Purple Phoenix's Note: This collaboration, which is also Kali's last PR-related fic (and definitely not my last one), is based on bits and pieces of my "A Rhyme and Reason" series, and can also be considered a supplement to the series, as some things in future stories in the series will make references to events shown in here. It's supposed to more or less show the events leading up to the part of "Spirits of the Past" that discusses some of the origins of the Rangers, especially the powers of the Black Dragon and Purple Phoenix FireStar Crystals, but it takes place long before any of those events are supposed to take place. In other words, reading what I've already written of the AR&R series, especially "Spirits of the Past," would probably be a good idea before reading this fic. Outside of the one or two characters who you will recognize almost right away, there are two more who you might also find to be similar to two other important characters in the series. This fic is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for moderately graphic violence, some rough language, and probably a few other things I left out. Any questions or comments about this fic should be directed to me (email@example.com), but I'll still pass comments along to Kali.
Zephera shuddered as the screams echoed through the Topaz Castle. Clutching her meager possessions to her body, she dashed to the next doorway, trying to hide from the Pheratian soldiers. Another shrill scream shook the castle. Zephera squeaked and finally made it out the side door. As soon as she stopped to catch her breath, a hand grabbed her and covered her mouth. She fought but was spun around to see a young man staring back at her. He was immense, his arms, legs, and body clearly one of a warrior. A maze of straps covered his body except for his lower area, which was covered by a loincloth. He carried a bloody sword.
"Nichak! Pheratian, nichak!" he hissed. He pulled Zephera to him as a berserk Pheratian rushed past them.
"I'm sorry," she said helplessly. "I don't understand."
He shook his sword, which made a slight rattling sound. To Zephera's surprise, another warrior dropped down from the rose trellis behind them. Zephera gasped at the warrior. It was a woman, and she too was scantily dressed, a wide leather band covering her breasts that seemed to enhance them rather than cover them. She too wore a loincloth that went between her legs. Zephera had never seen such a woman. Her leather was not made of deerskin, but rather of firm cow leather, black and supple. Her mane of greenish-black hair was tied back into a single braid.
"Hurry," she said in thickly accented Common, "the Pheratians won't wait."
She took Zephera's arm and pulled her along. Dazed, Zephera realized that she and the man were both wearing thigh-high boots. The tops were filled with silver-hilted daggers.
"Who are you?" Zephera asked, running for every stride the tall woman made.
"My name is Chynathia. He's Kaleron. We're twins." She jerked Zephera to a halt.
"My name is Zephera," she said, smoothing down her gown.
"Yes, I know," Chynathia said. "We came to look for you." She peered around the corner. "We know you're a sorceress. We need your help."
Zephera stared at her. "How do you know?"
Chynathia shrugged. "We just do. Now come on." Kaleron slipped past them. Zephera could not even begin to comprehend what was happening.
"This next part requires you to close your eyes," Chynathia said. "Trust me, I won't let harm come to you." Zephera was too afraid to object. She closed her eyes and felt herself being hoisted into the air. The wind brushing past her face indicated that whoever was carrying her was running. Zephera closed her eyes tightly, wishing she could have just closed her ears to the horrific screams.
Zephera felt herself awaken as she was gently set down on the ground. She opened her eyes to see both Chynathia and her brother staring down at her, then sat up and tugged her gown over her legs. "Could you please explain all this?" she demanded.
Chynathia sat on the ground, crossing her legs. "First off, we're from the Sapphire Castle," she tried to explain. "The Thrones of Power are in trouble. We were instructed by a great wizard to find those who would help us regain the Thrones. He gave us a list, and you're the first person on this list."
"Me?" Zephera asked, dumbfounded. "Why me?"
Chynathia spread her hands. "Your sorcery. We must find a sorceress, a seer, a prophet, a prince, and a warrior. We only need to find the seer and prophet."
"Who are the other two?" Zephera asked.
"I'm the warrior," Chynathia said. She then turned to Kaleron. "And he's the Prince."
"Prince?" Zephera eyed the scantily clad man behind her, not quite sure if she had heard Chynathia right. "You?"
Chynathia laughed. "He's the Prince of our people, the Skyravens. I'm a warrior." Her face grew serious. "We're all part of a prophecy that will determine the fate of the world."
"But I don't want to be a part of this!" Zephera wailed. "I just want to be left alone with . . . with Marcus."
Chynathia raised a delicately arched eyebrow. "Who?"
"My . . . my lover," she whispered. Chynathia leaned forward. Without knowing, Zephera's eyes settled on her breasts. She quickly averted her eyes.
"Marcus Trentus?" Chynathia asked sharply.
"Yes," Zephera whispered.
Chynathia straightened. "Marcus Trentus is the man who the seven kingdoms are after. He brought down the fall of the Emerald Throne a few months ago."
"Marcus? You're mistaken," Zephera said. "He would never do such a thing."
Chynathia reached between her breasts and pulled out a sheet of paper. She then handed it to Zephera. Staring at Chynathia, she unfolded the paper and read it.
When the Thrones are brought down, the Prophecy will be put into play. First the Warrior and the Prince will seek out the Lover of the Traitor and bring her forth. Then they will try and kill the Prophet in name. The Prophet will touch the Warrior's heart, a heart that is ice but melted. The Thunder Fighter will be found only when the Four are brought together. When the Seven are together, thunder will reign, and what is wrong shall be revealed.
Zephera stared at the paper. Chynathia took it back from her and slid it between her breasts.
"What does it mean?" Zephera asked.
"When the Thrones had fallen, the Prophecy was set in motion. The Warrior and Prince--Kaleron and I--will find the Lover, which is you. The rest of it is a mystery. I'm assuming we'll try and kill the Prophet. The Thunder Fighter is, well, not known."
"But . . . but . . ." Zephera stammered.
Chynathia grinned. "Hard to swallow, I know," she finished.
Zephera looked at Kaleron. "Doesn't he ever say anything?" she asked.
Chynathia looked at her twin. "Kaleron is a Prince. He doesn't speak to commoners. That and the fact he only knows our language."
Zephera nodded. "That makes sense."
Kaleron spoke sharply to Chynathia, but the warrior merely shrugged off his words. He turned and stalked into the forest.
"Where's he going?" Zephera asked.
"To get the horses. We have to get back to Sapphire Castle soon."
"What's at Sapphire if it's destroyed?"
"I never said it was destroyed," Chynathia said. "I only said it had been brought down. There's a young wizard there by the name of Zordon who was said to control these powers. We're going there to see if he can help us."
"What's so important about the Thrones of Power?" Zephera wanted to know.
Chynathia stared at her. "The Thrones of Power are the seven points of power. They keep the Warriors of Evil from controlling our world, and now that they are all down, these warriors are streaming in from everywhere."
"Oh. Well, I'm just a woman. What can I do?" Zephera wailed.
Chynathia stood and put a hand on her hip. "Well, I'm just a woman as well, and I'm not whining about it. In this world, Zephera, there are women, and then there are women. I'm one of the second kind. That's why I survive and can beat down any man if and when I need to. You're one of the first kind, the kind who are good for nothing more than bearing children."
Zephera stood up indignantly, rather offended by that comment. "Well, I'll have you know that I cast my first spell when I was seventeen."
"Oh, really?" Chynathia flexed her other arm. "I am seventeen," she came back.
Zephera stared, then looked Chynathia up and down. Her body was far too lush and womanly to be only seventeen. "You, only seventeen? You can't be!"
Chynathia looked at her with clear green eyes. "You think it's astounding? Let me tell you something. I'm what fearsome soldiers call Drak Tor."
Zephera felt her blood run cold. The Drak Tor were a group of women assassins who worked for anybody who paid them enough. They were brutally trained and brutally efficient. Once a Drak Tor came after you, it was the end.
"You're a Drak Tor?" Zephera asked. Her voice sounded strange to her.
Chynathia smiled proudly. "That I am. I am the Master's best assassin."
Zephera was almost afraid to ask her next question. "Weren't Drak Tor taken to their Master's bed as soon as they turned fourteen?"
Chynathia nodded, her eyes unreadable. "Yes. But I wasn't taken until I was fifteen. Probably because it took them a very long time to break me."
Zephera felt sympathy for the young warrior. "It must have been a harsh childhood."
Chynathia's voice was icy. "It was the usual. I was beaten for everything I did. I was raped when I was ten. I killed my first man, my trainer incidentally, when I was eleven. He was the one who raped me. For the next three years, I was beaten everyday with a stout stick."
"By the Gods," Zephera whispered, horrified by the very thought. "And your parents?"
"I killed them both," she said in a dead voice. Then it changed. "But let's not talk about it. I'm now a warrior and nothing more."
Minutes later, Kaleron came back with three horses. Chynathia went over to the black horse and swung up onto his back. She clicked her tongue and the warhorse started forward at a leisurely pace. Kaleron followed close behind. Zephera sat on the saddle but felt uncomfortable since it was designed for battles, not sitting sidesaddle. Finally, she swung her other leg over the horse. She flicked the reins and the horse cantered up. She felt sick at the rocking motion, but she squared her shoulders and firmly resolved that she, Zepherataria ak Achia, would ride the horse until her legs fell off. And that, she concluded, had better have happened soon.
* * *
They did not stop for the night but continued. Mercifully, Chynathia insisted they walk to rest the horses. Zephera thought her knees would buckle when her feet touched the ground. She clung to her saddle as the twins set off at a brisk pace. At first, Zephera had almost wished they were back on the horses, but after a while, her rear end began to throb painfully and she changed her mind.
They walked until morning when Chynathia pulled aside a bush and entered the small cave with her horse. Kaleron followed, and Zephera, after a moment's hesitation, followed close behind. Chynathia stood just inside the cave, ready to pull it shut. She did so with a look at Zephera.
"In here, we will be able to see what we are to do. For us. We received our instructions at Sapphire Castle. I suspect there are instructions for you as well, Zephera."
Zephera followed their example and left her horse near the entrance. Pulling her cloak to her, she followed them down the corridor. Despite the near total darkness, the twins seemed to be able to make their way through the tunnel. Finally, they emerged to a large room. At the far end, there was a small altar. There was a plate there made of what seemed to be seven pieces of precious stones melded together. As they drew nearer, Zephera saw that the seven precious stones on it were the ones representing the Thrones of Power: Topaz, Sapphire, Emerald, Ruby, Starcrystal, Diamond, and Sardonyx.
"The Seven Crystals of Power," Zephera whispered in awe. Through her dreams, she dreamt of being in their presence. Chynathia and Kaleron went directly to the plate, then looked at each other.
Chynathia spoke first. "I am Chynathia, Drak Tor warrior, sister to Prince Kaleron," she said. "I ask the Gods to assist us." She slapped her hand on the Emerald and held it there. It glowed faintly, responding to her.
"Netha dra Kaleron, Droga jera doni," Kaleron said in his native language. "Netha dra brodga fi Chynathia. Netha drecha nifis Grenda stenchai silasia." He put his hand on the Sapphire. It too glowed faintly, acknowledging him.
Slowly, Zephera held her hand over the stones. "Let your magic guide you," Chynathia instructed her.
Zephera guessed as much. Sighing, she released herself into her magic. The sweet sensation she always had whenever her magic was in use filled her. In that instant, she knew. "I am Zepherataria ak Achia, Sorceress of the Topaz Castle," she said in her clear voice. "I ask the Gods to assist us." She put her hand on the Topaz. It glowed.
The three of them joined their free hands. Zephera and Chynathia spoke common, while Kaleron spoke his language. "We are the chosen ones. In three we stand; in five we rule. We are the chosen ones. In Power we rule; in Love's name we stand. Let the Shadows know that we are coming and that we will stop them."
Because there were only five of them and seven Thrones, two of them had to take up the burden of another Throne. But they could not do that until the five were assembled.
They released each other and removed their hands. When Zephera did so, the knowledge that the twins knew was hers as well. She looked at them through eyes which saw not their near naked bodies and somewhat barbaric nature but instead a woman full of strength and a man full of care for his people.
Chynathia smiled. "Now you understand."
"I understand." Zephera looked down at her dress. "This is not appropriate attire for a sorceress."
Silently, Kaleron pointed. Zephera twisted her head around to see beautifully crafted robes of pink, purple, blue and silver hues. She went over and stripped nude, without even caring as she once would have. Draping the silken robes about herself, Zephera saw the necklace dedicated to the Queen of the Gods, the Mother Earth herself. She lifted it and put it over her head, and in that moment, she knew that she was now sworn to defend the Light.
Atricor shattered the sword with a blow of his own, then smashed his fist into the face of the Pheratian soldier. He grabbed the arm of a young soldier who had a side wound and hoisted him over his shoulder. Turning, Atricor swept a short sword from the ground and dashed away.
A thunderous boom increased the panic of the inhabitants of the Starcrystal Palace. He swore as the young man died in his arms. Dropping the body, Atricor slid the sword into his belt and grabbed the scaling rope left behind. He climbed hand over hand to the top of the battlements, then slipped down the other side and took off. Tripping, he landed face first. He then looked up and saw the black heeled boots of a woman, one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. She put a hand down to help him up. As he returned to his feet, he blushed at her attire. She was dressed in almost nothing but a black leather band that barely covered her chest, and her long hair was pulled back into a braid. A large broadsword hung from her back.
"Come on Atricor," she said in heavily accented Common. "We must leave."
He jerked his hand free. "No, I can't leave the Starcrystal Palace to fall!"
"There's no helping it," she said. "Starcrystal must fall in order for us to achieve our destiny. There isn't much time."
He stared at her. "Who are you? I seem to know you from somewhere."
"My name is Chynathia. You may have heard of me. I'm Drak Tor."
"Drak Tor! Filthy whores," Atricor spat. He jerked his sword free. "I will never go with you!" He swung his sword at her head. The Drak Tor ducked and kicked his hip. He rolled but came back up again.
"Please, Atricor," she said, holding up her hands. "I'm on your side, I promise."
He slashed down again. "I will never believe you! One of your kind killed the woman I love. I swore to kill all Drak Tor!"
"Your love? Who?"
"A woman named Idira."
Her mouth tightened. "Idira was a renegade Drak Tor. That is not permitted. We had to eliminate her."
Atricor became furious. "Idira was not Drak Tor!"
"Idira ica Benar?"
"Yes." Atricor now watched her.
"She was," Chynathia confirmed. "Look, time is running out. Do you wish to save Starcrystal Palace?"
"The Palace itself is unimportant," Atricor answered. "It's the Throne that's important."
Chynathia flicked her hand impatiently. "Same thing," she said. "Look, I know how save it, and if you want to, you're just going have to follow me and trust me."
Grumbling, he sheathed his sword warily. "I'll follow you, but I will never trust a Drak Tor."
"We'll get you a horse then," she said.
"Don't need one," he replied. He whistled shrilly at the gray mare he had hidden away before the Pheratians stormed the castle. He mounted up and looked down at her.
"Come on," Chynathia said. She started off in a dead sprint. Atricor trotted the horse next to her, but as they went down the hill, he was forced to change the mare's gait into a canter. Finally, they came across another man holding the reins of a black horse and a small woman dressed in beautiful robes he knew came from across the Great Outland Sea.
"This is my brother Kaleron," Chynathia introduced the man. "We're twins. He only speaks our language. And this is Zepherataria ak Achia."
Atricor eyed them each, then nodded to Zephera. "Lady Zephera."
She gracefully inclined her neck. "Lord Atricor."
Chynathia grinned slightly. "I should have known. Come on, we must get to the cave by nightfall."
She mounted the black horse and clucked her tongue. The four horses, unbidden by them, automatically followed the black stallion. Atricor was about to pull in his gray, but he decided not to and just let the horse follow.
* * *
They led Atricor to a large cave mouth and filed in. Chynathia, her profile lovely in the fading sunset, closed the bushes after him. He left his horse with theirs and followed them down the tunnel and into a large cavernous room. At the end of the room was the altar. And at the altar, there was a large crystal plate made of many precious gems. At a single glance, Atricor knew that those jewels represented the Thrones of Power. He stood just before his, his arms crossed.
Chynathia went up to it, placed her hand on the Emerald, and spoke. Kaleron put his hand on the Sapphire and he too spoke. Finally, Zephera put her hand on the Topaz and spoke the same words. Chynathia gestured.
Atricor unfolded his arms and walked to the plate. Instinctively, his hand touched the Starcrystal. "I am Atricor, Lord of Witera. I ask the Gods to assist us."
The Starcrystal began to glow, and Atricor closed his eyes. He felt somebody taking his free hand and the words came unbidden to his lips. He chanted along with them and when they finished, he looked down at himself and saw his old armor. "This is not befitting for the Lord of Witera and protector," he said to himself.
Chynathia pointed. He turned, and standing there on a male statue was the black leather outfit of a Gray-fighter assassin. He dressed himself, buckled on the beautifully crafted sword, and turned to Chynathia. To him, she was no longer a scantily dressed Drak Tor assassin woman. She was a young woman, devoid of emotion because of a harsh childhood. He went over to her and took her hands gently. "I forgive you," Atricor then said quietly.
He watched the Pheratian King and his guards come through the gate with half filled eyes, then turned and reentered the Sardonyx Castle, the women constantly following and trailing after him. His gold edge cloak swept out behind him majestically and he slicked down his hair. He made his way into his throne room and with a grand flourish sat down on the Sardonyx Throne.
The Pheratian King burst in through the door. He did not prostrate himself before the Sardonyx Throne. "You promised us Sardonyx Castle!" King Geros screamed at him. "Why have you not yet left?"
"Do not yell at me in my own castle!" he said coldly. "I have not yet surrendered Sardonyx Castle yet. I am, no matter what I have done, still a ruler of a Throne."
"Not for long," Geros growled. "I now hold Sapphire, Emerald, Topaz, Starcrystal, Diamond and Ruby. All I need now is Sardonyx."
"To what purpose, may I ask?"
Geros's face grew dark. "No, you may not ask. You cannot stand against my power. Eventually Sardonyx will fall, and you will die."
His face grew outraged. The Guardian of the Sardonyx Throne was the finest gladiator of the Seven Kingdoms. "I will fight to the death!" he snapped. "The deal's off. Sardonyx will fight."
Geros sneered. "It's your death. There is nobody left to help you."
The Pheratian King lifted a finger, and his guards started forward. Almost immediately, the room was filled with arrows, and those guards were shot down. Geros looked about in surprise, as did the Lord of Sardonyx. He had not ordered archers to be posted. He glanced up to the balcony above the throne, and to his surprise saw four people there. Two were women, both beautiful, but the one holding the bow, the scantily dressed one, was clearly in charge. The men, both dressed in black leather, held a bow as well. He recognized them to be Atricor and Kaleron, Lords of Starcrystal and Sapphire, and Zephera, the lover of Marcus, Lord of Topaz.
"Seize those intruders!" the Lord of Sardonyx roared. Both guards, Pheratian and his own, surged towards them, but Kaleron, grabbing Zephera by one arm, vaulted over the railing, followed by the other woman and Lord Atricor. The other woman landed first and drew her broadsword.
"Stop!" she said in a dreadfully quiet voice. All the guards stopped.
"Who are you?" he and Geros asked.
"I'm Chynathia, Guardian of the Emerald Throne," she said. "You can't give up this power. It isn't yours to give up."
He slammed his fist onto the arm of his throne. "It is mine to do as I please."
Chynathia put her sword point to the end of his nose. "Trust me. Do not cross my temper. I am Drak Tor."
He froze. The name of Drak Tor was known by all, and the name was feared by all. She was clearly Drak Tor, because no woman dared imitate one of them. They knew all their sisters.
"Forgive me," he said, raising his arms in surrender.
He gestured and his men slowly backed off, but Geros did not. With a flourish, thunder shook from the king's fingertips, shaking the Sardonyx Castle on its formations.
Chynathia turned to Zephera. "Stop it!" she snapped.
Zephera nodded and began to chant. Geros stared at her, then quickly began a counterspell.
Zephera stared at the Lord of Sardonyx. "I know you well, Trenton."
He gasped. She knew his real name! "You are more commonly known as Thunder Fighter," she continued. "You are being honored."
"How so?" he asked.
She put one foot on the dais and leaned towards him. His eyes took on all of her attributes. "The other six Thrones have fallen to the Pheratians. The four of us were chosen to regain back the Thrones. Either you're with us, or you're against us. Take your pick."
Trenton stood and took his sword from one of his whores, then plopped back down on the throne. "With you. I would never give up an opportunity to fight beside a beautiful woman."
She laughed scornfully. "In order to join us, you must leave all of this behind."
"What?" he asked suspiciously.
"The finery, the women, and the castle. But you will retain the power of the Sardonyx Throne."
Trenton sprang to his feet. "What?! I earned this rank, and I will not give it up!"
"Trenton, I told you. The power of the Sardonyx Throne will be yours. You don't have a choice. It's either that or I take you by force."
He straightened. "Very well. I will go."
She nodded and snapped her fingers. Obviously this was all preplanned, because Zephera abruptly broke off her spell and opened a large hole in the floor of the Castle. Then she gracefully jumped in, followed by Kaleron and Atricor.
Chynathia turned. "Come on," she said before jumping in.
Trenton didn't hesitate. Literally flying from the Sardonyx Throne, he followed them into the yawning chasm.
* * *
He emerged into a large room with a large altar. He recognized only the plate of precious jewels. The Seven Thrones of Power each had a distinctive power and color. These were the stones that gave the Thrones their power. As he watched, they went through the entire ritual until it was his turn.
He took a step forward, a plan already forming in his mind. Trenton was destined to be a great one, as a wise woman once told him. He put his hand on the Sardonyx and spoke the words. "I am Trenton, King of Kings, Lord of Lords. I command the Gods to assist me in becoming King of the Thrones!" And with that, he slapped his hands onto the Diamond as well.
The blow stunned him as Chynathia's foot connected with his rock solid abs. His hands left the jewels as Chynathia hit him again. He knew he had no chance against the Drak Tor once she got started.
Chynathia spun, her leg cocked to deliver a powerful blow. Trenton slumped to the ground, dazed. She jerked her sword free of its scabbard. "What are you doing?" she asked.
Trenton looked up. "Taking control," he mumbled.
The Drak Tor warrior raised her sword. "What?"
"Chynathia," Atricor said, putting a hand to her arm, "let it go. We'll deal with him later."
Chynathia turned, her expression dark. "No, Atricor. This must be dealt with now!" She turned back to Trenton. "Get up, you bastard!"
Trenton staggered to his feet. "Do your best, Drak Tor," he spat spitefully.
"You mean my worst," she retorted, grinning.
"No weapons!" he roared. Wrestling was his strong point.
"Fine by me!" Chynathia snapped. She slammed her sword home into its scabbard and unhooked it from her back. She then handed it to Atricor and motioned him back. Atricor backed away with a final glance at her.
Trenton flexed his muscles, but Chynathia was not daunted. She stood there for a moment, then she gave a short hop and kicked. He blocked her, but she followed back so fast that he took a blow to the chest.
Chynathia had no real desire to hurt Trenton, but she knew if she wasn't careful, he would kill her. So she toyed with him instead, using her skills as a Drak Tor to make sure she didn't get hurt but he did.
Then something happened. Trenton began to glow with a slight pulsing color of Sardonyx, his power. "The difference between you and I, Chynathia," he said, ducking her leg sweep over his head, "is that I have the power of Sardonyx. You don't."
She ducked as milky orange-colored bolts of light shot from his fingertips. "You have the power of Sardonyx, but you forget one very important factor."
"I don't make mistakes," he sneered.
"You did this time," she replied.
"I'm the Guardian of the Emerald Castle," she replied. "I too have the power." She crossed her arms, putting her fists to her shoulders, then spoke the thunderous word as she spread her arms. Green lightning flashed forward, striking the floor of the cave, then lashing around him.
Bound by the green lightning, Trenton struggled. Chynathia lowered her arms and walked to him.
"Nice try," she said in a sarcastically sweet voice. "Unlike you, I actually took the time to learn to use my powers. The remaining two powers will be determined by the wizard, not before!" She snapped her fingers, and the lightning fell away like a living snake.
Trenton sighed and straightened his shoulders, then glared at her. "Bitch!"
She pointed to the altar. "Do the ritual right." She spun her heel and stalked back to the jewels. They redid the ritual and under Chynathia's scowl, he spoke the correct words. As was the case with the others, his transformation changed his attitude towards their mission, but deep in his heart, Trenton, the Thunder Fighter, knew that he would one day conquer the world.
A young man dressed in the long flowing robes of a wizard moved about in his castle. The Eltarian Keep was the only building left standing after the ravages of battle. He pushed his light brown hair off his forehead and sat down just before a beautiful young woman burst in. She was dressed in trousers and a tunic in a purple hue that matched her violet-blue eyes.
"Princess," the wizard said, inclining his head, "please sit."
She plopped into a chair and took an apple from the offered bowl of fruit. The wizard tapped a pen against the table, the sound a pleasant change from the silence. The princess was slight in stature but still quite beautiful, her slender and delicate hands playing with a purple crystal at her throat that she had been given only recently.
"You called for me, Zordon?" she asked in a light voice.
The wizard nodded. "I have news for you, Khandreia," he said. He did not say yet whether it was good or bad.
Princess Khandreia of Diamond Castle folded her white hands primly on her lap. "What is it?"
Zordon did not want to tell her this, but it had to be done. He then let out a deep sigh and broke the news to her. "The Diamond Throne has fallen to the Pheratians," he said grimly.
Her hands went to her mouth with a gasp, tears already falling from her eyes. "No!" she sobbed. "It can't be true!"
"I'm afraid so," he answered with a nod. "The other six have fallen as well. Guardian Chynathia is coming with the Lord of Witera, Lord of Sardonyx, her twin brother, the Prince of Sapphire, and the Lady of Topaz."
At that time, the one person Khandreia cared about most was the only thing on her mind. "And what of Prince Adian?" she asked, dabbing her handkerchief to her eyes. "Where is he? Is he all right?"
"The Prince of Ruby is in the Keep and is just fine, Princess," Zordon tried to reassure her. "Chynathia will be here shortly."
"Adian is in the Keep? How?" Khandreia knew of the comings and goings of the castle, but she had not even seen the ruby colored banner of the Ruby Throne enter.
"I sneaked him in during the battle of Ruby," the young wizard replied. "If I hadn't brought him here, he surely would've been killed in the battle."
Khandreia twisted her handkerchief between her fingers, relieved to at least know Adian was alive and well, then thought about what Zordon had just said moments before. "Chynathia . . . as in Chynathia the Drak Tor Queen?"
Zordon smiled faintly. "That's her. You know her?"
"Of course," Khandreia corrected with a similar smile. "Who doesn't know about Chynathia?"
His smile widened. "You speak truly."
"When will she be arriving?"
"Soon, perhaps even today," Zordon said.
Khandreia looked at him, her mind still on the prince. "When will Prince Adian be joining us?"
"When Chynathia and her party arrive. Go prepare yourself, Princess."
Khandreia stood up, her throat tight. This young wizard was giving her, the Princess of the Diamond Throne, orders! Her shoulders straightened with a snap, and with a slight flick of her hair, Princess Khandreia whirled off. Zordon smiled faintly as the door slammed shut. Feisty, he thought.
* * *
When Khandreia opened the door later on, the room was filled with people. She barely had room to walk much less make her way to the front. She thrust aside two young men, one slender and the other hulking, and elbowed a young woman aside, all the while murmuring, "Excuse me." When she reached Zordon's desk, another young woman was already standing there. This one was dressed in black leather armor that revealed more than it covered.
"And where is she?" the woman was asking in a stern, no-nonsense voice.
"Right behind you," Zordon replied with a smile.
The woman turned, her long braid falling over her shoulder. Khandreia felt herself swallowing and taking a step back as her dark green eyes fell upon her. Chynathia then bowed. "You must be Princess Khandreia of the Diamond Throne," she said as she straightened.
Khandreia dropped into a curtsy. "Y-yes," she stammered quietly. "And you are . . ."
"Chynathia, Guardian of the Emerald Throne," she replied. She eyed Khandreia like a side of beef. "Wiry, but not too strong." It was quite obvious that Khandreia wasn't too amused by that comment, but she quickly brushed it aside.
Zordon stood up, smoothing down his robes. "Let us adjourn to the library," he broke in before anyone could say anything else. "My study isn't big enough for us all." The young man standing near the back spun on his heel and opened the door, walking out. The others followed, and bringing up the rear was Chynathia.
The library was a brightly-lit chamber filled with books of prophecy and other such magic. They assembled on the various chairs and such. Only Chynathia and her hulking brother stood on either side of the door. Khandreia shuddered to think of what unfortunate souls died beneath the Drak Tor's hand or the Prince's sword as she looked at those two.
Zordon cleared his throat. "Please introduce yourselves and your powers."
The first young woman stood. "I am Zepherataria ak Achia, or Zephera, of the Topaz Castle. I'm a sorceress."
She sat back down and the handsome young man spoke. "I'm Lord Atricor of Witera, the Lord of Starcrystal Throne. I'm a Prophet."
The hulking man stood. "I'm Trenton, the Thunder Fighter of Sardonyx. I fight."
The other man cleared his throat. "I'm Prince Adian of the Ruby Throne. I'm also a warrior wizard."
Khandreia smiled at Adian once he finished, but he didn't return the glance, making it quite obvious that he didn't really care about the feelings the princess had for him. Then she realized that it was her turn after everyone else began looking at her in a peculiar manner, waiting for her to introduce herself. "I'm Princess Khandreia of the Diamond Throne," she said in her usual quiet voice. "I--I don't have any powers."
Chynathia cleared her throat. "I'm Chynathia of the Emerald Throne, a Drak Tor warrior. This is my twin brother Kaleron, Prince of the Sapphire Throne. He doesn't speak common. We're both warriors."
Zordon smiled. "There. Now you all have it."
"What is our purpose here?" Prince Adian demanded in a rather harsh tone. "I should be at home defending my castle!"
"You are each from one of the Seven Thrones of Power," Zordon explained. "The Powers of the Thrones have been violated by the Pheratian King Geros, who has unleashed the Black Warriors from their prison."
"Our mission is to stop it," Chynathia interrupted.
"Yes, that's right." Zordon continued. "Because each of you are a Guardian of a Throne, the power of the Thrones has been put into you. Khandreia and Adian both had it done as children as their right and inheritance."
"Get to the point," Chynathia growled. Khandreia could tell that patience was obviously not the Drak Tor warrior's strong point.
"With these powers, all of your powers and skills will be enhanced. When you call this power, you will morph and become stronger than ever. Try morphing now."
"'Morph'?" Zephera asked. "How do we do that?"
Zordon handed each of them, except for Khandreia and Adian, a small stone made of their precious stones. "Lift the stone into the air and speak your stone. The color will come to you." The wizard twisted his robes nervously in his fingers, hoping that this would work.
Chynathia was the first to speak. "Silver Emerald Power!"
Adian's voice followed. "Red Ruby Power!"
"Inde Sapphire Urni!" Kaleron echoed.
Khandreia raised her stone. "Purple Diamond Power!"
"Yellow Topaz Power!" Zephera's voice was dim.
"White Sardonyx Power," Trenton said.
"Pure Starcrystal Power!" Atricor called out.
There was a blinding flash, and they were all suddenly similarly dressed. Both Khandreia and Zephera jumped and gasped when they saw their outfits. Both now wore a black-plated bodice that barely covered their breasts, much like Chynathia. Tight black breeches made of fine leather covered their legs up to the point thigh-length boots would come. Each had her hair pulled back and braided. They now resembled Chynathia more than ever. The men were all dressed in black leather trousers and a tight-fitting leather vest. Long cloaks covered the seven's shoulders and went all the way down to their feet. All wore leather and steel bracers encrusted with the jewel of his or her Throne. Around their upper left arm was a silver armband with a single stone-their morphing stone.
Chynathia regarded her new clothes with approval. "Fitting," she murmured.
"How dare you say that?" Khandreia snapped, her voice cracking. "We're barely decent, if you can actually call us decent!"
The dark green eyes turned to her. "You are obviously not Drak Tor."
Khandreia's fiery spirit awoke. "And you are obviously no lady!" she flared.
Chynathia's eyes smoldered and burned. She said nothing, her eyes on Khandreia's violet ones. The princess would not look away, but her heart beat faster.
"Enough!" Zordon said irritably. "Once you are morphed, you are shielded from common eyes. Nobody will remember seeing your faces. Once you have demorphed, your faces will become familiar again and your powers normal."
"Fine," Chynathia replied.
"We must appoint a leader," Atricor said suddenly. "Who should it be?"
They looked at each other, then to Zordon. The young wizard shifted uncomfortably. "That will be determined in battle."
"How would we know when that happens?" Chynathia asked.
"Your morphing stones will alert you."
"Like now?" Trenton said, pointing to the Sardonyx adorning the circlet around his arm. Zordon nodded.
"Because there is no telling where the battle will be, the Stones themselves can transport you there. Only tap it once."
They did so. With a sudden flash of light, they found themselves no longer at Eltarian Keep, but in Diamoda, home of the Diamond Throne.
Khandreia looked about wistfully, recognizing the surroundings. "My home," she whispered.
Chynathia drew the massive broadsword slung against her back, the naked steel making a raspy hissing sound against the leather scabbard. "Forget about reminiscing, Khandreia," the Drak Tor Queen snapped, her eyes surveying the land. "Let's concentrate on the task at hand here."
"And what would that be?" the Princess of the Diamond Throne asked icily.
Chynathia gestured with her sword. "Them. Black Warriors."
They came at a horde. Zephera, who had never fought before, fought like a true warrior. Khandreia swept the head off a Warrior and paused, stunned by her sudden fighting skills as she watched Chynathia. The warrior found no love in her skill; she fought like a woman bored with the task at hand. Then she turned and saw Prince Adian. As usual, the prince also fought with a massive broadsword, a black crystal encrusted into the ornately decorated hilt. But unlike Chynathia, he fought with grace and precision, something that Khandreia really admired in Adian. It was like watching a graceful dance of death. Kaleron and Trenton fought with their bare hands, the two working together. Khandreia soon knew why Trenton was called the Thunder Fighter. His actions spoke like the thunder--seen first and heard second.
"Pay attention!" Chynathia snapped at her as the Drak Tor cut down a Black Warrior who was just about to cleave Khandreia from head to navel.
"Sorry," she half-apologized, slicing a passing Warrior's horse's tendons with her twin daggers. Chynathia grunted, which Khandreia took for an apology accepted.
Moments later, Khandreia felt herself being slung to the ground by her braid. "Why get your hands dirty, my Queen?" a familiar voice growled.
"Who?" she yelled in pain.
"My Queen. You are Queen of Diamoda, aren't you, Khandreia?"
It washed over her in a sudden wave of comprehension. It was her bastard half-brother Geron, son of King Geros of Pheratia.
"Geron," she whispered coldly.
"That's right," he purred, his voice icy. "Glad you remember me, bitch."
"That's enough," another male voice cut in. The pain in her head eased, and a hand helped her up. She stood to see Prince Adian standing over her and then her half-brother kneeling with a dagger protruding from his bowels.
Adian looked down. "You know him?" he asked, his boyish voice amused.
Khandreia's voice was shaky. "He's my bastard half-brother Geron."
Chynathia came running up. "They retreated," she reported. She looked down as well. "Who's this?"
"Geron, Prince of Pheratia," Khandreia replied emotionlessly.
Chynathia knelt and pulled his hair to make him look at her. "The son of Geros?"
"Bitch," he swore.
She put her hand against the dagger in his belly. "Oh really?" Chynathia asked. She then pushed the dagger a little further in.
"Whore!" he screamed.
Chynathia jerked the dagger from his belly. Blood began to gush as the dagger released a flood of the sticky red liquid. "What?" she asked. "What did you just call me?"
"Bitch! Whore!" he shouted.
Chynathia smiled evilly. "Do you know who I am?" she came back.
"A pathetic . . ." He never finished as her hand seized his throat.
"I am Drak Tor Queen Chynathia," she said.
"The Drak Tor are nothing but a bunch of whores," he wheezed out.
She stood, lifting Geron clear off his feet. "The Drak Tor are assassins. We learn to give others pain, give ourselves pain. Don't make me take you prisoner of a Drak Tor."
"Everything you can do to me is like lovemaking," he sneered.
That did it. Khandreia and Adian both took a step back as Chynathia's eyes blazed. She began to speak in a dark voice, her words bleak. Kaleron came running up as she brought down her hands on Geron's head. Thunder flashed, silent thunder that shook the ground.
"What are you doing?" Kaleron screamed at his twin in their native language.
"Taking him," Chynathia said coldly. Geron crumpled over onto his side. He flinched violently when Chynathia kicked him contemptuously with her boot. "Get up," she ordered. "I did not give you permission to lay down!"
"Stop it Chynathia," Kaleron said, putting a hand to his sister's shoulder.
"Kaleron, I'm Drak Tor. This is what I do."
"We are the Starchild Twins," Kaleron told her. Chynathia shrugged off his hand. "Our power cannot be used like this. Let him go."
"What are they saying?" Khandreia asked, totally lost.
"They're arguing," Adian replied.
Khandreia looked at him in surprise. "You understand them?"
"Of course I do," Adian answered. "I've learned their language."
They were still arguing heatedly. "Kaleron, I already told you. I am Drak Tor."
"Chyanna!" Kaleron screamed. Dead silence. Adian, who understood every word of their conversation, stared open-mouthed at Kaleron. All Starchild Twins, brother and sister, identical, born at the time of a lunar eclipse had two names. One was their power name. This name was spoken only at the time of the Twin's greatest power. The female had the Starchild Moon Ice, and the male had the Starchild Sun Flame. Their common name held no power. Speaking a power name by a Twin meant one challenged the other.
"What?" Chynathia asked, her voice shaky. "Kaleron?"
"I-I didn't mean it, Chynathia," Kaleron stammered.
Chynathia embraced her brother. "S'okay Kaleron. I won't fight you."
Adian breathed a sigh of relief.
"Come on," Chynathia said. "Let's get back." She hoisted Geron over her shoulder and the group vanished in seven sparkles of light.
"What do you want me to do with him?" Zordon asked, binding up Geron's wound.
"I don't know," Chynathia said. "He's mine now anyway."
"I'm a Starchild Twin," she replied. Zordon gave an ahh of acknowledgement.
Kaleron paced nervously nearby. "Ask him."
"Zordon, my brother wishes you to teach him, magically, the Common tongue," Chynathia said.
"Sure," Zordon agreed. He went over to Kaleron and put his hands on his head. The wizard muttered a spell. For the longest time, nothing happened. Then suddenly, Kaleron's eyes rolled back into his head and he fell to the ground, crying.
Chynathia moved to her brother. "Are you okay?" she asked.
"Never been better," he grunted. He then looked up and rubbed his forehead. "My head hurts." Everyone else gasped. The last three words had been spoken in Common.
"You can finally speak Common," Trenton remarked.
"It was an interesting experience," he said haltingly, then paused. "This language is difficult."
"You'll eventually get used to it," Chynathia laughed, slapping him on the back.
"We need a name," Zephera suddenly broke in. They turned to her.
"Huh?" Adian interjected, raising an eyebrow.
"What do you mean?" Chynathia asked suspiciously.
"What do we call ourselves?" Zephera repeated herself. "You know, a group name."
"Why would we need a group name?" Chynathia asked.
"So people won't have to call us 'the people who we can't remember'," Zephera replied.
"Well, let's see," Atricor said. "We have the power of the Thrones. We patrol the lands as would the forest rangers. So how about 'Power Rangers'?"
Chynathia broke into hysterical laughter. "Power Rangers?" she chortled. "Oh, by the Gods! You are kidding, right?"
"What's wrong with it?" Trenton asked. "I kinda like it."
"I think it's stupid," Chynathia retorted.
"Oh, well, can you come up with something better?" Adian came back with a look showing that he knew she couldn't.
Chynathia cocked her head sideways, her bottom lip gripped between her teeth. Finally, she straightened, crossed her arms, and sighed, defeated. "No, I can't. But why do we need a name anyway?"
"Well, it would be easier to address you all if you had a group name," Zordon admitted.
Chynathia threw her hands up into the sky, seeing no other way out of this. "All right, all right! We'll be the Power Rangers." She laughed. "For now, at least."
Atricor leaned his arms over the railing of the parapet and thought. It had been a few years since Idira had died at the hands of a Drak Tor. Despite his hot words spoken to Chynathia about Idira, he knew she was right; Idira had forfeited her life willingly to the hands of the Drak Tor to save him. Atricor clenched his fists. "All Drak Tor must die," he whispered fiercely. He closed his eyes as he felt hot tears building up.
"What?" a voice said behind him. He didn't turn. "Atricor?"
"Leave me alone, Chynathia," he responded when he recognized her voice. He felt a callused hand stroke his back.
"You said, 'All Drak Tor must die'," she said softly. She put a hand to his shoulder and turned him around.
"So I did," he replied coldly. "Why shouldn't they?"
Atricor heard her broadsword come out of the scabbard. He knew she was going to kill him for saying that, but he didn't care. He looked down at her. She held the broadsword on her forearm, the hilt presented to him.
"If you must kill Drak Tor," Chynathia told him, "start with me. After all, I am Drak Tor Queen."
He grabbed the hilt and jerked it from her arm as she stepped back. Shakily, he put the point to her heart. "Why?" he asked, his voice shaky. "Why?"
"Why Idira had to die?" Chynathia said, knowing exactly what he was talking about. She pressed her chest to the point. "Is that what you want to know?"
"Yes," he whispered.
"If I tell you, you must promise me that you will put aside all of this until the battle is over. Geron won't wait for you."
"All right," he agreed listlessly.
"Very well. My predecessor, Queen Faye, ordered Idira to become her successor. Idira didn't want it; she wanted to be left alone with her books and her knowledge. When Faye found out, she ordered Idira to be lashed, then driven out, deprived of everything." Chynathia paused and smiled darkly. "You were not the only one to have lost a loved one, Atricor."
"What do you mean?" he asked, his throat suddenly constricted.
"My sister of the novicelites, the young women who were novices with me, Chyan, helped Idira escape," she explained. "I was the one who caught my sister of the novicelites. I let them go, and for that, Faye ordered me to hunt down Chyan and bring them both back. Chyan lead me on a false trail, and Idira had left her even before they left Napalchis. When I brought back Chyan, Faye ordered me to kill her, a test of my faith." Chynathia's voice broke. "I didn't kill her; I didn't have the heart to. Faye's daughter, Fayrie, killed Chyan. Then she herself punished me for two years straight, until I killed Fayrie and Faye and took the Drak Tor Crown. I left then and became Guardian."
"Your sister of the novicelites died because of my Idira?" Atricor asked.
She nodded. "That's right. I loved Chyan. She and Kaleron were especially close; we were like a family. I didn't know Idira that well, as she was withdrawn and a few years my senior."
"I'm sorry," he said. His eyes hardened. "But I swore an oath. All Drak Tor must die."
"I do not blame you," Chynathia answered. She closed her eyes, ready to receive the fatal blow.
Atricor looked at her, noting her long lashes and her hard body. She was not as beautiful as Zephera or as sophisticated as Khandreia, but she was a woman sure of herself, and that in itself was a true sign of inner beauty. He gripped the massive broadsword with both hands, prepared to stab her through.
All of a sudden, Chynathia heard the broadsword clatter to the stone floor. She opened her eyes just as Atricor pulled her into an embrace, his lips pressed to hers.
He pulled away, his face burning with tears. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I--I thought . . ."
She put her fingers to the back of his neck and drew him into another kiss. "It's fine. You're forgiven."
* * *
Later that evening, Chynathia pulled her leather boots on and brushed her hair. She tied it back, not in her usual braid, and left her chambers. She met Atricor just outside his chambers and the two shared a smile. Hand in hand, they entered the dining hall of the Eltarian Keep.
Kaleron smiled. "Good morning, sister, Atricor," he said.
"Morning," Chynathia answered nonchalantly. She sat with Atricor at her side.
"You both seem to be comfy with each other," Trenton remarked as he sat down.
The two exchanged a look and blushed. Chynathia opened her mouth for a sharp retort when the silver armband about her arm glowed.
"Let's go," Chynathia barked. Adian, who had just entered, looked angry at her impromptu leadership. It was quite obvious that the Ruby Prince didn't trust her. The seven tapped their armbands and morphed, then vanished.
* * *
Zordon sat at his desk, his eyes lost in his crystal globe. The young wizard watched the fight intently. He carefully wrote down what he saw beside a color--each Ranger's strengths, weaknesses, and so on--for future reference. Finally, the image in his globe shifted to the Drak Tor Queen, and he did not like what he saw. The Drak Tor's spirit was fiery and dark, coursing from her evil childhood. And now she had captured Atricor's heart.
"Gods protect her," he whispered.
Chynathia whirled as Atricor's piercing cry echoed through the battlefield. The Drak Tor rushed to his side as he crumpled over onto his side. She knelt by him.
"Atricor!" she said.
His eyes were dilated and his sword hand limp. Chynathia slapped his face. "Atricor! Say something!"
Atricor said something all right, but it wasn't exactly what Chynathia had expected him to say. "The Seven are one, and the powers are joined. The training wizard will see the truth, and when he does, the Queen of Forest will turn. The Queen will be with the Seeyre when they walk the paths. The path will be dark in order to triumph, but the flames of wombhood will burn brightly so that darkness would not touch their hearts."
Chynathia drew back, startled. "What?"
Atricor's eyes returned to normal and focused on her. "Huh?"
"What did you mean by all of what you said?" she asked.
He stood up, pulling her with him. "I didn't say anything."
"Yes you did," she insisted, then repeated his words.
"A prophecy," he replied after thinking it over. "Remember it."
"I forget nothing," she replied tartly.
The others came running up to them. "What's going on?" Zephera asked.
"Atricor just gave a prophecy," Chynathia responded. "Come on, let's get back and see what it means." Adian's face darkened after those last few words, obviously quite aware that something wasn't right, but he said nothing. Seconds later, they vanished.
"It's a prophecy all right," Zordon said after looking over the written copy of the prophecy Atricor had given.
"No kidding," Chynathia replied. "What does it mean?"
"I don't know," Zordon admitted.
Atricor snatched the piece of parchment from the young wizard. "Give me that!" he snapped. "What kind of wizard are you anyway? Everybody knows only the Prophet can understand his own prophecy!"
Zordon looked abashed. "Sorry."
Chynathia sat down on his desk. "Well, don't be. You just didn't know. I certainly didn't."
Atricor smiled at her. "You're different." He pulled her off the table and encircled his arm around her waist. "Come on, Chynathia. I have something to tell you." The two left.
As soon as the door was closed, however, Adian sprang to his feet, his face livid. "Who does she think she is?!" he yelled.
"Who? Chynathia?" Khandreia asked.
"Who else?" he shouted. "Did we agree for her to be the leader?"
Trenton shrugged. "Works for me."
"I think Kaleron should be leader," Adian said.
"Why not you?" Khandreia wanted to know. "You're just as qualified to be the leader as either of them."
"Me? Why do you think I came here? I didn't want to be a prince much less a leader!"
"Well, then why are you complaining?" Zephera asked.
"She's a Drak Tor! Nobody can trust a Drak Tor."
"A Drak Tor?" Khandreia asked. "Is that what bothers you about her?" In reality, she knew very little about the Drak Tor assassin women.
Adian whirled on her, a fiery look in his dark brown eyes. "Do you even know what a Drak Tor is?"
"Not really," Khandreia replied meekly, shrinking back a little bit.
"Drak Tor are assassins. They have powers that nobody can fathom. They are cruel, ruthless, and ambitious."
"So?" Khandreia couldn't understand his anger. Sure, Chynathia was a little primitive at times, but she was nice . . . at least to her.
"She will turn around one day and betray us!" he bellowed.
"Who will?" Atricor asked, returning.
"Chynathia," Adian hissed.
Atricor turned to him. "Chynathia will do no such thing," he said. "What ever gave you that idea?"
Atricor's eyes darkened. "I fell in love with a Drak Tor once. She was one of the most beautiful women I had ever known . . . and one of the most loving as well."
"And what of her?"
"Killed by Drak Tor!" Adian screamed. "You are the Lord of Witera, Guardian of Starcrystal! Admit it! You love this Drak Tor!"
Taken aback by this new attack, Atricor looked at him in shock. "Chynathia?"
Adian clenched his fist. "Yes! Who else would I be talking about?"
"Why do you hate this Drak Tor so much?" Atricor asked.
"The Drak Tor killed my mother in front of me," Adian said, his voice trembling with rage.
"So? My beloved Idira was a Drak Tor, and the Drak Tor killed her too. Chynathia's sister of the novicelites died because of Idira. What makes you think that you're so special?"
Adian was silent. Then he pointed a trembling finger at Atricor. "You are in love with her. Admit it!"
"How could I be, Adian?" Atricor protested. "I've only known her for a few weeks!"
"Hey, what's going on?" Chynathia asked, stopping just inside the door.
"We're discussing who should be leader," Adian said coldly.
Chynathia folded her arms. "That should be simple."
Adian frowned, then glared back at her. "Then who, might I ask, should be the leader?"
Chynathia smiled. "Why, my brother of course."
"No," Kaleron said. "Not me."
"Why not?" his sister asked.
"I'm too hotheaded," he replied. "I don't want it."
"I say Chynathia," Trenton broke in.
"I agree," Zephera murmured.
Chynathia smiled tolerantly. "You will regret it. After all, I am Drak Tor."
Khandreia finally smiled. "You may be Drak Tor, Chynathia, but as a Power Ranger, you are you."
"All in favor, say aye!" Atricor called out playfully.
A chorus of six ayes echoed through the room. "All opposed?" Atricor asked.
There was a silence. "Then agreed!" Zephera cheered.
"Yeah," Adian said sourly, the only one who didn't agree with the decision. "Agreed."
Atricor pushed open the door to Chynathia's bedchamber. He found the warrior sharpening her sword, the blade on her lap.
She looked up and smiled. "Atricor," Chynathia said. She pushed a stray lock of hair out of her face as it flowed around her face and shoulders.
"Chynathia, I have to speak you about this prophecy," Atricor said, waving around the parchment.
"Sure," the Drak Tor Queen said, setting aside her sword.
"I'm troubled by this prophecy," he admitted. "I don't know if it's about us, or if it's about Khandreia and Adian."
Chynathia looked puzzled. "Us? Khandreia and Adian? Why would Adian be involved with any of this? Though it's become pretty obvious that Khandreia likes him, he really hasn't seemed to notice."
Atricor sighed. "I don't know. But it talks about the Queen of Forest. Khandreia is a princess and now with her parents dead, she's the Queen."
"And the Seeyre? That was the old word for Prophet."
"Exactly. So does it mean that it will be me and Khandreia?"
Chynathia pulled at a lock of long hair. "Or maybe it could be me."
"What makes you say that?" Atricor asked, sitting on her bed.
"It says the Queen of Forest. Last time I checked, Forest is not a kingdom. I'm the Guardian of the Emerald Throne, or the Forested Lands. I'm the Drak Tor Queen as well."
Atricor looked at her, realizing her point. "You may be right."
Chynathia twisted her hair around her finger. "Does that mean we're evil?" she whispered. "I don't want to be evil."
"You won't be!" he said fiercely. "Oh, Chynathia . . ."
She hugged him tightly. "We've only just met, although it has seemed like forever. When I'm with you, I feel complete."
"And I with you," he replied, embracing her. Suddenly, Atricor cried out and slumped against her arms. His pupils were once again dilated. Chynathia laid him on her bed just before he began to speak:
"When the Queen and the Seeyre spake the words of power, the world will open, and the eyes will see. The training wizard will be like the typhoon when he finds out, but when he does, the Queen will see and begin the plan."
He grew silent and his eyes closed. When he reopened them, he stared directly at her. "I just gave another prophecy, didn't I?" he whispered.
She nodded, wrote it down on the back of the first parchment, and handed it him. He read it through once, then twice.
"Words of power," she said. "Does it mean our powers?"
Atricor crumpled the parchment in his fist, then held Chynathia again. "Let's not worry about that as of now, my sweet one. We have more important matters."
* * *
Zordon jumped as his door crashed open. Books fell from the shelves as a stormy-faced Chynathia entered his study. The young wizard sat down at his desk.
"What is it?" he asked.
"Tell me," she said in a dreadfully quiet voice, "who are the remaining wizards?"
"Nobody except for myself," Zordon answered.
Chynathia grabbed his robes and twisted them in her fist. "Who are they?!"
"I told you!" he said, pulling his robes free. "Control your anger."
She threw a crumpled ball of parchment at him. "You're not a real wizard! You're just a novice!"
He unfolded the paper and smoothed it down with his fingers. The words training wizard leapt out at him. "I'm the only wizard left of the Eltarian Keep."
"You're just a novice," Chynathia grated at him from between her teeth. "A novice!"
Zordon stood up, smoothing down his robes. "I'm a first rank novice," he explained softly. "I was to be named a wizard by the Council the day the Eltarian Palace fell to the hands of Pheratia."
"Nonetheless, you are not a wizard," Chynathia said icily. "Why should I trust you? Why should I trust any of you except for Atricor?"
"Atricor?" a scathing voice interrupted from the shadows. "Atricor?"
"Adian," she hissed, recognizing that voice.
The Ruby Prince stepped out of the shadows, his cloak wrapped tightly around him. "I knew you were not to be trusted," he said.
"Neither is Zordon," Chynathia replied. She was weaponless, having removed them in her bedchambers.
"Zordon at least is a man of honor," Adian came back in the wizard's defense. "You, my Lady, are a Drak Tor and not to be trusted."
Chynathia glared at him and suddenly dropped into a deep bow. "My Lord Prince," she said, voice dripping with contempt. "What does his Lord Highness have against me?"
Adian felt a searing knife of hatred run through his body. Lord Prince and Lord Highness were titles given to princes who would never be kings and were only princes in name of their heir brother or father. "It's especially you that I hate," he spat. "You and all Drak Tor."
Chynathia came back up from her bow. She looked genuinely sad. "It's not my fault I'm Drak Tor," she whispered. "Would you like me better if I were just Chynathia the Starchild Twin?"
Adian didn't have an answer to that question. "It is your fault that you are Drak Tor!"
"How?!" she flared. "It was either become Drak Tor or die!"
"Then you should have died," he hissed. "Death is far more honorable than to become a loathsome assassin."
Chynathia folded her arms. "Life is sweet, even behind the stone wall of Napalchis. Have you ever seen Napalchis? They call it the Iron Palace. The entire palace is made of iron. I could not die even if I wanted to. It was punishment to try."
Adian did not understand. "How?"
Chynathia pulled the top of her leather bodice down halfway. She pointed to a moon-shaped scar. "This was given to me when I first tried to kill myself to spare the torture. They chained me naked on the wall of the Iron Palace for punishment. This scar was for the Lord of Napalchis to know that I was a troublemaker. He claimed me after my punishment."
"You were branded for trying to die?" Adian whispered in horror.
Chynathia pulled her bodice back up. "Yes."
"That doesn't excuse you," he said, his voice filled with pity. "Your Drak Tor Queen killed my mother."
"Your mother lived for many years, Lord Prince," Chynathia replied without emotion.
"Not my father's wife," he snapped. "My true mother, Queen Auraor of Thundering Falls."
Chynathia's mouth twisted angrily. "Auraor ordered the death of a man promised to the Drak Tor--"
"Stop it!" Zordon yelled, cutting Chynathia off. In their fight, both had forgotten the young wizard. "Chynathia, Adian is right. We cannot trust you."
Chynathia stared at him. "Then you want me to leave?"
"Yes," Zordon said firmly. "You and Atricor both."
Chynathia didn't bother to open the door, as she back kicked it open. "You don't want us, no problem. You'll rue the day you did this to me, Zordon of Eltare and Adian of the Ruby Throne. I am Chynathia, the Starchild Moon Ice!" She then stormed out, never to set foot in the Eltarian Keep again.
Six months passed, and Atricor and Chynathia were not heard from. The remaining five Power Rangers continued to defend their homelands against the Black Warriors sent by King Geros of Pheratia. As spring ended and summer drew near, a new danger and threat had arisen. They called themselves the Lords of Kharett. The meaning of Kharett had been lost for more than six hundred years. Nobody knew who they were or where they came from, but all that was known was that they were nobody's ally, not the Power Rangers and not the Pheratians. The First Lord Chadros commanded fearsome warriors called the ShadowQueens. The Second Lord Atorow commanded the Kchiakrak, long dead mages. They sometimes fought the Pheratians and sometimes the Power Rangers, yet nobody had ever seen the Lords of Kharett themselves. Nobody even knew if they actually existed. But one person believed in them. One person knew that they could never let their guard down, for when they did, the Lords of Kharett would strike.
* * *
Adian woke up from sound sleep as his armband woke him. He scrambled out of bed and for his clothes, but Trenton kicked down his door and hauled him out of his room. Adian stumbled behind the Thunder Fighter, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "What's going on?" he asked sleepily.
"It's the ShadowQueens," Zephera said grimly. "They're fighting the Pheratians again."
"So?" was Adian's response.
"We should go down and help them," Khandreia told him.
"If we do, it could end up like last month," Kaleron reminded them. They all fell silent. Last month, when the first ShadowQueens came out to fight the Pheratians, they had rushed out to help. Instead, once the Pheratians left, the ShadowQueens turned on them and attacked. They had barely escaped with their lives.
"But if we don't, lots of innocent people could be hurt," Khandreia pointed out.
"Good point," Adian agreed. He called his power, then waited for the others.
They appeared on the battlefield somewhat away from the main battle. The ShadowQueens were female warriors, spirit-like for they killed with a single touch. Only the fastest or smartest escaped the wraiths. Luckily, the Kchiakrak only attacked the Pheratians and never the Power Rangers. The Kchiakrak were the worst. Their spells were done with terrible finality. With the ShadowQueens, there was a chance, but with the Kchiakrak, there were no chances.
The five remaining Rangers were huddled together behind a large bush to watch the battle when Adian felt a chill pass over them. He glanced up to see two horsed figures looking down at them. He nudged the others and they turned.
"Look what we have here, Atorow," the first man said. He was cloaked from head to toe, as was the second. "Spies."
"We're not spies," Trenton flared. "We're the Power Rangers!"
"Well, whoopee ding dong," the first man retorted sarcastically. Adian guessed him to be Chadros, First Lord of Kharett. The second man, confirmed by the first man, was Second Lord Atorow of Kharett.
"Who are you?" Zephera asked.
"I'm Lord Chadros of Kharett." He held his mount still as the black horse shifted.
"And your lackey?" Kaleron asked contemptuously.
"I'm Lord Atorow of Kharett," he sneered. "Watch your mouth, boy, or I'll separate it from your head."
"I'm no boy!" Kaleron shouted furiously.
Atorow laughed. "You are a boy, as are all of you. Especially your boy king Adian."
"Enough," Chadros cut him off. "We have a few things to say to you, Power Rangers." He spat out the last two words like they were a poison in his mouth.
"Like what? If you came to threaten us . . ." Khandreia left it hanging ominously.
"Threaten you?" Both Lords of Kharett threw their heads back and laughed. "We came to warn you," Chadros said, his laughter cutting off. "Don't mess around with what you don't understand. We don't fight for good or for evil. You fight in one direction, good. We control the balance between Good and Evil. We will hurt you, as we will hurt the Pheratians."
"Good is the only way to go," Adian argued. "Evil must be vanquished. Destroyed."
"No!" Atorow cut in before Chadros could speak. "If you do, then you will have accomplished only the opposite."
"Exactly," Chadros said, his voice dark. "We will come for you one day. Trust me."
"Not likely," Adian snorted. "Why should we even listen?"
"Because your lives depend on it," Chadros said. "Because we will hunt you down, and we won't be lenient." The Lords of Kharett then turned their horses and galloped away.
Zephera, who had turned back to watch the fight, gasped. "Look!" she whispered. They all turned. Khandreia turned around and threw up at the sight, then collapsed. A sea of bodies laid mutilated and burned on the battlefield as the ShadowQueens and Kchiakraks finished their work. "Let's get out of here before they kill us too," Zephera continued. The others nodded. Adian helped Khandreia to her feet as they teleported back to the Eltarian Keep.
Adian sat on his bed lost in deep thought. For some reason, he knew who Chadros and Atorow were. Their names kept slipping his mind, but his heart knew who they were. He jumped up, startled, when his door swung open. Zordon stood there, a book held in his hands. "Adian?"
"Yes?" the prince asked.
The wizard entered the room, closing the door behind him. "Is something troubling you?"
"No . . ." Adian said, ". . . well, yes. I just know who Chadros and Atorow are, but I just can't seem to put my finger on it."
"Bespelled," Zordon whispered. "It's a hiding spell. You can't see or remember who they are, only the information they give you."
"Do you know who they are?" Adian asked curiously.
Zordon shrugged. "I can see the spell, but I can't break it or see through the strands." Adian swore softly. "I'm sorry, Adian," the wizard continued, "but I just don't know enough. Even if I were a full wizard, I would still have to study."
"It's not your fault, Zordon," Adian responded absently. "Besides, you are a full wizard. There aren't any others left."
"I guess you're right," Zordon said with a sigh. He held up the book. "This is for you. You might find it interesting." He put the book in Adian's lap, then quietly left.
Adian stared at the title: Napalchis: History, Lords, and Drak Tor Defenders.
* * *
Adian closed the book after marking his place. The history of Napalchis was a fascinating piece of reading, but Adian was sick of reading. He wanted action. After leaving his quarters, the Prince of the Ruby Throne wandered up to the parapet to get a breath of fresh air, but he was not alone. Soon Princess Khandreia of the Diamond Throne joined him, knowing that was most likely where she would find him.
"Pretty boring, huh?" Adian asked as Khandreia leaned on her elbows along the railing.
"I'll say," Khandreia agreed. "Although I do like this a lot better than fighting the Pheratians or the ShadowQueens." She looked back at him, rather surprised at the way he was acting around her, as he normally wasn't willing to say much to her to begin with, that was, when his temper didn't get the best of him and he basically yelled at everyone.
"I have to agree," Adian sighed, lost in thought as his father's words echoed through his mind: Adian, you are a General Prince, a War Prince. Remember, no fighting is good fighting.
Both fell silent and stared at each other awkwardly. Adian had already picked up from the others that Khandreia had been showing a definite interest in him, but he had never really thought about it until now as he looked into her violet-blue eyes. Ever since the Drak Tor had killed his true mother, he had not been able to show any outpouring of love towards anyone, but was Khandreia gradually breaking through that hardened exterior and finally bringing out his long-repressed emotions? Granted, Adian had already found her to be beautiful, intelligent, and sophisticated--almost any man would have found her to be like that--but now she had become more than just that to him; he was beginning to have true feelings for her that he had never felt before. "Khandreia, I . . . I . . ." he tried to say, not quite sure how to put his feelings into words. "There's something I want to tell you."
The princess glanced back at him. "What is it, Adian?"
But suddenly, before Adian could even confess his feelings, Khandreia's purple diamond, a strange color for a diamond, glowed hotly. The two stared as a beam of light shot forth from the jewel on her armband, highlighting the constellation dedicated to Starchild, Master of the Starchild Twins.
"It's a sign," Khandreia whispered. "Starchild . . ."
Adian snapped his fingers, the sudden realization washing over him. "I know! I know who the Lords of Kharett are!"
* * *
"Impossible!" Kaleron screamed at him. "I know you're wrong!"
"Kaleron, I'm almost one hundred percent sure," Adian said. "Well, I'm ninety nine percent sure, at least."
"Chadros is not Chynathia!" Kaleron snapped hotly. "There's no proof!"
"I was there," Khandreia argued. "My Diamond told me."
Kaleron folded his arms. "My sister, despite all she is or has done, is not evil."
"I saw it as well," Adian replied. "And leave Khandreia out of this."
Khandreia smiled gratefully at the Prince for coming to her defense. Surprisingly, he smiled back at her. "I also believe that Atorow is Atricor," Adian then continued.
"Atorow? Forget him!" Kaleron snapped. "Chadros and Chynathia don't even look the same. They are not the same."
"Chadros wears a cloak," Adian pointed out. "You can't see his face, so how would you know that it couldn't be Chynathia?"
"Anybody can wear a cloak," Kaleron came back. "Chynathia doesn't even sound like him either."
Kaleron stormed from the room, slamming the door behind him. Adian sighed and rubbed his forehead once he was gone. Kaleron's temper was as fiery as his words, the prince thought. He then hopped onto the table and sat down, trying to think of what to do now.
"I guess we're on our own now," Khandreia broke the short silence.
"Obviously," Adian answered, staring off into space. "I mean, no one else wants to believe us when we say that Chadros and Atorow could really be Chynathia and Atricor. But I just have this strange feeling that something is about to happen, and that the others need to know the truth."
Khandreia walked up beside him and placed a delicate hand on his shoulder. "I believe you," she tried to reassure him, "but what do you mean, 'something is about to happen'?"
Adian sighed. "I don't know. Call it a premonition, but I have this feeling that the next time we battle the Lords of Kharett, there's going to be a major turning point in our fight against them and the Pheratians. I can't say much more about it than that."
"Believe it or not, I've almost been getting some of those same feelings too," Khandreia said, absentmindedly playing with the purple crystal hanging from her necklace again. "I don't know what it is either, but I do know that it's going to be like you said--a major turning point in our fight." She paused for a moment. "Do you think it means something?"
Adian didn't answer. Not only was he too busy trying to think of a way to convince the rest of the Rangers of who the Lords of Kharett really were, but he was also too fixated on Khandreia. There was something about that crystal on her necklace; it looked almost exactly like the black crystal in his sword that had been passed down in his family as well. He doubted that there could have been any kind of connection, as the families of the Ruby and Diamond Thrones weren't related in any way, but it was far too much of a coincidence for him not to give it some kind of thought. But despite all of that, he knew something was about to happen, and that it was going to happen very soon.
The wraithlike creature bowed before the double thrones, then backed out of the dimly lit throneroom. Lord Chadros and Lord Atorow of Kharett turned to each other. "What do you think?" Atorow asked.
"I think the Power Rangers need to be taught a lesson," Chadros replied.
"Chadros, is it really necessary?" Atorow asked. "I mean . . ."
Chadros turned his fearsome dark green eyes at him. "All tasks are necessary when keeping the balance, Atorow. Our Master will accept no less."
"As you say," Atorow agreed.
Chadros smiled tolerantly. "Shall I send the ShadowQueens, the Drak Tor or the Kchiakrak?"
"Rangers, ShadowQueens at Emerala," Zordon said, bursting in on their supper. "And they aren't fighting Pheratians!"
"Let's go," Adian said. The five teleported to Emerala, land of the Emerald Throne. During the spring months, they had discovered they were able to morph in mid-teleportation. Now they stood fully morphed, six ShadowQueens and Lord Atorow waiting for them, but Lord Chadros was nowhere to be seen.
"Well, well, well," Atorow said, putting a black gloved hand on the neck of his gray mare. "The little Power Rangers finally showed up."
"The only thing that's little here is your brain," Trenton said hotly.
"Cut the crap," Atorow snapped. "I'm not here to discuss reality. I'm here to teach you a lesson of theology."
Adian was confused. "Theology? What does that have to do with anything?"
"Lots," Atorow replied. "You strive to stop the Black Warriors and defeat them, put them into oblivion. Kaput! They strive to do the opposite. Well, Chadros and I are here to keep a balance, the way things should be. We even out the Pheratians for you, and now we're going to do them the same favor."
"What do you mean?" Khandreia asked suspiciously.
"ShadowQueens, attack!" Atorow roared. He drew his own broadsword. "Kharett!"
They separated, each taking on a ShadowQueen. Luckily, one of the ShadowQueens stayed by Atorow's side, the two watching the battle.
The Power Rangers, who had only fought the ShadowQueens twice before, now found that the fearsome warriors had been easy going before. Now they struck at any opening the Rangers left. Khandreia was struck down hard on her abdomen when she wasn't looking. She doubled over as a ShadowQueen kicked her in the face. She flew backwards, straight into Adian.
"Oomph!" Adian gasped as Khandreia slammed into his stomach. They both tumbled to the ground with a ShadowQueen towering over them.
"Don't kill them," Atorow called out. "Just hurt them. Put them out of commission for a while."
The ShadowQueen nodded and raised a hand holding a long, wicked blade. Without completely thinking about the consequences, Adian threw his body over Khandreia to shield her.
"Adian, no!" Khandreia cried as the ShadowQueen's blade cut into Adian's leather-clad body.
He uttered a cry of pain, then slumped over Khandreia and fell into unconsciousness. "Adian!" she screamed again, trying to wake him up as tears began to stream down her face. There was no response. "No! Adian, wake up!" Still nothing.
Khandreia looked down at the crystal still around her neck as it began to glow faintly, then literally pulled her body out from underneath Adian and held her hands in front of her, her wrists pressed together. A completely new and strange power suddenly began to flow from the pendant and into her body. "Purple Phoenix FireStar Power!" Khandreia finally called out, the magical words coming to her from seemingly out of nowhere.
The air around Khandreia literally exploded in a blinding white light. When the light receded, a purple fire blazed around her as she raised her arms and closed her eyes, her hair falling out of its braid and down around her shoulders. Her tight-fitting leather outfit then began to change into long, flowing, purple-colored robes. She seemed to rotate in the purple fire as the new power continued to gather in her. Where it all came from, she didn't know, but it just seemed to come naturally. When she opened her eyes, her pupils were like purple flames.
She pointed one long-nailed hand at Atorow. "I will have my revenge," she pronounced not in her normally quiet voice of a timid princess, but in one of a powerful warrior. "Flee now or die."
Atorow took her seriously, mildly frightened by Khandreia's sudden transformation. He then fled, taking his ShadowQueens with him. "I'll be back!" he shouted. "Don't you worry!"
Khandreia then slumped to the ground beside Adian, the purple fire vanishing, her robes turning back into the black leather outfit, and the necklace falling off from around her neck. Zephera was the first to reach them. She pulled Khandreia's head onto her lap. "Khandreia!" she called. "Speak to me!"
Khandreia's eyes fluttered but did not fully open. "Adian . . ." she said faintly as if she wasn't herself. "You have to call upon the power and set forth the prophecy . . . for the sake of us all . . ." Seconds later, she completely closed her eyes and fell unconscious.
The remaining three Rangers all looked at each other in confusion. "What did that mean?" Kaleron asked.
"I don't know," Zephera answered, "but maybe Zordon would know."
Trenton scooped up Adian in his arms while Kaleron lifted Khandreia's limp body. "Let's get back to the Keep," Zephera then urged. The three quickly agreed to that and vanished with their two fallen teammates.
Shortly after the Rangers had left, Atorow returned to the scene. Spotting something on the ground, he dismounted and picked it up. "Perfect," he said to himself, a devious smile on his covered face as he looked over Khandreia's purple crystal pendant. "Chadros will most certainly be pleased with this." He then remounted his gray mare and rode off once again.
"What?" Chadros roared, slamming his fist onto the arm of his throne. "She what?"
"She called the Purple FireStar power." Atorow smiled. "But it doesn't look like she'll be using it again anytime soon." He handed Chadros the small purple crystal.
The Lord of Kharett closed his fist over the crystal and smiled devilishly. "Yes, the Purple FireStar Crystal. Excellent. And the other one?"
"Not yet seen," Atorow replied. "The ShadowQueen cut him down before he could call it forth."
"Good," Chadros said in satisfaction. "That should take care of the Power Rangers for a while. And the Pheratians?"
"Recovering," Atorow replied.
Chadros pulled back his hood, revealing long black hair. "Send out the Kchiakraks and deplete them some more," Chynathia said in her normal voice. "Then we will pull back and recover ourselves. The balance must be kept."
Atricor smiled after pulling back his own hood. "An excellent plan," he replied, also in his normal voice.
Zordon laid down the limp wrist of Khandreia and leaned back into his chair. Adian, sitting in a large, comfy chair, looked at him anxiously. "Well?" the prince asked impatiently.
Zordon slowly shook his head. "No change. Her heartbeat is still faltering."
"I'm going to kill Atorow for this!" Adian grated from between clenched teeth. "And Chadros!"
"Calm down, your Highness," Zordon said. "We don't kill. We simply vanquish."
"I don't care!" Adian shouted. "They hurt Khandreia, and they should pay for what they've done!"
"But it's actually not their fault," Zordon told him meekly.
"What?!" Adian screamed at him. "How can it not be their fault?"
"The ShadowQueen cut you down, and Khandreia used her power to save you. She's not physically hurt. It's more mental."
The vengeful look on Adian's face disappeared and became blank. "Her power? But I thought Khandreia said she didn't have any other powers other than her Diamond."
Zordon sighed. "To be honest," he replied, "I have no idea what it is. All I could tell from what I saw of the battle was that it came out of trying to protect you after you had been cut down. It must have come from some external source that I don't know anything about."
Adian turned back to face Khandreia's still, sleeping form and noticed that something wasn't right. The crystal pendant that she always wore was not around her neck; could that have possibly been the source of her power? He then touched her face tenderly and brushed a lock of her light brown hair from it. "Is there any other way to help her?" he asked.
"Let her sleep for now. I don't believe that the Lords of Kharett were after depleting our resources. They were after something else."
"Like what?" Adian asked, leaning forward some more.
Zordon shrugged. "I don't know. I'll go find out though."
Adian scooted his chair forward as close as he could to Khandreia's side. "I'll stay with her," he vowed fervently under his breath as Zordon left him alone with her. "I'll stay with her as long as I need to." Silent tears began to fall from his dark brown eyes, his true feelings beginning to show. "I promise to stay with you and be here for you whenever you need me, Khandreia," he said to her as if she could hear him. "Though I have never been able to feel any kind of love since my mother was killed, I want you to know that you have been able to change all of that. You've taught me how to love again, princess, and for that I am eternally grateful." Then, after a little bit of hesitation, Adian leaned over her some more and gently brushed her lips with his, the first time he had ever kissed a woman out of true love. "I love you, Khandreia."
* * *
Later that night, Adian felt somebody pushing at his shoulder. He was sound asleep, having fallen asleep in the chair beside Khandreia, and so he found the poking rather annoying. Finally having enough, he opened his eyes and looked around sleepily. "Finally!" an impatient voice said.
Adian turned around to see who it was and saw a small girl of perhaps ten to twelve years old standing there dressed in flowing robes. She was a very beautiful child with grass green eyes and flaming orange red hair. "Who are you?" he asked, sitting up.
"My name is Contura," the girl said in her delightful voice. "I'm the daughter of Khandreia. Well, I'm supposed to be."
"Supposed to be?" Adian asked.
"Yes," Contura replied. "Her future. This is a dream, O Red Prince. I have come to help you in your quest."
Adian was getting more confused by the moment. "Quest? What quest?"
"The quest for the path of good." She laid her tiny hand on his. "Father, you must call upon the power of the Black Dragon, just as Mother had called upon her Purple Phoenix power today."
"Wait a moment," Adian interrupted, slightly caught off guard by what the girl had called him, glanced at Khandreia as she continued to sleep quietly in her bed, and then looked back at the girl. "Did you just call me . . . Father?"
Contura ignored the question. "Please, for the sake of us all."
"I don't get it," Adian went on. "The Black Dragon power? The Purple Phoenix power? I've never heard of either of those. What are they, and why are they so important?"
"They are powers that will forge one far more powerful than anyone could ever imagine. It will save worlds not yet born, and it will save her people--your people, thanks to the daughter of Chynathia and Atricor."
Those were two of the last names Adian wanted to hear. "Chynathia and Atricor?" he asked icily.
Contura nodded. "They do not fight against you, nor do they fight with you," she explained. "They have their own agenda, and they will accomplish it no matter what. I suggest you fight them only when needed and leave them be after that. The Lords of Kharett are relentless. If you interfere, they will kill you."
"But why?" Adian burst out, still confused. "Why must I follow these rules?"
Contura smiled and hugged him around the waist. "Because you are a King and a leader. What you do now may not make sense, but in the future, this will affect all of mankind. You have to trust me on this."
"Contura, I need to know something," Adian said, catching her hand in his. As he looked at the small child, he wondered how she could have possibly had red hair and green eyes when his hair and eyes were both dark and Khandreia's eyes were of a violet-blue color, but that wasn't the most important thing on his mind. "If you're supposed to be her--I mean--our daughter . . . does . . . does this mean that Khandreia and I will someday be wed?"
The girl looked down. "I cannot tell you any more than I already have," she told him. It wasn't because she couldn't tell him the truth, but it was more because she didn't want to tell him the truth. "It is up to you and Mother to shape your futures. But now my time grows short, and I am called back. Please think about what I said, Father. Remember, I love you. Remember that always." She shimmered and then vanished. Adian stared after her, still trying to figure everything out. He tried calling out after her, but his eyes grew heavy and he eventually fell back to sleep beside Khandreia.
"No," Adian said, leaning over the map. "Here." He thrust his finger at the land.
"Where are we going to find so many troops?" Trenton asked. "The Thrones' armies have all been disabled thanks to the Pheratians."
"We hire mercenaries," Adian replied. "We're going to bring down the Pheratians once and for all."
"But what of the dream you had last night?" Khandreia asked weakly, still not fully recovered from the battle the day before. "It had to have meant something if you went and told Zordon about it."
Adian thought about it for a moment, then made a cutting motion with a hand. "Nothing more than a dream. We will finish them off and gain back our Thrones, then we will divide Emerala and Starcyra among us."
"I won't do it," Khandreia said stubbornly. "Those Thrones belong to Atricor and Chynathia. They aren't ours for the taking."
"This is war, Khandreia," Adian answered coldly. "We divide and conquer."
"But she's right," Zephera interjected. "We can't do that."
Adian sighed. "So what are you going to do?"
There was a slight clatter, then a voice: "You take the Thrones of Starcrystal and Emerald from Chynathia and Atricor, and we will knock down the Eltarian Keep and everybody in it," Chadros broke in, one foot dangling over the edge and the other propped up on the ledge.
Adian glared at Chadros, knowing exactly who that was under that hood. "What do you care . . . Chynathia?" he retorted.
A silvery laugh emitted from the hood as a gauntlet-bound hand pulled it over. "You got us," Chynathia laughed.
"You dare laugh?" Adian asked testily.
Chynathia's fearsome dark green eyes focused on him, and Adian found himself swallowing. "I meant every word I said, Adian. I will knock down this Keep and you screaming at the bottom of it."
"You're a traitor!" Adian snapped.
Green flames licked up from Chynathia's hands. "Gods be with you, Adian. You have a long journey ahead of you." She then threw her other leg over and slipped off the ledge.
Kaleron dashed to the edge of the window to see a ShadowQueen bear his sister away. "By the Gods," he mumbled to himself as well as to Adian, "you were right!"
"But . . . why would they do something like this?" Zephera wondered out loud. "Why would they turn on us?"
Adian thought about the dream he had the night before. "They haven't completely turned on us," he replied. "They don't fight with us or against us."
"So what does that mean?" Trenton asked.
"It means we fight Chynathia and Atricor when and only when we have to," Adian explained, Chynathia's words of You have a long journey ahead of you echoing through his mind. "Because if we interfere, like she said, they'll try to kill us." He paused for a moment. "Perhaps our planning should wait until later." Then, before anyone could question his actions, he turned and walked out the door.
* * *
Adian quietly shut the door behind him as he strode from the chamber. He was so engrossed in what he was doing that he didn't see an arm stick out in front of him. It clotheslined him, knocking him onto his back.
"Oomph!" Adian grunted as his head struck the marble floor and felt a high-heeled foot press into his chest and a dagger at his throat.
"Hush now, darling," a sultry voice purred. A lacquered nail ran along his cheek. "So young."
"Who the seven hells are you?" Adian growled.
"My name is Dimera," she said, her voice still seductive. "I am so pleased to finally meet you."
Adian could barely reach his dagger. "What?"
Dimera ran her hands down along his chest. "Lord Geros told me so much about you, your Highness. But he never told me you were so fine . . ."
"Kill me, bitch," Adian replied scornfully. "Do your best."
"Oh Gods, beautiful words," Dimera whispered. "My best will be worthy of you, Prince Adian, on my words as a Drak Tor."
Adian's body tensed. Drak Tor! He had been captured by a Drak Tor!
Dimera raised the dagger from his throat so it glinted in the torchlight. "See, this is a Drak Tor dagger. Hardly any problems going in, but coming out . . ." She made a little sigh. ". . . Well, let's just say it won't be pretty."
She put the dagger in his thigh and began to push. Before the tip had gotten to the danger level, however, a lithe figure burst from the shadows and knocked Dimera down. Both figures rolled across the floor, coming up to their feet and poised for action.
Adian sat up, reaching for the dagger to pull it out, but the hooded figure stopped him. "Adian, don't," Chynathia's voice came. "If you pull it out, you'll end up losing your leg."
Dimera's eyes widened upon hearing that voice, and she dropped to her knees. "Queen Chynathia!" she exclaimed in surprise.
Chynathia stood there proudly, her cloak now half slung over a shoulder. "Dimera," she said quietly, "I've been looking for you."
"You have, my Queen?" Dimera gasped. "What an honor!"
"Not really," Chynathia sneered. "You're to be given a Drak Tor death. I've warned Geros that this was my fight!"
"My Queen?" Dimera asked. Adian knew that all Drak Tor, renegade or not, were fiercely loyal to the Drak Tor Queen.
"You betrayed the Lord of Napalchis, not a problem," Chynathia replied. "But with me, there is a problem." Then, without a second word, she drove the sword in her hand through Dimera. The woman died without a sound.
Chynathia wiped off her sword, sheathed it, then knelt by Adian. She took the hilt of the blade still stuck in his thigh and pressed a hidden mechanism. The spring opened, and she pulled the blade out with no difficulties. She wiped off the dagger, then stuck it in her belt and pat Adian on the shoulder. "Take care," was all she told him before she disappeared as quickly as she had appeared.
Grasping his still bloody thigh, Adian struggled to return to his feet. "Chynathia, wait!" he called to her. "Why did you . . ." His voice trailed off once he realized she was already gone. But why had Chynathia suddenly come to his rescue like that? There had to be more to it, considering the hostility they had been showing against each other.
But just then, Khandreia and Zordon came rushing around the corner. "Adian, what's going on?" the wizard asked right away.
"We heard a noise, and then . . ." Khandreia's voice quickly trailed off upon seeing the dead body of Dimera laying not far from him. "By the Gods!" she then gasped. "What happened here?"
Adian looked down at the body as well as he leaned heavily against Khandreia for balance and continued to clutch his thigh. "I don't know," he replied. "I walked in here, and then the next thing I know, this Drak Tor had me pinned down on the ground. She was just about ready to kill me when Chynathia suddenly came out of nowhere and stopped her, then killed her. After that, Chynathia pulled the dagger out and left as quickly as she came."
Zordon thought about that for a moment. "Chynathia?"
Adian nodded. "Yeah. I don't know, there was something about how she had warned Geros that it was her fight, then she killed the Drak Tor and left."
Once again, Zordon found himself lost in deep thought over something he had started researching earlier that day. "Hmmm, it sounds as though Geros is after something more than just the powers of the Thrones," he mumbled, more to himself than to Khandreia and Adian, "but I just don't know what it is."
"Just like how you said the Lords of Kharett seemed to be after something too," Adian noted as he sat down in the closest chair, his wound already beginning to heal. "Have you figured out what that could be?"
"Not yet," the wizard answered. "I was in the midst of my research when I heard a noise coming from out here, and so I haven't found any answers as to what they could be after. But I'll keep looking." Zordon turned and headed back down the hall, making a motion that caused the dead body to vanish from the hall. "I'll be in my library if you need me." And with that, he disappeared back around the corner, leaving Khandreia and Adian alone by themselves.
After a few minutes, Khandreia knelt down beside the chair Adian was sitting in. "Are you all right?" she asked him quietly.
Adian took her delicate hand and held it tightly. "Yeah, I'll be fine."
There was another long silence between the two before Khandreia finally spoke up again. "Adian, why . . . why did you try to protect me in battle yesterday the way you did?"
His wound finally completely healed, Adian stood up, pulling the princess up with him. "Because I care for you," he answered quietly. "For so long, I had never been able to love or care for anyone, but when I saw the way you would always act around me, I finally realized that there must have been something that I was missing. I had become so wrapped up in my hatred and bitterness that I could never see the true feelings you have for me, and now I've found that I have the same feelings for you."
Khandreia could only stand there and stare at him in disbelief. Though she had been seriously in love with him for the longest time, she had never known that he shared those same exact feelings for her. "Adian, I . . . I had no idea . . ."
Her voice trailed off when the prince placed a hand on her cheek and brushed her hair from her face before letting his lips gently touch hers. "And now you do," he told her. A rare yet thin smile then formed on Adian's face as he gazed into the princess's beautiful violet-blue eyes as they sparkled in the torchlight. "Thank you, Khandreia . . . for teaching me how to love again, but I know that I will never be able to love anyone the way I love you."
Before she knew it, Khandreia found herself running her delicate fingers through his long dark waves and never wanting to leave his embrace. "And I will never be able to love anyone other than you, Adian," she whispered.
Adian kissed her again, but this time with much more intensity and passion than the first one. "Give me this one night, princess," he said quietly, "and I promise that once this battle is over, you and I will be able to spend all of eternity with each other."
Khandreia gazed tenderly into Adian's dark, mysterious eyes. "Yes," she answered. "Yes Adian, I will give you this night." Then, without much hesitation, the two made their way back to Adian's chamber for the night.
* * *
After many long hours of reading through stacks and stacks of books piled upon his desk, Zordon had still not found anything about the Purple Phoenix and Black Dragon powers Adian had told him about from his dream the night he and Khandreia had nearly been killed in battle. Perhaps what the prince had told him had been right, he thought; it may very well have been nothing more than just a dream. He was just about to give up when he finally came across something of interest in the final chapter of the final book in the stack. A slow smile spread across his face. "I figured as much," Zordon said to himself after reading over the chapter about the prophecy regarding the Purple Phoenix and Black Dragon powers and what they were capable of.
Atricor looked expectantly as Chynathia returned. "Well?" he demanded.
"It was just Dimera," Chynathia replied. "No crystal."
"Who's Dimera?" Atricor asked.
"Just a renegade Drak Tor," Chynathia replied. She sighed. "Atricor, we've been at this for over half a year now, haven't we? Why haven't we succeeded yet?"
"Chynathia my love, we might never succeed. All we have to do is keep the Power Rangers down and Geros from taking over. We will keep the peace." Atricor leaned over and kissed Chynathia deeply. The Drak Tor smiled through the kiss as the moon rose and the night set in.
Suddenly during the summer, it had become unbearably hot. Geros didn't even bother attacking the Power Rangers anymore. They were all too exhausted from the heat. But the Lords of Kharett continued their work, as did Zordon, for the wizard had finally found out the meaning of the Purple Phoenix and the Black Dragon powers. It was a hot summer night when he went into the cold dark dining hall of the Eltarian Keep, a faint smile of triumph on his lips. Trenton, Kaleron, Zephera, Adian, and Khandreia sat before their cold suppers sipping chilled ale. "Khandreia, Adian, I found it," he announced.
"Found what?" Adian asked sharply. The weather was putting him in a bad mood despite his ever-flourishing love for Khandreia.
Khandreia and Adian both looked up. "Really?" Khandreia asked.
Zordon nodded. "Yes. Khandreia, you have the power of the Purple Phoenix, just as what had happened in the battle, and Adian the power of the Black Dragon. They're not intended to be used by either of you, but by others in the future."
"Then what's the point of even having them if we're not supposed to use them?" Adian asked testily.
"Just like what Contura told you in your dream," Zordon explained. "They will eventually help all of us. You have them merely to set forth the powers so that they can be used in the future."
"Oh Gods," Kaleron gasped, completely changing the subject. The massive warrior was standing by the window. "You know that mountain? It's now billowing fire."
"Fire?" Zordon went over to have a look and then gasped. "Gods! That's not a fire, it's a volcano!"
"Volcano?" Zephera and Trenton yelled together.
"Yes, the Fiery Pit of Mount Glomsa," Zordon said. "It was foretold that it would rip this world asunder when the three flames were in session."
Kaleron was confused. "Three flames? What are those?"
"I don't know," Zordon said mournfully. "All I know is that Geros has the power of the thrones themselves and he will use it."
Their questions were not to be answered because King Geros of Pheratia soon attacked the Eltarian Keep. Adian was the first to morph, followed by Khandreia and Zephera. Power blazed forth from Zordon as he raced to shield the Keep. Adian drew his sword and attacked, hacking furiously at Pheratians, but they had two specific targets. One was the madden son of Geros, Geron. And the other target was Princess Khandreia of the Diamond Throne.
Geros himself stood at the bottom of the Keep, wearing oddly mismatched armor and carrying a huge battle-axe. He was an emaciated man with stringy hair and a shrill voice. Adian surged for him, not pausing as he charged through his ranks. Geros ignored him as he watched with satisfaction.
"Adian!" Khandreia's shrill cry cut through his haze.
Adian looked up to see Khandreia struggling against two burly guards. "Khandreia, no!" he cried out. Rage began to burn hotly within him, and it was then that he felt a new power building as well. Without thinking, Adian dropped his sword and called out the magical words that had suddenly come to him. "Black Dragon FireStar Power!"
Black fire suddenly burst forth from him, catching everyone else off guard. Adian seemed to rotate in it, his leather armor becoming long black robes, and when his eyes focused on Geros, they were like a seething mass of black reptiles as he glared at the king. "Flee now, for thy life is in my hands," he said in a firm, powerful voice, the wind whipping his long dark hair into his face.
However, Geros did not flee because Adian told him to. He fled because Chynathia stood there poised for action. She knelt by Adian's feet as the Ruby Prince was absorbed in his own power and picked up the small black crystal that had fallen out of the sword.
"Yes Geros, flee," she said softly. "The time draws near, Geros, and when the day of destiny is at hand, I will be there and nothing can stop me." She whistled shrilly, and ranks of ShadowQueens wave upon wave crashed upon Geros and his men. King Geros was only to leave with a handful of men and his son and prisoner.
Though Adian had called upon the Black Dragon powers, it still could not keep Khandreia from being captured. "Khandreia, no!" he cried out again when he saw the last of Geros' troops dragging her away against her will. "Bring her back, Geros!" But it was no use; Geros and the Pheratian armies had already disappeared from the volcano with the Princess of the Diamond Throne.
As Chynathia watched with grim satisfaction after retrieving the crystal, Adian grabbed her arm furiously after the power had left him and he returned to normal. "Why couldn't you save her?" he grated at her through clenched teeth. "Why couldn't you save the one woman I love more than anything else in the world?"
"Destiny will reveal it to you in time, Adian," the Lord of Kharett replied knowingly. "I have a task, and I won't stop to finish it."
That certainly didn't make Adian feel any better, his eyes still blazing with hatred towards her. "Chynathia . . ."
"Adian, this will be over soon, I promise. For ill or for good, it will be finished soon." She paused and looked at him. "By the way, how long?"
Adian glanced at her blankly. "How long until what?"
A smirk crossed Chynathia's face. "You know."
Adian blushed furiously, knowing exactly what she was talking about. Word had spread rather quickly among the Rangers about his and Khandreia's relationship, and so some things weren't exactly secret anymore. "Well . . . I . . . I don't rightly know."
Chynathia trilled a silvery laugh and patted his cheek. "It's all right. Get some sleep, Adian. You're gonna need it."
Summer eventually rolled into fall, but the heat was no less diminished. Everyday the Power Rangers--or what was left of them--rode up to the volcano to have a look, but nothing seemed amiss. There were no more attacks, although a ShadowQueen was seen patrolling around the volcano once in a while.
It was during mid-autumn when the Lords of Kharett started up their work again. More and more people, innocent people, were being killed, apparently at random by ShadowQueens. Atorow, or Atricor, was seen more and more frequently, yet he always seemed to be watching and never doing.
Adian was in a state of severe depression. The kidnapping of Khandreia had dealt a devastating blow to the Prince of the Ruby Throne, and it showed. The dark circles underneath his eyes gave him the appearance of a raccoon, and the tight drawn lines about his mouth made him look much older than he really was. Zephera tried her best to help him, but he resisted all efforts. Being away from Khandreia was slowly starting to drive him insane, and he just couldn't take it anymore. Nothing short of having the princess returned to him was ever going to make things any better for Adian; he desperately needed her back in his life for it to seem worthwhile again. The Drak Tor Queen did not help matters much either, for every time she appeared, she bore bad news.
* * *
Adian was shaken awake one night much to his annoyance. He opened his eyes to see Zordon standing over him, his hair disarrayed. The wizard silently pointed and he got up to have a look. Adian gasped. The volcano apparently had been in use, for great billows of flame shot into the sky periodically. The others were already awake and morphed. Adian morphed as well, and the five of them rode out.
Geros and his Pheratians were standing in front of the large lava pit with Khandreia tied up to a large rock. She looked desperately at Adian, waiting for him to release her. "I've been waiting for you, Rangers," he hissed.
"Let her go," Adian said quietly, working hard to control his rage.
"I don't think so," Geros retorted, running a cold, dry hand down Khandreia's cheek much to her disapproval. She squirmed around, refusing to let the king touch her. "She's a lovely thing, isn't she?"
"Let her go," Adian grated again, "or by the gods, I swear I'll . . ."
"Pity," Geros cut him off. He attacked. The Rangers fought, but without much room to maneuver, they were being forced back until they were simply fighting for the sheer fact of survival.
"Prince Adian," Geros said in his face. Adian wrinkled his nose as Geros' ale-soaked breath hit him like a wave. "I've been wanting to tell you that your whore is a lovely thing. I would love to keep her for myself or for Geron, but since I have to kill her and all of you anyway . . ."
Adian's only reply was a sharp battle cry as he drove the King of Pheratia back. It had been almost nine months since the first attack of the Thrones, but the rage still burned hotly in all of them. And it burned perhaps the hottest in Adian, for the kidnapping of Khandreia created an even greater rage within him. Adian lashed out at Geros and then tried to stab him. Geros ended up jumping backwards, right into the pit of lava. He fell screaming all the way down, ending with a spectacular splash.
"The king is dead!" the word quickly ran through his ranks as they broke and left.
Adian freed Khandreia and she fell into his arms as they immediately drew each other into a long, tender kiss. However, Adian had a more pressing matter in mind. He pulled back, walked over to the ledge of the pit, and peered down.
"What's wrong?" Khandreia asked from the crook of his arm.
"This ended too easily," he replied. "Something's not right. I just know it."
Khandreia couldn't help but smile. "You worry too much, my love," she said, turning to face him. "I'm sure it's nothing important."
Adian glanced at her, then realized something; her belly was slightly extended. He protectively placed a hand on her stomach and looked at her again in disbelief. "Is . . . is it . . . ?" He made a gesture towards himself.
Khandreia smiled and nodded silently. "It's yours."
"Are you sure?"
She nodded again. "Positive."
"Adian!" Zephera called urgently. Adian and Khandreia both turned to see Kaleron in the throes of an apoplexy.
"What in the Gods' name?" Adian murmured.
"He said something about the three flames," Zordon said, kneeling beside Kaleron. The wizard had also tagged along.
"It's nothing more than a seizure," Adian answered, dismissing it with a wave of his hand. "He'll be fine."
"Adian, Kaleron has never gone into fits before," Zephera told him. "You can't just dismiss this like . . . oh my gods!"
Khandreia gasped as well. "Adian, look out!" she cried.
Adian turned just in time for a fiery hand to grasp him by the throat and lift him up. He stared full into the now cracked and lava-like face of Geros. "Think you can just shove me into a lava pit and leave, Adian?" the king snarled, his voice deeper and more evil-sounding. "Now you and your beloved princess will pay for what you've done . . . with your lives!" Adian's eyes bulged as Geros slowly crushed his windpipe. Trenton launched himself at Geros, but Geros turned his fiery eyes at him and Trenton was smashed against a wall unconscious. Zephera flung her dagger. Had Geros still been human, it would have killed him, but he absorbed it into his scaly skin and it melted. Then with a flash of his eyes, Zephera slumped over the convulsing Kaleron, her breathing labored. Khandreia hacked at him with Adian's fallen sword, but with a contemptuous smash of his arm, she slammed against two other bodies. It was Atricor and Chynathia. Atricor caught Khandreia and eased her to the ground.
Chynathia drew one of those fatal Drak Tor daggers from her belt and flung with all her might. Adian's face was beginning to turn an ugly shade of blue and his eyes were closing. Chynathia followed her dagger in the air, her leg extended and ready to deliver the fatal blow. Geros intercepted both dagger and kick, melting the dagger and breaking the ankle. Chynathia's howl of pain was quite a sound as it reverberated off the sides of the mountain. Atricor followed close behind, his shoulder dislocated and his arm broken. Obviously, the Lords of Kharett had developed a new type of fighting that worked against humans and Power Rangers alike, but not really to a lava beast.
However, there was one more warrior who had not yet fought. Kaleron struggled to his feet. He did not try an attempt like his sister or his friends. Instead, he lifted his face to the sky and began to chant, and the sun rose into the air . . . literally.
"Kaleron . . . don't!" Chynathia screamed. "NO!"
Kaleron began to speak, and flames shot from the sun at Geros. The lava beast roared. It was only an illusion, but it worked. Geros released Adian to fight them, throwing the prince aside into Khandreia. Chynathia struggled to her feet and with a look to her twin, nodded.
Chynathia and Kaleron had never used their Starchild powers before, nor would they ever use them again. This was the only time the Starchild Twins would use them.
Together they flew into the air to deliver kicks, and together they came back down. The Twins were one as they were in their mother's womb. There was no Sapphire Prince or Drak Tor Queen, only Chyanna and Kalyin. Together they smashed both legs into Geros' fiery chest. To everyone's surprise, but not to the twins, Geros managed to grab both twin's one ankle. Chynathia's broken ankle was the one caught luckily for her. Both swung their free leg against his neck, planted the free foot onto his chest, and flipped off him, sending him back. The Twins landed side by side, back to back, and poised for fighting.
"Incredible," Zordon whispered. He was scurrying around trying to help his friends, but he paused to watch the fluid motion of the Twins.
Chynathia and Kaleron tried again, each knowing their motion before using it. Their next attack involved more kicks. It seemed that Kaleron was only kicking for the benefit of his slightly shorter twin and the fact that her arm power wasn't nearly as stupendous as his. Their leg power, however, proved to be spectacular. Chynathia took a running leap forward and jumped onto Kaleron's shoulder. He stood up, propelling his sister into the air, and as Chynathia spun, ready to deliver a devastating kick to the head, Kaleron swept in with a lower kick. Their timing was perfect. As Chynathia lost her momentum and descended, Kaleron's kick knocked Geros down a bit so her high-heeled Drak Tor boot cut into his neck. Geros roared and swung. For the first time since the Starchild Twins' attack began, Chynathia was hit. She came down with an abrupt crash to the floor, writhing in pain.
"Chynathia!" Atricor screamed. He raced towards them, his right arm dangling uselessly. In his left hand, he held a Drak Tor dagger.
As Geros flung Kaleron across the pit, effectively separating the Twins, he grabbed Chynathia's slender throat and lifted her up, her feet dangling several feet above the floor. "You have caused me much trouble, Queen Chynathia," he rumbled. "For this, you must die."
"N-o!" Chynathia choked out, her voice wheezing.
"You must pay as well as the life growing within you," Geros went on as his hand, or claw as it became, stroked her belly.
"Chynathia," Kaleron's weak voice came to her. "Now is the time!"
Chynathia nodded. Summoning the remnants of her strength, the Drak Tor Queen planted her foot onto his chest and pushed back as he flipped. Atricor, who was too close to the pit, managed to dive out of the way as Geros was flung back.
Deep within the mountain, the volcano shuddered then exploded. The whole world seemed to blow up as the moment flames stretched from the volcano. Kaleron was enveloped in a bright orange flame. His eyes stood out, for they were an icy blue. Chynathia was surrounded in an ice blue flame, her eyes golden. Together they intoned, "Starchild Sun Flame, Starchild Moon Ice, come together in this time of fight. Should the Starchild Twins fail in their light, so should the flames of glory be diminished unto the night. Starchild Sun Flame, Starchild Moon Ice, together we stand, the Starchild Twins!"
Fire and ice burst from all over the place. Geros' volcano flame was not strong enough to withstand the fullness of the Starchild power. The former King of Pheratia was no more human; he was something else. He was a huge beast that resembled lava chunks melded together. It was half reptilian and half gargoyle, but it was ferocious. The Starchild Twins' power slammed into him and flung him into the pit, locking him in until somebody freed him. "I will have my revenge on all of you!" the being that was once King Geros roared as he was sealed into the pit. "I will have the power of the two FireStar Crystals and the Seven Thrones once again!"
A violent shaking soon brought everyone still standing to the ground. "What's going on?" Trenton shouted.
There was no answer, but someone did still know what was happening. "By the Gods," Zordon mumbled to himself, realizing the gravity of the situation, "it's happening . . . the three flames . . ."
A crack in the ground began to form between Khandreia and Adian. Both jumped to either side of it but still tried to hold onto each other. "Khandreia, hold on!" Adian called out, trying to reach a hand to her. "I'll pull you over!"
Khandreia reached her hand out to him as well. "I'm trying!" she responded, straining as hard as she could to reach him without falling through the growing crack.
Their hands were just about to touch when the ground to began to shake even more and the chasm in between them grew wider and wider until the two were too far away from each other. "No!" Khandreia screamed once she realized that it was quite possible that she would never see her prince again. "I love you, Adian!"
Even though the distance between them continued to grow farther and farther apart, Adian could still see the look of true sincerity in Khandreia's eyes as she clutched her stomach. "I love you, Khandreia!" he called back to her, then said to himself, "I will always love you and no one else, even if we do end up being separated. I promise this."
It was then that Zordon's prophecy came true. The volcano ripped their world asunder. In that moment, each of the Seven Thrones of Power, Pheratia, and the Eltarian Keep broke away from the singular planet it once was. The Universe was formed, and many of the planets that are known today were made, all except for Napalchis, the ancestral home of the Lord of Napalchis and all Drak Tor. It remained where it was, forever a reminder to those fortunate to find it that the price of power meant certain death. Their world was no more, but the Nine Galaxies of the Universe were formed from that one planet.
The seven were not known as the Power Rangers in later years; they were instead known as the Seven Heroes of the Universe. The name "Power Rangers," or even a more improved concept of the Ranger, would not even be used again for many more years after that, not until five new powers similar to the Black Dragon and Purple Phoenix FireStar Crystals were created.
Chynathia and Atricor were separated when their Kingdoms blew up, but they were able to remain in contact, for Chynathia was with child. Their daughter was named Taliana, an immortal being who later became the guardian of the Purple Phoenix and Black Dragon FireStar Crystals, both of which were kept by the former Lords of Kharett until Taliana had come of age. Kaleron's planet was desolated, and it eventually died out, much to the sorrow of Chynathia. Zephera became known as a Goddess on her planet, which did not suit her well, but she was kind and loving and guided her people well. Trenton's planet became a battlefield and his people warriors. They protected the other eight planets with a passion. Zordon remained on the Eltarian planet, which he later renamed simply Eltare. He married a young woman named Zachia, and together they actually began a new race of Eltarians. Pheratia remained without a ruler for many years until a wandering warrior of Trenton's landed there. He established a kingdom and ruled over his people. He did not call his planet Pheratia; he changed the name to Gaea, for it suited him better. In time, this planet came to be known as Earth.
Khandreia and Adian were also separated, as was to be expected. Unlike Chynathia and Atricor, however, they lost contact with each other, mainly because of the fact that they never knew that their planets had never managed to separate, and so they grew to believe that they would never see each other again. This planet eventually became known as Khalterria, and there was a natural border between the two kingdoms that was virtually impassable. Neither Khandreia nor Adian had ever realized that they were closer to each other than they had thought. But as time went on, Adian's kingdom became known as Corinthia, and the newly crowned king came to be known to his people as Draganta, which meant "dragon-hearted warrior," and would later go down in the kingdom's history as one of the greatest kings to ever rule over Corinthia. Khandreia's kingdom became known as Tashalla, and only months after she was separated from Adian, she gave birth to their daughter, who she named Contura. It was the only child Khandreia would ever have, as she had never married, keeping her vow that she would never love anyone the way she had loved Adian.
About fifteen years later, Adian had fallen victim to a mysterious yet deadly illness. No one knew for sure what it was, but some had believed it to be heartbreak, as he had still never seen Khandreia since their separation and had also never married or fathered any other children except for Contura. But from his deathbed, he vowed that his spirit would return again. He vowed that when a time of great need would arise in Corinthia, he would return as a Child of the Light, a person with white hair and blue eyes and with a great natural power, and be reunited with his true love, who would also return as a Child of the Light. It would be then that he would take on the power of a talisman that, when combined with his legendary sword, would reveal a powerful warrior. This warrior, he said, would go on to save all of mankind from evil and become the true ruler of Corinthia, bringing peace to the land for all time. It wasn't until a year later that Khandreia finally received the news of Adian's lonely death from a Corinthian messenger, and it drove her into such severe depression (and guilt, for it wasn't until then that she had finally realized just how close Adian had been to her that entire time) that she too eventually died a lonely death and left a teenage Contura to take over the Tashallan throne. But before Khandreia died, she too vowed that she would someday return and be reunited with her true love, and together they would save all of mankind with the power that they had once called forth but was not intended for them.
It was long after the deaths of the original seven Power Rangers when Zordon finally made his journey across the newly formed planets and galaxies, and it was then that he first came across an evil lord named Dark Specter, who claimed himself to be the grand monarch of all evil. As a wizard, Zordon was able to live an extremely long life and was closely interlinked with the original seven. Even though Chynathia and Atricor were still renegade for about another six months after the formation of all the planets, he still felt the link strongly with them as well. He remembered each of the problems, the flaws, and the strengths of the seven Rangers, so that in the later years when he was to guide new Rangers, he knew precisely how to deal with them. But he had to admit that not one of his later pupils had ever had Chynathia's extraordinary military and leadership mind, Atricor's dedication, Khandreia's inner strength, Adian's coolness under pressure, Kaleron's impassiveness, Zephera's wisdom, or Trenton's superb fighting skills. However, he also knew of and remembered the prophecies Adian and Khandreia had given before they both died in that they would return again someday to save the universe. And so when two particular pupils of his on Earth had both become Rangers within a two-year timespan near the end of the twentieth century, and had also been able to call upon the powers of the Purple Phoenix and Black Dragon, he knew that the time was drawing near for the prophecies to be played out.