Friday, May 6, 2022

Star Warden Volume 1


For he is the Star Warden none shall find him wanting in the face of evil.

Once upon a time, in a world far far away. Darkness reigns and innocents suffer. One knight dares to challenge the forces of evil. That knight is Sir Samuel Bailey, The Star Warden. Armed with the holy sword Dawnbringer, ray gun, rocket pack, and a heart of a hero. He journeys the world with Princess Kaguya on his quest to end the tyranny of the Dark Lord Daimos and restore all that is good and right.

Daimos will stop at nothing to keep his iron grip on the planet. In his latest effort to crush resistance, he conjures a Curse of Eternal Night against a knightly order. During the Star Warden's quest to end this curse he encounters dangerous monsters and malicious machines but can he overcome the greatest enemy of all? His own fear.

This is a straightforward tale of high adventure, action, and romance with the spirit of a Saturday Morning Cartoon show. Come and enter a fantastical world of heroism, true love, faith, in a war of good vs evil.

Buy here:

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Star Warden Lore: The Codex.


The Codex: Fantastical Computer Science in Star Warden.

What is a Computer? A machine that calculates numbers faster than a human mind can. Thanks to various technological advancements a computer is more than just a glorified calculator. But it is still limited in various ways. So, I present a thought experiment if you would not mind indulging me. What if computers could be perceived as magical? What if Cyberspace was not just an abstract concept? What if through data once could become a wizard? 

Welcome to the Codex. 

(Moon Cell from Fate/Extra. One of the Codex's inspirations.)

The Codex is the name given to the computer network left behind by the Tuatha De Dannan, an advanced civilization that once ruled the known universe. It was intended to be the ultimate repository of knowledge and given the name "The" Codex to represent that position. In the modern age, the Codex is known as the Third Magic to those who know of its existence. But it is not magic in the true sense of the word, but that is an entirely separate subject. However, given its capabilities, it is not hard to see why individuals in the modern-day consider the Codex a form of magic. 

The Nuts and Bolts

The Codex is a universal system of interconnected computer networks created from advanced quantum computers forged with dark matter and hyper-dimensional communication technology. These computers transmit tachyon particles on quantum stings to serve as the foundational networks which communicate with each other to form the greater network of the Codex. All computers are powered by dark energy known as Bifrost energy when translated from the Tuatha tongue. 

The Codex's physical hardware exists in a hyper-dimensional state and was installed into the foundation of the universe itself. Making them immune to the ravages of time or physical damage. Despite it being a networked system there is a centralized core known as the Grail Kernal. The Grail serves as the host operating system for the physical hardware. Providing security and maintenance alongside ensuring all devices can communicate with each other on the greater network. 

In addition, the Grail Kernal creates virtual machines that emulate the necessary hardware needed for the network to function. Servers, hard drives, browsers, data centers, and many others. This allows the physical hardware to focus on providing the necessary foundations and prevent them from being overtaxed. 

A Parallel Reality 

(The Grid from Tron another of the Codex's inspirations)

Cyberspace is normally an abstract representation of electronic communication between computers. In the Codex, Cyberspace is a true virtual reality existing in parallel with the physical universe. Unlike more primitive means of virtual reality, an individual can enter the Codex as their full physical self. No specialized equipment is needed for direct interaction. A digital avatar option does exist however.

To enter the artifcial space one must simply open a gateway into it. The gateway can be cosmetically altered to fit one's personal preference. This can be done either through a stationary terminal or through the use of a Talisman. Talismans will be furthered detailed in the Augmented Reality section. Of course one can interface with the Codex through more common devices such as keyboards, mice, or toutchscreen.

In this virtual environment areas are divided into servers, one type of sever are PSNs or Personal sever networks. PSNs are equvliant to personal computers with a built in personalized web browser, essentially granting an individual a personal pocket dimension with the freedom to customize it on a large scale. If one is skilled at coding this expands the customization options immensely. Items from the physical world can also be brought in, but many have chosen to convert them to data, via their Talisman, for convenience sake. A PSN can be connected to the greater Codex or be shielded from outside acesss. 

Memory limitations will restrict the size of a PSN's environment. However the smallest PSN would still be able to simulate one of Earth's major metropoli alongside NPCs without any performance issues. Some might wonder why the Codex would have memory limitation issues? The problem is not within the Codex but in the personal devices of the user. Not every computer is desinged to interact with all the network's functions. Hardware limitations may prevent them from using the virtual reality functions and extremely restrict the use of the augmented reality functions.

In the modern age the Codex is mostly a mystery even in the most learned of academic circles. Some consider it a myth of the ancient age. Very few know what is needed to take advantage of the full breath of the universal network. Any devices that can enter the Codex and use both its AR and VR functions fully are treated as prized artifacts. 

A second type of server are Echo Servers, these are echos of locations in realspace. To keep random clusters of data from crashing the network the Grail Kernal created the Echo severs as means of organizing the vast data of the universe. Alterations of these echos will results in tangible effects in the physical world. This was used by the Tuatha to turn dead worlds into living ones. Further details on the subject of reality alteration can be found in the Augmented Reality section. 

The third and most common type of server are Forum servers. These servers are designed to exist for public use and normally have already set enviorments chosen by the Grail or through the owner of the server. In the time of the Tuatha they served as areas for interaction when one did not wish to use  a PSN. These days they are empty lands populated only by specialized virtual intelligences. All Forum servers have a supervisory VI to ensure the sever remains functional and to enforce the rules on those who enter their space. 

But be warned while the virtual reality of the Codex is extremely immerse one can not live in it forever. Yes, it is possible to sustain your life inside cyberspace for years at a time. As food and drink created inside of it or stored in it will not loose its nutritional value. The soul will know the truth that the reality you are in is not real and never can be. There are horror stories concerning those who stay far too long and are lost in the Codex forever.

The most common use of Cyberspace today is through Bifrost Gateways, or more commonly known as Celestial Mirrors. These devices allow for interstellar faster than light travel. By converting an individual or rocket craft into data they can be transmitted across the network and exit out back into realspace side stepping the problem of relativity. Bifrost Drives have the power to open their own gateways, but they are incredibly resource insensitive and thus are reserved for larger ships, mainly military ones.

Third Magic

(Keytool from ReBoot the inspiration for Talismans)

Augmented Reality is by definition the enhcanment of physical reality through computer generated information. As stated earlier physical items could be converted and stored as data, for augmented reality one must apply that principal in reverse. By converting data into physical matter the laws of reality can be manipulated producing effects many would describe as magic. Thus where the term Third Magic originates from. 

This is done mainly through a device known as a Talsiman. Talismans are portable Codex terminals and software libraries. They come in any form the individual desires but most commonly are designed to be small, sleek and are worn on the wrist, finger, or around the neck. Many Talismans came with a Familiar, a pixelated life form or pixie for short, that acts as a user's virtual assistant. They are considered a more advanced form of user interface and can give advantages to a user in both combat and non-combat applications.

Talismans are powered by a Bifrost energy battery that can be re-charged by converting ambient particles into Bifrost ones. Though this is a slow and time consuming method and quicker alternatives exist in the form of drawing power from a stationary physical terminal or charging it inside a Personal Sever Network. 

There is a large variety of applications for the augmented reality functions for those with the proper programs or skills to code their own. Ranging from generating fireballs to altering weather patterns in the combat sphere. While in non-combat a Talisman can repair or modify physical objects, alter one's personal environment, manipulate gravity, communicate over vast distances and project holograms in various different forms. 

This is not an exhaustive list of Augmented Reality applications and their are few limits to it. Memory allocation, programing competency, and imagination. Of course, memory problems for Codex users and for regular computers are vaster than the distance between star systems, but no machine is without limits. 

Know your limitations. 

Despite the fanciful and fantastical powers of the Codex it is not magic. True magic is an action of divine, or demonic, on the physical plane. It is spiritual not material in nature and while the Codex can replicate a facsmile of "magic" it will never be true. A reminder the word "magic" is not used in theological circles, magic is a term for the laity. 

The Codex is also bound by three known limitations. It can not raise the dead, go backward or forward in time, or create sapient life. These limitations do not exist in true magic making the Codex a material creation rather than a spiritual one. In addition to that Bifrost energy while powerful is not the true energy of creation. It is a diluted form of creation which allows it to be easily manipulated through mortal means. 

There is one more point of separation between the Codex and actual magic, it has no moral dimension. The will of the Heavens can not be used for evil and the Abyss provides no power for good use. The Codex has no such restrictions and can be used for good or ill like any creation brought about through scientific discovery. It can also be used by anyone where magic is limited to said angels and demons and specific mortals such as the Celestial Emissary, Preists, Sprites, and Saints. 

In Conclusion

(Mountain Sector from Code Lyoko. A major influence on Star Warden)

The Codex in the end is Star Warden's equvliant to the arcane magic systems seen in fantasy tales. Replacing the source of power from a supernatural one to a technological one so advanced that it can be percived as supernatural. Admittely the idea came about to rectify Daimos's existence without breaking the original lore of the series. But despite that origin, it has become one, if not my favorite topic in the Star Warden setting. 

I do hope you have enjoyed reading this and if you have any further questions do not be afraid to ask me. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Star Warden 2.5: TD'S Chapter 8


Peace lay on the medical table trying to avoid looking at himself. There wasn't much left of him outside of a torso. It only reminded him that he was more machine now than faerie. Twisted and evil as far he was concerned. His body had become a weapon with the name of Peace. Only chosen because it was the first word he could think of.

The door slid open as Sam and Kaguya walked in. Peace felt a burst of embarrassment as they saw him in this state. He already didn't like that the local medics saw him like this. 

I am not decent,” he said.

Sam playfully covered Kaguya's eyes. “Is that better?”

Peace sighed. “If you've come to know my condition. Know that I am being treated well and that you have no need for concern. I've been told that the replacement parts are currently being fabricated.”

Kaguya removed Sam's hands from her eyes. “That is wonderful news, Sir Peace. I pray that you recover swiftly.”

Princess. Would you leave us the room?”

Of course.” Kaguya excused herself from the room.

Warden. Do you believe in signs and omens?”

I would say yes. Why?”

While I was unconscious I had a dream. A dream of my life. There was darkness, battle, and nothing more.”

I've heard your life is supposed to flash before your eyes when one is near death. Did you see a sign in it?”

Yes and no.” The cyborg's voice was heavy with concern and fear. “I saw only the blackness of the void. But I believe that was the sign. Nothingness. A warning of what I am and what I will face in the hereafter. Did you ever have this fear during your own meeting with death?”

I did,” Sam said somberly. “I felt that I had failed before I could even start. It was the worse fear I felt since my mother's death. To be utterly helpless unable to protect family, unable to protect anyone. Unable to do any more good in the world.”

He sat down on a nearby stool and made himself eye level to Peace.

How did you escape this fear,” Peace asked.

I didn't. To this day I'm still afraid. Not a day goes by where I wonder if this is the day it ends. But if I don't act the consequences will fall on innocent people before me. So, I pray, take a deep breath, and walk into the valley of death.”

You use a larger fear to motivate you to brave your other fears.”

That's one way to look at it. Though I prefer to be motivated by doing good rather than the fear of evil. Is fear your motivation, Peace?”

Vengeance is my motivation.” His voice was firm in conviction. Then a second later he said voice wavering. “Yet now it feels hollow. Even if I were to succeed in my quest, how would I go on afterward? I have no wife or family or purpose. There is nothing for me after this war.”

If you let it be that way sure. If you want that to change you have to seek out those things.”

How?” Peace sounded nearly desperate.

That's up to you. My advice is that you build something. Something that will last long after you pass on.”

Kaguya knocked on the door. “Pardon the interruption. But we are running short on time.”

On the way.” He turned back to Peace. “Duty calls. I'll check up on you when I can.” Sam walked to the door. “Oh, before I forget. You do have a family. There right here whenever you need them.”

Peace was confused at that statement. But as the door closed behind Sam it suddenly clicked in his head. He made a soft smile. Understanding that he did have a family, even if they did not share blood or species.

Chapter 9

Chapter 7

Star Warden 2.5 TD'S Chapter 7

Her Royal Majesty, Queen Dahlia of Altea sat in her ivory and ruby chair in crystal carved war room. She gave a sinister appearance, dark red and crimson eyes with skin the color of a bleached skull. Dressed in black and silver with matching black and silver-tipped hair. Her bright white feathered wings brazenly contradicted her dreadful impression.

Sam and Kaguya entered the crystal carved war room. Military personnel were going over the various maps detailing the Domain's forces across the planet. Gareth was already in the room with them, he gave a curt nod to Sam. One of the feeds that held the elven knight's attention was that enforcement droid, Sam called the Tarantula. It sprayed death from the heat ray in its mouth. Two large guns on its side fired bolts of plasma destroying any static positions.

Similar images played from other feeds. The machines had control over most of the southern hemisphere with sporadic fighting in other areas of the planet. The skies were heavily contested but the machines had not gotten to the northern areas of the continent. Where refugees were being brought and defenses were being formed.

It raised a question of how Daimos was able to unleash his grey goo in an area so far north of the planet. The only explanation Sam could think of is that Daimos rolled the dice hoping to take out a potential enemy as quickly as possible. Was Daimos programmed to be bold when needed or was that an emergent quality from gaining self-awareness?

Pulling his mind back to the situation at hand. He and Kaguya walked up to the second level of the room where they bowed and curtsied respectfully to the Queen. The Enchantress was standing next to her, which was surprising to Sam. While he was aware she would be involved in this meeting he expected her to join by way of magic mirror. Her actually leaving the Mystic Woods was not a thought that would come to his mind. Then Dahlia must be an old friend, but was that literal or in terms of her family?

Rest assured, Sir Bailey. The concealment will not dissipate due to our brief departure from the Mystic Woods.”

Sam would question if the Enchantress had read his mind. But he assumed she's just good at reading people. She had plenty of time to learn after all.

Sir Bailey,” said Dahlia. Her voice was not what Sam expected. It was husky and seductive. Like a lounge singer from a noir movie. “Your Radiance. It is an honor to meet you both.”

The honor is ours, Your Majesty,” said Kaguya. “How may we be of assistance?”

Melchior must be awakened from his slumber. His power will be necessary to end this threat."

Considering the invasion hasn't woken him up. I'm guessing this isn't any ordinary dragon nap,” said Sam.

The Queen nodded. “To prevent Melchior from growing restless and endangering us. He requested that a Hymn of slumber be placed on him. Only the Hymn of awakening can break the spell.”

“A hymn, ma'am,” Sam questioned.

Yes, are you not aware of the nature of dragons?” Sam answered in the negative. The winged elf turned to the Enchantress. “Keeping your champion in the dark I see,” she said raising an eyebrow.

No, It was simply not relevant to share the information before this time,” said the Enchantress. She turned to Sam. “Dragons, like the Emissary, are angels only of a lower rank. They simply take the form of scaled winged beasts while in the physical plane.”

Wait, but the dragons I read about are normally evil. Would those be fallen angels?”

The Enchantress nodded.

Saint George and the Dragon is making a lot of sense now,” Sam said under his breath. Getting back to the task at hand he continued. “Okay, I'm going to take a wild leap of logic and guess the Hymnbook is not here but somewhere else. Somewhere that is currently under occupation.”

You are correct on all counts,” said the Queen. “The Hymnal was placed in the city of Myrsida under the protection of the Jade Monks. Due to their neutrality, they were considered trusted not to abuse its power.”

What do we do once we acquire the Hymnal?”

You will take it to an isle in the west. There you will go to the Dragon's shrine where the Sprites will begin the ritual.”

Forgive me for this question, your Majesty. But why was the book not left with the Sprites,” asked Kaguya

There were other uses for the songs in certain celebrations and services. It was more convenient to keep it on the mainland in trustworthy hands. The distance from the shrine was also thought to ensure no one could abuse the power and awake the dragon prematurely.”

Okay grab the book wake the dragon. Do you know any way we can enter Myrsida?”

The Bright Wings mercenary company can aid you in that endeavor,” said the Queen. “They have local knowledge of the Greenfield region and up-to-date information on the invader's forces. I will inform them that you arrive with my blessings.”

Then it's time to set sail.”

Sam's Talisman began beeping urgently. Peace was conscious. 

Chapter 8

Chapter 6

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Star Warden 2.5: TD'S Chapter 6

Altea was a beautiful sight. A vertical metropolis that stretched to the stratosphere of the planet. Sam observed the view of his suite's veranda, granted to him by the Queen, and watched the hover cars drive by. Invisible shielding alongside environmental controls ensured there was oxygen even at this level. The light of the rising sun bounced off the crystalline structures and the lagoon waters creating a soft glow that was accompanied by a song. Through unknown means, natural or artificial, the crystals could sing when the light of the sun hits the correct spot.

Sam had asked others about the song but they all gave different answers. Kaguya stated that she heard a song of love and healing when the crystals sang. For him, he heard only wind chimes, millions of them working together in perfect harmony. Many before him had speculated it was the placement of the light that made the changes, or the color of the crystal, or the shape. The theories had gone on and on and one with not one being debunked or vindicated beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt.

There was only one source of agreement among all the theories. The songs were beautiful regardless of what anyone heard.

A dream come true is it not?” Sam turned his head seeing Kaguya walk in with a tray carrying breakfast and tea. “I remember when you were a child. You spoke often of your pulp stories and their fantastical environments. Now here it is a city of crystal that reaches beyond the clouds.”

That sounds a bit odd. Coming from a fantastical alien faerie princess.”

She giggled. “I suppose that would be true in your case. Even if I can see the beauty in this world I take it for granted. You are almost a newborn seeing the wonder for the first time. It is an enviable perspective to have.”

Kaguya set down the tray on the table. “Any word on Peace's condition?”

His vitals are stable but still out cold. Outside of that, he's going to need a complete re-fit to his body.”

A re-fit?”

They have to replace a lot of his body since they don't have the parts to repair him. On the plus side, I talked to the priests. He's got a clean bill of spiritual health.”

Praise, Kira. That is at least one less worry on our minds. I will pray that Peace will recover quickly. Now, what is on the agenda for today?”

Meeting with the Queen later today. So we have time to explore the complex and the city.”

Fortunate news twice over. Then let us not waste this chance for refreshment. You have few occasions to rest as it is.”

If only Daimos could take a day or two off.” Those words were partially a joke but there was an honest, if ultimately fruitless, request in the words.

Is there anything you specifically wanted to see,” Kaguya asked.

Nothing in particular. Just wanted to take a walk with you. See you relaxed and not covered in coolant.”

Washing coolant out of my hair is indeed troublesome.”

Anything you looking forward to?”

Spending the day with you where we have no need to look over our shoulder. Like our summers back on Earth.”

Sam hummed in agreement as he took another bite of his food. Simple, carefree days of youth crossed his mind. Memories of him and Kaguya spending their time enjoying each other's company. Learning about each other and their worlds. Growing strong unbreakable bonds. How he wished those days could have continued in perpetuity.

Indeed if the original plan was followed through those days may have continued unabated. All Sam had to do was to leave the navy and go marry Kaguya on Aetherium and then begin the work of ruling the lands of House Bailey. The possible future if that plan was allowed to follow through was a beautiful daydream. But he will never know if that future he imagined would have matched up with reality. No one but God will ever know the truth of it, but a man can always dream.

Once tea and breakfast came to an end, the lovely couple left for their stroll. Traveling by the elevator from the residential deck to the recreational deck. Each crystal tower of Altea was a nearly self-sufficient city block. A consequence of Altea's vertical construction made space a premium. But if that was a hindrance to the architects they worked around it beautifully.

The centerpiece of the deck was a large garden park. Covered with plants native to Aetherium and from other worlds grown in special nutrient liquids. It was all organized in various tiers similar to the legendary hanging gardens of Babylon. The ceiling of the deck was transparent allowing those above to have a peek at it while glass windows on the side brought in the light. In the center of this park was something that could be described as a half-fountain and half- swimming hole.

The statue was a female elf surrounded by small winged creatures pouring gourds of water. There were five of them arranged in an overlapping pattern which made the flowing water take the appearance of two large arches close together. The waters of the fountain poured into smaller rings nearby where young children played in them. There were children of many species faerie and elven, human, and children that a mixture of human and feline traits. He recognized them as the aliens he met on Ramia.

Ailurians was the formal name of the species. It was the common translation of their name which was much longer and more complicated in their original tongue. Their name also had religious significance in their culture from a time when they did not worship the Celestial Powers. There was another feline species one closer to a cat than the somewhat human-looking Ailurians known as that Cat Si that existed, but none of their species was in attendance on this world.

The rest of the sightseeing continued to other decks. Sam and Kaguya stopped by for crepes before they left into the open city. All towers were connected by walkways wide enough for millions of people to cross along with various creatures. Humans riding on large wolves, and to Sam's surprise and amazement, dinosaurs. Small circular drones moved in to clean up any droppings by the animals.

The dinosaurs didn't share the reptilian look from popular earth culture. They were covered in feathers with bright patterns. A few other creatures were of alien nature, one of them was some sort of yellow feathered bird that reminded Sam of a video game animal of similar design.

Catching a hovering taxi their exploration continued to the lower levels near the sea top of the lagoon. There was a large open-air marketplace focused on small-scale jewelers and seafood peddlers. Many more alien lifeforms were in the area and they ranged from human but with odd skin coloration to, anthropomorphic animals, and one strange very insectoid-like alien. The insectoid jeweler was friendly and had a unique mix of gemstones embedded into chitin shells for sale.

Sam bought Kaguya a conch shell necklace with several sapphires mixed in.

Good choice,” said the alien. “I have arranged the sapphires in a pattern that guards the dreams of the wearer from dark spirits. Something I learned from my studies with Priests of Mira.”

That little fact caught Kaguya's attention. “I will use it in good health.”

At one of the many boardwalks, the two sat on a bench to watch the waves. Kaguya looked at the shell as the unspoken reason behind the trip now surfaced. She had suffered the return of her old nightmare where an orbital strike killed her, Sam, and their children. Experiencing an orbital bombardment made the nightmare extremely vivid. She awoke in a cold sweat the night they arrived and had difficulties sleeping.

But the shell appeared to give her confidence to brave the nightmares if they were to return. She was confident that her own magics could reinforce the ones embedded within the gemstone patterns. A beep from Sam's talisman alerted him that their morning stroll had come to the end.

The Queen had summoned them.

Chapter 7

Chapter 5

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Star Warden 2.5: TD'S Chapter 5

 “Once again I've been cheated of victory.” Daimos petted Nightshade as he made the holographic feed go dark.

One war rocket did all that damage,” said Nightshade in a tone of false concern. ”The ruin, the devastation, the horror. Do it again! Do it again!” She clapped and cheered.

Quiet.” she lowered her head in silence. Opening up a new screen he got in contact with Burai in the city of Basilisk. A domed city surrounded by a radioactive desert created from a glitch in the planetary machinery. Completely isolation from all other city-states made it an easy choice for the landing point of the invasion.

Ave, Dictator.” Burai placed a fist over his chest and bows his head.”

After exchanging pleasantries they got to the business at hand.

Status update on the Dragon objective.”

“Nightwatch's interrogators have learned that the dragon is dormant and can not be awakened without a ritual that involves a songbook located in the township of Myrsida.”

Nightwatch? You let the organics handle the interrogation of such a vital objective?” There was no condemnation in Daimos's voice. Simply curiosity.

Nightwatch is the name for the Enforcement section of the Political Security Office. In simple words, they were the Domain's secret police. Made up of loyal organics from various worlds that were conquered somewhat intact or joined without a fight. Many members were from worlds that lacked space flight before the Domain uplifted them. 

They never appeared on worlds such as Aetherium where the population was to either be killed or processed. But in places where actually governance was needed, they were effective in keeping the civilians in line. While the SWAT-bots could be kept in reserve and used for more critical tasks.

Indeed,” said Burai. “They presented an argument that they could establish a rapport and gain the information without physical coercion.”

Excellent. Pass on my congratulations. Now is Myrsida under our control?”

Affirmative. We are using the city as a forward operating base for our activities in the Greenfield region. Resistance is being led by a mercenary company that commits operations on winged beasts. Designation: Bright Wings.

I will deploy reinforcements to the township. They will take over guarding the songbook while you send forces to secure the dragon. In the meantime ready another core and deploy it against the Greenfield rebels.”

Another mech core so soon,” Burai asked.

It will not be long before the Star Warden learns this information and moves to interfere. He must be killed or failing that delayed as long as possible until the dragon is under our control.”

There is a danger that an uncontrolled rift could open somewhere on the planet if we another device is used so soon.” That was Sonia interjecting in the conversation. “Shall I prepare your protocols?”

Yes. Burai you have your orders.”

By your command, Dictator. There is one more item to report.”


A news broadcast reported of a local excavation claiming to have uncovered Dragon bones. A SWAT-bot team has confirmed the reports as genuine.”

Dragon bones! An interesting discovery. Yesss! Have them recovered at once.”

By your command, Dictator.”

The holoscreen went dark.

Chapter 6

Chapter 4

Star Warden 2.5: TD'S Chapter 4

Maneuvering around the edges of the great steel sea they managed to reach the heart of the beast. A multi-layered sphere floating above an island just off the coast of the northernmost landmass of this world. It had been completely subsumed by the liquid metal being produced by it. The metal poured out of the central sphere while two layers of spheres moved around it in a synchronized fashion. A pale red glow emitted from the center sphere.

Kaguya. Does this look familiar to you,” Sam asked.

Indeed. It appears to be similar to the device that created the Curse of Eternal Night. The level of Abyssal energy is weaker than our last encounter.”

Considering there appear to be no guards. This device may be of sterner stuff than our last encounter,” Gareth commented. “Assuming this is not just being used as a distraction.”

That or Daimos is confident the metal monster would consume anyone that gets close,” said Sam. “We'll find out later right now I have to get up close to that device so I can destroy it.”

I might have a solution to our problem, Sir Warden,” said Peace. “With Merlin's aid. I might be able to disrupt signals in their computers. Allowing you to get close in order to destroy the device.”

There is another solution,” interjected Gareth. “Use me as bait. With the plasma thrower inside my hammer. I can cause the mass to see me as a threat. Meaning you three can focus on the device.”

One of us should.” But before the Princess could finish. Sam interrupted.

No. He'll have to go alone. This is crunch time and we have no idea what defenses this thing has. The more of us that can fight it the better.” Sam turned to the elven knight. “You better ride like the wind. Got it?”

I have no intentions to die here. It would be foolish to let you live without a voice of reason after all.”

Gareth gave a rare full smile causing Sam to laugh and pat him on the back.”Just get back here in one piece.”

Good luck, Sir Gareth.” Kaguya placed her hand on his shoulder. He returned a nod.

With the admittedly slapdash plan in place Sam, Kaguya, and Peace took to the skies as high as possible. Gareth took a deep breath and fired a ball of plasma from his hammer. Impacting the mass and causing a static screech to fill the air. A hole was created in the entity. A hole that did not reform, perhaps it could not. Gareth fled the scene with the gooey creature in hot pursuit.

The island was drained of all metallic influence revealing a barren state, if the island had any life on it the metal had consumed it. The central sphere shifted and spewed a new batch of liquid metal. The Warden didn't waste this chance to get in close and summoned a thunderous burst of speed from his rockets. Drawing Dawnbringer from its scabbard he swung it at the sphere. The outermost sphere moved to take the blow losing one of its plates in the process.

The second layer unveiled a battery of guns. The flying knight only evaded its beams at the last moment. Peace unfolded a weapon from his back: a two-handed rotating particle cannon. Firing beams at a rapid pace melting the guns of the second later. The large machine shifted itself to the left revealing another battery to return fire. Kaguya's protective magic ensured the fire was futile.

Far from this battle, Gareth was still fleeing for his life. Firing plasma in a wide arc to keep the great metal blob away from him. It had a good effect as it did not reform from each blow and neither did his attacks dull like others had. Unfortunately, it moved ahead of him trying to get him to split his attacks. Gareth made his bike leap up above the mass and landed ahead of it. But the mass anticipated this and tried to surround him by cutting him off. Another blast of plasma cleared the way for him, but there were only a few inches between him and certain doom.

The Warden could not see these events but he acted with haste all the same. He launched a flurry of slashes that the machine easily avoided. It weaved around his attacks with a skill no human could possess. Sam switched tactics and fired his fusion canon but again the machine frustrated him with its great agility. Peace leaped into the air and gripped the sphere slowing its movement. Kaguya followed up by crafting a chain of light arresting its momentum entirely.

The cyborg punched the gun ports on the second layer causing the energy to build up and explode. This damage exposed the third sphere which fired demonic energy onto Peace. He was sent flying back to the surface and rendered unconscious upon impact. Lubricant and other liquids bled from his body.

Fortunately, his sacrifice gave Sam enough time to thrust Dawnbringer into the core sphere. Its destruction terminated the command signal causing the metallic sea to become inert matter and began to break down. Sam and Kaguya ignored the victory as they focused on moving Peace onto his hoverbike. The Princess was chanting in celestial tongue to prevent any damage to Peace's soul that exposure to the Abyss may have caused. While Sam magnetically attached Peace to the bike and activated its auto-pilot.

Merlin spoke up urgently. “Energy spike from the upper atmosphere. Evacuate the area at once!”

The dark cloudy skies lit up with orange bursts of energy. Bolts of accelerated particles rained down and razed the beautiful landscape. Precious crystal was turned to liquid then vaporized in rapid succession. Sam, with Peace on his back, drove the bike through the unceasing barrage of energy. By his guess, this orbital bombardment came from either a war rocket or one of Daimos's planetary defense guns.

Kaguya's barrier was taking many glancing blows and a few direct hits. The strain on her body was clear from her twisting face and strained breathing. But she stayed strong keeping pace with Sam while maintaining the defense. Sam contacted Gareth and informed him of the situation at hand. The response was cut off by Kaguya's scream as the shield shattered.

In that brief moment, a particle bolt landed inches away and flung Sam and Peace from the bike. They survived but the bike did not. Kaguya managed to stand and raise a new barrier. Screaming her lungs out as she endured multiple-degree burns while blood ran down the side of her head. More bolts began to land in and around her position with increasing precision.

It would not be long till the automated weapon systems re-calculated their firing solutions for their now stationary targets. Sam reached over and took Kaguya's hand lending all the magical energy he could summon from his blade. Husband and wife looked at each other for what could be their final moments. 

Fortunately, today would not be their last. A Bifrost gateway opened up before them. Merlin confirmed it was from Gareth. He had attempted to inform them that he arrived in Altea before them. Grabbing Peace, the Knight and Princess passed through the gateway, once again escaping the jaws of death. 

Chapter 5

Chapter 3