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

Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1

Copyright© 2023 by Uruks

Chapter 34: What it Means to be a Lurranna

Another strange phenomenon. When the test subjects would infect a live food source, it would, for a time, behave as they did. It would even attack those food sources that were uninfected, and the infection would spread that way, albeit at a much slower rate.

Leon made a double slash with his swords, killing twenty pirates and two Werecats. He was a storm of fury. He’d never felt this powerful before. The Shadow Plate Armor felt so natural, invigorating his psions. He didn’t even have to dodge or block the pirates’ shots as his armor absorbed most of the damage while showing little signs of wear and tear. Most laser shots would simply bounce off his armor, the purple runes glowing brighter briefly as energy in the suit was focused into repelling enemy fire. This armor was amazing. That being said, Leon tried not to let his vigilance waver as he did his best to dodge or block most of the enemy’s fire. He knew there was a limit to the amount of damage his suit could take. The more energy the armor diverted to protecting him, the less energy he had to attack. He had to pace himself. He couldn’t allow himself to be swept away by his own power. Arrogance was the death of the powerful, and Leon intended to lead a long life so that he might enjoy his power.

As Leon took out an enemy hovercraft with a single slash of wind from his sword, he couldn’t help but notice that Lucille was in fine form herself. She used poison instead of Shadow Elemency this time around. Like Leon, she was an Air-Type, but she specialized in poison gases instead of wind. Large clouds of purple, poisonous gas wafted from her sickle as she swung it by the end of its chain. Even if she didn’t directly slash her adversaries with her weapon, if they happened to be nearby, the poison gas would get them, and they’d fall to the ground clutching their throats as horrible red blisters appeared all over their bodies. It didn’t even matter if they wore gas masks, as some of Brocktree’s men started doing when they saw Lucille’s power. Her poison worked through direct skin contact, not just through the lungs. Simply coming in contact with her cloud of death sealed their fate. Her poison didn’t work on the droids, only biological enemies. Even so, Lucille had no problem slashing the droids to pieces directly with her weapon, so it hardly mattered. Leon couldn’t help but admire her. She was just as powerful and crafty as he remembered her. No, more so. Lucille had grown so much since they were children. Even if they didn’t agree on everything, he respected the woman’s sheer tenacity.

As Leon drew his attention away from Lucille, he plowed into a group of Werecats and pirates, this time cutting them down directly without using wind attacks so as to conserve a little energy. As he slashed through dozens of them within seconds, soon there was only one pirate left, but the man hadn’t fired yet. In fact, the lone pirate hadn’t even brought his weapon all the way up, he just stood there shaking slightly. In his frenzied state, Leon almost killed the man anyway, that is until he realized that it was Strass. Leon saw the look in the pirate’s eye. Strass knew perfectly well that he stood no chance of killing Leon. He simply stood there mutely, seemingly resigned to his fate. Leon dashed forward to stop in front of Strass, moving so fast that he broke the sound barrier, creating a loud popping noise as his black cape fluttered behind him. Strass flinched, but still didn’t raise his weapon. Just in case, Leon raised his right sword and slashed the man’s rifle in half, rendering it useless. As his weapon fell to pieces at his feet, Strass still didn’t move as he took a deep breath and clenched his eyes shut. There was almost a certain dignity in the way the man accepted his fate. He was frightened, that much was certain, but Strass still didn’t succumb to stupid, useless impulses, like trying to fight an enemy he had no way of defeating, or trying to flee when he had no way of escaping. He didn’t even beg for his life like most cowards would.

“Strass,” said Leon quietly.

Strass opened his eyes, his metal jaw trembling slightly.

“I rarely show mercy, so don’t waste this. Take the men under your command and leave. If you come back, I will kill you.”

Strass stood there dumbly in disbelief. Then he gave a quick nod, and said, “Thank you.”

Then Strass left. Leon could already hear him speaking into his communicator as he ran, telling his men to leave Brocktree to his fate. Leon wasn’t quite sure why he let Strass go. He tried to tell himself that it was simply to get Strass’ men into retreating, but if that was all he wanted, he could’ve dominated Strass’ mind and accomplished much the same. He was now powerful enough in telepathy that it would be easy to dominate the mind of an untrained Pure-Skin. Then he could’ve killed Strass anyway in case the man tried to betray him. Leon would’ve done just that under most circumstances. But he didn’t. Why? Why did he show mercy?

Leon remembered something that annoyed him even to this day. He remembered the time Ryan showed mercy to those two Goblins, Galzar and Silvia. He saved them as they lay dying. They both still died in the end, but Ryan never seemed to regret his decision. That memory infuriated Leon. It was so stupid. So pointless. Saving an enemy! Ryan was always so annoyingly heroic, and now, damn it all, Leon was starting to mimic the boy in certain ways. That was the most infuriating thing of all.

Leon turned his attention back to Brocktree who remained near his throne at the center of the marketplace. Amazingly, the Dwarf had yet to retreat. He stood behind a steadily declining line of Werecat bodyguards while firing red plasma blasts from a gun that had appeared in place of his pincher hand. He would occasionally toss plasma grenades from the straps on his chest at James’ men, which would explode in bursts of red energy, but those were running low with only one or two left. Most of Brocktree’s forces in the marketplace were spent thanks to Lucille and Leon. The dogfights above the platform were still quite intense, but it was clear that James’ forces were dominating the ground battle. Why hadn’t Brocktree tried to leave yet? Lucille had placed a telepathic tracer on Brocktree’s mind while he was beating her so both of them would know when he decided to run. They had planned to take him as soon as he retreated, but he never did, so they focused on cleaning up his subordinates instead. Was Brocktree really that stubborn?

Of course he’s that stubborn, Leon thought. He’s a Dwarf, and also a maniac who thought he could take on the Fire Ministry.

Leon glanced at Lucille who was already looking his way. She nodded at him. Both of them had come to the same decision. Now was the time. Putting on a burst of unprecedented speed, Lucile and Leon charged Brocktree. The ten Werecats protecting the Pirate King ran to intercept the two Mystics, moving just as fast. Leon and Lucille launched ranged attacks ahead of them to destroy the Werecats, but they only got two as the others proved too quick. The Werecats also fired a few ranged attacks from the guns at their wrists, but the Mystics caught each plasma blast with their weapons. Then Leon and Lucille engaged the remaining eight Werecats in melee combat. The Werecats were quick and crafty, much like the Werewolves Leon had fought earlier. They had observed him. They knew his attack patterns. However, Leon had been observing them as well. He watched the Werecats when they fought the Werewolves and as they fought James’ men in this current battle. He knew how they moved, how they thought. Hunters weren’t the only ones who could adapt.

Leon and Lucille divided their enemies evenly between them. She took four while he took four. Two Werecats fought Leon with those strange daggers of theirs, but their weapons obviously weren’t designed to duel with Psionic Steel, and he broke them easily. With their weapons destroyed, Leon struck low, slicing their legs out from under them to prevent them from using that troublesome speed of theirs. As the two Werecats fell, the other two Leon faced were already striking him at his blindside from behind. The two Werecats that fought him head-on were meant to be a distraction. They likely knew they would die, but they made that sacrifice to give their comrades a chance to take Leon from behind. Leon would honor their conviction by showing no mercy. Leon could feel that the Werecats had limited use of psions. They knew how durable his armor was. Realizing that plasma shots would likely be ineffective, they concentrated psions into their claws as they aimed for his head. They might’ve penetrated into the brain, but Leon had anticipated their assault. He twisted upwards so the Werecat claws buried themselves into the back of his armor. The armor absorbed much of the damage, but still, he felt the prickling sensation as the Werecat claws dug into his flesh at his shoulder blades. The wounds were shallow, and Werecats didn’t incorporate poison strong enough to affect a Lurranna. With their claws stuck in his back, the Werecats were effectively immobilized. Leon spun, slashing them both in half at the waist with a single swipe from his right sword. As their claws left his back, his armor was already repairing the damage and sealing the holes. The two legless ones writhed uselessly on the ground, cursing and growling at Leon. He finished them off by sending a small gust of air that slashed through their skulls, splattering their brains on the metal street.

At the same time Leon finished off his opponents, Lucille finished off hers. The Werecats engaged her in a slightly different formation with two staying behind to fire ranged attacks and two engaging her with their daggers. As Lucille dodged the strikes of the two wielding daggers, she killed the two shooting plasma blasts by swinging her chain in a wide arc and slashing their throats. When the first two died, one of the Werecats dueling Lucille disarmed her momentarily by slashing her wrist. Her armor absorbed the damage, but she lost her grip on her weapon, or so her enemies thought. As they drew in close to finish her, Lucille spread her hands apart, releasing poison clouds from her palms at point-blank range into the stomachs of the Werecats. The poison was more powerful the closer the target, and as the Werecats recoiled from the blast, both had basketball-sized holes in their middles.

All eight felines hit the ground at relatively the same time. The two Lurrannas each paused to take a breath. The Werecats were dangerous opponents. If there had been more, the Mystics might not have fared so well. Leon allowed Lucille time to retrieve her fallen weapon, and then they set off after Brocktree again. The Dwarf saw them coming, firing his plasma weapon and throwing a grenade at the same time. Lucille dashed to the left and Leon to the right as an explosion of red flames destroyed the ground between them, but they moved so fast that they got beyond the blast’s range in an instant. Then they zoomed at Brocktree from opposite directions. Brocktree focused his fire on Lucille, his shots fairly accurate despite her speed. Leon suspected the Dwarf’s mechanical eyes increased his precision as even Lucille had a somewhat difficult time avoiding and blocking all the Dwarf’s shots. The yield of Brocktree’s gun seemed greater than normal weapons, creating explosions of red fire all around Lucille that tore up the marketplace. If she took a direct hit from that weapon, her Shadow Plate might be compromised.

With Brocktree’s attention focused on Lucille, Leon came at the Dwarf from his blindside, slashing his gun arm at the barrel. Brocktree staggered to his back, panting heavily. Leon raised his sword to deliver the finishing blow, but his senses told him of danger. Almost too late, Leon blocked a barrage of laser blasts with his swords. The blasts came in such volume that he was forced back from Brocktree as he took several shots to the shoulder and chest. Leon eventually had to erect a telekinetic forcefield to avoid further damage. There was a squadron of droids flying above him, pelting him mercilessly to draw him off Brocktree. As Leon strained his psions to fend off the droids, he noticed Brocktree grinning at him through the translucent bubble of purple energy. The Pirate King then withdrew a metal orb from his pocket. Leon thought it might’ve been another grenade, but the Dwarf threw it at his own feet and disappeared in a flash of yellow light.

A teleportation orb! So, the Dwarf bastard did have an escape plan in play!

As Leon held off the assault of fifteen droids, Lucille picked off a couple with her sickle, drawing some off of him. Ten remained. Leon couldn’t attack while he maintained the forcefield. He was just about to dispel the forcefield and risk the damage to his armor when vines suddenly burst from the streets beneath the droids ... green vines with pink and yellow flowers on them. The vines ensnared the droids, crushing them, or piercing into them through the joints to tear them apart from the inside out. Two of the remaining five droids changed targets to fire at the vines, and Leon finally had enough pressure taken off him to allow him to act. Dispelling the cloak, Leon sidestepped the fire of the remaining droids and slashed the air with a powerful, doublehanded strike from both his swords. A small, twisting tornado shot from his swords like a missile, and the five remaining droids exploded and fell to the streets in burning heaps, the winds scattering their parts all across the marketplace.

Leon drew in a breath, removing a small Sun Gem from his pouch at his utility belt and absorbing its restorative psions as the stone slowly shrank in his grip. Lucille appeared at his side a moment later, having already finished off the five droids chasing her. She seemed slightly winded as well, but recovered as she siphoned off psions from a pink glowing Sun Gem in her hand.

Hey, Kormal, Leon mentally called to his Sage friend. These droids are getting annoying. Please tell me you and Kevla are ready.

Just a little more time, Leon, said Kormal and Kevla at the same time. It was the first time they spoke in unison. Leon supposed it was due to the strain they were putting on their psyches to complete the project. We’re almost there. Just hold out for a little longer.

Leon gave a mental acknowledgement, turning his attention back to Lucille. Though he had considered bringing her in the project, he’d decided against it. She would have too much access to Kevla’s and Kormal’s minds if he had told her what they were up to. It was strange, the way he felt he could trust her completely in some respects, but still feel wary of her all the same.

“Well done, as per usual, darling,” Lucille said, unaware of his conversation with the Sages as she glanced around uncertainly. “Leon, do you have another member on your team I don’t know about? That was Plant Elemency that destroyed those droids, and none of the members of your squad possess Earth-Type powers.”

Before Leon could answer, he noticed a hunched figure walking towards them slowly. Nazz, the old Elf, held his hands behind his back as he approached with that same unreadable expression. “Brocktree got away, I see. I trust you two have a means of tracking him.”

Lucille tensed in surprise at the sight of the old Elf, but Leon grinned beneath his helmet. “I thought you had some experience with Elemency, but I didn’t guess how much. Many half-Elves naturally have access to Plant Elemency, though I’ve rarely seen any as powerful as you that are unaffiliated to the Ministries.”

Nazz gave a weak, tired nod. “At one point, I did consider a career at the Ministries, but other priorities took precedence.” He glanced at the Sun Gem in Lucille’s hand. “I thought Mystics used Dark Water to restore their psions.”

“Mystics can use Sun Gems, same as Elementals,” Lucille responded. “Dark water is difficult to make, so Sun Gems are more readily available. Most Mystics try to save their Dark Water as a last resort.” Judging by her tone, Leon could just picture the tight smile crossing over her flawless features.

Nazz regarded Lucille coolly. “And how much Dark Water do you have access to ... and how many poor souls went into its creation, I wonder?”

Lucille did not flinch before the Elf’s challenge. “You forget, Elf, that I am a rogue Mystic. I’m no longer officially affiliated with the Shadow Order. I don’t have access to a steady supply of Dark Water, so I make do without it most of the time.”

“So you say.”

Leon stepped between the two of them before Lucille started getting annoyed. When Lucille got annoyed, she could get aggressive, sometimes even violently so, and Leon still had questions that required Nazz to stay alive for the time being. The battle continued to rage around the platform, but the marketplace was now clear of combatants. Seeing as how they had a breather, Leon turned his attention on Nazz.

“Lucille is with me. She’s helped us tremendously during the course of this mission even though she could’ve betrayed us at any time. Can you deny that?”

Nazz sighed. “I suppose I cannot. In any case, you do have a means of tracking Brocktree, correct?”

“But of course,” said Lucille, her tone forcibly pleasant. “I put a mental tracer on his psyche while he was slapping me around. He’s not far. Teleportation orbs only have enough charge for a few miles at most. I feel him beneath us. He’s retreated back to his fortress. But not to worry. I have ways of getting inside that not even he knows about. We’ll finish him shortly.”

Nazz nodded. “Then I suppose you had both get to it, then.”

Before Leon left with Lucille, he said to Nazz, “I’d still like to know about your interest in my teammate, especially now that I know how powerful you are.”

“That is a private affair between Ryan and myself. But rest assured, I mean him no harm.”

Leon took a step closer to Nazz. “And I’m simply supposed to take your word for it?”

Nazz gave a weary smile. “I suppose as I have chosen to trust your friend here on your word, you should consider trusting me based on my word.”

Again, Leon considered forcing the information from Nazz, but he felt dealing with Brocktree to be more pressing. “Lead the way, Lucille.”

Lucille began by cutting the floor plating beneath her. Just as she had finished making a hole big enough for the two of them, a loud voice rang out, sounding like it came from a massive speakerphone.

“HELLO, TRAITORS!” said Brocktree’s voice.

Lucille stopped cutting, swiveling around while trying to ascertain the origin of the voice.


“He must be using the broadcasting system of Platform 181,” Lucille theorized. “There’s a control room in his fortress that connects him to all the communication systems throughout the Inner City.”


“His ship?” Leon repeated, not liking where this was going.


Leon and Lucille gasped at the same time as they both came to the same conclusion. Then Leon turned to Nazz, and screamed, “We need to run!”

Leon dismissed his weapons, grabbed Nazz, slung him over his shoulder, and jumped away just as a beam of red energy as big as a house burned through the metal floor, exploding the ground where they had been standing. Lucille dismissed her weapons as well as she ran at his side, her black armor a blur of motion. Leon heard a roar of something stirring beneath his feet. The metal ground started shaking as if by an earthquake, but being artificial, such trembling could not be caused by tectonic plates.

Leon didn’t stop running, knowing he had to get as far away from the marketplace as possible. While carrying Nazz, he yelled into his communicator, “James! Evacuate all our forces off Platform 181 now!”

More huge red laser blasts erupted from the ground, eviscerating what was left of the marketplace. Lucille and Leon ran for all they were worth, but they soon found the ground giving out from under them. Leon put a burst of wind to his boots, shooting forward with the power of air. He saw Lucille achieve much the same feat as she soared after him as metal floors and buildings sank just behind her. Leon briefly wondered how she was moving so fast, that is until he saw small tendrils of black smoke emitted by her shoes.

That’s how she can move as fast as me! She uses the power of the shadows to increase her physical abilities much as I use wind to increase mine!

Leon would’ve loved to learn how she manipulated Shadow Elemency in that way, but since the ground was literally falling beneath him, he figured now wasn’t the best time. Already, Leon could see pirates by the dozens falling into the abyss. Some of them were bodies from the battle, but certainly not all as they fell with high-pitched squeals. Those that fell in comprised of both James’ men and those that still served Brocktree. Leon supposed it wasn’t altogether surprising that Brocktree was willing to sacrifice his own subordinates just for a chance to slaughter his enemies. Still, the pragmatic in him couldn’t help but balk at the sheer waste. Many of those pirates working for Brocktree might’ve surrendered and switched over to James’ side. They were pirates after all, so they didn’t exactly extoll loyalty, especially not to a fallen regime like Brocktree’s. Speaking of waste, who knew how many civilians were caught up in that? Leon might not have been the sentimental type, but he wasn’t heartless either. True, both he and James tried to give ample warning so that most of the citizens on Platform 181 knew to leave. However, there were probably plenty that didn’t. Though Leon supposed some things were unavoidable in war. Still, he did have one consolation as he could see James’ hovercrafts leaving the platform, many filled with citizens. He only hoped that Rachel and Torsha were resourceful enough to get away themselves.

As the city stopped sinking, leaving nothing but a large hole, Leon and Lucille halted near the edge of Platform 181. The lasers had stopped firing as well. Within the massive hole, Leon could see lights shining out of the darkness. Something was coming up.

Leon sat down Nazz back on his feet. “Nazz. Call in a hovercraft. I’m pretty sure he’s after Lucille and I, so your best bet of staying alive is getting as far away from us as possible.”

Nazz glanced down at the hole, and then back to Leon. At first, Leon thought the Elf would try to do something stupidly noble and useless like ask to stay. Instead, Nazz simply said, “Thank you for saving me. It’s not yet time for me to die.” And then Nazz ran away without another word, moving surprisingly fast despite his age.

“Come on, Lucille!” Leon ordered. “We have to draw it away from the others!”

Lucille offered no argument as she and Leon took off in the opposite direction as Nazz. The lights in the hole were getting brighter. With a roar of dozens of powerful engines the size of buildings, a vessel emerged from beneath the ground. What Leon had mistaken for Brocktree’s fortress was in actuality his ship, a starcraft called the Forge. It was a large, rectangular floating fortress, many times bigger and more powerful than the frigates that most of the Space Pirates used. The hideous silver depiction of a screaming bearded face painted its hull. Leon could see hundreds of guns and missile launchers, all of them pointing at him. Leon did have a great deal of confidence in himself, but not enough to take on a capital ship at his current level of power. Only top-of-the-line Wielders like Eramar could hope to match the firepower of something that big singlehandedly. The first volley of lasers rained down on Leon, and all he and Lucille could do was run as countless explosions detonated all around them. They only stayed alive because of their immense speed, but that would only save them for so long as the ship’s auto-tracking systems had no doubt zeroed in on them.

“James!” Leon screamed into his communicator as he ran. “Use everything you’ve got to destroy that thing, or it’s gonna bring the whole platform down on us!”

“I’m on it, mate!” James screamed back on the com.

The vessel rose higher in altitude as its guns followed Leon and Lucille no matter where they ran. The platform shook violently. Leon feared the gravity lifts that kept the town-sized platform floating might give out under the bombardment. Dozens of James’ fighters pelted the huge ship with countless bombs, but the armor on the fortress seemed impervious. It didn’t look like James’ ships left even a dent in the cruiser.

“IT’S USELESS, YA PISS ANTS!” yelled out the voice of Brocktree as the Dwarf laughed madly on the speakerphone. “THIS BABY’S TOP-OF-THE-LINE DWARVEN ENGINEERING! SHE’S NEVER LOST A BATTLE! YOU’D NEED A WHOLE FLEET JUST TO PUT A SCRATCH IN HER!”

At least for the time being, the Forge diverted fire away from Leon and Lucille as it aimed its cannons at the fighters bombarding it from all sides. Many of James’ ships exploded, but most proved too nimble for the cannons. All of James’ men were skilled pilots in their own right. Still, they didn’t seem to put much of a dent in the Forge’s defense matrix. Ordinarily, Leon would say to wait until the Fire Fleet broke through Nirvana’s outer wall, but there was no telling how long that would be. And the lasers from the Forge’s cannons were firing madly, some of the bolts even hitting other platforms within the Inner City. Something had to be done.

“Lucille!” Leon screamed as he ran. “Does our armor have propulsion systems!”

“Yes!” said Lucille breathlessly, almost sounding frightened. “But it’s not designed for sustained flight in an atmosphere with gravity like this! Only scaling walls or for short jumps! If we can get them to fly, it will depend on our psions, which are already running low! Besides that, I don’t have much experience flying, and I don’t think you do either! If I’m not mistaken, Elementals usually have to wait until the Fourth Level before their psions are mature enough to fly like that!”

“Then it’s a good thing that I learned Elemency from Mystics!” Leon said, already concentrating psions to his feet.

“Leon! Wait!” Lucille shouted as she reached for him, but Leon was already jumping off the platform.

As the ground zoomed beneath him, and his cape bellowed behind him, Leon allowed the thrill and the fear of falling to wash over him. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. He inhaled the fear. Inhaled the rush of the wind in his ears. The feeling of weightlessness. Of helplessness. At every point in his training as a Mystic, his father had forced him to progress through trauma. He would give Leon an obstacle to climb. If Leon couldn’t circumvent that obstacle, his father would threaten him with something he feared more. Leon hated his father for doing that, but even in his hatred, he realized he was applying much the same concept now. Leon feared dying. He feared not being alive to help Éclair. He feared not living to see his revenge against Chissler come to fruition. With that fear came purpose. If Leon didn’t climb this obstacle now, if he didn’t learn to fly right here and now, he was going to die. Éclair would die. Lucille would die. His ambitions would die.

For some odd reason, a memory bubbled to the surface in Leon’s mind. A rather annoying memory. “So yeah, I’m going to become an Elemental, but I’m going to do it my way,” growled Ryan Uruks, his golden face impassioned and full of conviction. “If you got a problem with that, then you can just shove it.”

Leon felt a grin coming on despite how irritating the memory was for him. Always such a cocky brat. So naïve, stupid, and insufferably innocent. Always having to show off how noble and heroic you are all the time. Well, I may not exactly be noble or heroic, but I have ambitions of my own ... and like you, I’m seeing them through no matter what.

Leon felt a rush as his body lurched upwards. He was no longer falling. The power of his wind propelled him upwards. He had done it. Scared himself nearly half to death, but he had done it in the end. As Leon took a moment to bask in his victory, he realized that he might’ve made a horrible mistake. Leon glanced around to the edge of the platform where he had jumped off, but Lucille was nowhere in sight.

“Lucille!” he screamed as he hovered closer, but had to cringe back as a barrage of laser fire blew off a piece of the platform, sending a huge chunk of tons of metal falling to the bottom of Nirvana in flames.

Leon gasped, wondering if he had just left Lucille to her death. He briefly considered chasing after the falling debris to see if he could find her, but then a familiar voice shouted at him.

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