Two years passed in this same pattern for them, they grew into their powers and the friendship solidified. Of the five, Maeve, Bryn, and Rumina formed the strongest of friendships. Orion decided that it was time, he took Maeve aside and talked to her. She nodded at whatever it was he had said. The others looked on in concern, wondering what was going to happen to them now. Maeve returned to them and they knew it was time to return, in a hushed whisper Maeve explained what was going to happen.
The descent to Earth would happen in a few moments, they were to be returned to the same spot where they had been left.
*So, they have finally come back. It's about time. "I have waited a long time for your return, now you are mine." Drawled an eerily familiar voice. "Did you honestly think going away for four years would make me forget?" They saw him standing at the edge of the circle, around him was the most demonic band they'd ever seen. Shivers ran down their spins, which they quickly repressed. It would do no good to let their fear show. There were ghouls and ghosts, unnatural forces of nature, and other things that if I described them it would give me nightmares, though you would probably be able to take it all in well.
"We thought nothing of the kind, Donestk." Maeve coolly informed him, one of her eyebrows arched in curiosity. "In fact, if we ever thought about you it was as a bug to be squashed." Bryn stifled a laugh at Maeve's expression as they got into position, quietly standing around her.
"I might have known they'd put the disrespectful little brat in charge."
"Not true, I respect those that deserve respect. You have done nothing to deserve it, so why should I care about what you think?"
He ignored her interruption, "But what do you know about leading? You're just a child, the child of a man who broke under pressure."
"Oh, that's a good one coming from a man who had to find the dregs of society to follow in his mad bid for power." Maeve snorted, "You couldn't even keep a hold of them, so you brought these into the game. And if we're only children, why are you so afraid of us, Donestk? Is it because you know you'll lose?"
"Lose? To a bunch of mangy kids being led by the child of a drunken failure? A man who couldn't live without his pathetic Lynara, your mother?" Maeve reeled under his words as though he'd dealt her a blow to the stomach, he moved in for the kill. "You'll fail just like he did. You will break under the pressure, it's too much for one like you. Weak! You are nothing more than a weak, sniveling, little child. What do you know of true strength and leadership? It is something that someone like you could never understand."
Maeve tried to ignore his taunting for it only brought back memories from her homeland. Though she desperately tried to resist his words, it was as though he was invading her mind and bringing out the memories she'd desperately tried to forget. All she could think about were the words of the villagers and she saw her father, driven into a deep depression after her mother's death.
Rumina looked on in concern, Maeve was shaking. She realized that this was their only chance to beat him. He was his weakest right now, she opened her mouth and defended her friend. "Put a sock in it, you swine! You know nothing about her!"
He turned malevolent eyes to her.
"Ah, my little tornado maker. Your backbone has returned to you, what a surprise. And did you like finding out that your father had another child? One he prefers over you?"
"That's a bald face lie! My father loves me, but you could never understand the true power of a father's love. You with your power hungry mindset!" Rumina shot back, going to Bryn's side. "He'd never treat me as you did Coral. And I'm glad to have a sister!"
"Why deny the truth? He went to her after he lost you, didn't even recognize that he lost you." Donestk fed on the fear he felt emanating from these two. He felt his strength returning.
"He did not!" Bryn shouted at him, casting a glance at her sister. Rumina's face was pale, "Rumina, he's lying. You know he is. How dare you insinuate such a thing, you insufferable pig?"
He looked over at her, a shiver ran down his spine. This was the one that caused him so much trouble, so much fear. "How sweet. You rushing to the defense of your sister, if it hadn't been for her and her mother, you'd have been with your real father. Instead you were raised to a lie."
"Stop it!" Coral's voice rang out in the dark night sky, "He knew you'd seek out Peri and Bryn. I know he went to Peri first, not Bryn. You know nothing about this situation."
His daughter's sudden attack sent his strength into retreat. "Might have known that you'd betray me, my own daughter. How could you do this to your father?" He tried to make her feel guilty for turning him away, "Everything I've ever done has been for you."
She snorted. "You were never a father to me. You've never done anything for me, all you sought was for your own glory. You're own self."
Peri went to Maeve and whispered, "Have you been watching him as he attacked you and the others?"
Maeve nodded and suddenly it hit her like a lightening bolt, fear. It was their fear that made him strong, he fed off of it, gained his strength when they were in doubt. She stood up straight, her dark eyes flashing, snapping out of the paralyzing spell he'd put on her. "Enough of this nonsense!"
Donestk watched in horror as she came to stand before him, deep within the fear which had been building exploded.
"You are a liar and a coward. We shall never be yours. Now!"
It was an amazing sight to see how they worked as one. They compensated for each other, taking on the forces while Maeve and Donestk squared off. Though he was weakened, he was still a force to be reckoned with. Rumina and Coral worked as one to wash away the ghouls and ghosts, while Peri and Bryn faced the unnatural forces. Soon it was only Maeve and Donestk dueling, but she was weakening quickly. While she had youth on her side, he had experience. Rumina sent a gentle wind Maeve's way while Peri blocked his sight long enough for Coral to get her a drink. Bryn used her powers to send extra strength into Maeve, that was enough to buy them some time.
Donestk, though greatly weakened, was tireless in this battle. Maeve thought back to what Orion had told her, *"There is only one way to stop him. It is vital to find his true weakness. Don't judge on appearances, he's a master of illusion."
She noticed that whenever she hit him, it did nothing to faze him. She knew he had to have a weakness, using her mind she called them. *"Girls, we need to attack him as one. It may be our only shot." They tensed, awaiting her orders.
*"Peri, I need you to clear an area around him. Rumina, get him off his feet. Coral, get rid of his protection. He is connected to you, do you know what it is?"
*"I don't know, I think it has something to do with fire."
*"But I've been using fire. Bryn, do you sense anything?"
*"I can't get anything definite. What do you want me to do?"
*"I have no idea. Distract him, okay?" They all awaited her signal and then struck while Donestk was distracted by Bryn's illusion of several Maeves. "It's no use, he's still too powerful."
Then Coral remembered. "That's it!" She was staring at the sky, "Only a pure flame can destroy him."
"Of course! Bryn, remember, you said it all came down to a purification! I'll need your help." Quickly, the two friends caused a flame to form. The bright whiteness of it caused the girls to shield their eyes for a few moments.
Donestk struggled against the tightening bands of the howling wind, knowing what was going to happen, he saw the ancient flame coming his way. "Don't do it! Please, don't." The flames rose up around him, the girls covered their ears against his cries of pain. In moments he was completely surrounded with the white flames as they burned around him.
Coral felt a twinge of something within, this was her father after all. Donestk felt that twinge and reached out for her. "My daughter, come to me." His voice pulled her hypnotically towards him, moving her with slow and steady steps. "Closer, closer." He urged her on towards him.
Coral reached the flames and stopped, suddenly. Something was preventing her from moving towards him, towards the love that he finally promised to give her. To her, it seemed like he was offering water to land deprived of it for to long. "Let me go! Please, let go!" The hold only tightened on her, she looked at her feet and saw the ground climbing up her legs. She looked back at Peri, "No! Let go, please." She was practically in tears.
Peri looked into her eyes, "No. He's lying to you, Donestk only wants a way out of the fire. You would sacrifice your life to free him?"
The sound of the crackling fire was deafening in the night as Coral fought with herself. "I can't. He's my father." She unleashed a wave of water, strong enough to douse the waves. Bryn didn't even think, she leapt into the fire and caught hold of Donestk, holding him within the flames. The water was diverted by Rumina's blast of wind.
Maeve came up behind Coral, "I'm sorry." She said as she knocked her out. The last thing Coral saw was the flames final rise. They watched as the flames finally finished its work till there was nothing left of the two. It was a saddened group that left the field that day after destroying the remainders of the fire.
Maeve watched as the girls greeted their families, the guilt building within her. *If only I hadn't been such a fool. I should have known he'd try to appeal to Coral. Bryn, forgive me. I've let you down, I've let Orion down, but I've let myself down the most. Why wasn't I more watchful of you? He was right, I would fail. Suddenly, she couldn't take it anymore and ran away from it all.
Rumina watched her friend go in concern, but a part of her hated Maeve for what happened to Bryn. *I almost wish I was still in that prison. Maeve, how could you let my sister jump into that fire? It should have been you, you're our leader. That job should have been done by you! Though deep in her heart, she knew Maeve couldn't have done anything to stop Bryn.
Turok sobbed, his little Bryn was gone. He had just found this treasure only to lose it. He knew Rumina was deeply changed by this experience, he himself was filled with a deep rage against the unfairness of it all, why did this have to happen?
Peri stood aside and looked at Coral, "It wasn't your fault."
"If not mine, then whose? Bryn is dead because of me, my actions caused this. If I hadn't listened to what he was telling me, she'd be here now."
"You don't know that. Sometimes things happen and there is no logic or reason for it. Bryn wouldn't want you to do this, she wouldn't want Maeve to blame herself either." Peri sighed, "I hope she's all right."
Coral looked at Peri in surprise, "Maeve? She's a survivor."
"But at what price?"
Orion had watched the battle play out before them in horror: "That wasn't supposed to happen! Get her out of there!"
"Sir, we can't. They are too close." Mushu replied, despair in his voice.
Vishnu smiled, slightly. "She is in there." They looked at him in disbelief. "What? You are always telling us to follow our gut instincts, so I did."
They followed him and saw the badly burned and scarred body. "She won't be going home any time soon, if at all."
Orion turned to Vishnu, a tiny smile within the shadows of his eyes. "Good work."
"Yes? What is it?" Orion again pulled his guilty gaze away from Bryn.
"I would like to take care of her, if you wouldn't mind."
"That is your right." They bowed to each other, then left Vishnu to the grueling work of healing that was before him.
Maeve wondered alone but was guided to her family, finding them two years later. She had been travelling with a group of Celts when she thought she spied a familiar person. Though she was older, she knew Magheen. Those eyes were unmistakable. They had a joyous reunion, though Dermott was surprised to be the older sibling and they couldn't understand how it had happened-even when she tried to explain it. They finally settled into a more comfortable routine, and the previous years faded somewhat from Maeve's mind. They noticed a change in Maeve, she walked with more confidence but seemed afraid to let anyone in.
This one battle shattered the lives of five girls in many different ways. Most put their grief into perspective, but one chose to bury her grief in evil deeds that would cause many pain.
Orion wondered if it was all worth it, looking at Bryn, he found he couldn't help it. But, as he often told his pupil, Dim-Dim, "Everything has a purpose." *Let's just hope I'm right about this.
Several years after that, Maeve met up with Rumina and was forced to fight her. They were both surprised at the changes they saw in each other, both were harder and less forgiving. "Dermott! Look out!" She watched in absolute shock as Dermott turned into a hawk, "Why?"
"Why? I lost my sister but at least I will leave you with your brother." And without another word, Rumina departed.
"Revenge, it was all about revenge." Dermott flew to her arm, resting there. He didn't understand all that had happened but a part of him felt more comfortable this way. Maeve promised to restore him to his real form.
Part of Rumina wept at the pain she had caused her former friend, but another side gloried that she had finally made her pay for her sister. It caused her great pain, even now, to think that she was still living while her sister was not.
Coral met a young inventor named Firouz. His work with the sick and afflicted inspired her to become a doctor. She changed her name to Velda, moving to Scroff. In time, she was able to ignore her powers and be just like everyone else.
Peri worried about the others but finally decided that they had to find their own paths. She traveled around for a while before deciding to stay with her family, eventually she met a young prince and they became the best of friends.
And somewhere, high up in the clouds was the Galaxy where Bryn was slowly recovering.
The End...for now.