Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers or Doctor Who. They belong to their respective copyright owners.
Author's note: These events occur as the same time as the events in the previous chapter.
The Dimming Light
The Book of the Unknown held many secrets and Dimitria considered herself cursed that while she knew much of what the books foretold, she could never use that knowledge to warn others unless the Book allowed it. The events that were to come could not be avoided. They were alas set in stone. The only question lay in which side would ultimately benefit. For the Xenotome told only of the journey and not the destination. And sadly she noted that a time when he was needed more than ever, Jeff Kincaid would not be there to play a role.
But the Xenotome also spoke of another player. Reluctant and unwilling to choose a side, he would curb the excesses of both factions, protecting life above all else. But it seemed the book was slightly confused because the time when he would make his appearance seemed to change every time she looked.
When the first ships had been reported above an unimportant planet only a few light years from Eltare, the Grid Masters had known that it was not a simple raid. As more ships continued to arrive it became clear that this new force was seeking to surround the planet, cutting them off from the neighbouring allies. When they received word that similar vessels had appeared at other seemingly random planets, they had known that the danger they sensed was real. For weeks the Grid Masters had been receiving visions of a new evil that threatened to sweep them aside. A hidden danger, a Dark Specter that could wipe them all out, one that would steadily circle its target until it was ready, and then it would strike a swift and fatal blow. And somehow in their dreams they knew that there was only one hope for their survival - for they were convinced that the final battle would be fought on the planet Earth.
They had been so concerned that they had sent a message to the Council, explaining their findings. The Council had responded that they were mistaken, refusing to change its stance on Earth. In doing so they ignored a powerful ally that could have saved many from an undeserved fate and practically handed victory to the dark forces that waited to strike.
Serpenterra continued on its path of destruction, unhindered by the machine's high fuel consumption, which had been corrected thanks to the Zeo Crystal's near infinite supply of energy. Even with its plasma cannon repeatedly firing the fuel cells didn't show signs of diminishing. Of course the shots were not the high yield planet crushing blasts that it had used before. For some reason Minion found it more pleasurable to take lives in small doses rather than kill all life at once.
Below was a small town. It managed a few select stores, a public bar, elementary school and its own small television station. The major employer in the area was the nuclear power plant, the most notorious plant in the country since its millionaire owner was a miser who was more than happy to ignore as many safety rules as possible. The mayor was a corrupt womaniser who spent much of his fortune paying the town's papers not to cover his indiscretions and the police department to deal with those that weren't sensible enough to accept bribery.
The town was not known for its citizens' calmed reasoned thinking at the best of times; today there was absolute panic. The people had realised that the monster above them could not be stopped and there even the old fallout shelters built in case of nuclear war, would not shield them. And so they huddled together under the statue of their town's founder, hoping that something would save them.
Serpenterra hovered over the town, waiting as the sense of panic reached a peak. Then the energy flowed into its weapon systems. A glow formed in the mouth and with sudden ferocity, a plasma blast ripped into the ground. The roads boiled as the houses were vaporised. The people tried to cry out in pain, but their voices were already lost as the sound of the explosion echoed into the neighbouring town.
And on board the ship, Minion laughed as he adjusted his course to take him to Washington DC via a few other small towns as the remains of Springwood settled into a scorched pit, the anguish of those that had died there trapped within the tainted ground.
Springwood had never recovered from the decimation Minion had inflicted upon it. Like the other towns he had callously destroyed, it had not been restored when the Rangers had restored their reality. Perhaps because its destruction had been so complete that no amount of magic could reverse it. The ground had smoked for months following the incident leading authorities to check that there wasn't something beneath the ground that was burning. Eventually though the smoke had cleared and the area had been fenced off while those in power discussed what should be done.
High fences topped by razor wire had not stopped some from entering the area it seemed. Two figures walked across the scarred ground, delighting in the pain and suffering they could feel around them. They were Orgs, demonic spirits formed from the despair greed and suffering of humans. To them this tainted wound in the surface of the planet was everything they desired. For it seemed that while the humans had been correct that the area beneath the earth had not been set alight, they had failed to understand what a festering sore this former town had become. Unknowingly Minion's actions had created a nexus point where Orgs and other things could feed and grow stronger. If a being capable of seeing such things had looked they would have seen that Springwood was the epicentre of destruction with jagged tendrils of magically tainted ground spreading like a patchwork of cracks in all directions. It was a tainted Ley Line.
"Do you feel it?" the female asked, her horn glowing from the magical energy.
"Yes," Jindrax agreed. His companion was far more capable at sensing spiritual beings even when they were not strictly Orgs, but with such a high concentration of spiritual energy even he could sense it. "But why haven't they emerged?"
Org spirits were just that: spirits. In order to affect the world around them they had to first emerge and take on a physical form using whatever materials were to hand. That it seemed would be a problem in a place that lacked the raw materials for them to inhabit.
"They're not Orgs," she answered. "They're just evil spirits created from this place." Then she smiled as she reached into her gown and pulled out a handful of seeds. "no matter, that can be corrected."
The seeds seeped into the ground the more they touched, providing the spirits that lived there a slight grip on the world around them. The two Duke Orgs watched as the seeds started to grow, forming monstrous vines that carried dripping fruit composed of wicked energy. The fruit ripened swiftly and sickly black flowers appeared shooting spore like pollens into the air that were carried by the suddenly fierce winds. And then the fruits withered, rotting into the ground and polluting it further as new vines emerged. And as they did so the spirits that inhabited the ruined ground started to seek out the small pieces that remained of the former town; any fragment no matter the size would do for the mutant spirits - for despite their hopes it was clear to the sinister duo that these were not true Orgs. Perhaps though they were an indication that the real Orgs would one day return.
Finster walked around the finished creation and nodded his approval. It had taken much much longer than his usual works, but this was a full-size sculpture and the details had been vital.
"Almost finished," he sighed.
Most of the monsters he shaped would be considered complete by this point, but that was because they were normally created from an image with a clear understanding of their identity channelled through their creation. This was not a mere monster, it was the host body for a powerful demon.
"It's ready, Rita," Finster announced as he checked his measurements.
As a craftsman Finster rarely had the opportunity to truly show his skills. The monsters he created for Rita were copies of previous creations and while he took pride in his work, even he admitted they were often rushed and made from inferior materials. This time he has been allowed to use a sample of the most potent magical clay from Gamma Vile's deepest clay pits. And he had used that clay and his skills to painstakingly craft his empress her greatest desire.
Usually such a creation would be placed inside a machine to infuse it with a portion of Rita's magic. This time though Rita had an ulterior plan in mind. As he had been crafting, the witch had been chanting, calling upon the aid of the Ghost of Darkness to assist her.
If Rita had heard Finster, she gave no indication. Her voice continued to drone in the ancient language, switching dialects occasionally to provide focus. As she continued the spell shifted from a request to help to a ritual used to summon a demon. Her voice grew louder as she pointed toward the clay statue and then she laughed, sensing that her plan had succeeded.
Everything around him was dark, not a sound to be heard within the deepest corners of Larry Zedden's mind. There the demon known as Lord Zedd lurked, trapped inside the Zarakin and unable to break free. Bound be the love and honour of a man he had possessed for thousands of years, he was helpless.
But recently his description of his prison had become less accurate. There was darkness, utter darkness, but every now and then there was a tiny flicker of light. He had studied the disturbance, located it, watched it until he could predict the next time it would appear. And then he had used it as a tiny flaw in his cell that he could weaken further.
It didn't take much of a breach for Lord Zedd to break free; in his current state he was as fluid as thought. He escaped his cell in the back of Larry's mind, knowing that unless the Zarakin removed the barriers he had placed there, the prince would never know he had escaped.
Once free the question arose of what to do next? Possessing Larry Zedden again was not possible. The rituals that had once perverted the Zarakin were gone and Zedd did not have the power in his current form to create more. That meant a less stable possession where he would be vulnerable to positive emotions.
Then he felt something pulling upon his magic. He recognised the feeling of somebody trying to summon him; the summons was not aimed at Zedd, but for any demon willing to bond with the caller. And in that moment Zedd saw his opportunity. A willing body would not fight back until it was too late. He allowed himself to answer the summons.
The statue of Lord Zedd glowed with power as Rita directed the spirit of her recently released husband into his new shell. It was not perfect and would need replacing before too long, but in the meantime... Lord Zedd was back!
The Xenotome told many things and what she read filled Dimitria with sadness. On Earth she knew this time of year was considered a time of peace. In truth this year had anything but and the future would only grow darker. But all was not lost year. The Book of the Unknown did not state how the year would end, she hoped that meant there was a chance that it would be a happy ending. Deep down inside, she doubted it.
And the year to come promised to be a year of loss and of sorrow. There would be betrayal and difficult decisions to make. The Darkness would sweep through the universe and although the light would shine brighter than ever, it would not last long once the light had been extinguished.
End of Part