Friday, August 21, 2015

How Many More

Ok, finally! I know this Chronicle took me a while to produce, and I apologize for that! I was pretty busy for the first big chunk of the summer, so I wasn't able to write (plus my computer kept over heating). Now that I finally got some spare time, I sat down and finished the Chronicle. It's not the best one, but it will move you along in the plot. Things are certainly getting serious, so I hope you'll enjoy it, and please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments. I only got to read through this one a few times, so there are probably some grammar mistakes. Still, I hope that won't detract from the story.

Dimension Splash Chronicles
Event: How Many More
Pov: Gemnodes, Opposers
Time: Year 10.65 of Hiccup and Link’s existence in the game

      When the Gemnodes returned from the world of Takanuva, they received a shock almost as great as when Hiccup had miraculously escaped deletion. Almost every single ally of their greatest opposer was gone. Sure, there was the odd dragon or clone trooper locked away in obscure dungeons or lost in the barren wastes that were common in this world, but the fact still stood; practically everyone Hiccup had ever considered an ally was gone. The Gemnodes had calculated about how many shrouding spheres were possible in their world, and there were far too few for anything like this. Many of the Gemnodes began to feel the twinge of panic in their hearts. Venevonix felt a bitter frustration sizzle in his chest. These were the people who he had threatened only hours before. He glanced over at Oninonix. The Gemnodes were incredibly powerful psychic creatures, and because of that they could read the emotions of their comrades with incredible accuracy. Many of the Gemnodes were in a state of fearful confusion. The thought of a loss of control terrified them. However, the red general’s mind was in cold calculation. Venevonix admired the steadiness of Oninonix. Nothing could phase him. 

     The Gemlord brought order to the group. He assured them that there was an answer. Whatever had happened, it could not truly threaten them. If these characters were hiding themselves, what did it matter? If they had escaped, was it truly significant? No matter what these friends of Hiccup had done, they had only bought themselves a little more time. The Gemlord looked keenly into the faces of his followers. “What have we just proven? Where are we returning from? We have slain our enemy. He hid from us, he bought himself time, but he could not avoid his fate. The Purpose has moved forward exactly as planned. We are nearly all powerful in all worlds. What does it matter that a handful has escaped our grasp? Takanuva fell before us, and it is only a matter of time before we justify our final loss. Every enemy who has dared take the life of one of us is dead now, every enemy save that wretched boy. But, his cause is a hopeless one. Our plan, our Purpose, it is finally reaping its harvest. Finally we are seeing the fruits of our efforts. Soon we will be forever safe, and soon we will see justice done in these twisted worlds.”

      The Gemlord’s words immediately calmed his followers. It was easy to forget how truly powerful they had become. In truth, their strength sometimes surprised them. Cylewl had defeated the legendary Doctor, the Gemlord had killed the dreaded Hulk, and now they had vanquished one of their oldest and most powerful foes. The end goal of the Purpose had always been an object that they had dreamed of, but it had never seemed within their grasp. Now it did, and the hearts of the Gemnodes burned with ambition. 

     Then, as the circle of brilliantly colored forms floated together in their void, Oninonix suddenly looked up. His expression turned to one of surprise. Then he spoke very slowly, his deep, rich voice vibrating out into the emptiness. “I have just received a communication. The wielder of the Legendary energy Gem, Tabuu, has spoken with me.”

     “Tabuu?” Venevonix asked. “Hasn’t he been an ally of Link and many other enemies of our Purpose? It was he and Hiccup that defeated the Red Death… Why would he contact us?”

     “Venovonix has a point.” Eminis stated. “Though we showed him the full potential of the energy gem, he has always been far too close to the opposers for my taste. If he has information, I say we treat it with great care. He is an ambitious being, but is he ambitious enough to try and deceive us?” The Gemnodes murmured as the Gemlord looked on quietly, his hands folded loosely in front of him.

     “His message is quite brief.” Oninonix said. “he asks us to meet him in his subspace and promises that we will be pleased with what he has for us.”

     Many of the the Gemnodes cocked their heads at the statement, turning to the Gemlord for an answer. Surely Tabuu could not attempt to trap them in this world. Here they truly were indestructible. Eminis spoke directly to Oninonix, “I am sure you have considered the fact the Tabuu’s subspace is shrouded. We cannot see in there from afar…” The shimmering blue head of eminis suddenly jerked up, an idea coming clearly into her mind. “Perhaps this is where our opposer’s allies have hidden themselves. The subspace is big enough.”

     It was true. The subspace Tabuu could generate opened massive portals of black energy all around the Gemnode’s world. Past these portals was a completely shrouded world of swirling dark matter, burning purple and flashing with the occasional bolt of electricity. The world of the subspace was vast, but the Gemnodes had inspected it before. They did not allow such a large shrouded area to go unmonitored.

     “Surely Tabbu does not intend to lure one of us there and attack with an army? Every warrior on this world combined could not hope to destroy even our weakest member.” Venevonix tossed his hand to the side while speaking. “Tabuu is no fool. He interacted with Link often, and because of that I have watched him carefully.” 

     “I would say that there is an easy way to answer our questions.” Oninonix turned to the Gemlord. “Will you grant me permission to go into the subspace? I will bring Mordius.” Mordius moved forward upon hearing his name. He was a small Gemnode, and since he was not a general he phased through several colors. These colors ranged from blue to dark violet to an inky black
     The Gemlord looked both of them over, weighing the situation. It was dangerous… there were still things in their own world that they were unsure of. However, Oninonix was his most careful general, and Mordius was extremely lethal and merciless in combat. If worst came to worst, Oninonix could surely escape before sustaining injury. Yes, if he and Mordius went together, they were far safer. But then the Gemlord’s chest lifted slightly, tense with worry. He couldn’t lose another General. The death of Sardilic had come as a shock like none other, and he was still coping with the grief. Finally, he came to a decision.

     “I appreciate your courage, Oninonix, but we dearly need your skill set. I would prefer another volunteer to go with Mordius.” 

      Every Gemnode moved forward. The Gemlord shook his head, humbled by the loyalty of his fellows. He breathed quietly, but all heard him. “That did not make it easier.”

     “Please, my Lord, allow me to go.” The voice speaking was shrill, almost cracked. It had the cutting edge of intellect, and it came from a currently turquoise Gemnode. He had a hunched figure, somewhat like Sardilic’s, but his face was calm and his body smooth… unlike the monstrous maw and spines Sardilic had developed. This was Cerxerilanius, and he had always been a reserved being. His voice was quite, and his manners calm. “I have gained the ability to manipulate time quite well, and I can guarantee that we could escape if anything goes wrong. And,” Cerxerilanius’ voice suddenly twisted, “I have a particular knack for destroying hoards of enemies… especially those susceptible to psychic assault.”

      The Gemlord thought for a moment, and then decided. “Very well. You may go. Stay close to one another and do not remain in the shrouded area any longer than necessary. We will be waiting for you. Show no mercy if attacked. Delete without question. The time for lenience has ended, and all opposers must be dealt with with utmost severity.”

     Both Gemnodes gave small bows, and then they vanished in white flashes. The Gemlord and his fellow Gemnodes turned and moved away from one another. They wanted to focus, and for that they needed to be alone. 


     The two Gemnodes appeared in front of one of the orbs of subspace. It looked like a massive dome of black and purple flames stretching out for nearly half a mile. Waiting inside was one of the deadliest and most ambitious beings they had ever captured. Each Gemnode looked to the other, and then they passed through the black wall of dark matter. 

     Mordius was nearly impossible to see in the throbbing blackness of the subspace, but Cerxerilanius shone out like a pale green star. They glanced around, and then a bright blue form appeared in front of them, slowly etching itself into reality. Tabuu looked at them for just a moment, and both Gemnodes tried to read his emotions. Nothing. The electrical being was completely blank, a cold and sterile slate. Tabuu spoke, “Thank you for coming, and welcome to the subspace. I trust what I have will please you.”

     “We are not here for pleasantries. You are a known ally of the opposer, and as such your life is in more peril than you can comprehend.” Cerxerilanius put his hand out slowly, releasing a mild psychic strike on Tabuu’s mind. Tabuu shrieked and writhed in sudden pain, grasping his skull for a moment until the agony stopped. “If you should think of betraying us, you will receive far worse.” The Gemnode locked eyes with Tabuu who suddenly looked far more afraid than he had before. He wasn’t used to being so utterly vulnerable.

     “I assure you,” Tabuu breathed as he moved slowly away from Cerxerilanius, “I have no intention of fighting you or the Gemnodes. It is clear who the rulers of the universe are, and I am no fool.” Tabuu straightened up, regaining his composure. “Now, if you would please allow me to show you what I have.”

     “Very well. Show us.” Mordius stated. He was growing impatient. 

     Tabuu turned and lead the Gemnodes to a huge floating platform in the middle of his subspace. It looked like an island made of stained glass, and on it were nearly a hundred of of Hiccup’s allies.  They were bound in cords of blue energy. Heroes like Batman, Lewa, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ang were sprawled out on the ground, gasping in pain. Along with them were dozens and dozens of dragons, clones, and soldiers. These were the victims of Tabuu’s viscous attack on the escaping armies. After destroying them effortlessly with his Off Waves, Tabuu had captured every last ally of Hiccup and locked them up in his subspace. The Gemnodes looked around, impressed but unsure of what was going on.

     “I stopped every single one of them from escaping this dimension.” Tabuu said, an edge of pride in his voice. The Gemnodes suddenly looked skeptical. 
     “Prevented them from escaping the dimension? How, when, and where?” Mordius asked.

     “Ta Koro. About half a planetary rotation ago. Hiccup was taking them out using a huge rift. I don’t know how he created it, but he did. I stopped them using my Off Waves. I nearly captured Hiccup as well…” Tabuu paused. “Link attacked me and stopped time. They escaped before I could stop them.” The electrical body of Tabuu let off a spark. His frustration was very obvious to the Gemnodes.

     “Quite an act of heroism…” Mordius said slowly. “If you can prove it. We were all gone. Who is to say you are not lying?” 

     “Perhaps you should mind dive one of my many captives to find out.” Tabuu said cooly. The Gemnodes nodded, and then they proceeded to dive into the memories of every individual Tabuu had in custody. Every single one came back the same; Tabuu was telling the truth. Venevonix had been right to suspect the use of the Legendary Fire gem, and Hiccup had indeed stolen hundreds of characters from their world. If it had not  been for Tabuu, he would have gotten away completely unscathed. When the Gemnodes finished, they looked at Tabuu and calculated their next move.

     “You have done exactly what we have asked from the beginning… In fact your actions go above and beyond what we would have expected. However, we will need to discuss with our comrades what the best course of action is. I feel certain we will find a use for your prisoners… a very good use. I can also promise you that the reward for your actions will be impressive. Give us some time, but I calculate you will have a powerful future.” Cerxerilanius said. Tabuu nodded, clearly pleased. The Gemnodes had offered massive rewards for simple information concerning Hiccup, so the capture of many of his allies as well as nearly defeating the opposer would bring Tabuu huge wealth, position, and power. 

     The Two Gemnodes flashed as they teleported back to their void, and Tabuu paused to look over his prisoners. Obi-Wan stirred slighting and looked up at him, grimacing. “Traitor.” he hissed. Tabuu passed by, completely unmoved. 


     The Gemnodes gathered again to discuss the unexpected turn of events. Hiccup had successfully lead a mass exodus out of the dimension, an exodus of characters who he clearly cared about. However, due to the actions of Tabuu, a handful of those characters remained easily within the Gemnodes reach. The Gemnodes weighed all the facts carefully, wondering whether to trust Tabuu, but seeing no hint of deceit in his actions. After all, the mind dives had checked out, what Tabuu said had happened truly had. He could have escaped himself, but instead he chose to turn on his former allies. The Gemnodes had promised rich rewards, and after short a deliberation they agreed to give Tabuu more power than he had ever dreamed of having, but at a cost. He would serve them, serve them so that they could watch him closely. He was incredibly powerful, but to the Gemnodes he was also completely disposable. Why not send him into areas that were shrouded? Why not use him in worlds that might still be difficult to conquer? The Gemnodes could keep themselves safe, reward him, and keep a close eye on his actions. It seemed like a perfect plan, and all the Gemnodes agreed to it readily, but now came the next issue. What was to be done with Hiccup?

     “We don’t dare go into his world until we know how he killed Sardilic.” Oninonix stated forcefully. “We all know this, but at the same time we cannot allow him to simply escape us so easily. He has inspired his universe now, along with the heroes from many others. As much as I hate to admit it, he could possibly pose a legitimate threat to our Purpose.”

     “How?” asked Cylewl. “How will one child truly be able to challenge us? How can entire worlds hope to challenge us? The Purpose is practically complete. We are unstoppable.”

     “Do not underestimate hope.” The Gemlord interjected. Every other Gemnode turned to listen to him. “I do not know how he destroyed Sardilic, but I do not fear fighting him. I am not afraid that his power is greater than ours, but his message does pose a true threat. If he can turn the worlds against us, then he will make creating our perfect worlds much harder. I do not doubt that we could do it, but our risks would be far greater… and that is not something I am willing to tolerate. We have lost too many of our comrades already. The true power of the Purpose has not shown itself. We can still be killed, though it is nearly impossible, but that does mean we are still in peril. I want to see that peril ended. I want Sardilic avenged, and I want to see the hope that the opposer has given to the worlds crushed.”

     “But how, my Lord?” Eminis asked. “How can we stop him without risking meeting the same destruction Sardilic met? We understand so little of what he is capable of… How can we remove him without putting ourselves into even greater danger?”

     The Gemnodes paused for a moment, contemplating what there next move should be. Then, Oninonix spoke again. “I have a plan.”

     “And what is that, Oninonix?” The Gemlord asked slowly.

     “I can give you a way to crush the hope Hiccup has created, and it may also give us an easy way to destroy him as well.” The red general’s body began to glow slightly with a hot, crimson light.

     “How?” Asked Eminis.

     “Use the prisoners Tabuu has provided.”


     Hiccup and Astrid could hardly believe their eyes. They stood on a ridge looking down into the center of Berk, Toothless snarling beside them. It had been a night of celebration, a night of hope, and just moments ago they had spent their first quiet moments together in what felt like lifetimes. All of that was over now. A rift was opening, the blinding white light stabbing into the dark shapes around it. Hiccup turned to Astrid and spoke in a tone of steel, “Go to the Hall, get Link. Get everyone.”

     Astrid hesitated for only a moment before turning and bolting towards the warm light of the great hall. Hiccup mounted Toothless, and the two exchanged hardened glances. This was not something they had predicted, but Hiccup was certain that he would not allow his world to be taken, not after he and Toothless had suffered so much to get it back. Toothless rocketed down to the the center of the village, something had emerged from the rift, and now it was slowly closing. The shape was kneeling, dark against the white light it had emerged from. Toothless hissed, and Hiccup pulled back on him slightly. The two hovered in the air, tense and unsure of what to expect. The sounds of laughter from the party had died, and in their place Hiccup now heard the shouts of soldiers and the drawing of swords from their sheaths. In a few moments, the bravest warriors came flowing into the central square, Link leading them with Astrid a few steps behind. Hiccup and Toothless hovered a few yards closer than the rest of the armed mass of warriors, and the rift closed completely. The shape still didn’t move, but against it’s black silhouette Hiccup could see something shining. A large spot of red, sprawling out like tentacles on the chest of this unknown being. Hiccup looked down to Toothless and nodded tensely. The dragon dropped altitude, landing quietly in front of the figure. He and Hiccup were only a few yards away, and the Night Fury was already building up a swell of acetylene in the back of his throat, ready to fire at the slightest provocation. The mob of armed soldiers had grown deathly quiet, and Hiccup turned back to see Link coldly staring the situation down. 

      Then the figure shuddered and breathed. Now that the blinding light of the rift was gone, it was easier to make out what it was. A long, tattered red cape drooped from the muscular soldiers of a powerful man. His hark hair hung in front of his eyes as he remained kneeling, his hands pressed against the ground. It was not a Gemnode, at least it did not look like one. Hiccup stepped off of Toothless and moved forward slightly, fingering Endeavor. “Who are you?” he asked in a nearly threatening tone. 

     “So, you would doom us all and not even care to remember our names?” The deep voice of the man echoed from his chest, and he turned his eyes to face Hiccup. The viking took a step back, shocked. 

     “Ike?” Hiccup breathed. Ike was one of the greatest swordsman to have ever been taken by the Gemnodes. He had been able to vanquish entire armies using his blessed blade, even able to cut a shard from a Gemnode which Hiccup was now using in Endeavor. But this was a man who had lost hope. He had tried to stop Hiccup from ever finding the shard; he had tried to convince Hiccup that fighting against the Gemnodes was impossible.

     “Yes, you do remember me. Do you not realize what you’ve done? Do you not understand that the fire of war you have started will consume everyone and everything?” Ike was angry, his breath beginning to heave. Link took several strides forward. 

     “Ike, what has happened?” Hiccup asked. 

     “They came for me, like they will come for others. Now they have thrown me here to show you…” Ike suddenly shuddered, his eyes close, and he clinched his teeth as if in pain. Then he choked out a single word. “How.”

     “How, what?” Hiccup said, startled and confused. 

     “They will not stop. They will continue to send body after body into this world.” The gem like structure strapped the Ike’s chest began to glow more noticeably. 

     “The Gemnodes sent you here?”

     “To die.”

     “Why?” Hiccup asked, stepping forward. “Why not just kill you?”

    “To show you what you’ve done. To show you what you’ve started with that wicked blade.” The gem on Ike’s chest shone even brighter, and with a gasp Ike shouted, almost insanely, “Many!”

     “Ike, I—” 

     Ike cut Hiccup off. “You’ve named your blade Endeavor. You’ve foolishly believed that if you tried hard enough, everything would turn out fine.” Ike’s voice edged with black hatred. “And now you’ve lit an inferno that will never stop. I may die now, but I’m just the beginning. They’ll send more like me. They’ll never stop, not until…”

     “Until what?” Hiccup asked, a flood of freezing fear washing over his body.

     “Until you turn yourself and your blade over to them. If you have any heart for the worlds you are destroying, for the people you have doomed, you will do as they ask. If you do it now, you could even save me.” Ike’s eyes looked wild, a manic gleam in them. The look of hope when there is none. “You could…” Ike suddenly gasped again, his mouth falling wide open in pain. He grimaced, the glow on his chest now shining bright red. From between his clenched teeth, another word ground its way out into the dark air. “More.” 

     Suddenly, there was a blinding flash. The device on Ike’s chest sent a burning burst of energy into the man’s heart, and he died immediately. His body collapsed smoking at Hiccup’s feet. Hiccup stepped back, his face pale with horror. Endeavor fell from his side and landed clattering on the stone next to Ike’s lifeless hand.

     The heroes and leaders from each dimension stood silent for a long time. Hiccup’s eyes were fixed on Ike’s body, yet somehow distant, wide and unblinking. The cruelty of the Gemnodes was something he was familiar with, but now they were offering him a choice, a promise. If he would deliver himself, then this kind of thoughtless slaughter would cease. If he did not, then day after day after day would see corpse after corpse piling into Berk. Link walked up slowly to Hiccup and put his hand on his shoulder. 

     “Come on, let’s go.” he said firmly. Hiccup did not answer, but he turned slowly to face Link. The hylian could see Hiccup’s mind racing, weighing what could possibly be done to stop this, but Link’s gaze was firm. Decisions were not going to be made in an emotional haste, not if Link could help it. The crowd slowly dispersed, but there would be little rest for anyone that night. Stoick and Gobber removed Ike’s lifeless body.

     Hiccup stayed awake the whole night, his mind and conscience in agony. How many would die like Ike because of his actions? How many more would pay for Hiccup’s folly?


     Venevonix watched the dimensional planes keenly. The current plan of Oninonix was just starting to begin, and several Gemnodes had been dispatched to capture victims for the campaign of slaughter. Venevonix was glad he was alone, for deep down he was seething with anger. He bent his head down, his mind focused and white hot. Then he felt a presence behind him, and he tried to contain the raw emotion as he turned to see who it was. The shimmering blue form of Eminis had faded into space behind him, and he could feel the care in her as she gazed at him. He turned, ashamed. After a moment he spoke, his sentence almost stuttered. “I, I am sorry.”

     “Sorry for what?” Eminis asked calmly,

     “Sorry that we ever doubted you. We were wrong… so terribly wrong.”

     “I forgive and have forgiven you. All of—” Eminis felt something jar inside her. “All of you.” A lie.

     Venevonix turned to face her more openly. “Even Sardilic?”

     “Venevonix…” Eminis turned her head to avoid his direct gaze, “I have tried. Please, do not ask anymore of me.”

     “No.” Venevonix said with a firm warmth in his tone. “I know you feel alone, but I understand. I understand what you are going through now.”

     Eminis looked at him again, very directly, a feeling of panic flitting in her mind. “What do you mean?” 

     “I understand how you feel. I understand what it is like to be hurt by the ones we love most.”

     “Venevonix?” Eminis edged closer to him.

     “I nearly caught him, Eminis. I would have caught him. I thought up a plan, but the Gemlord left me to do it alone, and I failed. If only he would have believed me, if only he would have helped…” Eminis was silent, but Venevonix could feel her fear. “I do not want you to think that I doubt him, it is… it is just me. Why have I never been able to win his favor? Why am I left as the only general who has never fully received his respect?”

    “That is not true, Venevonix.”

     “Yes it is.” Venevonix began to speak more quietly. “In the last hundred years, he’s been changing. He’s become more afraid for each of us, and now this business with the opposer has left him hurting and afraid. He doesn’t respect me because he only sees me, and you, as something that he must protect. I don’t want his sympathy or his protection; I want to make him proud of me.”

     “We are all proud of you.” Eminis whispered, but Venevonix continued, ignoring what she had said.

     “And now we are following a plan that is having us slaughter not only people who we have already taken, but a plan in which we go back into the worlds simply to steal more bodies to heap at the opposer’s feet. Why can’t we just finish him? Why can’t we simply take a chance? I know our lives are far more precious than the lives we are destroying, but would this one chance not be worth it?”

    Eminis floated in silence, her mind quietly weighing what her friend had said. Finally she spoke. “You know the Gemlord’s commands, commands given to help us all. You should not, you must not go into Hiccup’s world to pursue him. However, if we do see rifts opening, I am not against going with you to see if Hiccup is the one making them. If we catch him in another world, then I will come with you, and together we can help end the slaughter.” Venevonix glanced down and nodded, but Eminis could feel his uncertainty. He turned to her.

    “Thank you. I will continue to watch.”


     Morning came to Berk, and Gandalf asked Stoick to bring all the leaders into the Great Hall. They had very serious matters to discuss, matters that no single man should decide upon alone. A solemn group sat around the table, and Hiccup walked quietly into the scene. He knew what would be discussed. Link and Toothless came in with him, though there was no room at the table for them. They stood back, silently looking on.

     Gandalf stood. “It is clear that we cannot sit and wait. We need a plan. What happened last night is just a foretaste. Many more will die if Hiccup does not turn himself in.” Nervous eyes darted to and fro among the leaders. Hiccup’s mouth was completely dry as he looked down at the table. He locked his jaw and tried to think. Gandalf looked at him. “You have lead us all out of their world, Hiccup. You have given us all hope, and if you think this counsel is meeting to make a decision for you, then you are mistaken.” Hiccup looked up at Gandalf and nodded slightly. The old wizard continued. “The decision has been given to you, Hiccup. Are you willing to turn yourself in.”

     Hiccup’s tongue clung to the bottom of his mouth and he wiped his wet palms across his legs, but then he looked directly at the counsel and spoke. “If it is necessary, I am.”

     “Well, it is not necessary.” A voice said angrily. Link walked up to the table.

     “I agree.” said Thor.

     “After all, who says the slaughter will end? The Gemnodes? Look at what trusting the Gemnodes got us, got all of us.” Tony Stark said, gesturing to the entire hall.

     “I am in agreement with you all.” said Gandalf. “I had no intention of sending Hiccup to his death, but I wanted to know his thoughts. After all, if he were to make the decision, none of us could stop him.” Gandalf looked gravely at Hiccup. The young man was breathing tensely. “Hiccup, we want to act. We want you to act, but we do not want to oblige these monsters in their demands. Even if your death slowed their pace, it would not stop them. My boy, you must see that if you give into their demands, any hope that you have instilled will vanish. You knew fighting them would have great costs, so did we. The question is not whether we should surrender to them so as to minimize those costs, the question is, how do we stand against them so as to end them.”

     The council all murmured in agreement, and Hiccup was shocked to see how certain these leaders were. They would not stand by and leave Hiccup to make this decision alone, in fact they were very clearly opposed to him handing himself over. “So what do we do?” he asked quietly.

     The leaders paused and discussed among themselves for a moment, and then Tahu spoke out. “One thing is certain, the Gemnodes will run out of bodies to throw at us if they are only drawing from their own world.” Many of the leaders nodded quietly. As horrible as it was, the chances were the Gemnodes would kill every character in their world, but they would run out.

     “We must consider…” Link spoke up again “We must keep in mind that many of those people who have been left behind may walk back into their own worlds and die immediately. As you can see by Hiccup’s aging, we don’t fully understand the way time works in these dimensions. I fear… I fear that my world has flowed down the river of time far further than this one, and who is to say that others have not as well? The people who the Gemnodes have abducted, people like us, we are and always have been walking corpses. They used us, killed us over and over again, and as horrible as it is to say it, I don’t see any way we can keep the Gemnodes from killing the people we did not save from their world. Whether Hiccup turns himself over or not, those characters are as good as dead.”

     “So, if we cannot save them, what about others?” President Grant asked. 

     “I think that may be possible, but it will be risky.” Hiccup said, his voice still quiet. All eyes turned to him.

    “If the Gemnodes get what they want, they will conquer all worlds. Perhaps… Perhaps I can try to take some of you back. You risk aging to death, and you risk the destructive wrath of the Gemnodes, but I can give you shrouding spheres, and I can take you home.”

     “And once home we could protect our people.” Said Thor.

     “We could do more than that.” Stark stated. “We could let the worlds know what is happening, let Hiccup show the Gemnodes for what they really are.”

    Gandalf looked at Hiccup, and then he smiled ever so slightly. What a funny, strange little person to become a hero who would try to inspire universes. He said, directly to Hiccup, “It is true. If you take us home, we can protect the ones we care about, and if we die fighting the Gemnodes, at least we will die fighting in our own worlds. But, I believe we can and will do more than fight. I believe we can spread the truth about the Purpose, and I believe we can kindle a fire of hope that will take even the Gemnodes by surprise. Will you help us? Will you help us again, Hiccup Haddock?”

     Hiccup breathed out, his eyes locking with Gandalf’s. “Yes… I will.”

     “And I can promise you, you won’t be alone in this.” Link said, placing his hand on Hiccup’s shoulder as Toothless gargled loudly in agreement. 

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