Shades of Shatotto
|«The Defiant Ones
«The Far Edge of Fate
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Ah, Forename. I am glad you are here. I would consult with you about a matter that has been gnawing away at my mind.
Thanks in no small part to your efforts, the books of Nald'thal have at long last been reunited in these halls, their long-lost secrets just waiting to be unearthed.
Though I have scarcely begun poring over the tomes, I have already made a most remarkable discovery. Each of the twin tomes contained a cipher of sorts, the meaning of which could only be deciphered when the two are referenced in tandem. I will spare you the details of how I unraveled the message─though it truly was among my finer moments, if I dare say so myself.
At any rate, the words─once decoded─are most evidently an incantation, albeit one entirely unfamiliar to me. Beneath it was writ a simple directive:“Heir to the dark arts, speak these words unto Nald's Reflection, that memories long forgotten may stir anew.”
As to what precisely these words are referencing, your guess is as good as mine. Still, Master Ququruka doubtless preserved the incantation and the accompanying message in his records for a reason. And if we are not the heirs to the art of black magic, then who is?
So I trust I can expect to see you at Nald's Reflection. And do try to hurry, yes? I would prefer not to delay any potentially epoch-making discoveries any longer than necessary.
...And that is all you need know. When I give the sign, you are to chant the words precisely as I instructed. Understood?
...You. Yes, you shall serve as the bringer of destruction. As for my vessel...ah, yes. That one should suffice.
...Hm? Whatever was that strange sensation? For a moment, it was as if a great fire burned within me, and then...
Nghhh... Now, it is as if my very mind is being rent in two. And this voice...!
...Well, well. It feels good to walk the earth for the first time in two millennia. Seems that old coot proved himself useful after all. If he hadn't kicked it, I'd find him and give him a pat on the back.
And what are you gawking at? You are a black mage, are you not? Surely you possess the common sense to recognize the woman who stands before you. Or will you be needing a hint?
Some would call me Death's Handmaiden, but I always found that particular epithet so needlessly morbid. Though technically speaking I am but manifestation of a memory, you may call me by the name I used in life─Shatotto, at your service! But I jest, of course─it's you who are at mine.
I must say, what is it with black mages today and these unwieldy hats? Do they truly believe it makes them look more imposing? Or are they merely compensating for something? In either event, I have no need of such adornments.
Now that's more like it! Forename, was it? Of course it was. Now that we're on a first-name basis, you'll have to tell me all about yourself. On second thought...let's skip that. Time is short, and to be quite honest, I don't particularly care.
At any rate, as I might have mentioned, I am not the true Shatotto as she once lived, but rather a manifestation of her memory—er, my memory. Needless to say, that still makes me the most powerful sorceress currently existing in your world. You'd do well to remember that if you ever have a mind to cross me.
Well, then! Now that we've gotten the pleasantries out of the way, what do you say we have a little fun? Prepare to be blasted into a kazillion itty-bitty pieces!
Oh, come now, must I spell everything out for you? I must know if you are sufficiently adept at the dark arts to help me forestall impending doom, and this is by far the easiest way to do so. Not to mention the most fun─prepare for a world of pain!
...Not half bad. That painfully dull expression on your face had me worried, but I suppose you'll do after all.
“Do” for what? Try to keep up, will you? I abhor repeating myself. Let me start at the beginning. Two thousand, three hundred years ago, the greatest mage our realm has ever known─that would be me─compiled a choice assortment of the most potent offensive incantations and evocations into the school known as black magic.
You still seem puzzled. I also devised a spell that would allow my memory to one day return. My reasons were twofold─for one, I simply had to see for myself how the art of destruction would be handed down eras after I had inevitably passed. For another, I knew that without my guidance, this realm would one day meet most certain─
...Oh, this won't do. I had thought the girl stronger than this, but... These eyelids grow heavy, and my consciousness wanes... I suppose I'll just have to take a little nap.
But remember this, my puppet of destruction. You have an important role to play in the battle to come─a battle that will decide the fate of your very world. Till next I wake...shirk not...your study of the art...
Forename...? Where are we? It is as if I just woke from the strangest dream...
And yet, my every limb aches, as if my respite were more exhausting than the fiercest of battles. Did you perchance observe anything odd happen to me?
Preposterous...or so most would say. But you have no reason to tell me falsehoods, and it would certainly explain the curious symptoms I find myself experiencing.
Shatotto, the mother of our dark art─she who pursued the power of destruction to and beyond any limits that could be conceived. Has her consciousness truly taken up residence in my own mind?
...It is no use. I call out, but she does not answer. Whether she slumbers or simply deigns not to answer, I cannot say.
I fear I am at something of a loss. Let us return to the Sacrarium and clear our heads. Mayhap the answers we seek will yet reveal themselves to us.
...I'm afraid it's no use. I have called out to Shatotto within my mind time and time again, but I am met only with silence.
If only Master were still here, surely he could shed some light on the matter. After all, it was he that recorded for posterity the words we used to summon forth Shatotto's memory.
Wait...that's it. Master himself may not be here, but his writings may yet contain the answer to our queries. It was within the statue of Nald that the memory slumbered─this does not strike me as mere coincidence.
I believe that settles it. I will return to the tomes and see what knowledge can be gleaned, that we might prepare ourselves for whatever task awaits us.
This holds for you as well, Forename. Whatever Shatotto's motives for returning to us, I cannot shake the feeling that ill happenings are afoot. I suggest you resume your studies with the utmost of urgency.
Do try not to die, will you? I have need of you yet.
You didn't think that was all I had up my sleeve, did you?
Come, my minions! Show this one the meaning of pain!
Is that all you've got? Did I choose the wrong puppet...?
Oh, come now! This was supposed to be easy for you!
This one was always my favorite... I'm sure you'll find it a blast!
I don't really want to obliterate you, but if you don't move, you leave me little choice...
More! More power! More death and destruction!