This wasn’t the Tairos that Dionne knew at all. The effects of Jakarian’s bombs and the many more devastating weapons created and used by both the vampires and the allies since had destroyed huge sections of the forest.
Before Tairos looked beautiful, but now its ugliness was there for all to see.
The Circus Family had landed in an area that now looked like a vast desert, with a few barren mountains. It was actually where the great city of Dynamos had once stood. Having been the most powerful metropolis in all of Tairos through its trade of Dinosaurs during most of the war. Dynamos sadly had never really recovered from Jakarian’s attack, though many of its people were too proud to admit that and accept help from the other cities. Instead they tried to rebuild the city on their own. A final attack from the vampires would see the then leader of Dynamos activate a self destruct button to ensure that none of the vampires would get access to their magics and Dinosaurs.
Like all time travellers the Circus Family were mindful not to change established history. Their travels took them to important periods in both the past and the future, where they had to create history. For example it was only because of the Circus Master stopping an attempt to build an army of vampires in Victorian times that said army didn’t overtake the earth back then.
The Tent itself would tell them, or rather the Circus Master what to do in order to ensure history went on the correct path, via images contained within the fountain inside the Tent, which also served as the controls for the vehicle.
The images were often vague however and would only give the Circus Master an idea on what to do, as knowing too much about your future could end up disrupting it. According to the vision for this journey there was a great evil rising in the ruins of the black woods, specifically in the Terrible One’s cave, which Dionne knew only too well. If this evil, which appeared to be spiritual in nature were not stopped then it would absorb the magics from the Terrible One’s cave and end up consuming the entire world.
Dynamos was not far from the black wood, and so the Circus Family (who were also known as the Circus Folk) would have to make a long trek through the perilous desert ahead.
The Circus Family at this stage, aside from Tarkan, Carlene and Dionne herself included four other members. They were the werewolf Amy Tunstall, the mummy Anck Su Namun, alien Tanith and a vampire hunter named Samuel Williams.
Amy Tunstall was born in Glasgow in the year 1940. Much like Carlene she had tried to make it as a singer, before she was infected by a werewolf. After becoming a target for other demons and hunters as a result. (Vampires contrary to popular belief were among the only supernatural creatures who did not despise werewolves, as the curse of lycanthropy could poison and kill almost every other kind of supernatural creature except for vampires.)
Amy eventually fled to Darrow too, which was something of a hotspot for supernatural creatures. There she became a part of the criminal mastermind known as mad Lord Paul’s empire, which included many supernatural creatures too. (Lord Paul was one of Carlene’s greatest adversaries.)
Amy however soon turned against Lord Paul’s orders, being unable to comply with his ruthless actions. She soon became a thorn in his side and would now and again help Carlene against him. Still in spite of this however, the two were initially enemies, as Amy still turned to crime in order to make ends meet, though she never killed anyone. Carlene who eventually convince Amy that she didn’t need to give into the curse and could still be a good person, after the two rescued another street girl named Sally Chappell, who Amy had taken under her wing from one of Lord Paul’s demonic servants. Amy had taken pity on Sally after vampires had killed her family, though she had only intended to look after her for a short while, the girl grew too attached to Amy for her to just abandon her. When Sally was caught up in her feud with Paul Amy would surprise herself with the lengths she was willing to go to protect her, including even sacrificing herself.
This finally convinced Amy to take Carlene’s advice to heart and she and Sally eventually left for Paris where they would spend many years battling evil, with Amy becoming every bit as great a hero as Carlene herself. The two would remain in contact and became best friends until Carlene’s disappearance in 2007.
Carlene always said that the reason the two got on so well was because Amy was a Glaswegian and Carlene was a cockney. She joked that Glaswegians and cockneys are soul brothers or sisters in this case, as they are both so similar. Both are stereotyped as violent, drunken thugs, with links to gangsters in the media. (Something which to be fair, both play up to for humour.) Both in spite of the stereotype however have a strong artistic streak, and are quite left wing. Finally both even have their own rhyming slang too.
Anck Su Namun meanwhile was a former Egyptian princess who had fallen in love with her high priest Imhotep. In her attempts to use the black arts (stolen from a book of Imhoteps) to escape from and punish the Pharoh who had chosen her as his latest concubine. Anck Su Namun would end up uninentionally unleashing a dark plague upon Egypt which she would die from.
Several thousand years later, she would be revived by a wizard in the hopes of harnessing the plague that she had unleashed. Fortunately however Anck Su Namun would escape from his control and now an undead creature with unique powers. She would become determined to make up for the deaths caused by her plague and for causing her lover Imhotep to go down a dark path in his attempt to bring her back. Despite her background as literal royalty, Dionne always said she found Anck Su Namun to be among the most down to earth approachable and sweet of the Circus Family. This was probably due to the fact that Anck Su Namun hated almost anything associated with her original life. From the trauma of being forced into a marriage she hated, to the unintentional pain and suffering she would cause, to what ultimately became of the man she truly loved, Imhotep. Anck Su Namun always considered her second life her true life.
Tanith on the other hand was something of a wild card among the family. She was an alien queen who came from a far away planet, which she had conquered through magic. Tanith had actually been the first to discover the black arts on her world, which made her conquest all the easier. Whilst she was always utterly ruthless in dispatching her enemies. At first Tanith was a beloved ruler at least among the masses. She used her magic to cure diseases, end poverty and restore the lands that had been devastated after the wars of her predecessors. (She had only discovered magic in the first place to restore her land that had been left to rot by the elite after the way.)
Ironically she didn’t even want to become queen at first. She only wanted to dispose of the corruption at the top, and aid her people. Unfortunately however they all mistook her for a goddess and insisted on following her regardless. In time it didn’t take long for Tanith to see herself as a goddess either.
Tanith would rule over her planet for many centuries using magic to prolong her life. Eventually however others would discover the secrets of the black arts and whilst none ever became as powerful as she was individually. A revolution of sorcerers and sorceresses was soon mounted against her, which eventually ended in her death. By this stage her own power had corrupted Tanith to the point where she was in many ways no better than those she had disposed. There would even be parties held in the streets to celebrate the once loved monarch’s murder. Thanks to her magics however, Tanith’s spirit survived, and in order to stop it from being exorcised or destroyed by her enemies, the last of Tanith’s followers cast her soul into space in a spaceship containing her corpse. They lacked the facilities to resurrect her after Tanith’s palace was destroyed (and even if they had it would have been pointless anyway.) All they could hope for was that Tanith’s ghost would find a way to restore itself.
Unfortunately for Tanith however she would remain in space for centuries. The torture of going from having the power of life and death over a world, to being trapped as a mere echo in a cold, dark room, floating aimlessly through space would cause Tanith to go completely insane. Years later she told Dionne that she sometimes wondered if her servants had done this to punish her? She wasn’t exactly the most generous and loving master and perhaps this was their way of ensuring that she wouldn’t be let off so easily for her crimes?
Either way her torment would eventually end, when a lone earth ship stumbled upon Tanith’s vessel after it had drifted far away from its home. Tanith’s spirit would take over the body of a woman on board, ironically one of the lowest ranked members of the ship to avoid detection. The weakness of a human body however meant that Tanith’s powers were greatly reduced from what they once were. (They had also depleted from the centuries of solitude as well.)
Having lost any morality she once had through the centuries of power and then solitude, Tanith killed the rest of the crew, except for a few she made into slaves before heading back to her home world, a journey which took many decades. Much to Tanith’s horror however, she discovered that her people had been killed off in the centuries since she left. The magics she had introduced them too had led to further wars which eventually transformed the planet into a desolate, hell world, filled with magical mutations and monsters.
This revelation was enough to penetrate even Tanith’s arrogance and snap her back to sanity. She became determined to make up for all the suffering she had caused to her people. Sadly she could not release the woman whose body she had taken over, who was long dead, but she did release her slaves (one of whom, a man named Fraska, who was the lover of the woman Tanith had taken over, would become obsessed with destroying her afterwards and became Tanith’s greatest enemy.)
Tanith would travel the universe for many centuries, fighting evil wherever she could to make up for her past sins, before joining the family.
Despite her remorse however, Tanith could still be arrogant and often clashed with Tarkan’s leadership. She was also by far the most ruthless member of the Family too.
Finally Samuel Williams was an experienced vampire hunter who had previously assumed the costumed identity of the Demon of Datheca to fight monsters on the streets of his home city. The years of magics he had used to help in his battle had somewhat affected him, granting Williams some limited magical abilities, though his real power lay in the numerous magical gadgets and weapons he had created in his war against the supernatural. Samuel had taken the longest to adjust to being part of the Circus Family as he had previously preferred to work alone. Ironically however it would be Tanith that he would become the closest too. Dionne always suspected there was something between them, but she wasn’t completely sure.
In spite of the difficulties with Dionne’s attempt to change the timeline in slaying Jakarian, the family still cared for one another, and this adventure would arguably push them to their limits in this respect more than any other.
The desert of Dynamos was populated by many nightmarish creatures and distortions left over by both the war, and the final self destruct spell. The first monster to attack the family was an undead Dinosaur, nicknamed a bony Dinosaur by Dionne. It was literally the reanimated skeleton of a Charcaradontosaurus, a large member of the Allosaur family that could grow to over 40 feet long. Whilst only a skeleton on the surface, the undead creature was far stronger than it had been before, through the magics that gave it life, or rather unlife. Whilst devoid of any flesh, it did have eyes of some sort, specifically giant red magical flames in its eye sockets.
Tanith’s magics had no affect on the monster and it chased the Family for miles. Tarkan tried to lure it away with his floating head, but he wasn’t as fast as he thought, and the undead Dinosaur sent his head flying across the desert with a well placed strike of its tail.
Dionne, Anck Su Namun and Carlene fled after Tarkan’s head, (along with his body, which could survive for up to an hour headless) whilst Tanith, Samuel, and Amy did their best to lure the Dinosaur away.
Tanith was eventually able to best the Dinosaur in her usual ruthless way. Given that this area represented the ruins of a civilisation that had been abandoned, there were clearly a lot of corpses and skeletons left under the ground. Tanith had a talent for reanimating the dead. It was how she had been able to restore herself to life in the first place. The others however did not like her using this power for obvious reasons and even in these circumstances, Amy tried to stop Tanith, but true to form the arrogant alien summoned up a small army of twenty or so corpses from the ground. The resurrection magic was as basic as could be. The corpses would only “live” so to speak for half an hour, and they were nothing more than extensions of Tanith’s will. This was how the alien often justified using the bodies this way, claiming that she wasn’t really bringing them back, though again even someone with my limited knowledge of magics, knows that the most basic resurrection spells can still inadvertently rip someone out of their afterlife, even if they are not placed into their new body. It can also disrupt their rest in other ways too. Clearly someone of Tanith’s power would know that too, but she either felt she could control it, or perhaps just didn’t care. Even at her best, Tanith could still justify carrying out small evils to stop greater threats.
In this case the reanimated dead did manage to hold off the bony Dinosaur long enough for Tanith, Amy and Samuel to flee, though unfortunately they were forced to flee in the other direction, deeper into the desert.
Dionne, Anck Su Namun and Carlene meanwhile would soon by ambushed by another gang of magically mutated humans, survivors of the fall of Dynamos. These creatures known as the Vitox were not like the Vasta in that they were not completely unhinged. They were capable of loving one another, and even had something at least resembling a culture and a code of honour, though sadly as the desert of Dynamos was such a harsh and unforgiving place, their first instinct is still often to attack.
The Vitox stood over 7 feet tall, and had the shape of a humanoid, but little else in common with us physically. They possessed a single line of spikey hair similar to a hedgehog that ran from the tops of their heads straight down their backs. Their foreheads meanwhile where thick and robust like a Neanderthal mans, whilst their skin was a dull grey and scaly, somewhat akin to that of a reptile. (Dionne said that some had speculated that these humans had been merged through the magical blasts with some of the Dinosaurs in Dynamos.)
The abominations also only had three fingers on each hand, and three toes on each foot all of which were clawed. Their eyes meanwhile were bright yellow circular dots, whilst their noses were small and pug like.
Their mouths however, according to Dionne were the most unusual and disgusting part. Their lips were thin and wrinkled looking, but when they opened their mouths, the lips would pull back the way, much like a monkeys, though unlike a monkey, their mouths were filled with green slime. Rather than a set of teeth however, each of the monsters had a long retractable tongue which was covered in teeth and could be used to strike at their victims, ripping off a massive amount of flesh in the process.
The creatures much like the Vasta were skilled hunters, and though Carlene, Anck Su Namun (in particular) and Tarok were still stronger than them, (even without a head) the monsters still proved to be too much. In the middle of the fight however, Carlene was able to help Dionne escape using a gas bomb which she kept in her hair. Carlene wore a beehive haircut, which had been in fashion when she was turned in the 60s. Since then she kept it, not only as an affectionate reminder of her human life, but also because she had converted it into a magical weapons chest that was bigger on the inside than the outside.
The gas bomb only briefly distracted the monsters, but it was enough for Dionne to escape. When she finally got clear of the gas, she could see that Carlene Anck Su Namun (who had briefly reverted to her mummy form to try and fight them off) and the headless body of Tarkan were being restrained by several of the Vitox at once. Carlene who spotted Dionne screamed at her to go, saying she should get the others. With no other choice, Dionne was forced to flee through the desert ahead. to escape. Carlene, Anck Su Namun and Tarkan meanwhile were brought to the Vitox’s cave. The monsters had already decided Carlene’s fate. They knew she was a vampire. Carlene had done her best to conceal it knowing how vampires were viewed at this point in history, but they had been around them long enough to know.
They planned to dispose of Carlene and Anck Su Namun who they knew from her transformation was a walking dead of some kind, the same way they did for any vampire or zombie that came here. They’d leave them out in a small closed off, but open area at the back of their cave, where their pet vultures would devour them alive. Dionne knew these vultures only too well. They had been created during the final days of the vampire war, or rather the final days before she was placed into suspended animation.
They were simply vultures who had not only been made larger and more powerful through magic, but had also been given a craving for undead creatures such as vampires and zombies. The Vitox used these birds to protect themselves form the numerous zombies that stalked the desert mostly, but any vampire unlucky enough to stumble into the desert would be offered up as a special sacrifice to the birds. In many ways this spectacle was more of a treat for the Vitox than the vultures.
Carlene and Anck Su Namun were tossed into the pit before they could even attempt to explain themselves, not that they would have believed them anyway. Fortunately however the creatures didn’t remove Carlene’s beehive as obviously they had no idea it was a weapon. The creatures also foolishly untied both women’s arms before throwing them in as they did to all vampires. It was not out of altruism, but simply because it was more entertaining if the vampires had a sporting chance. To be fair that’s still more than the vampires would have given them under the same circumstances.
Unfortunately however the vultures could only be killed by a certain kind of weapon. One made of diamond to be precise. Whilst Anck Su Namun did her best to hold the swarm of monsters off, Carlene searched through her beehive. She kept weapons made from all manner of natural sources to fight off demons and magical creatures and diamond was a weakness of many breeds. Fortunately she found one diamond knife, but sadly even with this weapon and Anck Su Namun’s help, Carlene was only able to bring down two of the vile birds, as they were so fast, numerous and relentless.
Thankfully the two women held out long enough for Tarkan’s head to find his body. It had been looking for the others as much as they had it. The head made its appearance, first by flying into the vultures just as they had overwhelmed Carlene and Anck Su Namun. Tarkan’s head couldn’t harm the vultures but it was considerably faster than them which distracted the demonic birds of prey long enough for Carlene and Tarkan to climb back up the pit and fight the Vitox. The vampire and the mummy in turn distracted the Vitox long enough for Tarkan’s head to fly back onto his body, allowing him to take some of the Vitox by surprise.
Another few gas bombs from Carlene allowed all three to escape from the cave and out into the desert with the tribe of angry Vitox in hot pursuit.
Dionne meanwhile had become lost in the desert, though at least she had appeared to lose both of their attackers. She did however witness a few vultures overwhelming and devouring a zombie. Whether it was one of Tanith’s she didn’t know, but it was a truly disgusting sight all the same.
Eventually Dionne would stumble upon a different flying terror, a large Pterosaur chasing what looked like a child Vitox. What was strange though was that the Pterosaur was not attacking the child from the air. It was chasing it on the ground, galloping on all fours.
The Pterosaur was a Queztacoatlus and it was gigantic, at least the size of a Giraffe. The winged reptile (though at a glance it was hard to tell that it was a reptile as its skin was fuzzy rather than scaly,) was trying desperately to snap the little mutant up in its huge bill, and Dionne, despite knowing what the Vitox were like, obviously couldn’t just leave it. Armed with no weapons, Dionne did her best to try and distract the Pterosaur. Sadly her magics were again no use. Recently her already limited powers had begun depleting, though for why she wasn’t quite sure. Dionne was instead forced to throw rocks at the creatures face, and at first it tried to shrug them off, before Dionne managed a lucky hit in the beasts eye. As it turned its attention to her. Dionne wisely fled, trying to keep ahead of the carnivore, but it was too fast, as clumsy as its movements may have seemed the Pterosaur grabbed hold of Dionne’s left arm in its huge bill like beak. The animal then hoisted her up through the air, dislocating her arm in the process before it threw Dionne over ten feet face down into the sand. Dionne was knocked out instantly, but as the great Pterosaur then prepared to scoop her up in its beak, the young Vitox intervened. It jumped onto the Pterosaurs small, almost vestigal tail and climbed up its back and onto the reptiles head. The animal instantly started to panic and flap its wings around, with its bird like screeches waking Dionne. The great reptile managed to throw the Vitox off just as it took to the air. Dionne then grabbed the young Vitox in her other arm and head off in the opposite direction as the Pterosaur continued to circle them from above, being able to cover twice as much area from the air.
Eventually the winged terror swooped down at Dionne and the Vitox child from the front (having easily flown ahead of them.)
Dionne barely managed to jump out of the way and in the process fell on her dislocated arm.
The Pterosaur meanwhile crashed onto the desert ahead of them. It continued to flap its wings and struggle to get back up off the ground, and Dionne knowing that it would kill them as soon as it did, wasted no time. She popped her arm back into place, lifted up the nearest large rock she could find and brought it down on the Pterosaurs skull just as it had almost pulled itself up. She was forced to strike it another two times to put the reptile out of its misery.
A most disgusting and vile act, that Dionne was ashamed to talk about decades later to, but she knew it had to be done. The desert of Tairos was every bit as brutal as the jungles, and you had to act quickly or else you’d be the next carcass the vultures would pick clean.
Still even in the darkest of places there was room for compassion, mercy and pity, which Dionne had shown to the Vitox child. In response, the child whose name was Vitanna, promised to take Dionne back to her tribe, stating that they would reward her for helping one of their own.
The way back through the desert however was difficult. In the distance Dionne and Vitanna would spot the bony Dinosaur, battling a gigantic Dragon made of fire. It seems Tanith’s zombies hadn’t lasted as long as she had hoped, but at least the Dragon now occupied their former pursuers attention.
They also stumbled upon a fight between two Pteranodons and a gigantic spider like creature, with the Pterosaurs literally ripping the spider in two with their beaks.
Their most perilous encounter however was with the Drasker, a monster that was the result of several Dinosaur species merged together. This creature had been created by the magics of Dynamos that had leaked out when the city fell. Dynamos in its heyday had created via magic many hybrid species of Dinosaurs, such as the dreaded Tyrannosaurus Al, a hybrid of Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus.
In this case however the magics consumed several of their normal Dinosaurs at a time and fused them into one monstrous creature. Measuring over 200 feet long, standing over 60 feet tall and weighing in at over 150 tones. This animal or rather mutation had the body of a Brontosaurs in terms of size and overall shape, the skin of an Anklyosaur the legs of a Hadrosaur that could allow it to adopt both a bipedal and semi bipedal stance. There was also a raptor like claw on each of its feet and claws of a Spinosaurus on each of its hands. The dorsal plates of a Stegosaurus ran down either side of its back (with the sail of a Spinosaurus running down the middle.) It’s head meanwhile resembled that of a Tyrannosaurus, whilst finally the end of its tail possessed an Anklyosaurs club with spikes on either side.
The creature was the undisputed king of the desert. Indeed the only reason it didn’t rule beyond the desert was simply because it didn’t care enough to venture out of its territory.
Dionne first saw the animal when it literally came crashing through the side of a small mountain and devoured a Brontosaurus. Dionne had spotted the lone sauropod in the distance and knowing how aggressive these animals could be despite their reputation as gentle herbivores, she kept herself and the Vitox hidden until it passed them.
However within seconds this mighty Dinosaur was literally ripped apart before it could even defend itself. The Drasker, first grabbed the Brontosaurus’ neck in its jaws and then pulled its entire neck and head clean off, before going on to tear all of its legs off and toss them aside (with one of the Dinosaurs legs very nearly hitting Dionne.)
Dionne could see both the bony Dinosaur and the flame Dragon become distracted from their fight by the roars of the Drasker, and they both instantly turned and fled in the other direction. The former singer and the mutant soon followed suite and ran as fast as they could, too scared to look behind them in case the monster was following. Eventually however Dionne would run straight into Carlene Anck Su Namun and Tarkan as Vitanna was leading Dionne back to her cave. Before a fight could break out with the other Vitox who were not far behind, Vitanna stopped it, telling her tribe how Dionne had rescued her from one of the Pterosaurs. This still didn’t stop some of the tribe, from wanting to attack Carlene, but they were held back by the leaders.
The Vitox agreed that Dionne and her friends would be reward as much as they hated giving shelter to either a vampire, or anyone would would work with a vampire. Once they arrived back the cave, the leader agreed to shelter Dionne and her friends for one night, which is less than they would normally do under the circumstances.
Vitanna would also be greeted by both of her parents, who were elders in the tribes. The young Vitox had only ventured out on her own to try and prove her worth. Even though both of her parents had always said they were proud of her, the other children in of the tribe, knew how favoured the elders children were and often teased Vitanna that she was a third rate hunter who would never be picked if it weren’t for her father and mother. Sadly however her embarrassing failure wouldn’t help her reputation any time soon, though right now she was just grateful to be alive.
Vitanna’s father insisted on a rescue mission for Dionne’s friends. Even if one of their number was a vampire, he thankfully didn’t let his prejudice blind him to the debt he owed Dionne.
Tanith, Samuel and Amy meanwhile after escaping the bony Dinosaur had now been cornered by the deserts most common and persistent predators. The Kovras. These monsters were gigantic snakes that grew to over 30 feet long and weighed in at over 3 tons. Their skin and teeth appeared metallic, though they were not robots. In fact both their eyes and blood were bright yellow. They were the main predators of the Vitox, particularly of their young, though they would take any prey they could.
Four of them had managed to corner the three time travellers against a small hill.
Tanith did her best to try and hold the metallic reptiles off, but she had suffered something of an unexpected power drain from raising the corpses. It was her own fault. After the bony Dinosaur easily dispatched her zombies, she summoned up several more, and more after that, all just so she and the others could keep a head start on the Dinosaur. Whilst it had worked, unfortunately she had pushed herself somewhat. Amy meanwhile instantly morphed into her wolf form, which was over 7 feet tall and bipedal. Her claws and teeth were strong enough to pierce the snake creatures hides. In her first few strikes she sent all four back somewhat, before focusing her attention on the largest, alpha female of the group.
Samuel meanwhile did his best to try and protect Tanith who needed a rest after her ordeal. Despite his lack of overt powers, Samuel more than made up for it with his weapons and gadgets. He discovered that the inside of the monsters mouth was its weak spot, when one of his bombs landed on the tooth of the alpha female and sent the giant serpent scurrying back further than even Amy had.
Still whilst Samuel and Amy were able to hold off the snake monsters for a short period of time, they were not able to overwhelm them, and the largest female snake there soon returned, just as Amy had managed to drive back three more, and landed a surprise hit with its tail, sending Amy flying through the air until she hit the small hill Tanith and Samuel had been cornered against. She was knocked out cold.
Samuel then tried to be more aggressive in his approach, but instead the alpha snake latched its jaws around his foot and dragged the former costumed hero across the sand and swung him through the air like a rag doll, before another snake grabbed onto his arms, with both snakes preparing to tear him in two. (This was a favourite method the beasts used to kill the Vitox.)
Spurned on by her fury Tanith unleashed all of the magic in her body, which was powerful enough to send three of the snakes flying over twenty feet through the air. Even in her weakened state however she also had enough power to hold Samuel in the air and stop him from being sent away with the snakes. The largest female snake however was able to remain on the ground and pushed through Tanith’s force, and as it opened its jaws and prepared to strike, Tanith made her final move and blasted the snake’s mouth in the wound that had been created by Samuel, which caused its entire head to explode.
The strain was enough to knock Tanith out, and as all three of the time travellers lay unconscious on the ground the other three snakes returned and prepared to swallow them, but thankfully they would be saved by both the Vitox and their four companions. Together, they dealt with the snake beasts. Carlene took a high explosive out of her beehive and lured one of the snakes away from the others with the help of Anck Su Namun, who jumped into its mouth. Using her supernatural strength Anck Su Namun kept the snakes jaws open long enough for Carlene to leap into them and drop the bomb down its throat before both women jumped out and ran as fast as they could. The snake was blown apart completely from the inside. Tarkan meanwhile using one of the Vitox’s weapons flew his head inside the snake, then released the weapon from the inside. (The weapon was designed to poison the creature.)
On the outside Dionne said the snake’s entire body appeared to rust before it collapsed on the earth, after which it dissolved into a puddle of yellow slime, which soon dried up completely and was blown away in the wind.
Dionne and the rest of the vitox meanwhile struggled somewhat with their snake as their weapons were more basic. They were able to cut the monsters strong skin, with Dionne producing a nasty cut in its forehead. Carlene, Anck Su Namun and Tarkan soon joined in, but even they were not able to get past the snake. Tarkan tried the same trick again, but the snake this time swung round with its tail, as unlike the other snake it was more cautious after its wound. The tail missed Tarken but caused him to drop the poison which soon congealed on the floor. At the same time the tail hit Dionne, Anck Su Namun and Carlene, as well as several of the Vitox, knocking them all backwards. The snake then turned round and scooped up two of the Vitox, but before it could swallow them, Samuel threw one of his weapons into the wound created by Dionne’s sword, which blew out its eye, causing the beast to drop the Vitox and collapse to the ground.
For a second they thought it was dead, but when Dionne and two of the Vitox got near the snake reared up and went in to bite them both, only for Amy to then jump onto its head. Though the snake still had enough strength to thrash around, Amy was able to dig her claws into its eye wound and rip the entire top section of its head above its jaw off completely.
Again even though they were monsters, Dionne felt sick at the sight around her. They all did except for the Vitox who were dancing with joy at having slain some of their enemies. It had been a long while since any of them had been able to take down four of these monsters at the one time. For a moment the Vitox even seemed to forget that Carlene was a vampire and one of them even tried to dance with her.
Samuel would carry Tanith back to the cave with the others, who were all given a warm welcome this time for helping to slay the snakes.
The leader promised to allow them to stay two nights in the cave before they would have to move on. Tarkan however, not wanting to waste the opportunity instead asked for their help in finding the dark wood.
As soon as that name was mentioned, the leaders good mood instantly vanished. He wasn’t angry however, but terrified.
“When you see the kind of place we live. The horrors we deal with every day, and then consider the fact that even we are terrified of going near the black wood. Only a fool or a madman would even try.” The leader warned Tarkan.
Just then however Dionne interrupted. Though Tarkan was the leader, he understood that Dionne had more experience of Tairos than anyone there, even if this was a very different Tairos to the one she knew, and he basically let her take over.
“I have been there. I even entered the cave of the Terrible One, yet here I am. We, I know exactly what we are getting in for, but we have no choice. Please.” She asked.
The leader did not know what to say. He felt Dionne had to be insane. No one could possibly have survived the Terrible One’s cave. Dionne actually thought it would be a historical fact by now about her previous adventure into the Terrible One’s cave, but sadly at least around these parts it wasn’t and even with everything they lived alongside, they found her claims of having travelled through time somewhat improbable.
Still at the same time the leader knew he now owed Dionne and the others again for helping to kill some of their enemies, and so he agreed to help these strange travellers by summoning an old ally, the city of Karsen.
Dionne had never heard of it, as the metropolis had been founded sometime after the vampire war by survivors of the cities that had been completely destroyed. They hoped through pulling their resources together that they could create a city that would help the other surviving cities recover and unite them. It eventually became largely isolationist however, as the problems with the warring cities and tribes petty problems became too great after they lost the mutual enemy of the vampire horde. Though some have argued that Karsen simply wanted to take them over. Either way however, Karsen had surprisingly remained close to the Vitox.
It had come from when one of the Karsen’s rival cities had wanted to build a base in the ruins of Dynamos, in the hopes of gaining access to its secrets on how to build and hyberdise Dinosaurs. The Vitox sided with the Karsen, who though also interested in gaining access to those secrets, were smart enough to try a softer approach with the Vitox, not only helping them drive out a force that wanted to colonise their area, but supplying them with help in other respects. The Vitox for their part would allow the Karsen to utilise some of their secrets, though both parties would largely remain separate, and there would still be some conflict between the two.
Overall however at least their current leader had a great relationship with the Karsen, and as soon as he contacted them via magic, a small rescue team was sent out, which arrived by the end of the day.
The rescue team travelled through the desert inside a Triceratops. Using a combination of their own magics and those from Dynamos, Karsen had created Dinosaurs that had their centres hollowed out and could be piloted as vehicles themselves.
These Dinosaurs were not only larger, (obviously to accommodate having humans inside them.) They were also stronger and more durable too. The Karsen always insisted that the Dinosaurs did not suffer. They were placed into a trance like state when given commands and had no idea of what they were doing, when carrying them out, only waking up once the command was done. The rest of the time they could enjoy themselves and actually lived better lives than the animals who had been used as beasts of burden by other cities in a more traditional way.
Still many naturally found the practice cruel and exploitative and Dionne herself resented having to travel this way.
Sadly however the Family had no choice, as ultimately whilst the leader didn’t promise anything. The city of Karsen would be much more likely to help them, given their resources than the Vitox.
When the Triceratops arrived, the Family could see right away that it was no ordinary Dinosaur. It stood over 30 feet tall, and was over 70 feet long, whilst its skin was bright gold, though its horns appeared to made of platinum, whilst its eyes were green.
The Dinosaurs back opened up straight down the middle and a stair case soon emerged from the left hand side, which the family climbed up.
Inside the Dinosaur was rather fetching, at least Dionne begrudgingly admitted to me. There was a bar, a comfort area with several couches, a book case and even a television set.
Dionne instantly headed for the bar, as did most of the family after the day they’d had.
The Vitox bid them all farewell as the Dinosaurs back closed and the giant, golden Ceratopsian made its way through the desert ahead. The Dinosaur was too big to be bothered even by most of the horrors in the desert.
There was a scanner on each side of the inside of the Triceratops which allowed the family to see outside.
As much as Dionne may have hated the exploitation of a Dinosaur, she couldn’t help but admit that she was glad she didn’t have to walk through that nightmarish place.
Among the many sights they saw on the journey to Karsen, included a large Griffin creature scooping up a centaur in its claws, in much the same way an Eagle would a rabbit. They also saw a large area of the ruins of Dynamos, which appeared empty from a distance, but once they got closer to them, dozens of horrible mutations emerged.
These creatures had long, thin, crest like heads, pale white skin, mouths transfixed into hideous toothy grins, and no other facial features. Fortunately they didn’t give the Triceratops much trouble other than throwing rocks at it.
They also passed a vulture eating the corpse of a human, only for the corpse to come alive and devour the vulture. Dionne definitely needed a drink or two after that one.
However after an hour or so of travelling, they soon came across the one creature that could harm them. The Drasker.
The creature crawled over a nearby hill and very nearly pounced on the Triceratops, being a lot faster than its gargantuan body would have suggested.
The Triceratops ran as fast as it could, but not only was the Drasker fast, the entire ground around the Triceratops was shaking from the Draskers presence, making it hard to keep its balance. Carlene and Tanith attempted to hold the monster off, by climbing out of the monsters open back, and hurling whatever they could at the hybrid Dinosaur.
Tanith hit it with all the magic she could, whilst Carlene threw the most powerful explosives she had in her beehive at the Dinosaur monster. Nothing even slowed it down for a second. Even when they deliberately went for its eyes, the Dinosaur didn’t even blink and carried on with just as much relentlessness. Tanith very nearly fell from the side of the Triceratops the ground shook so badly, though fortunately Carlene managed to catch her in time.
With no other choice, one of the rescue team climbed to the top of the Triceratops and held up a glowing sphere. This device was capable of attracting any magical creature in the nearby area. It was only be used as a last resort for obvious reasons, but there was literally nothing else they could have done against the Dinosaur.
Just then several more bony Dinosaurs emerged from around them, including a Styracosaurus, several Kentrosaurus, Brachiosaurus and Hadrosaurs, as well as many gigantic, griffins and even a few flaming Dragons. Whilst all would normally flee at the sight of the Drasker, the sphere temporarily had too strong a hold over them, though it could not control them completely, it simply influence them.
The Drasker started to attack the other monsters, who as a response were instantly snapped out of their trance and began to fight back.
The Triceratops, narrowly managed to slip past the monsters and make its way out into the wider desert. Before they retreated back inside, Carlene and Tanith saw the Drasker from the distance kill most of the attacking monsters, before driving the few survivors away. Fortunately for the Family however it had two dead Griffins to feast on now so it wouldn’t given them any more trouble.
After another couple of hours, the Triceratops finally reached their destination, the city of Karser. Now the real mission could begin.