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The Duel of the Ages

Dave's Ending

"Huh," Darius said as he stepped off the wooden cart onto the still soggy ground. After their battle, the blood flood had covered the land, slowly being absorbed into the ground over a period of 150 days. On the seventeenth day of the tenth month, the cart had come to rest on the top of Darius' own house. After forty days a raven had come by and pecked Blood Drops' head; Darius had laughed. Soon after a dove came by and dropped a big turd on Darius' head; Blood Drops had laughed. Seven days later that pesky dove was back, this time pecking Blood Drops in the eyeball, giving Darius another fit of laughter. Finally, seven days after Blood Drops had lost his eye to the dove, the bird returned with a new eyeball for the knight; in this way the two knew that the flood was over. (As if they couldn't tell by just looking around.) It was now the first day of the first month, and the two were finally stepping on firm ground again. "Almost biblical, wasn't it?" Darius asked as he and his companion finally were able to stretch their muscles and walk around a bit.

"What's 'biblical' mean?" Blood Drops asked quizzically.

"I'm not sure," Darius said slowly. "But that experience was a perfect example of it. Hey, there's a rainbow!" the big warrior exclaimed, pointing to the ground where some numbskull had dumped some oil in a puddle.

"Neat," Blood Drops said. "Hey, did I ever tell you my middle name was Noah?" the knight asked out of the blue.

"Blood Noah Drops?" Darius said, stifling a laugh. Blood Drops turned crimson.

"Yeah, well what's your middle name, smart aleck?" he asked haughtily. It was Darius' turn to change colors.

"Japtheth," he said meekly.

"Darius Japtheth Longshore???" Blood Noah Drops tilted his head back and laughed uproariously.

The two walked around the deserted city for quite some time. There wasn't a soul to be found anywhere.

"Where did all the people go?" Blood Drops asked after they had traversed the entire length of the Plaza for the first time in recorded history without encountering a single person.

"Died, I guess. Drowned in the flood we created," Darius replied.

"Then where are all the bodies?" Blood Drops asked after a moment.

"Huh. Probably floated away or something. I dunno." Darius shrugged his shoulders as the two newfound friends walked on. The two walked in silence for about half an hour more, and then Darius abruptly said, "This is boring. Let's go someplace else. Open a portal, Blood Drops."

"I can't," Blood Drops replied. "That power was revoked from me when it was discovered that someone made a boo-boo. Sorry."

"But I thought you could do anything if you only believed you could do it," Darius said. Blood Drops looked strangely at the big warrior.

"The Sage never told you that. Where did you learn that?" the knight asked. Darius rolled his eyes.

"You yourself told me as much when I first pretended to be the Sage," he replied. "Is that why you stole that gem from me, because you thought it was the source of my magic?" he asked.

"No, I thought that you thought it was the source of your magic!" Blood Drops replied incredulously. "You didn't believe that?"

"Of course not!" Darius replied with a snort. "It was just a cool looking rock; that's why I took it. Now thanks to you, it's probably Goblin turd by now."

"But the Sage said you took it because you believed it to be a focus stone, and so you thought you could do magic with it!" Blood Drops said emphatically.

"Well then the old Sage was wrong this time," Darius said. "Even if I had thought it to be a focus stone, why would it be of any use to me? According to the belief system of this world, only those born with the Wizard's mark have an aptitude for magic and thus can utilize a focus stone. I could run around with a focus stone strapped to my head all day and it wouldn't do me a bit of good, if you believed what the people of this world believe."

"Huh," Blood Drops said. "The old coot was wrong for once. Wait till I see him again!"

"You may never see him again, if we can't travel between universes anymore," Darius said. "Are you sure you can't open a portal?"

"Can you?" the Llllllllagimmmmlninunous knight retorted. Darius blanched; he hadn't thought to try it himself. Slowly he concentrated on the task of opening a portal to the fourth dimension, calling upon his spirit to perform the desired action. No portal opened.

"The problem is, someone has got us disbelieving," Blood Drops said morosely after Darius' failure. Darius nodded sadly. The two pouted for a moment, and then Blood Drops abruptly snapped his fingers.

1 The "Portal" (capitalized) is a fixed physical anomaly that bends one of the three "normal" spatial dimensions into the fourth spatial dimension, which allows travel between three-dimensional universes without magic (except the magic required to protect one's body during travel). I'm not sure how the business of "opening up" magical portals at will cropped up, since that's not something the wizards can do in either of our books.
"Wait a minute, I still believe that the Portal1 can transport us through the dimensions! All we have to do is go back to the end of the wormhole that is anchored in this universe, then we can travel back to the Portal and use that to go places!" he cried happily.

With renewed hope, The knight and the warrior set off in search of the end of the wormhole, while music played softly in the background.


"I'm certain it was around here someplace," Blood Drops said as he and Darius pawed their way through the bushes just off the trail heading out of Larosis.

"Me too," Darius said in agreement. "It was here when I went through it and beat the crap out of you with that statue of Foghorn Leghorn."

"When you dreamed you beat the crap out of me," Blood Drops corrected. Darius looked up angrily.

"You're the one who was dreaming, pal. I beat the crap out of you fair and square, and you had to sleaze your way out of it with a dream sequence!" he said hotly.

"You're the one who had the stupid dream, not me!" Blood Drops cried. Soon the two were at it again, and another flood threatened to come. This time, however, after Blood Drops had sliced Darius in half with his sword (directly after Darius had sliced Blood Drops in quarters with his sword), the half of the big warrior that contained his head said, "Hey, wait a minute! We don't need the stinking Portal!" Darius' legs waddled over to where his torso sat on the ground, and the big warrior used his powerful arms to climb back up his own legs and position his top half on his bottom half again. He quickly re-united Blood Drops' four quarters and then repeated, "We don't need that stupid Portal, after all. I have something better!"

Blood Drops healed himself quickly as Darius held his quarters together and then asked, "What do you mean?"

Darius didn't reply. Instead, he sheathed his sword and knelt down gently on one knee, bowing his head.

"This is no time for proposals, Darius," Blood Drops said, embarrassed. Darius waved him off, shushing the knight in annoyance. The big warrior was muttering to himself softly. Or rather, not to himself, but to --

Dave awakened with a start. Blinking rapidly in the darkness of his room, he listened intently to the rhythmic beating of his heart.

A dream, he thought. Just a dream. He sighed, sinking back down onto his pillow, letting sleep envelop him again -- and again he sat bolt upright in his bed. It hadn't been a dream. He could hear it clearly now, a voice in his head. His own voice, yet not his own at all....

"I hear you," he said as he sprang from his bed and deftly maneuvered past the mounds of junk in his room towards his computer. Soon, he was sitting in front of the glowing monitor in the darkness, his fingers flying over the keyboard with blinding speed.

The voice in his head had barely concluded its request when he had written the final word and was exiting, saving the file onto the disk. Dave smiled as he turned off the monitor. The light from the screen flashed brightly once, catching the hard lines of the man's face with its dying flicker.

2 A reference to The Ten Commandments.
"I hear you," he repeated softly in the inky blackness. "So let it be written; so let it be done."2

-- someone else. To Blood Drops, it appeared as if the warrior was praying.

"I don't know what good that is going to do," the knight said with a sigh. "I thought you said you had something better than the Port--"

Blood Drops was so stunned that he cut himself off in mid-sentence. Darius had finished his prayer, risen, and promptly opened a dimensional portal.

"But...I don't understand! How did--" Once again, the knight was too stunned to finish his thought. Darius merely smiled.

"It helps to be on a first name basis with one's creator," the big warrior said simply. He motioned for Blood Drops to follow him through the portal. The Llaglimninian shook his head in disbelief but followed Darius nonetheless.

3 Attention Real-Life Conspirators: We're joking. We weren't there. We're too young to have been there in the first place. We don't know anything.

4 A reference to the battle between Raistlin and Fistandantilus. Raistlin was always getting into fights.

5 A reference to the Star Wars trilogy. Several key items are lost in the non-letterboxed versions of each of these movies.

6 A reference to Gone with the Wind.

7 Babe Ruth set an "unbreakable" record of 714 home runs in his career. In 1974, Hank Aaron hit his 715th. Two members of the audience actually did run out to congratulate him; few, however, realized exactly who those two people were.

8 One of baseball's great legends is of the 1932 World Series, where Babe Ruth, said by many to be past his prime, pointed to center field as if to say, "That's where I'm going to hit it." The next time his bat connected, the ball went straight over the center field wall. Baseball fans and authorities alike have debated whether Babe Ruth had actually called his shot or if he was just making obnoxious gestures to the pitcher.

The two had a grand time, hopping in and out of universes, travelling to places no one else had ever been, doing things that no one else had ever done. They watched on in horror as Lee Harvey Oswald fired twice at President Kennedy, missing once and once hitting Governor Connelly, and saw for themselves the second gunman on the grassy knoll who had actually taken out the President.3 They watched in awe as two powerful archmages, one white haired and white skinned, the other white haired and golden skinned, battled each other to the death in a cataclysmic confrontation.4 They were inspecting a strange four legged creature on a desert planet when a certain young jedi mistook them for sand people (and then they were subsequently cut out of the non-letterboxed version of the film, making the young jedi appear crazy).5 They were shooting the breeze on the steps outside when Rhett stormed out on Scarlett.6 They ran out to escort Hank Aaron around the bases after his 715th career homerun7, and they cheered as loud as the rest of the crowd after the great Bambino had called his shot in the '32 World Series.8

After years of hopping from place to place, however, they finally arrived in the place they had been unknowingly searching for the whole time; they knew right away their travels were over.

"Is it...?" Blood Drops asked in awe as the two stood in the middle of the great meeting hall. Warriors of all shapes and sizes feasted around them at the great tables, eating and drinking and making merry to their hearts' content.

"Yes, it is," Darius said, a smile wider than any he had ever smiled emerging on his face.

"Valhalla," Blood Drops breathed, the first to speak the word. The two moved among the warriors, watching them in their revelry, before finally giving in to their urges and joining in the festivities.

When dawn broke and Odin led them all back outside, Darius and Blood Drops made certain that they were on opposite sides when the great battle began. The two instantly rushed at each other, joyously battling the whole day through, hacking and stabbing and slashing and skewering one another gleefully. When the sun set again, the two walked side by side into the great hall to begin again the feasting and merriment.

They were at home.

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