Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1 - Cover

Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1

Copyright© 2023 by Uruks

Chapter 31: The Battle for Nirvana

When the rodent disintegrated, the test subjects ate the remains, and then they began showing signs of hyper aggression. They had lost their preferred food source. Now they were hungry again.

The day had come. All the preparations were made. It would be a day of conquest, or a day of death. Either way, it would be decided soon. Leon wished he could pay attention more to the battle. He knew from experience that even the best-laid plans could go wrong. He knew he might even be underestimating Brocktree to some extent. The Dwarf had demonstrated brazenness, but also cunning. Brocktree’s confidence when facing Elementals was alarming, to say the least. Even still, Leon couldn’t bring himself to fully concentrate on the coming battle. His mind was...

“Leon,” Lucille said at his side.

Leon didn’t face her. He knew what she was going to say. She knew he knew what she was going to say, but that wasn’t going to stop her from saying it.

“I know you’ve probably guessed what I’m going to say, but you still need to hear it. Everyone really needs you to focus right now. Don’t underestimate Brocktree. He may not have Elemency, but there’s a reason he’s held absolute authority over Nirvana for the past fifty years. Be ready for anything. And try not to think about that missing Elemental girl. You won’t be able to do her any good if you let yourself die here because you’re distracted.”

“I know,” he said grimly, keeping his focus dead ahead as he and Lucille walked forward.

They both wore black. Since Leon no longer needed to keep up the act of a lowly mercenary in front of Brocktree, he donned something a tad more elegant than his grungy clothes. A black business suit with a long tail similar to the robes that nobles wore back at Tarrus, and his glasses, of course, since the lenses were slightly uncomfortable for his eyes. Lucille adorned her black dress. Though neither one was exactly dressed for battle, for Mystics with their abilities, that mattered little. And besides that, Lucille had given Leon a little something for the occasion that he was eager to try out ... when the time was right.

Strass noticed Leon and Lucille coming, striding up to them with a column of gunmen behind him. He gave Leon a cheerful smile, clapping him on the shoulder. “So, today’s the day, eh, lad?”

Leon only nodded.

Strass scratched his metal chin. “If we pull this off, I reckon Nirvana will get a certain notoriety. The pirates who defied the Fire Ministry. All kinds of business opportunities will open up after that.”

Strass then looked behind him and shooed his men off. They started spreading out throughout the streets as they set up red-glowing forcefields and began quarantining off the area from civilians.

Strass then leaned towards Leon and started whispering. “Look, lad. I’ll be honest with ya. I think it’s bloody crazy what Brocktree’s doing, picking a fight with Elementals like this. I hear some of ‘em can nuke planets on their own, and not just that Minister of theirs. I was considering running meself. But since you’re here to set ‘em up for us, I’m thinking we may have a chance after all.”

Leon forced himself to smile. “Don’t worry, Strass. We’ll take care of you.”

Strass nodded, looking relieved as he glanced between both Leon and Lucille. “So, it’s true what the boss says. We pull this job, we get in good with more of your Shadow Order contacts, and they’ll make us so powerful that the Tarrus Empire will leave us alone.”

Lucille nodded, smiling disarmingly herself. “That’s the general idea, Strass.”

Strass seemed satisfied and went off to see to his men. Leon and Lucille shared a look, then they both continued their trek. For some reason, Brocktree had opted to oversee the battlefield outside his fortress. This disturbed Leon. It disturbed him because it was exactly what they needed. It would be so much easier to take Brocktree and his guards outside the protection of that huge underground fortress of theirs. But Lucille said that it was alright. She may not have been able to control Brocktree’s thoughts, but she could still see his mind when they were in bed together. Again, Leon tried very hard not to picture that. According to Lucille, Brocktree just wanted to be able to clearly communicate with all his forces both outside and inside Nirvana’s Inner City. The underground fortress was so dense that it could be hard to get signals through at times. So instead of orchestrating the station’s defenses within his own fortress, Brocktree was doing so in a basecamp he set up in the streets on Platform 181. He was so confident the Elementals wouldn’t get in the Inner City that he thought he didn’t need the fortress. It was the same square that hid the entrance to the secret underground base. Brocktree’s men under the command of Strass were blocking off the streets with forcefields that slowly extended outwards until they connected, creating a bubble of red, translucent energy. The whole thing was a tad unexpected for Leon, but if he could keep Brocktree and his men from retreating to the safety of the fortress, he certainly wouldn’t complain.

All the pieces are in place. Let fate decide the rest, Leon thought to himself, something he often heard his father say. He supposed that even madmen like his father could have spurts of inspiration every now and then.

Brocktree soon arrived himself, appearing from a hidden elevator that lifted him up to the streets. He arrived with an escort of twenty or so Werecats to bolster his force of about two hundred armed gunmen. Savine was not among the Werecats, but Leon hadn’t expected her to be. He and Lucille had already found her cloaked command ship. When the battle started, Mozar would deal with her, sending the Werecat forces into chaos.

Brocktree spread his mechanical hands apart welcomingly. “Well, lad. Looks like your intel was right on the money. I’ve just received word of warp signatures on the way to the exact coordinates you pointed out. They would’ve been undetectable with those psionic cloaking abilities of the Elementals, but the phase adjustments you made to our scanners helped pick ‘em out. Their ships will be arriving in a few minutes, and when they do, our boys we’ll shoot ‘em down before they even know what’s happening. We’ll probably take out at least half of ‘em in the first wave.”

“Glad I could be of service, your majesty,” Leon said with a small bow that made him want to gag.

Brocktree then took Lucille’s pale hand, stroking her fingers with his mechanical pinchers. “When this is all over, dove, ya fancy a bit of alone time together? I’ll be in the mood for some celebratin’, and I don’t imagine I’ll wanna stop anytime soon.”

Lucille smiled seductively down at the lecherous little Dwarf, trailing her fingers through his filthy beard and up his cheek. “But of course, your majesty. I live only to please you.”

“I know you do, dove. I know you do.” Brocktree kissed Lucille’s knuckles, and then licked her fingers before grinning up at Leon.

Once again, Leon suppressed a strong urge to remove the Dwarf’s head. It wasn’t quite time yet.

“Captain Brocktree, sir,” called Strass from behind a line of technicians working holocomputers, all buzzing with green, holographic images of the space outside Nirvana.

Brocktree leveled a glare Strass’ way.

“I-I mean, your highness!” Strass corrected quickly. “Warp signatures inbound at Sector 3577461! They’re coming in near the southern pole! ETA fifteen minutes!”

Brocktree started chuckling to himself as he sauntered away from Leon and Lucille, his metal pinchers clicking excitedly. Some of his guards stood at attention waiting for him. They placed two metal poles on the ground in front of him. The poles started clicking, expanding outwards as multiple gears and wires grew out of them like roots from a tree. In a few seconds, the poles had joined together, forming into a metal throne made of wires. The throne would’ve been too small for anyone else, but was just the right size for the diminutive Brocktree. He took a seat, leaning on his elbow, his mechanical eyes moving in and out of his head as he made himself comfortable.

“Well, then. It’s about time, I reckon,” Brocktree said loudly.

Without warning, the Werecat guards rushed Leon and Lucille. Leon hadn’t even noticed them position themselves to either side of him and Lucille in perfect striking positions. Before either of them could react, the Werecats tackled them to the ground, binding their hands behind their backs with blue glowing suppressant ropes that they pulled from their pouches. Leon grunted, feeling his powers drain in a flash. He and Lucille were forced to their knees, both powerless as the Werecats dug their claws painfully into their shoulders, already drawing blood. He looked over to Lucille. Judging from the alarm on her face, she was just as helpless as him. He hated seeing her that way. He hated being helpless. Leon could do nothing as Brocktree held up a mechanical pincher, and the Werecats ceased digging their claws in further.

“Alright! Don’t rough ‘em up too much there, lads. That’ll be my job,” Brocktree said darkly, no longer smiling.

“Oy!” exclaimed Strass in surprise as he walked up to Brocktree’s throne. “What’s all this, then?”

“Shut up, Strass!” ordered Brocktree, forcing Strass to flinch back from the Pirate King’s throne. “I like your simplemindedness at times, but that’s exactly why I had to keep ya outta the loop for this one! So just sit there and stay quiet! You’re too stupid for anything else!”

Strass backed up as he shot an uncertain glance Leon’s way.

“Your majesty!” shouted Lucille in dismay and outrage. “What is the meaning of this?”

“We have done nothing but serve you faithfully!” Leon added, struggling slightly in the painful grips of the Werecats.

“Oh, is that so, lad?” said Brocktree venomously through clenched teeth. Then he held out a mechanical pincher to the side. “Well, me friend here has another story.”

A moment later, Leon saw a lone pirate walk up to Brocktree’s throne to stand at his right hand. It was James.

“Sorry, mate,” James said, smirking smugly behind his dark shades. “But he gave me a better offer.”

Leon gawked in disbelief. After a moment, he recovered, gritted his teeth, and shouted at his former ally, “James, you son of a bitch!”

“Oh, come on. No need to bring me mum into this,” James said jokingly.

“I’ve always been loyal to you, your highness!” pleaded a distressed Lucille, looking just as vulnerable as the day Chissler’s guards dragged her out of Leon’s life seven years ago. “Both Leon and I have served you well! I don’t know what he’s told you, but it’s a lie! He’s working for the Elementals to replace you as Pirate King!”

Brocktree grinned wickedly. “Now, that’s funny. He told me something similar about you two. I didn’t want to believe it until I saw this.”

Brocktree gestured to one of the technicians working the line of holocomputers to the far right of the encampment. The techy nodded, typing something into the green glowing holographic keys floating in front of him. After a few seconds, green holographic images of Leon and Lucille appeared standing in front of Brocktree’s throne.

“Besides. I can see the way the winds are shifting,” said a recorded image of Lucille. Leon recognized it as the time they met up with Rachel and the others after the battle on the Boar’s Head. “The Fire Elementals will take this station one way or another. Brocktree’s deluding himself into thinking he can stop them. I’m just playing for the winning side.”

Lucille’s eyes widened as her mouth hung open in shock.

Brocktree rose from his throne, stalking over to the bound Mystics with murder in his eyes. He knelt in front of Lucille, taking hold of her jaw in his mechanical pinchers. His touch was not gentle this time as she squealed in his grip.

The Dwarf’s face shook as he bared his yellow teeth at Lucille, his mechanical eyes jumping in and out of his head as they focused on her. He spoke in a low voice. “I gave you everything. I made you as good as a queen here. How could you do this to me, dove? How could you do this to me?!”

Lucille’s distress vanished. Her face became cool and collected as she regarded Brocktree dispassionately. Her Lurranna pride was far from broken. “You knew from the start that I was only in it for the profit. You knew that I only did what I had to do in bed, that I didn’t have any real feelings for you. I can almost pity you, deluding yourself into thinking that your feeble attempts could please me, that what I tolerated at your disgusting hands could be called love.”

Brocktree snarled like a beast, wrenched back his cybernetic limb, and backhanded Lucille hard across the face. With his mechanical hand and his Dwarfish strength, the way he hit her would’ve caved in the head of a normal man. As such, Lucille only suffered a small bruise to her cheek as she grunted from the blow, but otherwise showed little reaction.

Leon growled deep in his throat as he tried to rise, but the Werecats forced him back to his knees roughly.

Brocktree drew back. “You ungrateful bitch! I allowed you plenty of freedom, didn’t I? I let you play around with me men whenever you liked! Sure, I offed some of ‘em when they started spending too much time with ya, but no more than two or three!”

Lucille groaned, ignoring the bruise on her beautiful face. “So, that’s what happened to poor Roderick. He missed our scheduled rendezvous yesterday. Pity. I kind of liked that one, too. He was at least semi-witty. Not many of them were.”

“Shut up!” screamed Brocktree, hitting Lucille across her other cheek with another powerful strike and giving her a second bruise. She seemed just as unfazed by the latest blow as she was for the first. “I can’t believe I stopped seeing my whorehouses because of you! You made me so happy, more than any woman ever has! You made me think that you cared about me!”

Lucille smiled mockingly, her confidence unshaken. “That’s almost sweet of you, dear little Pirate King.”

Brocktree glared hatefully at Lucille, but didn’t hit her again like Leon expected him to. Instead, he spoke in a strangely calm voice that felt more menacing than his raging. “You can be rest assured, dove. We’re still gonna have our alone time together. It’ll be like a honeymoon, the honeymoon from hell ... at least it will be for you.”

Brocktree then turned his glare at Leon. “But that’s not half as bad as what I’m gonna do to you, ya little shite!” Brocktree then gestured to his collection of fingers in his beard. “I’ll be havin’ those digits of yours, lad. But that’ll be the least of it as far as your concerned.”

Brocktree then reached forward and took Leon by the throat. Leon grunted, feeling his windpipe being crushed in Brocktree’s mechanical grip as the Dwarf squeezed tighter and tighter. Leon, also having his Lurranna pride, gave little more than a grimace as the life was slowly squeezed out of him. It was difficult to stay calm without being able to breathe, but his parents had put him through similar exercises when he was a child. It was perhaps the first time Leon was grateful for their harsh tutelage. Lucille gave a small gasp, but Leon refused to make so much as a whimper. Leon’s calm demeanor seemed to enrage Brocktree further, especially when he noticed Lucille’s distress for Leon. He squeezed all the harder, but Leon still didn’t react.

“You Mystics are all the same,” Brocktree hissed through his yellow teeth. “Always lookin’ down your noses at the rest of us, like you’re the only proper villains in the universe. Well, I may not have any of them fancy powers of yours, but I’m still gonna win this thing in the end. What do ya think that says about you lot?!”

“Sir, inbound!” called one of the technicians. “Five minutes and counting!”

Brocktree scowled at the technician for interrupting his fun, then he huffed, giving Leon one last shove and releasing him. Brocktree stomped over to the line of holocomputers, his boots thudding loudly on the metallic floor despite his small height.

“So, Sector 3577472, right? Near the northern hemisphere?” Brocktree asked, turning to James.

James gave a dramatic bow like a noble in court. “Indeed, your majesty. The warp signatures that you’re picking up were faked. You should be picking up the real warp signatures at those coordinates.”

“Confirmed,” acknowledged one of the technicians. “Warp signatures inbound to the northern hemisphere. ETA, the same as the others.”

“Brocktree!” called Leon. “I admit I haven’t told you everything, but I gave you the right coordinates! When the Elementals come out of warp, you’ll see that I was telling the truth!”

Brocktree chuckled. “Ya know, I can almost respect a hustler keepin’ the act up to the bitter end. Well, we’ll see which one of youz is telling the truth soon enough.”

Brocktree turned back to his technicians. “Has our fleet divided between those two points like I asked?”

“Confirmed, sir,” answered one of the technicians.

Brocktree turned a friendly grin to James. “Not that I don’t trust ya, lad. But ya can understand me wantin’ to take precautions.”

James said nothing, nodding and smiling calmly at Brocktree.

Brocktree turned back to his technicians. “Tell our boys to fire at will as soon as them Elementals come through their Gateways.”

The techies nodded, all of them typing furiously on their consoles to issue Brocktree’s commands. After a minute or so, the lead technician said, “Vessels coming out of warp in three! Two! One! They’ve arrived! Confirmed sighting at the northern hemisphere!”

Brocktree grinned in triumph towards Leon. “Open fire! And tell our boys at the south to reinforce the north!”

An alarm beeped at the lead technician’s console. “Sir! The northern fleet report targets destroyed!”

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