The Saga of the O.G.

 

Chapter 15 - Into the Void

 

Malakai sat in a knee-down position on the floor of a dark, stone room.  His eyes closed, he breathed slowly and methodically as if he were immersed in some form of meditation.  The size of the room was unknown.  There were no windows in this room.  No doors save one.  At the rear of this room, a highly alert and obviously shaken Void paced back and forth in front of the small doorway, which was nothing more than a cut-out in the center of the wall.  From beyond the doorway, a dim and menacing shade of light, a yellow hue perhaps, spilled into the darkness.  Void paced rapidly.  He held Slice Device in one hand, and a Chantodo Force in the other.

Malakai leaned forward and rested his right ear on the cold stone floor.  Slowly, the grey stone turned white around the area where Malakai's head met the ground.  Small slivers of pure white ran off in seemingly random directions. 

"Hurry, Malakai," Void pleaded, as the yellow lights from the doorway grew slightly more in intensity.

"Don't rush me," Malakai spoke without moving, frost exhaling from his mouth and nostrils as he dismissed Void, "the Deep Listen takes more than just the proper physical form. I need complete and utter concetr-"Malakai's eyes fluttered open.  He sat up.  The spider-web of ice tentacles seemed to fade in every direction.  He turned around and faced Void.

"The...Keywardens?"

Void ran over to Malakai and knelt down.  He looked back towards the door.  Again, the light brightened.  He practically spat at Malakai, "What do you mean, the Keywardens?  NME has the Keywardens working for him?"

Malakai was perplexed.  He spoke very slowly, "Not sure if it's Keywardens or...or..." Malakai's voice dwindled and trailed.  Suddenly, a new voice spoke.

"Just Warden, actually, and it's not 'working for me'.  It's actually...just....not working at all."

Void helped Malakai to his feet and the two turned to face the glowing open doorway.  In its center stood an old and familiar foe.

 

"NME," Void slurped as he and Malakai began stepping away from one another intentionally.  Neither broke eye contact with NME as they moved. 

NME was shorter than both Malakai and Void, but he did have an air about him, a presence.  He wore a dark armor set, almost black, but clearly bronze in origin.  Wrapped around his armor set, a deep and dark red cloak rested on his shoulders, bronze colored rope marking the ends of his sleeves and around his hood.  His face was shrouded in a smoke of some sort, which seemed to lay within the confines of the robe.  It may have been the cause of the darkly stained armor set.  His eyes glowed a faint red, and if it were not for the fact that they were glowing, they would most likely be impossible to see.  He held a plain wand in his right hand, and three free floating orbs in his left.  Each orb was a different color, and they free floated above NME's open palm as he stood facing the O.G.'s.  

"Yes, Void, it is me."

"Clever of you to trap us down...here, wherever this is," Void chuckled.  NME looked at the ceiling and let out a roar of laughter.  His eyes seemed to glow just a bit more as his cackling filled the dark room.

"And yet, two of the most powerful Old Geyser Wizards on Sanctuary have yet to ascertain where they have been led?  Doth Jaetch know the depth of his pawn's incompetency?" NME laughed again.

"We know that this room shall be your tomb," Malakai taunted.  Void and Malakai had now positioned themselves on opposite sides of the room.  Malakai had already drawn his Skorn from his back.  Both of them faced NME with their weapons gripped tightly.  Blood dripped from Slice Device's blade, its drops evaporating less than a second before touching the floor.   Malakai's shoulders steamed with Frost, and his whole body seemed to be covering in it.  

NME's smug look of expression gave way to words, "Oh we will dance in battle, my friends.  We will.  But first," he stepped forward a single step.  Void and Malakai took a half step backwards as well, "first, I must beg your forgiveness.  I haven't been completely honest with the lot of you.  We are not the only ones present."

NME stepped away from the open passage.  One by one, a host of...Wizards entered the room.  Void squinted at them as they filed in.  There was something...familiar about them.  They were all dressed identically; they were all the same size. 

And they were all Melkor.

"Dafuq?" Void whispered.

"Gentlewizards," NME mocked, "may I present, my greatest creations, a true adulteration perhaps - the Melk-bots."

"Oh, you've got to be joking," Malakai offered. There was a hint of desperation in his voice, though.  He quickly looked over at Void, and the two of them exchanged glances that could only be interpreted as one thing:

'We're Screwed'

NME had been wise to trap the two Wizard O.G.'s down here, wherever they were.  Malakai and Void simultaneously ran into the darkness, away from NME and his army of Bots.

"Where are you going?" NME taunted.  He then turned to a row of Melk-bots.  Raising his wand up to his lips, he blew forth a dark, black smoke.  The smoke was almost fluid, and it seemed to take the form of a hand.  It ran past the nostrils of each Melk-bot, and entered through their bodies through their noses.  Each Bot stood up straight (as Melkor never could) and came alive with bright yellow lights emitting from their eyes, nostrils, mouths and ears.  In unison, they stepped forward, and moving mechanically, they turned to face their Master.

"Silence them!" NME hissed.  

At the other end of the room, which was turning out to be more akin to a large Hall rather than just a room, Malakai and Void hit a wall, literally.  Void placed his hand against it.

"I know this stone."

Malakai walked up to the wall and placed his hand on it as well.  

"I do as well.  The Forum is comprised of the same stone."

"Where are we, exactly?" Void was lost.  He summoned forth a Familiar within his hands.  He opened them, and the Familiar rose gingerly towards the ceiling.  As it traveled upwards, its fiery illumination revealed the smooth surface of the familiar stone.  The wall ran high, but eventually, the smooth stone gave way to grooves.  Void's eyes widened.

"I'll be damned," he smiled.  The stone had a giant "W" engraved into it, glowing with blue energy of some type.

"What is it?" Malakai was looking off towards the growing "yellow menace" of the Melk-bots approaching.

"It's not Keywardens that you heard in the Deep Listen, Malakai.  It's...Warden.  It's just Warden."

Malakai slapped his side and let out a single, "Ha," followed by, "This is too good to be true.  Warden zaps Bots!"

Void was no longer smiling. He looked at Malakai with worry.

"Give me your Skorn."

"What?" 

"We can't dual wield.  Warden forbids it," Void blurted out while still motioning towards Malakai's weapon.

"Yeah, duh," Malakai scoffed.

"Give me your Skorn, Malakai!"

Malakai reluctantly handed Void his Skorn.  Void held it in one hand and reached for his holstered dagger. Malakai motioned to stop him.

"Are you mad?"

"Possibly," Void grimaced.

"Warden will instantly ban you.  You'll be gone forever, Void!"

"If we're lucky."

"If we're lucky?" Malakai was completely bewildered.

Void grabbed his dagger and held both weapons in each of his hands.  He looked up at the "W" and winced.

Nothing happened.  He blatantly swung both weapons at once.  Warden's blue light showed not the slightest sign of alertness.

"It is as I feared," Void said while handing a perplexed Malakai his Skorn back, "Warden is completely offline.  And...if I remember correctly, Warden is installed directly beneath the Forums...hence the similar stone.  NME has probably known we were coming for him the whole time."

Malakai heard the mechanical grunt of the Melkbots and knew they were upon them.  He turned towards the yellow fog and readied himself.

"If Warden will not cleanse Sanctuary of NME's filth, we must.  For the Forum!" Malakai bellowed the last sentence at the top of his lungs.  He teleported into the fray of Bots, instantly decapitating three with one hew from his mighty axe.  They collapsed to the floor in a frozen heap of death, smoke rising from their freshly slain corpses. 

Void had different plans.  He yelled to the embattled Malakai, "The rules of Diablo are broken!  You can do whatever you want now.  It's a free for all!" He threw his dagger across the room at a lone Bot.  The bot moved out of the way by about a foot.  Suddenly, Void teleported to where Slice Device would miss its target.  He grabbed it out of mid-air and stabbed the sidestepped Bot in the throat.  Black Smoke spewed outwardly.  There was no blood.  Void made a face of disgust and moved out of the way.  He focused his attention on a nearby advancing pack of Bots.

Malakai was again surrounded, this time by 5 Melkbots.  He cast Frost Nova before quickly holstering his Skorn.  As if on cue, he summoned the Great Sleet Storm.  This storm however, contained Glacial Spikes that whipped around at high speeds.  Occasionally, one would come in contact with a Melkbot and crush it.  

"I think I'm starting to get the hang of this," Malakai laughed.  

NME had finally made his way to the end of the hall.  He looked up at the Great "W", then spit on the floor.

"Too long have we all cowered beneath you, Warden.  I revel in the notion that I have made my abode at your feet, and beneath the feet of the Wizards and their beloved Forum.  Now, see what I have done with the knowledge of your inactivity!"

NME looked towards Malakai and again blew Black Smoke from his lips.  It traveled rapidly towards Malakai's location, but he was too immersed in channeling to notice.  Void looked up in horror.

"Noo-uh!!!" Void screamed as he teleported away from a small skirmish towards Malakai.  

But NME was cunning, and he stepped forward and quite literally plucked Void's form from the very ether it traveled through.  He held the reassembling Void by the neck, off the ground.  Void coughed and struggled to break free...to no avail.

The Black Smoke found the Great Sleet Storm and began a rapidly decaying orbit.  Void tried to yell for his friend, but NME threw his body back from whence it came.  Void smashed into the wall, his head hitting the unforgiving stone with great force.  He collapsed and would not move again.

The Black Smoke finally found its way into Malakai's nose and mouth.  The Sleet Storm sputtered and fizzled out as Malakai coughed and stumbled forward.  The remaining Bots watched on as Malakai suddenly and aggressively aged.  He dropped to his knees and looked at NME, not with hate or anger, but with compassion.  

"You will never know the Love that we know, and for that, I feel very sorry for you." He smiled as best he could.  He collapsed forward, landing face-first on the floor.

And then, he died.

 

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