Chapter 5: Amora's Scroll
Written by Alex Soto
Amora to cry out. Of the many times she had felt this pain in the last couple of days, each time always felt the strongest. A dark figure worked at a bench towards her right. He turned around smiling at the sound of her scream. She turned her head back and forth, tears flowing automatically as the pain slowly reduced. Many times had she tried to cast a spell while trapped here, the elasti-chains had constantly prevented her from doing so. The slightest movement caused so much pain, that her concentration could not last. Additionally, the apparatus to which the elasti-chains were attached to served as more than a pain inducer. They were also force field generators which would effectively counter any spell she might be able to throw at the chains. Perhaps she could cast a spell towards something else should she be able to hold her concentration that long. As of yet, she had not.
"Excellent. You are awake again." The large shadowy figure stood up. His eyes shined with a dark gleam as he walked towards her. "Perhaps now you'll be more cooperative."
"What is it that you want? I have been here for two days suffering without words from anyone...speak, or my beloved Thor will hunt you down for this indignity, evil one!" the Enchantress spit at him.
"Your Asgardian arrogance astounds me," Thanos answered now standing under the small light next to Amora. "Your beloved is neither my power nor my intellectual equal. What challenge can he give me?"
"Perhaps it is Odin who needs to place thee in thy place again," the Enchantress continued.
"Bah. Inconclusive at best," he dismissed her words. "But we are not here to discuss past relations." He walked over to the bench he was sitting at. Rolling up a scroll carefully, he grabbed it gently. "As you may or may not know, there are precious little secrets in this Universe which I do not know about," he said walking towards her table. "And yet, this scroll I happen to come about intrigues me."
He rolled the scroll open slowly so that Amora could see it entirely.
Amora's eyes opened wide. "Where did you get that?" she said staring at the scroll.
"You recognize it?" Thanos answered rolling up the scroll.
Amora's eyes turned downward. Her lips, opened from the surprise, now closed. She remained silent.
"I see. I gave you a taste of what might happen if you do not cooperate. It was but a taste. Willingly or unwillingly, I will get the information! I will leave you alone to think about it." He walked away to the door of the dungeon they were in. "When I return, I will get some answers," he said in a stern voice closing the door behind him.
Nearby, Warlock landed in the center of a town. A crowd gathered, never before having seen a visitor from the stars. Warlock ignored them and began walking. He sensed a presence close by and quickly took to the air, observing the primitive inhabitants go about their community tasks. In a few minutes, he landed down again in a different part of the small town.
"You? Who are you?" Warlock said observing a man exiting what seemed like a temple. His adornments indicated he was probably some type of religious chief.
"I am known as DeAnchent," he responded calmly.
"Where are you from?" Warlock continued his questioning.
"That I am not sure of, my friend. I was found outside the village and brought here." DeAnchent now walked down the stairs towards the golden inquisitor. "And you, my friend? Who are you?"
"At the present, Adam will suffice. I am here not to make acquaintances, but to examine what is occurring," Warlock replied as callously as his stare.
"What is occurring?" the man asked now in front of Warlock.
"I am uncertain of the entire picture. However, " he paused briefly, "I possess a certain perceptional ability. My current outlook is that you are not who you think or claim to be." Touching the young man's head, Warlock entered his soul. A darkness filled Warlock's eyes as he attempted to view what malady plagued the creature. After walking for some time, Warlock found himself in a castle, seemingly of the middle ages. Knight armor adorned the walls and cobwebs were abound everywhere. Continuing his walk, Warlock came across a mirror at the back wall. The mirror reflected images from the room without the cobwebs. Warlock surprised turned around, though only the cold emptiness of the room was for him to view. Still observing as though a change were imminent, Warlock took several steps backwards getting closer to the mirror, but not taking his eyes off the room. He looked around as he quickly realized that he was in a new room, though there was no door. "I must have gone through the mirror," he thought to himself. As he continued to walk, a cat-like humanoid appeared in front of him.
"Do not be afraid," it spoke to Warlock in a voice that echoed across the room.
The creature's mouth did not move. Warlock deduced that it must be speaking telepathically so that he can communicate despite any language barriers. "I am not," Warlock said dismissing the question. "Is this your true form?"
"Silence!" the voice echoed. "I do not have much...time," he said seemingly straining. "In the beginning there were three, and the three were one. Separated we have become - I've become a different man. In order for me to revert, the trinity must be complete. Find them!" his echoing voice yelled.
The scene went black and Adam found himself standing next to the stranger. "Interesting. I have never met someone able to remove an uninvited guest from within their soul."
"What did you see?" DeAnchent asked Warlock.
"A request for help," Warlock answered walking towards the top of a hill. "One that might change your life dramatically."
"It appears I have something to learn about," DeAnchent said as he decided to follow Warlock and learn more.
" So the creature tells the Raknavar, 'I can't talk to you now, my varish has begun!'," Ranadar finished with a smile as everyone began to laugh.
Norrin Radd laughed also. Not because he found any humor in the tale the military officer had told, but because he felt the genuine feeling of family and kinship among these people. He longed for a day where he could sit down and be a part of a family. He continued to look around amazed. So long had he been alone battling evil, he had forgotten what genuine goodness was like. He sat quietly enjoying the atmosphere and conversation of the friendly aliens. He decided he would like to help them. "Excuse me. I don't mean to interrupt "
"You are welcomed to interrupt," Mirabella responded turning her eyes toward him with a smile. "If you don't, you'll never get a word in with these loquacious people." More laughter followed.
"Yes," Norrin said smiling, "I am interested in knowing of your quest." An abrupt silence immediately fell across the room, and Norrin felt a bit embarrassed. He felt, however, that he should continue, "I would like to offer my help if you require assistance in searching for someone," he began but cut himself off waiting for a response. All eyes turned to Mirabella.
Mirabella looked down to contemplate the offer and then at the Silver Surfer. "You have a kind heart, Norrin. I thank you for your offer. But my search could take an untold amount of time, or it may take a day. From what you have told us, this sector of space needs you greatly." She paused and the quietness across the room seem amplified. Mirabella made an attempt to lighten the mood around the room by explaining some new news, "I guess this is a good time to let you all in on why we are here celebrating. At our last stop, we acquired enough raw materials to boost the energy of the ship to capacity. I now have the capacity to enable the time winds - for a very short time."
"Time winds?" Norrin asked confused.
Elita was the first to answer. "The time winds are a sort of mechanism that magically allow convergence of a particular instance or moment to happen."
"Yes, that's the general idea - though there are scientific principles behind this and not magic," Mirabella corrected.
"Meaning you can wish for anything and it will happen?" Norrin asked still slightly confused.
"No. Nothing material at least." Mirabella stood up. "The time winds allow points in destiny to converge. It is a bit difficult to explain without getting into temporal theory."
"I think I begin to understand," Norrin said. "You plan to, in essence, ride the time winds as they converge to the point you want to be in?"
"A semi-accurate, if not exact interpretation," Mirabella answered. "I don't know what point I want to be in. I only know characteristics of the point. And this will help," she said holding up her amulet.
"To explain in layman's terms, the time winds can make something happen. Though in general, it requires a lot of energy!" Ranadar now spoke.
"Then I wish you well," the Silver Surfer said standing up grabbing his board.
"You are leaving already?" Elita asked.
"Yes. I have truly enjoyed your company. But it is time I moved on." The Silver Surfer turned to Mirabella once more. "I thank you for your hospitality and wish you luck on your quest."
"And I on yours. You are welcomed passage on Esmeralda whenever you wish," she replied.
Norrin raised an eyebrow at her response wondering what his quest actually was. With a hand waving gesture towards everyone, the Silver Surfer left the room
Thanos returned to the room as the Enchantress quickly looked up. His face was beaming with a smile as he attached pores of a contraption to Amora's head. "Will you speak?" Thanos said almost knowing her answer.
"I have nothing to say," Amora expectingly answered.
"I thought so." Thanos turned a dial on the side of the contraption from off to mild.
Amora screamed as a new pain she had never felt before encompassed her. She wriggled in her cuffs generating more pain from the elasti-chains as well also attempting futile to gain her freedom.
"One last chance," Thanos said as he turned the dial up to medium.
Amora cried out in agony as her own perspiration began to drop down across her face. "No," she managed to finally say clenching her fists, "I will not betray my promise!"
"Very well then," Thanos said. "I thought it might come to this." He flicked the switch into maximum and stared at Amora. Her screams increase dramatically as she began convulsing. Rivers of sweat rolled down her face. Thanos took a step back to observe her painful reaction. Each convulsion was analyzed by the Titan as his torture unit unerringly delivered as he promised. The machine was efficient in analyzing the biological specimen it is attached to, mapping out every pain receptor in the body and going just passed the threshold that the being could handle - enough for the pain to be unbearable, yet not enough to kill the creature it was attached to. Unable to sustain the assault, Amora's eyes opened wide and her back arched one final time as a scream was heard, unbelievably piercing the fabric of space and time. Ripples of time and sub space severed around her like waves from a pond after a stone had been thrown in. In a few seconds, the scream came to an end and Amora passed out. Thanos stepped forward and turned off the machine. "Interesting! I have always wanted to see the famous Asgardian cry of a goddess. Still," he said thinking to himself, "this is not what I'm after. She has proven to be stronger than I thought. But I will solve the secret of the scroll." He got up and walked out of the room thinking what his next move would be.
Continued in Chapter 6: The Ancient Honor
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