Episode 1: The Odyssey Begins
Other episodes coming thereafter: “Battlefield”, and “Final Showdown with The Daemons”.
Prologue: The Marker
A fine year it was in the planet Plit. No mongering for the Crystal Stars existed anymore, nor was there any disturbance having to do with Bowser or Grodus. It was thus tranquil for the time. People carried on their daily lives normally, including the X-Nauts, Koopas, Mushroomers, and other races of Plit. However, this sudden peace was about to end quite abruptly, and by the hands of one archaeologist.
Professor Kolorado Koopa, a renowned archeologist on Plit, had been at an excavation site somewhere in Dry Dry Desert, and just a few miles north of the Oasis. The hot air had been a deathtrap for many of the diggers there, yet they worked for Kolorado tirelessly, breaking their backs if they needed to. The trick was that the site being dug was a strange temple, one that seemed to be tens of thousands of years old.
Kolorado walked over to the site and inspected it. It was an archaic structure with all sorts of ancient scriptures written on parchment, and all of them repeating one thing:
“Death and destruction consume us for all eternity; they are our masters”
Kolorado had no idea what this meant, as it was just scribbled onto the parchment. However, the shrine itself had a clue in its shape; it was large, and shaped into a circle. Every few feet there was an ornately carved spire of twelve feet, and a golden arrow on the floor. Kolorado continued inspecting the place, and finally found that it contained eight points, with one spire in the middle… Somehow it formed the pattern of an eight-pointed star, a star with a circle as its center.
One of Kolorado’s assistants rushed up to him urgently, carrying a sheet of paper, apparently with something written on it.
“Professor,” the assistant said, “we found something of importance.”
“Poppycock, the only useful documentation around here explains doom and things,” Kolorado dismissed. “It’s only a shrine, a very disappointing one I might add.”
“But Professor, this is a map I found pinned to the middle spire!”
Kolorado grabbed the map right out of the assistant’s hand and looked at it. It was an old document; something that was almost turned to ashes by now; it was so well preserved, however. On it were the locations on Plit of the seven Crystal Stars, which were all accounted for, all recorded in their respective locations. There was one minor thing though: there was one too many Crystal Stars recorded, that extra Star being located where Peach’s castle was.
“I don’t quite get it either, Professor,” the assistant assured, looking at the map over Kolorado’s shoulder. “There are only seven Crystal Stars in existence, and they are all found.”
“Wait, chap.” Kolorado shushed his assistant, pointing to the strange writing where the eighth Star was marked. “This strange scripture should offer a clue… yet I cannot translate it because it’s just a bunch of rubbish!”
“It’s a language not known here, let alone on Plit at all.”
“It does seem to be sickening me to the stomach though…” Kolorado complained, feeling a bit ill to the gut, as if it were on fire. He put the map under his hard-helmet before continuing the inspection of the shrine. This was soon stopped when a figure in a hooded black robe came into view from the horizon of the noon sun.
“What in the devil?”
“He seems to be one of those merchant travelers, but what business does a merchant have here?”
“I don’t know, let’s ask him,” Kolorado suggested, walking up to the robed figure and hailing him.
The figure only responded with a harsh glare, his eyes red and his mouth showing a nasty set of jagged sharp teeth, and only asked in a rude tone, “What do you want?”
“Relax, chap, all we’re looking for is information as to why you are trespassing on a privately-funded excavation?” Kolorado retorted.
“Perhaps it’s yours, perhaps, but I came to reclaim what is mine,” with those words, the stranger’s voice was cold and hollow, not a very good sign, “and it seems you also have something that is mine.”
“Poppycock! I found the site, and I’m going to excavate it further!”
“Those words shall be your last spoken words before your destruction, foolish one.” The stranger all of a sudden started to get out of his slouch, revealing that he was a gaunt-faced human with pale skin, the skin having burnt-in tattoos of an eight-pointed star. He lifted his pair of hands, hands with claws rather than fingers, out of his robe and opened his palms, revealing a pair of beady yellow eyes.
“What are you going to do? Blink me to death?” Kolorado mocked, laughing hard while rolling in the sand from doing so.
“No, I’ll give you one more chance; if you do not give up the shrine and the map, I shall obliterate you off the face of this despicable planet.”
“I think not! Not with those two things in your hands!”
“You will learn to regret your insolence,” the figure said, his hand/eyes generating a pair of dark-blue lightning orbs. They circled around him a few times before another pair was generated, and then those followed the others, then another pair. The six orbs continued to circle the stranger until they collected themselves above the stranger and started to form a bigger sphere. The process repeated another two times with Kolorado just ignoring it and with his assistant just sitting there in terrorized awe.
“I think we should run, Professor.” The assistant whimpered, trying to run, but a spire made of bone shot up in front of him, stopping him in his tracks.
“You sealed your fate, fool… and that fate is oblivion,” the stranger said, finally dissipating the orbs. Nothing happened for a few seconds, but then a black storm cloud appeared over Dry Dry Desert, covering everything in that intimate area covered in darkness. The storm soon twisted into a spiral, like a tornado butnot reaching the ground and instead forming a spiral center over Kolorado and his assistant.
“What trickery is this?” Kolorado demanded.
“You’ll see,” the stranger hissed, shooting an evil grin. As he did, the spiral suddenly lit up with a bright blue light, and then the clouds opened, spitting out an enormous beam of blue lightning, one that landed right where the two academic Koopas stood, frying them in their shells. The stranger grinned even more sinisterly as he held out his hand and redirected the beam to split, shooting out bolts of electricity at all the workers and scaffoldings. He laughed coldly, his voice echoing across the expanse of Dry Dry Desert.
Once the clouds and dust cleared from the attack, he looked at where the Koopas had been disintegrated. Surprisingly and disturbingly, the map was untouched. Spell Wards, he thought, picking up the map and placing it into a pocket of his, they worked well for the ancients… and they do just as well for my favor. He walked back to the marker silently, ignoring the fire that still burned from the wooden scaffoldings behind him.
That attack is known as “Wrath of Oblivion,” the raw magic concentrated
into a beam that fries all in its path to a crisp, but can only be used
once in a long time. At first, I was thinking of having an asteroid with
an evil entity in it… but that would be way too predictable. So I tried
a different approach: “why not use a gigantic bolt of lightning?” To all
those Kolorado fans, I’m sorry, but I really had written myself into a
corner when writing the first draft of this chapter… that involved the
sorcerer having his cronies do the work for him.
Chapter 1: Triggering New Events
Toad Town, the center for trade, government, and news alike, was a town generally untouched by the hands of sinister warlords- well, maybe Bowser and his minions a few times, but that doesn’t count- and since this was true, no one ever dared think that something apocalyptic could happen to this peaceful little village. It was almost a blessing to the residents here, making it a perfect haven from bandits like Koopas or Goombas, and from the most sinister of evils, like Smithy. Those days were past now, and those defenders of Toad Town, the Mario Brothers, had grown quite lazy, not doing their best to be vigilant.
Nowadays, they just sat on their bums and carried out a daily routine, until one day…
Mario Mario, the elder but shorter of the “twins”, took a stroll out into Toad Town square. The area was peaceful, what with its suspiciously great morning air and non-evil backing all around it. It seemed all too peaceful, as no one was in Toad Town Square at this time but a figure in dark-purple robes outside of Merlin’s fortunetelling shop. Mario decided to go talk to this stranger just out of politeness.
“Hmm? You’re not cowering in fear like a little girl in a REAL house of terror?” the figure questioned, glaring at Mario with his dark-blue eyes.
“Well no, because it’s-a me, Mario.” Mario responded in all the glamour he could throw together.
“Oh how dramatic, mortal,” the figure retorted sarcastically to Mario’s introduction. “Perhaps a ‘hero’ like yourself needs a little revamping.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s for the good of the world,” the stranger hissed, his voice very cold and disturbing just from the sound of it. He then shifted his eyes toward Peach’s castle. He turned around and pulled out a golden staff with a twisted moon on it, pointing it towards Peach’s castle.
“Say goodbye to your precious princess and castle, Mario,” the sorcerer hissed sinisterly, dark red lightning slowly channeling into his staff.
How did he know? Mario asked himself, leaping at the sorcerer in hopes of saving Toad Town’s only royalty from destruction. He did, with a punch to the sorcerer’s head; it caused a miscast, firing the lightning into the ground, where a portal used to be.
“You insolent worm!” the sorcerer scowled. “You’ve destroyed my spell… thus I shall destroy you!” With that, the sorcerer raised his staff and channeled another bolt of red lightning, only this time aiming for Mario instead of the castle. However, a sudden earthquake knocked the sorcerer off his feet, causing another miscast and backfiring the spell. The red energy shot into the sorcerer’s robed torso and set him on fire. There was a series of loud screams as the evil figure ran from Toad Town as he burned.
Mario sighed, and was about to leave Toad Town Square when he was knocked off his feet by another quake; then another quake, and a quake after that. Then out of the ground where the miscast spell hit came a gigantic stone spire. It continued to shoot up from the ground until it reached a height of fifty feet. Then atop the spire, a flame shot towards the Koopa Kastle, many miles away from Toad Town. In the wake of the fireball lay a bright red light pointing in that direction.
Merlin walked out of his shop after the quakes stopped, along with many Toads and even all of those about to be destroyed in Peach’s castle if that first miscast had been a successful spell.
“Well, well, well,” Merlin said, looking at the top of the spire. “I have never foreseen anything like this in my life. What could it mean?”
Mario shrugged and walked up to the spire. It was a Blackstone structure that was covered in all sorts of spikes and gargoyles, making it an impressive structure altogether. It was old, he could tell, and evil. The light above the spire still showed bright through the land, even brighter than the current sunlight.
“What is this thing?” Mario asked Merlin, ignoring the other Toads staring in awe.
“It is something ancient and evil; come.”
Merlin led Mario back to his fortunetelling shop and uncovered his crystal ball; he peered into it as Mario just sat in a chair to wait for Merlin to tell his vision. After about five minutes, Merlin looked back at Mario with a horrified expression to him.
“Mario, you must hurry to Kastle Koopa…AND NOW!” Merlin sounded heavily worried.
“But why?” Mario questioned.
“Events have been set into motion to end the entire balance Plit has been put into… You must hurry!”
“But why are you in such a worry?”
“I’ll explain later, now you must go to Kastle Koopa; I shall meet you there!”
“Is Bowser-” Mario was interrupted when
Merlin teleported out of the building.
And so the Journey began, that to stop the end of Plit, and the ancient evil released. However, the enemy was plotting to end all life on Plit for mortals just as Mario began the long journey towards Bowser’s Castle. They met that very day at the Marker in Dry Dry Desert. One figure by the name of L’Nasckra (that would be Le-Nask-reh, for those who don’t know how to pronounce that name), was already there after unleashing a cataclysm on the Koopa archeologists uncovering the shrine. He looked around and then stood before the middle spire of the marker.
Soon after, five others entered, one in dark blue robes, another in dark purple robes, one in disgusting puke-green plate armor, and one with pitch-black armor with gold trims. They each took a spot in front of L’Nasckra. This meeting, he was going to ask of their progress.
“Ahh, so my brethren have arrived… What of your progress in uncovering the beacons?” L’Nasckra asked the others.
“Bwuh huh huh huh, I have uncovered a beacon in Plit’s moon… It was hidden by one ‘Lord Crump’, and in a bathroom,” the pot-bellied, green-armored one, Dunkriek, said, sounding almost exactly like Lord Crump but with a much deeper voice. “He was an easy opponent to take down.”
“You sound exactly like him and are as dumb as him too, if I remember, Dunkriek,” the figure in blue robes insulted. The two were rivals for some odd reason that was only explained in philosophy of them; they somehow opposed each other in their ideals in a way. They started bickering over the subject until L’Nasckra stopped them.
“Now, how about your progress, Tabias?” he asked, nodding to the black-armored figure.
“I have stolen the Star Rod as you have requested, Brother,” Tabias said simply, his voice completely ghastly in its sound; it was hard to tell whether he was undead or not because of the horned helmet blocking his head and thus his face as well. He gave L’Nasckra the Star Rod. The thing was unharmed and intact, though about to be the opposite.
“The mighty tool of the Star Spirits…” L’Nasckra whispered to himself. “Such a pity for those who did not unlock its true power.” Immediately he smashed the rod’s star-like head, breaking it into many shards. He then put the rod handle in his pocket.
“We can always replace the head with the eighth Crystal Star,” L’Nasckra said without worry. “Now what of your progress, Aevierith?” He nodded toward the blue-robed figure. This was the smartest and second most powerful of the brothers next to L’Nasckra.
“I managed to ‘take care of’ those Yoshis at Lavalava Island.” Aevierith (that’s A-veer-eth) grumbled, his voice sounding like a mechanical vox that one would hear from Smithy or some similar evil robot bad guys.
“Oh? In what way?” Dunkriek asked. “Mutating them with an extra arm or two again? Bwuh huh huh huh.”
“You are stupid, you know that?” Aevierith retorted, pointing an accusing claw at Dunkriek, who was still laughing stupidly.
“Drop it now!” L’Nasckra ordered, then nodding to the purple-robed figure, Cossack.
“I got burned by a miscast, and chased out of Toad Town by Mario today,” he mumbled somberly. Upon hearing those words, everyone laughed at him, except for Tabias, who was known to have no humor let alone emotion.
“Well, anyway, we should get moving to uncover the other beacons and retrieve the Crystal Stars,” L’Nasckra decided. “You will each head in different directions to find them.”
All of the brethren nodded and played a chorus of their evil laughs; Dunkriek’s being the most stupid-sounding of them. They stopped for a second, and then L’Nasckra added a single order:
“If you find Mario, break his body, mind, and whatever’s not broken, even his hat if you have to be cruel!”
With that, they all left the shrine,
heading off in the direction of each Crystal Star first.
Chapter 2: Forging Another Truce with Enemies? Again?!
Mario had just managed to get to Dark Land, but not before wasting half a week getting supplies that would be inevitably useless (compared to stuff he could find later) before finally taking the warp pipe there. He was about to enter the Keep of the castle, until he heard a voice from atop the walls.
“Bwah?! Mario’s here?” a voice questioned, sounding exactly like Bowser.
“You forgot, already, King Dad?” another voice questioned.
“Oh right, Merlin came here and told us ahead of time.”
“Exactly! And he told us that Mario was the one arriving!”
There was another five minutes of conversation from atop the wall and then the gates opened, opening Bowser’s Castle, and thus some answers. Before this whole ordeal, Merlin’s urgency for Mario to leave was awfully mysterious, and Mario needed some briefing on what exactly was going on. Then there was that spire that had shot out of Toad Town abruptly after that sorcerer left town, but why it had shown a light in the direction of Dark Land in the first place was unknown to everyone except Merlin, who was already there.
Inside Bowser’s Castle, everything was dark, minus the hallways lit by torches, that and there were the usual Koopatrols walking around the area here and there. They paid no attention to Mario as he walked by, though. With no opposition, Mario made it to Bowser’s throne chamber, where King Koopa was sitting lazily, snacking on some Doritos while Merlin kept explaining the situation over and over.
“...and that is why you should get off that throne and start to combat this menace before it grows too strong!” Merlin completed an explanation just as Mario walked closer. The lazily snacking Bowser just moaned and glared at Merlin.
“Hey, I’ve grown too old to fight evil… and last time I remember Smithy kicked my butt before I teamed up with Mario.” He growled.
“But that was then, and back then you were a-.” Merlin stopped when he noticed Mario entering. “I see you’re looking for explanation,” he said to replace his insult for Bowser.
“That is correct,” Mario confirmed Merlin’s prediction. “What-a exactly is going on-a here?”
“I’ll put it as short as I can, but it’s a long story,” Merlin began, taking a deep breath before beginning another of his rants, those that Mario usually fell asleep to. “First off, in Dry Dry Desert, Professor Kolorado uncovered a marker of some sorts, one with nine spires that formed an eight-pointed star; here they also found a map with the locations of the seven Crystal Stars, and the location of an eighth one.”
Mario was confused upon hearing about an eighth Crystal Star, for he knew there were only seven. Bowser shrugged and then just said, “Meh, I’m just as confused.”
“Shut up, let me continue!” Merlin ordered. Once there was complete silence from both Bowser and Mario, he continued. “Unfortunately, Kolorado was fried to death by an extremely overpowered lightning bolt. The map was re-recovered by someone else… someone else with intentions on releasing something ancient and evil…”
By now Mario was asleep, and Bowser was only getting slightly bored to death; however, from the throne room door listened three pairs of ears, those of the Koopalings Iggy, Ludwig and Lemmy. The two were very worried about what Merlin was saying; had he gone nuts? Or was this just another of his ranting “predictions”?
“I may have heard of zomthing zimilar,” Ludwig commented, “about how zat dumb archaeologist was uncovering a ztrange marker.”
“Merlin just repeated that, and do you know what he just said?” Lemmy explained and asked.
“Yes, zat zere’s zomeone on Plit ready to cause zome zort of mayhem much greater zen King Dad could plan in a lifetime.”
Lemmy looked at Ludwig and nodded, then turned to Iggy, the Koopaling with large glasses.
“Yep, Lemmy, this is-”
“Bad,” Lemmy finished Iggy’s sentence, like they most often did to each other’s sentences when they were both around. “But what about this eighth Crystal Star?”
“It’s a question zat might be answered once ze more-wordy-than-Morton author switches scenes again for once,” Ludwig grumbled.
Back inside the throne room, Merlin continued his ranting. Bowser snapped Mario awake, as to avoid Merlin yelling again.
“…So this evil I saw in my vision is made of six figures, two warlords and three sorcerers. One of these warlords should be dumber than Lord Crump, and thus very easy to defeat; while the other will not hesitate to slaughter innocents, and is thus a very dangerous opponent.”
“What about the sorcerers?” Mario asked, seeing that there was a plot hole there.
“Oh right, them; anyway, the sorcerers I saw are each very powerful, except the one you fought, Mario, and each owns an army of unworldly minions and humans. For all I know, they could have come from another world. They are perhaps the most powerful opponents on Plit at the moment.”
“Well then, Plit’s been placed in a serious mess by someone else, then,” Bowser guessed.
“Exactly, King Koopa, now my vision showed specifically what they did before meeting at Dry Dry Desert. First, the stupid one destroyed Grodus’s base on the moon and uncovered another spire, similar to the one we found in Toad Town; another spire was pulled out of Lavalava Island. The only similar thing between these structures is that they project an orange light that points here for some odd reason.”
“Maybe the next spire is here,” Mario suggested, still kind of clueless despite the vivid explanation Merlin had given.
“Maybe; it’s still a mystery,” Merlin restarted. “The sorcerers, however, seem motivated to uncover something… like-”
All of a sudden, Iggy, Lemmy, and Ludwig burst into the throne room and all at the same time finished Merlin’s statement.
“The eighth Crystal Star!”
Bowser glared at them with angry eyes, but all they did was back away a little.
“Maybe we should call in the greatest of Plit’s fighters to stop these psychos,” Merlin suggested. Mario agreed to the idea, seeing as a few of his previous adventures had required a team.
“Right, in that case… TO THE DINING
CHAMBER!” Bowser roared, running out of the throne room and into the hallway.
Mario, Merlin, and the Koopalings followed him.
Some many miles away, at Twilight Town, Aevierith and Dunkriek, two of the six evil leaders, were lost. They had originally intended to make their way to Dark Land via an airship, but none could be found in Dry Dry Desert. They then decided to walk, but after being lost about seven times and going down a few wrong turns, they had ended up here.
“You should have kept the map, you nimrod,” Aevierith growled, referring to when Dunkriek had eaten the map thinking it was a slice of roast beef. “Now we’ll never reach Dark Land.”
“Bwuh huh huh huh,” Dunkriek laughed idiotically and then retorted, “I thought you were the genius of our organization.”
“I am, but no genius can navigate an unfamiliar land like this nightmare without a map of some kind.”
“Wait, how about we stop at a cave of no return of some kind?” Dunkriek suggested out of nowhere.
“You know what we decided, I CHOOSE THE MISSIONS, get it?!”
Dunkriek cringed at Aevierith’s enraged outburst, but then stopped cringing as if it hadn’t even affected him.
“I like swords,” he said stupidly.
“Look, we can just continue to Dark Land by asking that weird-looking blob of a shadow with a striped hat for directions,” Aevirith instructed, pointing to a Shadow Siren. The Shadow Siren, in response, smacked Aevierith, who was not really looking when it happened. He was off guard, so he was knocked to the ground, seeing as he was very frail despite the massive power he often wielded.
“Note to self…” he grumbled, “get Tabias to work with me rather than that clod.”
Eventually, an orange light caught Aevierith’s eye. It seemed to be pointing in a certain direction that was important. And then he remembered something: the beacons would show where the uncovered ones were located; knowing that the uncovered one was in Dark Land, Aevierith got up and started walking in the direction of the light.
“Let’s go, Nimrod,” he grumbled, walking out of Twilight Town.