Friday, 25 November 1994

The New Age - Chapter Twelve

    Once again the evil forces of Darkmagus gathered in one of their many strongholds. Sleeper agents, androids and the like gathered in a large hall awaiting their master’s presence. They did not have much longer to wait. Soon Darkmagus appeared on the platform, with Felicia Martins as ever at his side.
    “The Istari must die!” they chanted. “The Acolytes must die!”
    Darkmagus stood in the middle of the stage and raised his arms.
    “My servants, it has begun.”
    A loud cheer rang out. Darkmagus motioned for them to be quiet.
    “In Australia Jonathan Clawman has fallen to Zachary and Beatrice. The attempt to save him failed!”
    A broad smile appeared on Zachary’s face.
    “It again proves how powerful we are my servants.” Darkmagus continued. “There are still five others the Istari have chosen to join their order. They, too, will die!”
    “No one will escape us!”
    “Most of the heroes have rejected our subversion, as expected.” said Darkmagus. “Those that have will die! Those that have not will revel in the luxury of pure power! The heroes, the men and women of influence, all those who join us will win!”
    Another cheer rang out.
    “No one will escape us! We are everywhere!”

    Reports of Merlin and Gandalf’s visit had spread throughout the world. They were being reported everywhere, even television.
    “And finally, another wave of U.F.O. sightings is sweeping the globe. The chairman of Yamanda Industries, Fuji Yamanda, told the Japanese press he was visited by two strange old men last Tuesday. That’s the news for tonight.”

    A strange bubble flew through the air across the skies of London towards a certain mansion. The bubble had been created by Dr. Magus, and inside were Connor and Duncan McCloud. Duncan’s healing was now complete. He felt as fit as a fiddle.
    “Why are you taking me to the mansion Phineas?” Duncan asked.
    “Even though you’re immortal you’re still in danger.” Magus replied. “The best place for you at the moment is there.”
    The sight of the Anglo-Force mansion soon appeared. Magus gently lowered the bubble to the ground, and the two McClouds soon got out. They were greeted by Merlin and Gandalf.
    “Greetings, Duncan McCloud.” said Gandalf. “You will soon be joined by the other Acolytes we have summoned. Then the teaching will begin.”
    It was then that a solemn-looking Adam and Godbold arrived.
    “What’s wrong Adam?” asked Magus.
    “I’m afraid Jonathan Clawman won’t be joining us.” Adam replied. “My brother got to him. He’s dead.”
    “They nearly got us as well.” said Godbold. “That X bloke is in the infirmary getting treated.”
    Merlin placed his hand on his head. He seemed to be in some pain.
    “Are you okay?” asked Connor.
    “It is nothing.” Merlin replied. “Just grief at losing one of the chosen.”
    Duncan began to shake his head.
    “Listen, I still don’t like this.” he said. “I’ve got my own battle to fight. I must prepare myself for the Gathering.”
    “The Gathering will mean nothing to you when this is over.” said Gandalf. “However, you do have the right to reject us.”
    “But you’ve already lost one. Didn’t you choose only six?”
    “We allowed for attrition.” said Merlin.
    The look of doubt was still on Duncan’s face.
    The conversation ended when a car pulled up. Magus recognised it. It belonged to Frank Burns. A smile appeared on Magus’ face when he saw a passenger - Detlev Heiss. However, the smiled vanished when he saw someone on the back seat - an injured Jock Muir. Burns and Heiss soon got out of the car. Magus quickly opened the back seat. There was blood coming out of a stomach wound.
    “What happened?” asked Magus.
    “I’d just picked up Detlev from the station when we saw him lying in the road.” said Burns. “He was delirious. He kept saying one name over and over - Felicia.”
    “Felicia Martins?” said Duncan.
    “It would appear.” said Magus. “It seems that my brother has gained another victory.”
    Magus got into the car and looked at Muir’s wound. He shook his head.
    “We must get him to the infirmary, quickly.”
    It was a few minutes later when Muir lay on the examination table. X was still in the infirmary and got off his bed when they entered.
    “What happened?” he asked.
    “One of Darkmagus’ stooges attacked him.” said Connor.
    “Please, everyone get out of the way.” said Magus. “It will make my job far easier!”
    Magus began to examine the wound. He did this for a number of minutes. Afterwards he bowed his head low.
    “He’s lost too much blood. That coupled with his age…I’m afraid there’s not much I can do.”
    “There must be something!” said X. “There must be!”£
    “I can’t!” said Magus. “I should never have contacted him, or any of the old Anglo-Force, you’re just too old!”
    Magus began to walk away. He walked over to the bed and sat down. After a few minutes he got to his feet.
    “There may be one thing!” he said.
    And with that Magus rushed out of the infirmary and out to his car. He reached in and took out a doctor’s bag. Reaching into the bag he took out a small bottle. The bottle contained a clear liquid. A few minutes later he was back in the infirmary. He walked over to the examination table.
    “What is that?” asked Burns.
    “Perhaps the only thing that can save Jock.” Magus replied. “The Elixir of Youth.”
    Magus opened the bottle and held up Muir’s head. He then poured some of the liquid into Muir’s mouth, and then onto Muir’s wound. Lowering his head Magus then stepped back. They watched in wonder as the elixir began to take effect. The gaping stomach wound vanished within seconds. Then, to the astonishment of everyone else, Muir began to get younger. After a few seconds he looked like a man in his late-forties, early-fifties. His eyes soon opened and he looked up at Magus.
    “What happened?” he asked. “I haven’t felt like this since…”
    “The war?” asked Magus. “You were dying. The only way I could save you was with the Elixir of Youth. As well as healing your injuries it reversed some of the ageing process. Physically I said you’ve lost about thirty, perhaps forty years.”
    “If I’d been forty years younger than Felicia Martins would never have caught me off guard like that. As an old man I was pretty useless to your cause. But now I feel as strong as an ox!”
    “Jock’s right.” said Burns. “We are useless like this. If Detlev and I were younger we would be able to contribute more.”
    “I think I know what you’re saying.” said Magus. “But there are great risk involved. Immortality, or virtual immortality, is nothing to be sniffed at.”
    “It’s the only way we can help you against Darkmagus.” said Heiss. “You helped me over fifty years ago Phineas after Darkmagus killed my wife. Now let me help you.”
    Magus looked at Burns.
    “And there’s no way I can talk you out of this?”
    “No.”
    Magus walked towards Burns and Heiss. He first handed the bottle to Burns, and then to Heiss.
    “You must not drink too much.” said Magus. “An infant would be no help to us!”
    Slowly the transformation took place. As they had no wounds to heal it was quicker. Within a minute Burns and Heiss now looked as young as Muir.
    “The process is complete.” said Magus.
    “It certainly seems to have had it’s desired effect.” said Burns.
    “And what about Connor and Poseidon?” asked Muir.
    “Connor, as an immortal, does not need it.” said Magus. “Atlanteans have a slower ageing rate than normal humans. He, also, has no need of the elixir.”
    “Well, now we’re ready for anything.” said Muir. “Perhaps after this is over we can reform our Anglo-Force!”

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