Disclaimer: The Power Rangers and all associated characters are property of Saban. This does have some harsh language in it so bear with me here.

The Nightchild
by Katie

High above, on the windy barren surface of the moon, there lay the domain of the mighty Lord Zedd. Pillars stretched up into the dark sky like twisted fingers reaching out to grab at the stars. Within this fortress dwelt Lord Zedd along with his wife Rita, her bumbling brother Rito and their minions Goldar, Finster, Baboo, and Squatt.

Lord Zedd had not been in the best of spirits lately. You see, he wanted nothing more than control of a glittering blue bauble of a planet called earth that floated within easy reach of his clutches and yet something stood in his way. Six teenagers that had been chosen as the protectors of the small planet somehow managed to destroy each and every one of his plans for conquest.

He drummed his armored fingers against the marble arm rest of his throne and stood up to pace the room. Had this not been so late at night, Rita would be along to tell him what he ought to be doing and generally to make his life miserable. He could almost hear her all ready. "Zedd! What are you doing sitting around on your butt when you could be destroying earth as we speak?!?" He had to admit that the woman he had thought to be of such radiant beauty not so long ago had become nothing to him but a nagging witch.

The very thought of world conquest had become a burr in his side ever since he had appointed Rita to conquer it for him. His mighty footsteps resounded off of the stone walls as he paced and felt his thoughts run through his mind in a stream as thick as mutton broth. Finster would usually be the first one that he would turn to for advice on such matters but the hour was late and he would surely be asleep somewhere. Then Zedd reminded himself that Finster was merely a slave and could be awakened whenever and for whatever reason he saw fit to do so. For a moment more he hesitated and then, seeing the earth glowing as though it were mocking him, Zedd stalked down one of the long dark hallways.

"Finster!" he called, musing that he must have sounded exactly like Rita. He thrust open one of the heavy wooden doors that lined the hall and strode inside. His hand fumbled on the wall for a lightswitch until he found it and clicked it on.

Finster jolted awake and sat up from where he had been laying down in his small four poster bed. "Oh!" he cried, startled. "Lord Zedd! You're in need of something at this hour?" he asked, rubbing the sleep out of his large blue eyes. It was harder that he thought to maintain his calm disposition after he had been awakened so rudely. Zedd couldn't want a monster from him this early in the morning, he thought as he squinted at one of his clocks on the wall that showed what time it was in Angel Grove. "Four o'clock...dammit!" he snarled quietly but awaited his lord's instructions.

"Finster, as you know it is early and it is the perfect time to strike." Zedd began.

Finster nodded in agreement but also as he fought for consciousness. He did want a monster, but why? Zedd continued on and on about how the rangers would be vulnerable to attack in the wee hours of the morning and the darkness would hinder their fighting. Finster did his best to listen and had to catch himself whenever he was about to fall asleep again. At one point he actually had to lift his head from off of his chest and hold his eylids apart for a moment until they would stay open on their own.

"...and that is why I need your services, Finster." Zedd concluded. "Now get up and make yourself useful!" he growled.

Finster grudgingly obeyed but never stopped muttering to himself as he pulled himself out from underneath the warmth of the covers, jerked open a drawer in his dresser and withdrew a pair of pants that he pulled on and then slammed the drawer shut.

"Don't act so put upon Finster." Zedd warned. "This is your lot in life and don't you forget it!"

"Yes my lord." he said through clenched teeth. "What did you have in mind?" _And why am I up at this hour doing your work?_ he thought. _Lot in life, hell! You took me from my planet, from my mate, and from everything that I basically cared a lick about. Now here you are traipsing in here at this hellish hour and expecting me to be all sunshine._ He quickly pushed his thoughts out of hand. Sometimes when he was alone, he would allow his mind to think like that but now was not the time, he decided.

"I want something swift and dark, like the cloak of night." Zedd told him.

Finster stood for a moment in deep thought. "I do have something that I have been working on. It takes a liking to a black panther or as you referred to it, something as dark as night. As for being swift, on his back he bears a pair of falcon's wings. He is called Nightchild."

"Yes, yes but how effective is he?" Zedd demanded to know.

"He--is most effective, my lord." Finster faltered as he fought the urge to say something that he would most likely regret later. "The rangers will not see Nightchild until he is upon them. The only drawback is he is only effective for use at night."

"Excellent! A fine choice Finster. I would like to discuss it further. Meet me in the laboratory in exactly five minutes." he ordered and then whirled around on his heels and was gone.

_He wants to play games. Fine. I don't need this at all, what I need is to get out of here,_ his mind gibbered as he wriggled out of the baggy shirt that he usually slept in, tore one of his work shirts out of the top dresser drawer and pulled it on.

_Ah, Finster you're going soft,_ he told himself as he remembered his youth when he had been a proud warrior just as good or perhaps better than Goldar was in the present. He too had sported a pair of wings once but he had lost them in a battle with an arrogant young suitor that had tried to win his mate from him. In the struggle, his wings had been lopped off by the blade of the suitor's laser sword. Since he had been handicapped, about all he was good for was the shaping of clay and so he did so and was taken into service by Zedd and then by Rita.

"This is what I am, a shivering rabbit of a slave for these fools." he whispered to himself as he put his lab apron on and took his spectacles out of his pocket. "Held here by my own devotion and teasing myself by holding the key to my own shackles. But thats not helping now. Finster, just do what he wants and be done with it," he advised himself as he headed out of his room and towards his laboratory. Zedd was awaiting his arrival all ready as Finster suspected that he might be.

The dark lord gazed idley up at the clock. "Two minutes early Finster, but you were always the prompt one weren't you?"

It took all of Finster's will power to resist rolling his eyes. "Have you decided whether or not you want to use Nightchild?" he asked.

"Shh!" Zedd commanded. "Rita's room is right through the wall. If she hears of this then she'll want to be a part of the plan and then all of it is ruined."

"But why?" Finster asked meekly. He had always been a little more fond of Rita's plans than Zedd's himself. She had a knack for being more melevolent and cunning when it came to plotting.

"Because I do not need to explain myself to a long eared, dog faced cretin who is about ten seconds away from becoming pillow stuffing!" Zedd hissed as the room took on a deep crimson hue

Finster decided that perhaps he had pushed things as far as they would go that night kept quiet as he took out a piece of clay from a plastic bag beside the monstermatic machine.

"Nightchild sounds like he is all animal and no cunning." Zedd noted. "Perhaps you could equip him to have more brain?"

Finster nodded. "That shouldn't be a hard procedure at all." Finster told him. "If I just widen the skull cavity..."

"When you have finished the monster then waste no time in sending it to earth." Zedd ordered, cutting Finster short.

"Yes Lord Zedd." Finster sighed already beginning to shape the clay with his fingers and manipulate it into the rough form of a cat and then begin to smooth out its muscles until it became sleek. Before long, something that resembled the perfect form of a panther sat on the table before Finster and he had taken the scraps of clay and was shaping them into tapered bird's wings that he would affix to the panther's back.

Zedd watched with great facination. He had never taken the time to see how quickly and cleverly Finster could actually shape clay to his liking and found it interesting to view. Finally, Finster pushed the wings onto the panther's back and stepped back to admire the newest creation.

"Is it finished?" Zedd asked, breaking the silence and making Finster leap a little.

"Quite finished, really." Finster told him, stifling a yawn.

He gingerly picked up the monster and put it into the monstermatic. He pulled a lever and with a series of grinding noises the Nightchild was cranked out of the machine and stood on the cold tile of the lab floor, shrinking in even the dim light of the lamp that Finster had turned on. Zedd was thrilled. "Oh, dreaded, cursed light!" the Nightchild muttered as he scampered beneath a table.

"He knows what his orders are, Lord Zedd. All that is left is to give him a scent and send him to earth." Finster explained as he felt his eyes slip closed and his ears become to heavy to hold up any longer.

That was all that Zedd needed to hear. He figured beforehand that a beast of prey such as this might need a scent to go on and so he took a rag that Goldar had used to dress Tommy's wounds from the battle with the rangers when he was still under Rita's spell from where it had been crumpled in one balled fist. He ran it under Nightchild's nose and heard him inhale deeply. "Find the one that matches this scent and destroy him and his friends. Do not worry about their scents as you will most likely find them at his side." he instructed as he took his "Z" staff in hand and with a single blast, sent the magnificent creature to the darkened Angel Grove below.

Through his visor vision, he watched as Nightchild scuttled into a thicket of trees in the park and quivered its nostrils to take in the scent of the new planet. He then turned tail into an alleyway and loped down one of the streets of a nearby neighborhood with astonishing speed, taking in all of the scents he could as he tried to sort out all of the scents from the desired one. Zedd was almost leaping with glee.

"Ah ha ha! I have a gut feeling that this is the end of the rangers! How could they defeat something so powerful that attacks at night unless they stop sleeping altogether? It is a pity that humans are not creatures of the night as we are, isn't it Finster? Finster?"

He turned to see Finster's head gathered in the crook of his right arm as he slept sitting up at one of his lab tables, breathing softly and dreaming of leaving behind his wretched existence.

To be Continued...