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Dreaded Homecoming

[WP] They fear the light. [Link to post.]

A golden streak coursed through a field filled with hundreds of walking skeletons. The red sky drowned out the sun, but Dread ran confidently. She ignored the skeletons to focus on her objective. As she moved, the skeletons cowered away from her brilliant aura. She reached Ballisea's altar; her ticket off that Earth. A glowing ball of red energy, the size of a beach ball, hovered above a large decorative silver and gold ring. Purple crystals rose from the stone floor to support the shiny metallic ring. Dread smiled to herself and touched the red ball. Its energy flowed into her hand, up her arm, and into her brain. Then, a small black dot appeared in the air next to her, like an empty space in reality. It grew larger and somehow darker until it was tall enough for Dread to step through it. She jumped in without hesitation. 

On the other side of the black hole Dread found another blood red sky, another world overrun by skeletons. She decided to get some rest, then start searching for the altar the next day. She turned to start looking for shelter, but a voice caught her attention. 

"Hello?" a gentlemanly voice said. Dread whipped around to discover a tall man with flowing golden blond hair, and matching beard, smiling at her. He vaguely reminded Dread of a lion. "What brings you here?" he asked once he held Dread's attention. 

"Trying to get home," she said. It felt like several lifetimes since Dread saw her parents. The man nodded. "I can give you a lift if you like?" She'd been constantly on the move for so long, the young girl almost forgot emotions existed. She felt a rise in her chest, her eyes widened and she nodded eagerly.

"PLEASE!" she blurted out. The man chuckled.

"My name is Regal," he held a hand out. "Think about your Earth so I can find the right one." 

"I'm Dread," she said. She reached and grasped his hand, then a golden glow passed between them. The man gestured to his right and another black portal opened up. 

"Let's get you home, Dread," Regal said. Dread jumped through the portal. Regal stepped through to find Dread on her knees, staring at the blood red sky. He put a hand on her shoulder, and gave a gentle squeeze. "I'm sorry." She stood up, and clapped the dirt off her blue jeans. 

"I had some hope, but I'm not surprised. I didn't know what was happening at the time, but I left right when Ballisea invaded," she stared at the ground. She heard a sound then turned up to see what it was. Skeletons began to surround them. Regal squeezed her shoulder again.
"Let's get out of here," he put his hand up to make another portal but Dread stopped him.

"Why? Just amp up your glow, they fear the light," she said. Regal looked down at her with a curious look in his eye. 

"Really?" he asked. He held his hand up in the air and produced a brilliant golden glow, bright enough to force Dread's eyes closed. After a second the brilliance disappeared and skeletons were climbing on Regal. "Doesn't look like it," he said. 

"What?" Dread concentrated and tried to make her own glow as bright as Regal's hand. Immediately the skeletons began to flee the light, they kicked up dust as they ran away. "It works when I do it." The tall man looked at her curiously. 

"You're a Unique, right?" Regal asked. Dread nodded.

"42. La Calavera." 

"You're not a Celestial, how'd you get to that Earth?"

"When Ballisea conquers a world, she leaves some of her magic behind to keep the skeletons going. I accidentally found one, and when I absorbed her energy it opened a portal. So when I find the orb on one Earth, I just move on to the next one."

"Well that explains why the skeletons respond to you. How many have you absorbed?" Dread shrugged.

"I don't know, I lost count somewhere at about 1000. I don't even know how long I've been gone." She kicked the dirt and stared at the hundreds of skeletons surrounding them. Regal knelt down to the ground and touched the Earth with a glowing golden hand.

"Ballisea's corruption has been here for about four hundred years." Dread fell backward onto her bottom, kicking up dust from the dry plain. 

"No way..."

"Some Uniques age slower when they're not in their universe. Conquerors like you age one year for every hundred. How old were you when you left?" Regal asked. He stood up, then reached down to help Dread stand up. 


"Hey. If you want a place to call home, I know a nice couple that would be happy to take you in. They've got a 13 year old daughter too, so I'm sure you'll become fast friends." 

Previous Chapter: Dread Falls
Next Chapter: Dirge & Dread


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