Marvel/DC: Dark Allies #4
Written by WarlorTVor and Anomaly,
Edited by WarlorTVor
Note: This part of Dark Allies continues from Dark Allies #3. Dark Allies 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.
They stood there, staring at one another, not aware of what the other one would do for they were from different universes, Doctor Strange and Doom from one and the unknown angel who had introduced himself merely as Zauriel from the twin universe. The howling of the icy cold wind filled the small chambers where they had reached sanctuary in a small run down Catholic Church that had not held worshipers in its ancient halls for the better part of three decades. The Church was on the far out skirts of the city, and thanks to Zauriels ability to fly at super sonic speeds known had seen where they had fled to or even in what direction for that matter.
Finally it was Doctor Stephen Strange that uttered the first words since their rescue at the hands of this angel in the Latverian version of Towns Square. "When you said, the world is in grave danger you seemed to have an understanding of these dark turn of events, possibly even more so than I or Doctor Doom, would you care to elaborate on this? It may help our efforts if we are to thwart the plans of this Khtullis Cult," Strange reasoned. His wounds had been completely healed, on of the few spells that was within his power to cast since his "banishment" from the ability to tape into the power of the mystic realm.
"It is not merely the cult that we must be worried about," Zauriels voice was deep and had a nice somber baritone rumble to it, his booming voice echoed throughout the darkened chambers of the church. "But our true problem is rather Khtullis himself, and the other Ancient Ones who are entrapped in Rlyeh, who have been awaken."
Doctor Doom slowly started to survey his surroundings carefully. Two thin wires, one red the other black, ran down from an open compartment on his gauntleted hand and ran toward a small interface terminal that had been installed into the Church wall many seasons ago, in the futile hope to use it as a base of operations for a weather station but was shut due to lack of funding and poor investments in foreign economics made them foreclose on both their vision and their livelihoods. This part of the church was built onto of a massive cliff leading to the icy cold waters bellow. The waves crash peacefully below and sea air filled Dooms lungs with new life. His power cells were at seventy-five-point-eight-nine percent of power and were still recharging. His focus was set on the angel before him; his eyes were narrow as he looked upon this winged figure with distrust, even though he had saved both his skin as well as that of Stranges.
"Please," Strange said, with a faint gesture of his hand to urge the angel to continue. "Continue."
He nodded his helmeted head slightly and did as he was asked. "The threat that is Khtullis dates back millions upon millions of seasons ago, even prior to humanitys infancy. And since this was when the universes were first formed, and they had not yet evolved to the great contrast that they once were, he and his followers were a great threat to both realms. For they belonged to neither universe. They once existed in a realm all to its own, they like a few others were not the descents of the Father nor the Brothers, and they have always existed and will continue to exist, unless we stop them! Now!"
"You seem," Dooms dark, almost sinister voice rumbled for the first time that eve, "to have a personal interest in all this, is that not so?" He dared, conserving a hellish smirk from taking hold of his thin lips.
Zauriels dark gaze befell upon Doom. "I in fact do!" Turning his fiery gaze back toward Strange he continued. "We, in the Eagle Host, a band of an elite band of Guardian Angels, soon discovered that the Dark Realm as we have called it was going through massive dramatic changes, it was tearing itself apart. Now the Ancient Ones did not manifest themselves in living bodies, in their realm. They were a collective of mass consciousness. They were pure thought, and when their realm threatened to destroy itself they realized that in order to survive they must leave the confines of their ill-fated realm and entire that of the physical realm. Only to discover that upon entering the physical realm their own thoughts started to turn against them and start to destroy itself much as their realm, so they took up physical bodies. But no physical body was ever meant to be the vessel of such a vast consciousness, even as horrid and hellish as theirs. They went mad! Literally. And it was there that Khtullis one of the Ancient Ones that had even the faintest of grasp upon what sanity once was rose to power and was self-proclaimed leader of the Ancient Ones, theyre bodies craved mass amounts of food to maintain them. So they settled a small backward world that would soon give both to wonders to incite the soul and dark marvels that would freeze the soul. The world would soon be called earth. It was perfect for their needs, so they seeded this world . . . both worlds in both universes . . . with life. Human life. So that they could feed, basically humanity was created to be nothing more than cattle. When those of us in the Eagle Host heard of this we were sent down to earth to battle and to defeat them.
"The battle was a bloody one," Zauriels words were hard, and cold. "We lost more than ninety percent of our forces. Even to this day the Host is still feeling the wounds of battle. Finally in the end it too only one angel, one man, to defeat Khtullis in nothing more than a gambit of treachery. I was that one. I was the one being who was responsible for their imprisonment in Rlyeh, by exploiting their weakness which is to water. But we did not only lock them away. The last remaining Host Angels, who had borne the battle, demanded vengeance, they wanted blood. So we tore half of their consciousness from their physical forms, banishing the physical mad forms of the Old Ones into my universe and their consciousness into the Rlyeh prison in your universe. In the hope that they would never meet. We were totally unaware of the events that would happened many millennia later with the merger of our two universes in order to save those who created us. And as the prophecy read once the stars in the heavens were just right they would return from their slumber to rule again and they have! When the universes were finally one again the Ancient Ones were rejoined with their insane minds. Now the stars are right and it calls for the leader the one who is constant contact with the Ancient Ones via a telepathic link to summon them from their slumber, and too once again control earth, where they will feast on our dearest of all blood."
"Mephisto!" Doom said the word as if he was swearing. The muscles under his iron mask were rippling back and forth uncontrollably. His fist clenched, the bastard would pay in Dooms eyes. And he would pay in his dearest of blood for the transgressions that the Dark Lord has committed against both him and his people. This was a personal vendetta that must be settled.
"Exactly! But there is still hope!"
"What do you mean?" Strange asked, stroking his chin in deep thought. He had been engrossed in every word that had been said, in the futile hope that he could find some connection between the Khtullis cult to why he had been cut off from his link with the mystic realm. To no avail, he was afraid, but he believed that the reconciliation between the physical form and the consciousness mind of these dark beings was the focal point to it all, for he lost contact with the mystical realm shortly after the two universes were successfully merged, and that was the only plausible answer.
"He needs the Book of the Dead to do such a feet and he does not as yet have it," the winged form said, collapsing one hand into the palm of the other, he was completely unaware of the musings running though Stranges mind as he pondered matters of a mystical nature, whereas the angel was concerned more with that of vengeance, as did Doom. But Strange could find no fault in why Doom wished to punish those who have brutally slaughtered his people. "Doctor Fate has it, within his firm grasp. And I seriously doubt that even this Mephisto could match wits with Fates still uncharted power levels."
"Do not doubt him, Zauriel," Doom uttered, disconnecting the wires from his gauntlet, the compartment slid shut on itself, his power banks were fully charged and primed. He arose, his green cloak fluttering in the stiff breeze filtering from the nights pitch dark air. "That will coast you dearly, in a confrontation with him, and if what you say is true there will be a confrontation. And then you'll see!"
"Doom is right, Zauriel, Mephisto is a cunning and powerful being and if he is indeed working for Khtullis then he maybe even more powerful than even Doom and I could possibly fathom. If he is aware that his task is not complete with the Book of the Dead and I doubt that he is not he will find a way to possess its dark secrets! If that means that hell send himself against such a being or have another go, but he will stop at nothing till his ends are met."
"Somethings wrong," Doom uttered musing over all that had been said in the last few minutes. And for the first time since he had seen the horrid body of Scarlet Gray, Doctor Doom was thinking and seeing with clear vision, his emotions no longer clouded his judgment or his understanding.
"What?" Zauriel questioned as he and Strange turned to face him.
"This is not like Mephisto at all," Doctor Doom observed, thinking aloud. "He would not bow to a greater force than he. Even if that forces maybe Khtullis or God, himself, its not within his character. And he would certainly not lead a band of humans, marching around all over my kingdom brutally mutilating them. Unless . . ." His gaze shifted to meet the quizzical one of both the angel and the sorcerer supreme. "After all, Strange, you said that he would not rest until his ends were met. What if he has been playing us . . . all of us . . . Khtullis included into that list, for nothing more than fools? What if hell betray Khtullis for . . ."
"But what will he gain from such treachery?" Zauriel asked, looking form Dooms iron clad visage to Stranges lost in thought one and back again, Doom did not take kindly to being interrupted in mid-thought, but he have seen the angels power and it was not that time for one to be battling in a proverbial burning house. "It could only bring him defeat, at best, destruction at worst. And Khtullis is not a being to be trifled with."
"For power," Doctor Strange mused aloud, his vision was unclear and unfocussed, he was stating the only answer that made any clear sense to him. "Power to possibly destroy even the Ancient Ones. And with such power there can be no stopping him. Not even at the hands of beings such as the Living Tribunal."
The three stared at each other, with unclear understanding. And the question was now: What could be so powerful that it could destroy Gods?
The being stood at the doorway, which lead toward the lair where Mephisto had set up a temporary abode for the duration of his latest quest for supreme power. This being was a towering, looming presence that slowly drifted into the wet musty air that is the labyrinth.
He slowly moved his head from side to side, surveying his surroundings cautiously. All along the walls laid the dark remains of twisted bone and flesh, much as they had been in several key areas of Dooms castle and before the female statue. The half-breeds have been released, the being mused. And in dark morbid humor added, So much for the Faithfuls faith in their leaders . . . and their gods.
But his task was not to watch the dark circumstances that had evolved since the merger of the two universes, and even more importantly the reconciliation between the Ancient Ones body and mind. No, his task was to intervene and quickly, for the battle in Gods temple was not faring good for those who would not see their earth burn asunder at the hands of their so-called "creators".
The being was a dark figure, and was slightly levitating off the stone paved, blood-covered floors and walls that made up the labyrinths soul. This being of incredible off-the-scale power had donned a thick green cloak that over-screwed the upper part of his visage, in a dark shadow, so only his white eyes shinned brightly, ominously, through the darkness. The hooded man levitated closer and closer toward a shining object in the midst of the room. It was a small, cubed shape object that could have been easily overlooked if the one who was searching did not know its dark secrets. Foolish for Mephisto to be so confident in the out come of this escapade was he that his ambition overcame his common sense. And that the being supposed would prove to be his undoing in the end.
Reality inside the cubes glass walls (if it could be called reality for that matter) was twisting and churning around in swirls of golden light, soon the miniature swirls of light lead to that of a massive whirlpool. The maw of the whirlpool, which was quickly acting as a black hole in the heavens, started to engulf all there was in the cube. And once the last spark of light was gone, the maw exploded outward, releasing its once firm grip on the light, only to start to process over again.
And throughout all of this hellish experience stood the ghost-like figure of one of the most powerful men within all the cosmos, he was setting their, in an Indian stance, he was in the deep dark throws meditating about the current dilemma that he found himself in, his eyes closed scenery. But even those who are off the caliber of power that this spirit was even needed a hand of help from time to time, and the being was going to give it to him.
Reaching forth, he took the cube within his firm green gloved palms, composing them tightly against the glass of the cube he closed his eyes and power, indiscernible power surged through him. The power ran down his arms, into his hands and jetting onto the cubes surface, with enough force to equal that of twenty gamma and atomic explosions going off all at once. A black light erupted from his hands and shinned darkness upon the corpse, which seemed to coil backward in fear once they saw the events unfolding before their lifeless husk. Shadows danced all around and soon the black light was no more. And all returned to normal.
The cube escaped from his grasp and levitated in the air before him, and through the power released was incredible, it only created the smallest of hairline fractures running horizontal on one of the sharp angels. But thats all that he needed.
His work was completed now all he had to do was watch and wait.
The ghost-like form bellowed, the chaos around him started to fade in and out of existence, particles of golden light danced around him. Then he saw what had happened, someone on the outside world had used enough power to create the rift against the surface of the Cosmic Cube. It was only the smallest of tears . . . but the tear in the fabric was all he needed! He soared toward it, the whirlpool exploded below him, drastically sucking him in. "No," he swore out a curse, as he was slowly torn apart, particle by particle. His hands reached outward his fingers only inches away from his destination. The whirlpools grasp was too tight. He found his spiritual form descending into the dark black maw, faster and faster, tearing him away from the rift.
From the maw of the whirlpool a massive pair of slimy tentacles lanced forth, wrapping around the ghost's waist, pulling him down with such force that was almost unbearable. His vision started to cloud around the edges; he swirled his head behind him to see a massive of sharp teeth rising from the swirling abyss. His head snapped back toward the rift, and he slowly watched all the hope in the world of becoming free as he was lowered and lowered deep and deeper into the darkness that was the heart of the Cosmic Cube.
But something with him refused to simply go quietly into the night. No something burned for freedom and a chance to fight and have a chance of life rather than simply allowing deaths embrace to claim him. A roar of utter defiance bellowed from his thin lips. "Ahhhhhhhh! For the sake of Humanity . . . I must not be denied!" An explosion of energy lanced forth all around him, shattering the cube, shards of glass descended to the blood-covered earth. A victory scream roared from his throat, he stood there over the twisted remains and without so much as waiting a moment to enjoy his miniature victory, he soared away heavenward, his "body" passing through the stone paved ceiling as if it wasnt even there.
And through the drama that had unfolded within the Cosmic Cube, the rescuer of the entrapped spirit from the cube stood there, a faint grin danced across his white visage. "My task is completed. Now it is up to the dark alliance. Heaven help them, heaven help us all if they fail." And in a flash of golden light vanished into infinity.
"For power," Strange had stated. "Power to possibly destroy even the Ancient Ones. And with such power there can be no stopping him. Not even at the hands of beings such as the Living Tribunal."
"You are correct, Strange!" a voice from the darkness echoed. "The power of Khtullis will be mine to command, to control! And mine alone!"
Laughter filled the Church. And a flaming being started to take shape before them, they all took up a defensive stance to defend themselves. The flame soon started to dissipate and there before them stood the Dark Lord himself, Mephisto. He was clad in flaming red robes, that bellowed before him, at his feet stood two serpent like beings that were slivering all around his legs. They hissed sadistically and it appeared to be as if they were moving to a dark sadistic chant. Beside him was a female form, clothed in the same garments as he, but her head was lowered, and hair slightly cascaded outward of the cloak that she donned and gently rested upon her bosom. The Dark Lords white eyes beamed a hellish glint of death and vengeance and torment. A dark smile danced across his triangular face. All around them more flaming portals erupted open and a swarm of Khtullis Spawn slithered outward.
"Let the end game begin!"
And all hell erupted at the alter that was once built to God.
To Be Continued . . .
Thank you for reading this chapter of Marvel/DC: Dark Allies! The story continues in Chapter 5. Visit the Marvel/DC Cosmic Crossovers Archive for previous editions. Now, be sure to send us feedback below or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org