The light was brilliant gold, like new minted metal, and shimmered with all the power of a warrior of good. Zedd stared at it, his brain barely registering the weak cries of Rita beside him and the whining of his various minions. He knew this was it. He could feel Zordon's power, uncloaked at last.
I always knew he was strong. But I had no idea how strong. His body reacted in the normal way it always had as he when faced with a powerful enemy, shaking his fist and daring it to harm him. His mind, however, was at peace at last. He knew what was going to come next: dissolution. All that he was, all that he had ever been, would be no more.
Instead, he would be someone else. He would not know this person. He would be someone that had ceased to exist a very long time ago. Someone who had known the darkness and feared it, and fled from it.
He had been a good man once. Very long ago. Before Rita, before Dark Spectre, before all of the wars had started and the hate and the agony and the evil. He had been someone worthy of respect. He had been powerful in the ways of good and learned in how to fight from the masters.
Then it had happened. He had been in his lone starship, traveling through the universe and defending it as he always had. The ruby in his chest armor had given him a warning, that something was going to happen. Something dark and dangerous.
Zedd, known then across the universe as the Phantom Ranger, had went to investigate a report of a new evil being amassing an army in an out of the way solar system, and had went to check into things. He had ignored the warnings of the ruby, feeling rather confidant that he could accomplish this mission with a minimum of fuss and muss.
He had flown right into a trap. He had aimed his ship to penetrate the atmosphere, thinking more about this lovely young lady he had seen in a bar during his last pitstop than he was about his job. Just when he should've been paying strict attention to the instruments, a laser beam had come out of nowhere and cut his ship to pieces. He'd managed to fire the ejection seat, but even as he fell out, he had felt the power of a teleportation beam wrapping around him. He had blacked out.
When he had awakened, it was to find himself stripped of his dignity, his honor, and his powers. The dark lord did exist, and had captured him quite easily. Zedd's Ruby was nowhere in sight, and he could not feel the connection to it that he always had before. His clothing was gone, and he was trapped in a small room the size of a closet.
Then had come Hell.
His voice, his own voice, whispering to him from somewhere he couldn't identify. It had seemed to come from all around him, rising from the very floor, coming from inside of his mind. Simple words at first, his name. Then...other things.
There was no way he could escape it. The room had no door and no windows, only two tiny slits for air. Obviously he was under some form of spell that kept him from having biological needs, since there were no functions for those. He could only listen and feel it as the words repeated over and over sank into his brain.
It was simple. One phrase, repeated over and over and over, an endless progression he hadn't been able to stop.
You are evil.
Hours had passed, hours and hours. He had tried to fight the voice, his own voice, but it had been useless. Slowly he had started to repeat the words himself. I am evil. As each moment passed, he became more and more convinced that they were right. He was evil, and that was all there was to it.
Then other words had come. He had learned more about himself, he had learned he enjoyed causing others pain, he had loved to destroy places and to ruin lives.
He learned that he loved to serve his master. Images flashed through the room of a classically handsome male face, powerfully built and like a god in his looks. The voices, his voices, told him this was his master, whom he had been born to serve. All of his mental walls were stripped down, destroyed, and his mind was reprogrammed from the very beginning.
Then a door had appeared in one wall, and the god-like being had entered. Zedd had fallen to his knees in fear and humbleness. The being had bid him rise, and his service had begun.
That dark monarch was gone now. Zedd had grown in vileness and evil, and had eventually overpowered his master in a sorcerer's duel, claiming his power for his own and becoming the new master of the empire.
All of that was over now. As Zordon's golden wave swept ever
closer, Zedd knew that things were about to make a massive change. The
light ripped into him, and for the first time that he could remember
clearly since he had been shot down, Lord Zedd knew peace.