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SynopsisEdit

Tenebrare searches for Zelix inside an empty storage room but is surprised by something unseen.

Dhiar, on this late night, welcomes a visitor to the shop, only to find that it is Lapin, seriously injured. After persuading Chana to stay behind with Lapin, Dhiar ventures out into the city, to find his uncle Zelix, and to get to the bottom of what has happened.

In the abandoned ruin of a large church, Dhiar finds Zelix turned to stone. Before he can discover how and why, he is surprised by Cruz, wielding a large cross as a weapon. Dhiar displays his amazing prowess in battle and proves victorious over Cruz, but just as he tries to interrogate him, a bullet rips through his shoulder. Using his thorn whip, Dhiar defends himself from the other shots, which are revealed to be darts loaded with some sort of substance and were meant to be lodged in his shoulder, rather than going through it.

Dhiar soon identifies the substance as gorgon water and is suitably disgusted. However, Cruz tries to ambush and stab him from behind, an attempt foiled by Hawkye L. Narasumas, who also attacked the sniper, to stop him from further harming Dhiar. However, their reunion is cut short by the appearance of Rosa, who summons zombies to trap them in the near-to-collapse building.

Chana arrives with Joshua and Lapin, in the nick of time. She uses a powerful Succubus magic, which causes a sudden musical interlude that carries Dhiar and Hawkye out of the church in a vehicle shaped like a large wiener. Lapin, meanwhile, picks up the statue of Zelix, and Chana's sharpshooting keeps the zombies at bay until they can escape.

When Cruz returns to report to his master, Supreme Acolyte Ruvial Gatthies, who 'helps' him by restoring the shroud that keeps him covered in shadow. Meanwhile, Rosa faces Tenebrare, who defeats her magical abilities with ease, summoning Tamhu, who in turn defeats her. Before Cruz can attack, Dhiar and Hawkye arrive and persuade him through talking that they do not want to fight. Oscar, the sniper, then tries to start an attack, but Hawkye reasons with him, and he lowers his weapon.

Dhiar and Hawkye take the trio with them upstairs, to confront Gatthies, who has prepared some sort of ritual. Gatthies, undisturbed, attempts to take control of the three by their shrouds. However, Hawkye prepared for this by adding a failsafe himself, to protect them. The shrouds are dissipated completely.

Hawkye reveals that, through Deety, he knew that Ruvial Gatthies died months ago of natural causes. Dhiar puts together the rest of the clues, to determine that Gatthies's body is being used by an inhabiting lich.

This revelation seems to come too late, as the Gatthies-lich summons the Lord of Abominations, an Abomination from outside the dimension. Hawkye desperately unleashes a Greater Etheric Fury, but he seems only to be able to match the massive power, not to drive it back. Oscar, Cruz, and Rosa bid farewell to Dhiar and rush into the dome of energy surrounding the ritual area, to eliminate the wards established by the lich, hoping that this will enable Hawkye to push the Lord of Abominations back.

It is not enough. Tenebrare senses the planet screaming. At last, Dhiar summons his thorn whip, which turns from solid black to white, and bursts into full bloom with roses all along it. He tells Hawkye that he loves him, then disappears into the dome himself. Hawkye struggles to keep the etheric storm focused, and Tenebrare bursts in to get him to try and escape while he can. Hawkye refuses to leave without Dhiar, and then everything goes white as the energies collide and clash.

When it all clears, Dhiar is standing, bloody and battered, in the ruined remains of the building, with rose petals falling down around him.

Later, at Phantasies, Dhiar has been patched up and Zelix restored. Hawkye joins them to see Tenebrare and Tamhu off. The two are headed into the continuum, to rescue Cruz and the others.

ReferencesEdit

  • Dhiar's very serious utterance upon seeing Lapin is 'mother of us all...!' which refers of course to Lilith. Demons regard her as very important, since she is literally the mother of all of them; this utterance is a very serious one, typically only said in great surprise.
  • Chana refers to her fighting ability, which is, as stated, greater than Dhiar's.
  • Chana tells Dhiar to 'watch out for wooden nickels'. This is 1920s slang that is a warning to be aware and not to fall for treachery.
  • Chana refers to Dhiar as 'baby brother', re-enforcing that she considers him to be younger than her, although they are exactly the same age.
  • Dhiar makes another utterance of surprise, 'Shards of Agremoth!' What this refers to is unknown.
  • Dhiar is fast enough with his whip to strike projectiles out of the air.
  • Dhiar is able to analyse the substance contained in the darts by sight alone, to determine that it is gorgon water.
  • 'Hey, how's it going' is a common statement in skeleton language.
  • Hawkye's guns do not fire conventional ammunition.
  • Succubus magic includes bending reality to allow for more dramatic resolutions.
  • Dhiar keeps Zom-B-Gone on hand.
  • Lapin possesses superhuman strength.
  • 'Namaste' is a common greeting (and often farewell) in India, Tamhu's adopted home. It has a deep and respectful meaning.
  • Hawkye is a paladin and refers to it, along with his ability to sense the nature of magic.
  • Hawkye is able to alter other people's magic, even a high-level lich's.
  • Abominations are the things many people mistake for demons, due to unfortunate mistranslation and bad PR.
  • Dhiar's whip is able to increase its power, which allows it to change colour and burst into full bloom of roses.
  • The whip cannot be destroyed forever, but parts of it can be destroyed, which are grown back later.
  • Hawkye's sunglasses vanished in the power explosion and were catapulted into another dimension, where they were found by the vampiress Lamia.
  • Tenebrare wears his personal sigil on a clasp fastening his scarf.
  • Hawkye's costume was designed by Dhiar.
  • Tamhu wears a kurta ensemble.
  • Even Dhiar's accelerated healing and control over the shape and makeup of his body are not able to instantly heal the wounds suffered at the hand of the Lord of Abominations, meaning they are very serious indeed.
  • Tenebrare smokes a kiseru, a traditional Japanese pipe.
  • Chana wears 1920s style throughout the story, even having shortened her hair to wear it in a style more suited to her favourite time period.

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