Marvel/DC: Dark Allies #1
Written by Jim "WarlorTVor"
Seals and Jeff "Anomaly" Olson, Edited by Jim Seals
Note: This story takes place after Shards of Destiny, now running in issues of Cosmic Powers Unlimited. Read past editions of it at the Marvel/DC Cosmic Crossovers Archive
"Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh Khtullis R'lyeh Wagn'nagl Fhtagn."
The place, a small handmaidens bed chamber. The room was dark, and cold, the stench of putrid decay flesh filled the still quite air. The night sky blanketed the small cold country of Latveria. A faint candlelight, which was nearing its end, provided the only light; the luster that was reflected off the monarchs armor was dark, and menacing.
Doctor Victor von Doom flanked by two of his advisors marched into the handmaidens bedchamber, a young woman by the name of Scarlet Gray, a young woman whom had caught even Dooms eye in terms of beauty. But there was no beauty in what he say on the bed.
Doom walked into the dark building, with an air of disgust. For he knew what he would find. It was fairly disheveled, and when the light flashed on the corpse that was once a young woman filled with life and a spirit that even touched Dooms cold and dark one. Broken and bloodied thats how she appeared. It was quite a horrific sight even for even for the monarch of Latveria. No atrocities were ever committed in Latveria! It was unheard of. But here it was . . . one of the greatest atrocity of all. Her tongue had been ripped out and placed where the eye sockets had formerly been, and their eyes were placed in a mouth that had been forced open and held open by a small knife. Her long dark hair had been torn from her scalp and discarded upon the gabbing wound on her bosom and stomach. And through the mess of hair the womans blood soaked hands jetted outward, in a claw fashion, as if they had sprouted out from her torso. It was clear that her last moments were not pleasant ones. A pool of blood even to this moment continued to ooze its dark way toward the door.
And on the back wall, written in blood it read "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Khtullis R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn."
"Sire," one of the advisors hushed solemnly, his back turned to away from the woman. "This is not the first."
"What?" Doom pondered staring at him with a deadly fixated gaze.
"There are others reported all over Latveria, Sire. Five total, all in the same shape as Ms. Gray here. With the same message written somewhere in the victims blood."
This enraged Doom. His eyes flared crimson red with rage. He turned away and stormed out of the handmaidens chamber, green cloak whipping across his body. "Whoever is responsible will pay in blood! So says Doom." And with that he walked into the thick blanket of fog leaving the advisors standing at the grotesque form of a lovely innocent creature.
Something was wrong. An unbalance was forming in the mystic realm. And unbalance that had no logical or clear reason for occurring.
The voice boomed out of no where, and everywhere all at once, interrupting Doctor Stephen Stranges meditation. Slowly, Strange opened his dark brown eyes, and allowed them to adjust to the darkness. And looked cautiously around the Circle that he had engulfed himself in there was someone in here, within the chamber with him.
His eyes adjusted to the dimness of the chamber. All around him long, white candles stood, burned bright, casting dark shadows to dance across his stern visage. The smell of incense filled the air. Doctor Strange found himself with his legs crossed, in an Indian style, levitating over the red carpeted floor. Soon the figure that had spoken came into view . . . and Strange was not pleased . . .
"Doom," Strange mused, dropping to the ground, slowly, cautiously taking a defensive stance within the Casting Circle.
Doctor Doom stood there, in blighted disregard to Stranges deep musings. His armored arms were folded over his green tunic; his green cloak slightly fluttered in the small gust of cold wind from an open window, behind Strange. The silver of his armor gave off an brilliant shine of luster, the light playing against it. "What brings you?"
"Spare me your dramatics, Doctor Strange, innocent lives are at stake." Doom said, slightly turning away from the sorcerer supreme, his vision glazed over as he remembered the young woman out stretched on her bed, the horror of her death throws clear and present on her once precious face.
"And since when do innocent lives mean a damn with you, Doom?" Strange challenged, making not attempt to hide his disdain, the memories of their last meeting, involving Dooms mothers torment soul was fresh and alive in his memory.
Doctor Stephen Strange was a towering, lean man, well groomed of Caucasian decent. A small mustache graced his handsome well-crafted face that appeared to have been carved out of sheer marble. And his jet-black hair was slightly painted with gray hair at the sides. A red and golden embroidered mystic cloak hung upon his shoulders.
"When they concern my countrymen being slaughtering by their fellow countrymen!" Strange was intrigued. To the best of his knowledge there had never ever been an unnatural death committed in Latveria, for the punish of killing your fellow brother in Latveria was worse that death itself. It was disturbing to hear that it had changed. "Or at least that is what I believe, Strange," Doctor Doom added solemnly.
Strange eased up his posture, but not allowing his defensives to slip even the slightest. He was aware that this could merely be a plow to draw him into one of Dooms demonic schemes, for it was not beyond Dooms character to deceive in order to achieve his ultimate goal, for his own better-hood. "Whats happening in Latveria to cause this . . . upset?"
Doom slightly smiled at that. "Thank you, Strange, for putting it so delicately. But the situation is care from delicate, I am afraid. It is of grave consequence." He turned and met Stranges hard gaze, headlong. Doom typed in a control command code on his gantlets wrist and image of Scarlet Gray appeared, just as he had seen her the day before, lying on her bed blood covered everywhere. Strange felt sickened by the sight and Doom uttered the words that the holographic image concentrated on, "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Khtullis R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn."
Strange pondered the words a moment or two, one of his hands stroking his chin in deep thought, his mouth hushed the words once or twice and came to a reasonable conclusion. The image faded away, and the control panels on his armored hand promptly slide back into place. "Ancient Arabic?" he asked, a quizzical glance danced across his face, in much the same way the diminutive shadows did.
Doom shook his head from side to side. "Close. Ancient Latverian, or an extremely ancient form of it. It has not been spoken in known history for the last three thousand years." Strange shot him a glance, and Doom knew that he would have to give a further explanation. "It means loosely translated into English is In his house in R'lyeh dead Khtullis waits dreaming." Doom watched as the color from Stranges face, evaporated. And nodded, "That was my response at first, as well, Strange, you are not alone."
"But Khtullis . . . is not real . . ."
"To the best of our knowledge he does not."
"But you feel otherwise, dont you, Doctor Doom?"
"I . . . no . . . I dont believe in a . . . all powerful supreme being, responsible for the creation of all. But . . . a faction of my people seem to do." Doom said, staring into the flame of a nearby candle, the a whisk of air ran a cross it and it gave way into oblivion. It tried to fight back against the winds onslaught but the resistance was utterly futile. The light dead, only leaving a whisk of thick smoke rising from the ashes.
"The Khtullis cult," he declared, but it was not a question. Dooms silence was enough of an answer for Strange. "You think that He might actually be . . . real . . ."
"Ive been pondering that avenue of thinking for quite some time, Strange." Dooms vision was still focused on the now dead candlelight.
"Rlyeh . . . Khtullis . . . and the Ancient Ones . . . were nothing more than myths, Doom," Strange rationalized, not wanting to admit to what was Doom was saying was true for if it was then all things were in parallel, living and dead. "Created by a primitive man to explain things that they could not truly comprehend."
"But isnt myths created to explain the truth?" Doom retorted with a rhetorical question, turning back toward Strange. "If my recollection of the ancient Latverian text holds it states that: Only when the stars are right might they return to power, and be released from their underwater prison." From the expression on Stranges face, Doom knew that he had also read the text.
Strange nodded, grimly fully aware of where Doom was heading in his conclusions, the sorcerer supreme concluded. "Well the merger of our universe and our twin universe has been the greatest cosmic event since the dawn of time, it would appear. Let us assume that the merging of the universes is what the text meant? It would explain the reason for the rise in the Khtullis a cults actions in your country. Human fear to grasp the unknown, so they out of emotional impulses to please a higher being lash out at their fellow man, believing all the way that they are in fact performing gods will. And if this is all true and Khtullis does in fact exist and is on the verge of awakening then, it will explain the unbalance that I have been feeling in the mystical realm since the merger."
"My musings, exactly, Strange . . . For I have felt the unbalance as well, my mystic abilities have eluded my grasp I suspect that, if your powers have not vanished then, they have been dramatically weakened, Sorcerer Supreme. One of the reasons I sought you out, for if we are dealing with Khtullis Im going to need someone with your skill and power in the mystic arts, since mines refuse to show themselves."
"Let us find out then, Doom," Strange mused, closing his eyes in concentration he tried levitation, the easiest parlor trick in the book. His brow crinkled and rippled back and forth in deep concentration. Sweat glistened off his brow, he felt the sudden pull of gravity release itself and when his eyes were open found that he was a good three feet off the ground. He did it . . . but not without extreme effort . . . and pain? That has never happened before. Strange gradually descend back earthward. "I . . . could hardly maintain it . . . I was struggling!"
"Then it is true," Doom hushed grimly. "The awakening is here."
Strange could not argue with Dooms logic in the situation, it was well founded. But he dreaded to think of what would occur if they were true . . . "Theres only one way we can find out," Strange said, leaving his meditation chamber, Doctor Doom in tow behind him.
"By the unceasing flame of Flatine . . . by Dyzakks shinning sphere . . . aid my cause Agamottos orb . . . and let what I seek . . . appear!" And so it did.
Doctor Doom watched on, as Doctor Stephen Strange stood before the Dyzakk sphere, his golden gloved hands twisting about it as he his spell with extreme amounts of effort and sheer will power on his part. Soon the golden sphere lit up in a brilliant golden light that was almost blinding to behold. Doom wanted to shield his eyes out of instinct, but decided not to, he looked on with great interest.
"This," Strange proclaimed, "is not good."
And indeed it was not, not one bit.
An image of things started to flash by in a blur . . .
An ancient medieval style castle stood bodily on the mountain that overlooked all of Latveria . . .
The image quickly changed to of a pile of bodies lying on wooden floor boards, mutilated in much the same way that Scarlet Gray and the others that had been discovered throughout the country . . .
Then the image changed to a gathering of people, in the dark corners of the thriving nation; plotting scheming, they were gathered around the pile of dead bodies . . .
All those assembled started to raise their voices and shouted something, over and over again, like a chant of some sort the words were those on the wall of the handmaidens far wall, written in her own blood . . . "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Khtullis R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Khtullis R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Khtullis R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn." The voices cried out, over and over again, with no and in sight . . .
Doom recognized the area, instantly, it was the catacombs that lined under the vary village itself. They were vast, vast enough for one to hide for an extended period of time without detection.
And in the midst of it all, standing like a towering statue to death, upon the corpses that had been stacked up in such a grotesque manner as to provide him an alter to stand upon, stood the Dark Lord himself. He brought up a blade, a blade covered in Latverian blood, and seductively caressed in his hands, and then bringing it to his mouth he licked some of it off. And the masses raised their voices and rejoice . . .
"Mephisto . . ."
Strange afforded Doctor Doom with nothing more than a sidelong glance, before returning his gaze toward the sphere. The image once more changed, from a small basement cellar to a river. A river of blood. It rippled and extend from beyond even infinitys grasp in all directions. The blood started to fluctuate and ripple . . . something was rising . . .
A mass of tentacles appeared, festering in the blood of the dead. At first it appeared as if it were one massive creature, but then they started to rise, and break apart into millions upon millions of different creatures. "The Khtullis Spawn, I presume," Strange deduced.
"I agree . . . it would support the ancient Latverian descriptions of them."
Soon the image started to rapidly descend, breaking through the surface of the blood to the depths of the oceans floor. And there in all its hideous glory stood Khtullis. It roared allowed, his minions swimming all around him, in a blur. Khtullis has a vaguely anthropoid outline, but with and octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. His body was muscularly well endowed, and his cephalopod head was covered with facial feelers. He appeared to be a squid, a dragon and a man together in one hideous vessel.
The orb dead, the olden hue faded away.
"Then," Strange mused. "It is true."
Doom stood there, staring at the blank ordinary glass orb. The he heard a slurping sound coming form behind the two. They swirled around in time to see one of the many spawn of Khtullis, its tentacles whipping around furiously. It resembled a squid of some sort, with red flaming eyes of rage.
"You!" it spoke. "Khtullis decrees your deaths, mortals!"
It lunged forth, its massive maw snapped in their direction wildly.
"Stay behind Seraphims shield, Doctor Doom," Strange said. And with a quick jerk of his hands a blue glass shield erected itself over him.
"Doom cowers behind no shielding!" he retorted standing his ground as the spawn charged. He raised his gauntlet hands and started to fire bolts of sheer golden energy at it, each shot meeting its intended target. But it continued to come! Fury spewed over his visage, and seemed to reflect it on his armor mask. He continued to fire, enough blast thatll at least stop the Hulk in its tracks (or at least slowly the damn thing down) but it continued to come. Tentacles were flying in every which direction, as Doom continued to fire, at last he was getting somewhere. He screamed aloud, releasing his fury, and maintained two continuos beams of energy.
Moments passed, and soon the minion of Khtullis exploded.
Doom released a sigh of relieve, dropping to one knee. Strange dropped the Seraphims shield that he had created and joined the monarch of Latveria. "It was only a scout," Doom declared, staring at the twisted, discarded remains. "They were only testing us, Strange. We need to stop this! Now! We need to cut off the head, before the viper can strike!"
"I am in complete agreement with you, Doom. And I cant think of a better place to start than to consult the lord of lies himself."
Doctor Doom nodded and arose to his full towering height. After touching a few command keys on his wrist, a golden rectangle emerged over there heads, and started to descend earthward, teleporting them from the Sanctum to the cold streets of Latveria.
On the grounds of Doctor Stranges carpeted floor the Khtullis spawn ever so slowly started to assemble and regenerate its being, in a pool of thick green ooze that was its blood.
To Be Continued . . .
Thank you for reading this chapter of Marvel/DC: Dark Allies! Now, go read Dark Allies #2! Also, Visit the Marvel/DC Cosmic Crossovers Archive for previous editions. And be sure to send us feedback below or by e-mailing email@example.com