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stories & literature

the enchanted forest

"The Final Chapter"

by Christofori

Note: This is another story which was written out of the channel; so there is no IRC version. Some elements of the story may be inspired by actual happenings or sayings of people in the channel as I write this, however. Enjoy!

Quite some time has passed from the last time the Children could go camping to hear stories and this day. However, somehow, some way, Christofori, the Masterful Storyteller, knew that the Children would soon return to hear more tales from the Enchanted Forest. So, in a style unique to the Master Storyteller, Christofori set to work yet again on an impressive campsite for the Children so they could best hear the latest installment of the Enchanted Forest tales. Little did the Children know how special this night would be, though... And, neither do you, so stop trying to guess what will make this night special, and finish reading the story already!

Oh, sorry. Anyway, all of the children who had ever heard Christofori tell his stories began to show up: James-Bond, Chroniq, HyoCHAN, Kruser, BardCat (although he was off in his own world most of the time...), Retro, Brainwash, Lyrica, DreamSectioN, Wigglia (who had changed her name from Kyria recently), and yes, even Slam was there. They were all very excited to be back in the forest to listen to the wonderful stories, and it seemed that since many of them hadn't seen some of the others they all had to chatter idly amongst themselves to get caught up in each of their own life stories of the past several weeks. Anyway, they all had a nice meal and (of course) some Frosty Coca-Cola (off of a new palette) and settled down as Christofori began:

"Well, Children, I'm very glad you could all make it today. You see, this is a very special day, and because of this I have a very special story for you all to hear."
"What makes this day so special?" asked Slam.
"Well, I can't tell you until after I finish the story, so you'll have to wait and see!" Christofori explained.
"Oh, okay then," said Slam. You could tell he as a bit disappointed about not knowing something right away; but he also trusted that Christofori would eventually tell them, as he'd never lied to them before.

Just as Christofori was about to begin with the story, Libris the teenager who had joined the Children and Christofori once before, came into the campground hinting that he wished to listen to the story as well. Since Christofori knew that the other Children were so much younger, he always wanted to make sure they didn't care if someone older were with them. Of course, the Children did not care, so Christofori was at last able to begin the story.

* * *

"Well, Children, you may recall that Warhawk had just woken up from what seemed to be a strange dream the last time we were here. He dreamed that he'd been in some sort of hell called the Ethereal Plane of Damnation and Brimstone, and that he'd met Schabuda while there; although Warhawk clearly remembered having killed Schabuda some time ago. Well, Warhawk hadn't been dreaming; all of that happened! Warhawk really died, and he and Schabuda were brought back to life by the gods. However, the other people around Warhawk's life when he woke up had no memory that Schabuda had even been dead; to them, it was like he had always been there with Warhawk.

All of these strange things that had happened to Warhawk helped him to become a better bird. He had already resolved to become a better father figure to Bouncingbris, his lovingly adopted human son. Now, though, recent events had made him believe that he was to treat all life more fairly, and not be so quick to judge others as he had been before. He also realized that it would be a good thing if he quit killing random people for no reason, too.

Well, anyway, we join Warhawk some weeks after he was shot by the arrow that fateful day which sent him to the Ethereal Plane of Damnation and Brimstone. Warhawk's physical wounds have healed, and he also is anxious to pursue his divine mission to discover who had tried to kill him. You might imagine that someone so skilled that they could shield themselves from the gods themselves would be hard to track down, and so far Warhawk had not had any luck. Several of Warhawk's friends, as well as many of the people in the Enchanted Forest who had ever heard of Warhawk (which was quite a few people), even began to help him look for the mysterious attacker. So far, though, no one has had any luck; and there seem to be no clues anywhere.

* * *

Warhawk was beside himself with frustration. How could he, the most powerful and divinely blessed creation in the Enchanted Forest, be unable to find out anything on someone who, a few weeks earlier, had tried to kill him? He didn't even know if the person who fired the arrow and the person who wanted him dead were the same person. It was still a possibility that the archer had simply been some sort of bounty hunter or something. Well, anyway, Warhawk sat perplexed at his pad, his son Rompingbris out playing with some monkeys in a nearby tree.

Just then, a small wormlike creature crawled into Warhawk's pad. Warhawk's first thought would be to eat the worm quickly, as he liked the way they crunched and eventually turned fairly gooey in his mouth; but he remembered his wish to become more tolerable, and refrained from attacking the creature. Besides, it was probably some strange species of worm that Warhawk had never seen, who was simply either lost or looking for a new home. Just so long as it didn't decide to take up residence in Warhawk's pad, Warhawk had decided that he would leave it alone.

Strangely, though, the worm crawled straight towards Warhawk. At first, Warhawk didn't know what to do, so he simply watched the creature crawling slowly towards him. Warhawk estimated that the worm was probably about 45 millimeters in length; fairly short for a worm. Now, you may be wondering how Warhawk could have seen such a small creature from all the way across the room in his pad. But, don't forget that Warhawk is a big and powerful bird; and the bigger birds of prey tend to have extremely good eyesight. Let's just say that Warhawk also has good eyes.

Suddenly, the creature stopped as he finally got close enough to Warhawk. Again, Warhawk was tempted to eat the worm thing, because he suddenly had developed some hunger pains. Warhawk was able to resist the urge, though. Especially when he discovered the worm could talk!

"Hey! Hey you, can you hear me yet? Dear Stary in the Ethereal Plane, please PLEASE let him be able to hear me now! I'm sick and tired of all this yelling!" As the worm seemed to have been distracted with his last outburst, he at first didn't notice Warhawk's perplexed look which indicated that he could hear the worm. As he looked back towards Warhawk, though, he immediately knew that he was finally being heard.

"Hey! You CAN hear me! Bend down a bit so you can hear me without me having to yell, you big oaf!" exclaimed the worm excitedly.
"Big oaf?" questioned Warhawk. Somehow, Warhawk found it quite amusing that such a little creature didn't seem to be afraid of him.
"Yes, that's you, dimwit! Okay, you can hear me FINALLY. This is a good thing! Sheesh, all that yelling.... I was afraid I was going to lose my voice! I mean, it's awfully hard to keep that level of volume up while you're talking to..."

"All right already!" Warhawk interrupted. "Who the heck are you, anyway?"
"Me? I'm called inferno," the worm creature explained.
"Ah, Inferno... interesting name..." Warhawk began.
"No, NO, NOO!" the worm exclaimed. "It's not 'Inferno,' it is 'inferno' with a little 'I'! Sheesh, get it right!"
"Ah, okay, sorry there 'little-I.'"

"Hahahaha, I haven't heard that one before. Geez, you correct someone and all they can do is ridicule you! Aw, whatever. Anyway, I've got some important information for you," continued inferno.

Well, as it turned out, inferno DID have some important information for Warhawk. It seems that inferno seemed to know a lot about the archer, and he told Warhawk everything that he knew. When the worm was finished with his long account of information, Warhawk ate the worm.

"Mmmmm," he commented as he savored the gooey juices. "This inferno fellow is pretty good. I can't say I've ever tasted anything like it, though..."

* * *

Warhawk finally knew something about his attackers, and what they were after. However, he knew that he could not go after them alone, so he took his son Tagalongbris with him to the Ethereal Plane of Existence and Ponderance to consult with the gods on the matter. Hopefully, Warhawk had decided, the gods would understand that the work ahead would be difficult and may even grant Warhawk some extra powers. Either way, Warhawk felt the impending doom which surrounded his every action and thought grow ever more ominous as the time of his confrontation drew nearer and nearer.

Just then, Slam (as if you didn't already know...) had a question. Knowing all to well the young lad's nature, Christofori made a simple and understanding gesture which prompted the boy to proceed with his question.

"Why don't the gods just take care of the matter if they now know who did it?" Slam asked.

The question almost caught Christofori off guard; as he was half expecting Slam to ask the other question sure to be mulling about in his mind: 'What does Warhawk know about the attackers?!' However, Christofori understood now that somehow, Slam had become a bit more mature and patient. Christofori reminded himself to ask Slam about it some day.

"Well, Slam," Christofori began, "I guess the gods don't want to get directly involved. They may rather risk a mortal's life than their own."
"I thought that gods couldn't die in this story!" exclaimed Lyrica.
"Well, we don't know for sure, dear," explained Christofori. "But it is assumed that they cannot be killed, and that they will live forever. Perhaps, though, if they themselves went to confront the evil Warhawk has told them about, something much worse than death could happen. Perhaps evil would triumph and the Enchanted Forest would have no protection against the throngs of evildoers!"

With that, the Children all seemed to scoff a bit. No doubt, the all thought that evil could never win, and that the Enchanted Forest was not such a fragile place as some might be led to believe. While the wonder and sometimes uncanny wisdom of Children is often surprising, they, too, become complacent in their beliefs from time to time. Christofori had no doubt that each of the kids would turn out fine (well, he did have a shadow of doubt about BardCat...), but he knew how wrong they might be. He knew everything.

* * *

The gods, after hearing Warhawk's detailed report, met in a closed session (god-only) meeting. They decided that their best hope for victory was Warhawk and his friends, so they called Warhawk to be among them yet again.

"Honorable Warhawk," Stary began. "We have decided that you shall be our chosen saint in this matter. You will confront your attackers and destroy them."

At first, Warhawk was astounded. He knew that he would be somehow directly involved in this confrontation, but he was horrified at Stary's statement: it made it sound as though they wanted Warhawk to face the villains by himself!

"Do not worry, valiant Warhawk," assured Ghidorah, the god of love. "We do not wish to send you alone; nor shall we send you unprepared."

Warhawk, suddenly confused, became entranced with the idea of the gods preparing him for this battle. "What exactly do you mean?" he asked.

"Well," Stary explained, "we are going to send you, your son, Schabuda, and James-Bond to the place you described. Do not worry, we will prepare each of you with a unique gift so that together you will be able to defeat these foes."

Warhawk was instantly curious. He had already been granted the gift of (somewhat) immortality, and he was also the keeper of the Talon of Mercy and, at one point, the Talon of Light. He also found himself quite surprised by the sudden appearance of both Schabuda and James-Bond nearby. They were both obviously puzzled as well, but managed to make their way carefully over to the place where the gods were talking to Warhawk and Tetherbris. Soon, the four were all in a line, as if at some sort of ceremony.

The gods chose to begin with Schabuda.

"To Schabuda," the gods all chanted at once, "we give the ability to see absolute truth in the midst of lies and deceit. Also, you will be able to see anything."

Schabuda, normally at somewhat of a loss for words, managed a complete sentence: "What exactly does that mean?"
"Well," Gargoyle explained, "you will be able to see things as you do now; as well, you will be able to see that which others cannot see. If some magic or power is causing someone to be invisible, you will be able to see them. If it is too dark for your comrades, you will still see fine. If something is not visible in the normal spectrum of 'visible light,' you will be able to see it. Get it?"
"Sure," said Schabuda. Most people would have missed it, but if you knew Schabuda well enough, you could catch just the tiniest hint of satisfaction from his newfound ability.

Next, the gods proceeded to bless James-Bond.

"To James-Bond," the gods again all chanted, "we give the ability to survive any environment. Also, you will be able to change the environment immediately around you to that which will better suit your companions."
"Cool," commented James-Bond. "That could become very useful."
Warhawk nodded in agreement as James-Bond glanced in his direction.

"To Unknowingbris, we grant the supreme power of imperviability. You will be immune to any attack of any strength. You will also have laser eyes, which will allow you to burn through anything with a thought. You will also have icy breath, which will allow you to freeze anything. You will also gain significant intelligence, so that you may use your new powers more wisely. Finally, your recently re-gained appendage will increase in size to that which suits your mood; whenever, wherever."

"Wait a minute!" interrupted Warhawk. "How come he gets so much? The others only got one major and one minor ability, and Fortunatebris gets all of this? I mean, don't get me wrong, I love him and wish the best for him, but... Being able to change the size of his... um... appendage... at will? Does that not seem to be the slightest bit dangerous?"
"We are not finished with our blessing," commented Komsip in a matter-of-fact way.

Warhawk stood beside himself with disbelief as the gods continued.

"Furthermore, your name shall always be Skyscape from this moment on. No more will you be known as *bris, for that is confusing and we do not like it. In fact, we believe that your birth-parents were hideous bastards for giving you a name that changed each time it was mentioned or referred to. So, you are now Skyscape, and are the most powerful and sexy being in the Enchanted Forest. However, all of this blessing will come with a price: you will have a weakness. It will be the job of your companions to help protect your weakness."

With that, Skyscape seemed to glow momentarily at the mention of his being the most powerful and sexy being in the Enchanted Forest, but then Komsip, who always delighted in giving bad news, leaned over and whispered something into Skyscape's ear.

"Now, to Warhawk," the gods all began.

"Wait!" shouted Warhawk. "What is Skyscape's weakness? We must know it if we are to help protect him!"
"Warhawk," began Ghidorah, "we are touched by your love for your adoptive son. Do not worry, as long as he knows his weakness, he will be safe. You should not concern yourself with this matter."

Warhawk seemed to be able to understand that, although he was definitely concerned for his son's well-being. He almost found himself drawing on to several random "what-if?" tangents as the gods continued his blessing:

"To Warhawk," the gods said, "we grant the Talon of Infinity."

Some time passed, and the mortals and gods just kind of stood there looking at each other. The gods' looks were all loving and kind (even Komsip's, though his was more of a kind smirk), while the mortals' looks were, to put it mildly, more like vast and chaotic confusion.

"Not to sound ungrateful, but... well, actually, what does the Talon of Infinity actually do?" Warhawk asked.
"Do not worry, our trusted one," began Gargoyle, who (up until now) seemed to have been ignoring Warhawk completely (you may recall that Gargoyle was mad at Warhawk for calling his daughter HyoCHAN something of a slut...). Gargoyle continued, "You will know how to use the Talon when the times call for its use."

With that, the gods bid the fearsome four a good journey, and each of the mortals suddenly fell to the ground.

* * *

When the four awoke, they found themselves in a completely different place. They were no longer in the Ethereal Plane of Existence and Ponderance, nor were they in the Enchanted Forest. No, they were in a place that none of them had ever seen, much less heard of. Well, actually, Warhawk had been told of this place by inferno, the annoying little worm who told him everything in the first place. He had found it hard to believe that what inferno had mentioned could actually be true, as it was so fantastic that almost anyone would have laughed hysterically at the disgusting little worm once the very words had left his mouth. Warhawk, in fact, almost laughed; but instead, you'll remember, he simply ate the worm. He later learned that the worm was of the species 'Daucus Scheissenkopf Wormous,' commonly referred to as the "poo-poo head worm." Anyway, that's beside the point.

Suddenly, Schabuda looked off into the distance. "Uh-oh. We've got company," he said, as he noticed a figure rapidly approaching their current position.

"Are you sure?" asked James-Bond, who was one of the other three there who could see nothing.
"Very," said Schabuda, now seeming to speak in alternating short and then long sentences.
"We should prepare ourselves," said Warhawk, to which the others agreed. James-Bond created a shield of sorts around the four to protect them all. Skyscape began to flex his muscles, and he checked his breath, in case the person approaching was female. Warhawk stood ready, thinking about what his new Talon of Infinity would be used for. Schabuda kept watching the other figure as it approached.

Soon enough, the figure was close enough to the four that they could all see him (he was also no longer invisible). He was a tall and dark man, with most of his features hidden behind a dark hooded cloak. As he approached, he slowed and then stopped when he was near enough to the heroes.

"What is this?" he chided. "Have you all gone insane? You will surely die here, you must know this! Your pitiful powers are no match for ours!"

"State your name, so that we may know who we are about to kill!" shouted Schabuda. This surprised everyone in the group, and even, Christofori noticed, several of the Children. Christofori even managed to surmise that some of the Children even began to think of Schabuda as their favorite of the heroes. He grinned inwardly to himself as he continued the story.

"My name? Well, not that it is any concern of yours, but I am Lord St3vor. My master and I have been expecting you."

"'Lord' St3vor? Who exactly gave you that title?" mocked James-Bond.
"Well, amongst our people, it is customary to be referred to as Lord whomever-you-are. Mainly because we are so evil and powerful, I guess," explained Lord St3vor. "Anyway, you must all follow me. Don't worry, no harm will come to you... YET! Bwaayayayayayayaa!"

Instantly, Warhawk recognized that laugh. It almost seemed to him as though it haunted his very soul, and he couldn't have been able to place the laugh with it's owner -- until now.

"Lord St3vor... Ha!" mocked Warhawk. "I would know that laugh anywhere! You are Cryssalid in disguise!"

"Don't be so vain that you would believe one similarity should mean that I am someone who I am not. Besides, Cryssalid is one of the gods, and he has to obey their wishes. He may be the one in charge of the Ethereal Plane of Damnation and Brimstone, but... well, I believe I should just let my master explain. He will tell you everything, so that you will know how foolish you and your gods are as you are dying a slow and painfully excruciating death! Bwaaayayayayayaaa!"

Warhawk could not help but wonder how Cryssalid and this 'Lord St3vor' could share such a laugh, but he decided that he would know soon enough. He indicated to the others that they should follow Lord St3vor to see his master, and learn the rest of their story.

* * *

Soon enough, our heroes all found themselves at the hideout of the infamous 'Lords.'

"Wait Here," St3vor instructed the others. "We won't be long."
With that, Lord St3vor went off into another room.

"What do you think they're up to?" asked James-Bond.
"Dunno," said Schabuda.
"I'm sure we will find out soon enough," commented Warhawk.

Sure enough, Lord St3vor could be seen heading back towards them. Behind him was a similarly dressed figure, with the most evil aura that any of the heroes had ever seen.

"This is my master, Lord Lazer," explained Lord St3vor.
"It's a pleasure," Warhawk commented ruefully. "Now why did you try to kill me, and what do you hope to accomplish by all of this?"
"We are trying to kill you because your 'gods' seem to like you. Besides, you are the only one standing in our way," commented Lord Lazer.

With that, the two dark Lords took up a battle stance, as did our heroes. A fantastic battle soon began.

James-Bond quickly created an energy shield around the heroes, and did so with excellent timing -- Lord St3vor had just blasted a bolt of lightning at them from his fingertips! The blast was absorbed in the energy shield in the nick of time.

Skyscape shot a menacing glare towards Lord Lazer, causing his laser eye to shoot at the dark Lord. However, the dark Lord was able to deflect the blast with his hand.

Schabuda looked around to see if he could detect any invisible creatures lurking in the area, as he thought the dark Lords might have some of those kinds of tricks up their sleeves.

Warhawk watched the whole thing as he madly tried to think of a way to use his Talon of Infinity.

Again and again, rounds of the battle were fought. Each time, the fearless four seemed to match the intensity of the attacks from the dark Lords, and were able to negate all of their attacks. But so were the dark Lords. For a time, it almost seemed as though they were all fighting a no-win battle.

The battle raged on for some time, and each of the mortals were able to hold their own against the dark Lords. Schabuda was even doing fairly well, given that his abilities were mainly suited for helping the others more than for fighting. He also seemed to be having a great time, as he was shouting "Give up, you dark minions of evil! Yeah! Give up, you stupid floating cloaks!" and other similar taunts.

Suddenly, something made Skyscape look a little closer at Lord St3vor.... He couldn't quite figure it out, but somehow, a sense of familiarity surrounded the cloaked figure. It almost seemed as if Skyscape knew this dark Lord somehow...
"Yes, you have fought well! What is it you call yourself?" asked Lord St3vor.
"I am Skyscape, and I am your worst nightmare!" Skyscape chided as he fumigated Lord St3vor with his icy-fresh breath.

Lord St3vor was able to survive being frozen somehow, and he shattered the icy crystals that had held him in place briefly.
"Bwaaayayayayaa!" laughed Lord St3vor. "It will take more than that to beat us, mortal! Skyscape, I believe it is time you learned a bit more about me. You see, I am your father."

Skyscape stood beside himself in disbelief.

"Is he telling us the truth, Schabuda?" asked James-Bond.
"Yep," said Schabuda.

"That's... impossible!" shouted Skyscape. "You couldn't be my father! I never had a father! Well, besides Warhawk," Skyscape concluded. He may have been intelligent enough to use his powers well, but he still seemed to be one apple short of an apple strüdle.

"It is so! Your all-knowing friend over there has even said it. Face the truth! Embrace me as your father, and I will help you become as powerful as I am! Now, I am your master! Join me, Skyscape, and together we will rule the known plains as Father and Son!"

At that, Lord Lazer looked a bit cross.
"What about me?" he inquired.
"Ah, well, um..." Lord St3vor clamored. "Well, you'll be there too, Master, of course!"

The other dark Lord looked accusingly at Lord St3vor. "Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight..." he said.

With that, Lord Lazer turned all of his hatred and anger towards Lord St3vor. The lesser dark Lord was enveloped in flesh-searing flames.

Skyscape, still in a very confused fate, watched as his birth father burned before his eyes.

"Son! Help me! You can stop this! You must help me defeat Lord Lazer! Together we can do it, son!"

Skyscape was torn. Up until now, he had never even cared to know anything about his birth parents. But now, here was the man who had brought life to him, and Skyscape was torn between his adoptive father Warhawk and his friends, and the life of evil which Lord St3vor offered him.

Lord Lazer would not stop with his torments. As Lord St3vor lay there, literally about to melt from all of the searing heat, Lord Lazer unleashed a blindingly-white (and extremely powerful) bolt of energy at the lesser dark Lord. Lord St3vor jolted violently, but his gaze was fixed on Skyscape.

Skyscape was the most confused he had ever been in his life. He did not know what to do.

* * *

As Christofori watched the Children, he knew that right now their very minds hung in the balance of what was going on. He watched them for such a moment that they began to notice that he was no longer telling them the story.

"What's wrong, Christofori?" asked Slam when he had finally snapped out of it.
"Nothing, dear child," said the Master. "I... I just... well, I..." but for some reason it seemed like Christofori was having trouble telling the child what he was feeling.
"It's okay, Christofori, you can tell us. What is bothering you?" Slam prodded.
"Well, I just..." the master sighed heavily to himself. "Well, I just... really like... telling you children these stories, you know... and..."
"We all really like the stories, too!" exclaimed Lyrica.
"Yeah!" the others (even Libris) began to spontaneously shout (although when Libris said "Yeah!" some of the other kids began to give him some strange looks).

"I know you like the stories, Children!" Christofori said with a sigh. "That is why it's so difficult to say this."
"What?" asked Slam again, this time more concerned.
"Well, I'm afraid that I won't be able to tell you any more stories after tonight," Christofori said.

"What? Why?" the Children all asked (almost simultaneously).
"Well, I can't tell you why exactly, but just know that I won't be able to come here anymore after tonight," explained Christofori.

The Children were all bewildered. Even Libris didn't understand, so it was no surprise when he said "You can't just stop telling stories! We all... well, we are all enchanted by them!"
The other Children all began to agree.

"I know, dear Children," Christofori sighed. "That is why it makes it so hard to have to leave you."
"Well," began Slam, "don't worry about it, Christofori! We know that maybe one day we will see you again, and maybe then we will get to hear more stories!"
"Well, perhaps you are right, dear child," commented Christofori.
"Yeah," agreed Kruser. "You don't even have to tell us why you have to leave; we know you have your reasons, and they are probably really good ones."
"But we'll miss you!" mentioned Lyrica supportively.
"I will miss you as well, dear Children!" said Christofori sincerely. "You have all brought me something that my life had badly needed. You have shown me your love and attention, and you have made me feel welcome and appreciated. For as long as I can remember, I have never felt these things. At least, not until you began to come here and listen to these stories of mine!"

At that, the Children suddenly remembered that they didn't know what was going to happen next in the story. It seems that Christofori had as well!

"Oh yes, the story! Dear me, I had almost forgotten that we were not quite finished!" exclaimed Christofori.
"Yes! Please, tell us what happens!" the Children pleaded.
"Be patient, dear souls," Christofori said, "as we conclude the story!"

* * *

Skyscape had fallen to the ground and was weeping. He was so torn between the two vastly different worlds of his fathers: one of responsibility and valor, compassion, duty, and honor; and one of pure evil. Skyscape could not think clearly, he found the evil powers which his birth father offered to him almost completely irresistible.

Immediately and with blind determination, Skyscape stood. He blew his icy breath towards Lord St3vor (in hopes of quenching the blaze which had engulfed the dark Lord). "James-Bond! Create an energy shield around Lord St3vor! Quickly!" he urged.

"What are you doing??!" breathed Warhawk.

"I must help him!" exclaimed Skyscape. "He is my father, and I... I... I know there is good in him!"

Somehow, Warhawk could see in his lovingly adopted son's eyes a glassy look, as if he weren't really there at all; like he was some sort of mindless frame. A mindless frame with super powers. Super powers which could kill, if need be.

"I am your father!" exclaimed Warhawk. "I took you in when you had no home. I showed you how to take care of yourself. I gave you food, care, and love. What has he ever done for you?" Warhawk asked as he pointed at Lord St3vor, who was now clear of the flame and energy that Lord Lazer had been firing at him for some time now.

"He brought me life," Skyscape said, as he walked over to stand next to his birth father.

Lord Lazer began to laugh an evil and disgusting laugh (though it wasn't like Cryssalid and Lord St3vor's laugh; no, this was so vastly evil a laugh that it can not be described in words. Just believe me -- this guy's explicitly evil!).

"Good, good!" the greater Lord concluded. "Now your best hopes of victory are no more; your 'son' has joined us!"

"But... I thought that... um... I'm confused," confessed James-Bond.
"Fools!" shouted Lord St3vor. "Did you really think that my own Master would ever harm me? Or that I would ever try to overthrow him?! Ha! Hahaha! How incredibly naive! Bwaaayayayayayaa!"

Warhawk was outraged. No amount of mercy, nor level of enlightenment, could have prepared him for this. In a complete and total fury, Warhawk grabbed his Talon of Infinity and charged blindly at Lord Lazer whilst he was not looking. Warhawk reared the Talon back high over his head, and struck the greater Lord in the middle of the chest.

Stunned, Lord Lazer's eyes could actually be seen as they looked questioningly at Warhawk (he had kind of the same look on his face that Darth Maul from 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace' had when 'Obi-wan Kenobi' killed him). Lord Lazer could not understand how Warhawk had done it. You see, most normal weapons would have done no damage whatsoever to the dark Lord. The Talon of Infinity, however, was no ordinary weapon.

Lord Lazer began to quake in place as the very surface of his form began to crack. Beneath the cracks and his outermost layer of skin was a dark (yet somehow very bright) light (okay okay... it was dark because it was like a very dark purple -- you know, like light from a black light. But it was a very BRIGHT black light!). The light shown outward in rays as the greater Lord's skin continued to crack. Eventually he began to crumble, as pieces of his skin began to hit the ground. As he fell to the ground in pieces, each of the pieces mutated into fiery pieces of ash, and eventually, the greater dark Lord was no more.

Lord St3vor, who had watched his old master crumble to pieces before his very eyes, was immediately distraught. "Noooooo!" he yelled.

Before any of them could react, Lord St3vor had Skyscape in his evil clutches.

"If any of you move, I will kill him!" threatened the last remaining dark Lord.
"You are finished," said Warhawk. "Give me back my son, or you will die, as you master did before you."
"NEVER!" St3vor hissed evilly. "If you will not back down, then I will be forced to kill Skyscape!"

With that, the dark Lord quickly slit Skyscape's throat with his sharp claws.

"Nooooooooooooooooo!" Warhawk painfully screamed at the top of his lungs. He immediately rushed over to his son's fallen and lifeless body to mourn him. The others could do no more than watch as Warhawk cried the bitter tears of loss for his son.

When Warhawk was able to compose himself, he stood quietly and faced Lord St3vor.

"That's it, you bitch from hell," said Warhawk. "You're going down!"

With that, Warhawk again lifted the Talon of Infinity over his head and brought it down to contact Lord St3vor's head with such a force that the very bones in Warhawk's mortal form shook from the intensity of the blow. Needless to say, before long Lord St3vor had suffered a fate not much unlike that of his master.

Then, it was all over.

Schabuda and James-Bond said nothing as they watched. Warhawk went slowly back to the fallen form of his son, weeping greatly.

"If only we had more time," Warhawk sobbed.
The others did not know how they could help console Warhawk. After all, since Warhawk had almost lost his son before, the two had begun to grow so close that they would often be found together no matter where they went. They had had a good life as father and son, and were ideal examples of the whole father-son model.

Then, as Warhawk had just begun to wish that it was all over (meaning his life, not the battle or the story), a thought occurred to him.

"The Talon of Infinity. It is very powerful, and it saved my life," Warhawk thought out loud.
"Yes," said Schabuda. "And the gods were right; you knew how to use it when the time was right. I am, however, very sorry about your son. He was a good friend, and he will be missed.

Warhawk was briefly moved by Schabuda's speech. Not because it was a moving speech, but more because it was quite possibly the longest sentence that he had ever heard Schabuda say. Then, he got his wits about him yet again.

"No, that is not quite it. I..." Warhawk thought out loud again. "I think I know how to use the Talon of Infinity."
"Well, of course you do! You just did!" exclaimed James-Bond.
"No, you don't understand. Yes, the Talon is powerful and when I hit them with it they died; but that is not what the Talon is for," explained Warhawk. "Here, watch. I will show you."

With that, Warhawk stood and motioned the others to gather closely to him. He held the Talon of Infinity out towards the others.

"Touch it," Warhawk asked.

The others both looked at each other, shrugged, and touched the Talon.

Warhawk closed his eyes and concentrated. He knew that this would only work if he believed....

A bright light began to emanate from the Talon. The light surrounded the heroes and became so bright that it washed everything else out of the heroes' vision and they were blind. They all began to blink their eyes madly, hoping that they would be able to see again.

* * *

When the dust cleared, Warhawk opened his eyes. It seemed like it had been so long since he had seen anything. He looked around and saw his pad, just as he had left it. He was in bed, and it was almost like he was waking up from some kind of dream. And what a strange dream it seemed to be! He remembered enough of it to become quite worried, and quickly threw the covers back and jumped out of bed. He ran into the front of the pad, where he found James-Bond and Schabuda sleeping peacefully on the floor.

"Get up! Get up! Where is my son?!" Warhawk yelled frantically as he looked about for Skyscape. Surely he had to be here, he just had to.

Schabuda and James-Bond both awoke with a start, and sat up, both quite dazed and confused. When they were able to snap out of it enough to talk, they both said (in unison) "Warhawk, Skyscape is dead."

Warhawk would not believe them, though. He continued tearing through his pad, looking for his son. They could not have all had the same dream, it was impossible! How could they both think Skyscape was dead, it was unheard of! But then Warhawk remembered why he and everyone else were using the name Skyscape instead of Randombris: the mission. The gods' mission.

Warhawk slowly began to accept the truth. He had had no dream, his son really was dead. He knew the Talon of Infinity could transport them all safely back to his pad in the Enchanted Forest; but he also could have sworn that it had the power to bring the dead back to life! He just knew it could!

Just then, they all heard something outside. Quickly, James-Bond jumped to his feet and rushed to the door to look outside.

"You guys! You guys!" he yelled back. "You've gotta see THIS!"

Schabuda quickly jumped up and ran over to the door to gawk at James-Bond's discovery. He was quite surprised and very impressed to see what had caught James-Bond's attention. "Warhawk!" Schabuda screamed. "You have to come see this!"

Warhawk did not seem to be in the mood to see something amazing or funny. He continued to sit, alone on the floor, weeping for his lost son.

"Warhawk! Get over here! This is very important! You must see this for yourself!" the other pleaded.

Warhawk became outright disgusted. "You both have no decency!" he said as he got up. He began to walk to the door as he continued: "I'm sitting here trying to mourn the loss of my son, and you just want me to go see some stupid..."

Warhawk could not help but trail off as he saw what had caught the others' attention.

There, in front of them all, on a nearby vine, was Skyscape; pleasuring himself (as he always used to do -- but this time, with a very... um... impressive appendage.

Warhawk immediately jumped outside and lunged towards his son, who was somewhat embarrassed to see that they had been watching him for some time now. Warhawk almost couldn't stop himself from hugging his son, but somehow managed to avoid doing so long enough to say "Here, son, put your clothes back on so I can hug you without feeling dirty."

Skyscape complied, and the two shared a long and loving embrace.

"And that, dear Children, is the end of the story!" exclaimed Christofori.
"But wait!" said Slam. "What happened to them? The story can't end like that!"
"Well," continued Christofori. "I guess that life in the Enchanted Forest slowly continued to normal. The gods would have nothing more to fear from the evil of the dark Lords, and Warhawk and Skyscape and friends were all alive and together. It truly was a happy ending!"

With that, the Masterful Storyteller closed the book and stood, about to go.
"Wait! You can't leave, Christofori!" pleaded the Children (even Libris).
"I'm sorry, Children, but I must! But do not worry yourselves! We will meet again, one day... one day! But, until then, do have a good night's sleep tonight!"

With that, Christofori miraculously vanished as he snapped his fingers. The Children did not see this, however, because they were all asleep (yes, even Libris). Christofori was, however, always able to watch over each of the Children from the Ethereal Plane of Existence and Ponderance, and he was able to watch each of them grow up and have families of their own. One day, he knew, the Children from the modern-day Enchanted Forest would venture to meet him again. Yes, the god of Stories knew that one day, one day...

The End!
(. . . or is it?. . . )
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