melkor, "Any other reason?"
Melkor looked at Jaetch, but he was busy catching up with Boozor and Yodatoy. The three were in deep conversation and were not paying attention to Biz and his conversation. PeterBiz pushed forward.
"You travel on foot, through the most dangerous Desert on Sanctuary, escorted by," he paused and looked at Boozor and Yodatoy, "only two Arcane Warriors?"
"Yup," Melkor said.
"Why walk? Why not take the Great Road in carriage or cart?"
"Why not walk? Walking is...uh...walking."
PeterBiz seemed awfully suspicious of the traveling Wizards. He continued his questioning.
"You are in the form of an Old Man. You can barely walk. This would be a treacherous and foolish path."
Melkor was running out of small talk. He offered flatly, "We like the scenery."
Melkor's eyes widened and he found himself becoming annoyed. What was this guy's deal?
"I'm lying, am I?"
"Yes. You are not only here for a cure to your Curse."
Melkor grimaced. Truth be told, he wasn't surprised. Witch Doctors were an Intelligence Class. It was not impossible or even unlikely that PeterBiz would be able to glean the truth concerning the traveling trio's current situation. Could PeterBiz be trusted? Luckily for Melkor, he didn't have to figure it out.
"PeterBiz is a friend, and an OG in his own right," Jaetch interjected, and Melkor noticed that all eyes had now fallen on Peter and himself, "Think of him as a Wizard Doctor."
As soon as Jaetch uttered the phrase, 'Wizard Doctor', yodatoy and Boozor gasped. Melkor squinted his 'old' eyes at Jaetch. Yoda finally blurted out loud, being unable to contain his exasperation.
"This is practically sacrilege, Jaetch. How can one be a merged class?"
"I admit," PeterBiz began while very slowly stepping in between each Wizard as he spoke, occasionally stopping to look into their eyes, "that I am not working as intended, but I am not against you, and if it were not for your friend BDF-"
"-I knew it!" Melkor threw his hands in the air, "Only BDF could conjure such a thing in Sanctuary. Let me guess. He told you that in order to save you, you had to break the rules-"
"-without breaking them, yes," Peter finished Melkor's sentence, "I am grateful for his work, even if it did not end as we had hoped. At least, however," he stopped in front of Melkor and looked directly into his eyes before finishing, "it did not end as we had feared."
Melkor nodded his head rapidly, but not in agreement, "Yeah, you're definitely like Beed. I have no idea what you mean."
PeterBiz shrugged his shoulders, "Jaetch, The Sand Dwellers are dead, but as you know, evil begets evil. We must make for BDF's encampment. He will have provisions for your friends, and can assess Melkor's Curse."
Jaetch motioned off in a direction that seemed to lie directly under the rising Moon. The company collected their things and wrapped their bodies in new garb, as the temperature had steadily fell since their ordeal at dusk in the Sands of Kehjistan. As they finally got moving, PeterBiz helped Melkor onto the back of a summoned Bear. Melkor sighed heavily with exhaustion.
"Thank you, Peter," Melk offered sincerely, his fatigue now setting in considerably. He didn't know it at the time, but as an Old Man, Melkor would never walk again.
"You are most welcome, Master Melkor," PeterBiz smiled. The smile ran away from his face in a hurry though, and he leaned in close, almost to the point where his nose was touching Melkor's. He then cut his eyes and whispered,
"Do not think that I have forgotten that you have still not told me all the reasons as to why you are in Kehjistan."
Melkor smiled weakly at PeterBiz and winked before saying, "The 'climate' is not right for such a discussion. And as Wizards, one thing is always true, my new hybrid friend."
"What is this Wizard Truth you speak of?" Peter stood up tall and creased his brow. Melkor closed his eyes and began to drift into sleep. Before he departed the waking world, he whispered, "We're all clever. Whether it's freezing mobs or dropping bombs, we control the weather."
To Be Continued...
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