Welcome to the thrilling climax of the Blackdrifter’s Saga—a cosmic journey filled with action, intrigue, and cosmic mysteries. In this concluding chapter, our heroes face an unimaginable revelation as the vile Void, Azathogros, infiltrates the once-secure realm of Purgata, threatening the very fabric of the Hypostasis.

This is part three of a three part series.

Click Here for Part One.
Click Here for Part Two.

Joined by the enigmatic Archon, Galladriel, and the resolute Xanthe of the Martial Vanguard, Thorne takes charge, leading them on a desperate quest to confront the malevolent void and its nefarious schemes.

Witness breathtaking battles against cosmic horrors, profound discoveries that shake the Hypostasis’ foundation, and the cosmic dance between light and darkness as our heroes brace against the Void’s onslaught.

Unravel mysteries, confront terrors beyond the stars, and discover whether hope can shine through the darkest abyss. The fate of the Hypostasis hangs in the balance—immerse yourself in the electrifying conclusion of the Blackdrifter’s Saga.

“One thing that has escaped me so far, is the presence of the Shub-Nagarr on Aesculpa. You see, Eridan here was able to detect their presence moments before he met his end. Or at least, he thought it was the Shub-Nagarr he had detected.” Thorne rounded on Galladriel, inching closer as Eridan closed in from her side. “I was only present for his first experience with them, but one fun little discrepancy he’s insistent upon is seeing the black in the Shub-Nagarr’s eyes as it attacked him on that rooftop in Zephyria.”

“Oh? So the shape-shifters on Aesculpa have a tell?” Galladriel asked, intrigued.

“In fact, I don’t believe the Shub-Nagarr do.” Thorne mused, a hint of a smile tracing his lips behind his implacable mask. “I’ll let our new friend the Blackdrifter demonstrate what I mean. Eridan, if you will, please allow Galladriel to access your memory from your initial encounter with the Shub-Nagarr.”

Eridan takes a knee next to Galladriel, removing his helm. Galladriel turns, considering him for a moment, then gently lays a hand to his forehead, closing her eyes and taking a deep inhale of air. The rooftop scene, the rain, the sounds of war all flood galladriel’s senses at once as she’s transported to that Rooftop in Zephyria to bear witness to the spectacle of the Shub-Nagarr invasion. Near the end of the vision, before the creature is sucked into the black-hole spawned by Thorne, she observes the black void-like eyes of the creature attacking Eridan. Opening her eyes once more, “Then I’ll take your meaning now, because I see eyes as black as the void when I look upon the gaze of one of those disdainful creatures in his memory.” Galladriel responds curtly.

“I can do better, I can show both of you the truth.” Thorne said, raising his hands as he began to channel his powers to project what he himself witnessed on the rooftop first hand.

“Thorne, the void creature, you mustn’t use the flux!” Galladriel exclaims as the sky above Purgata begins to quake and rumble restlessly at the use of Zoe-Tropic Energy.

Ignoring Galladriel, and the rumblings of the Nyarlathotep straining against the shield protecting Purgata, Thorne continued. “It is your honor-bound duty Galladriel, Archon of the In-Between to look upon the truth. You, Eridan, the Blackdrifter, you as well must see the truth of your experience as I have seen it; unfiltered and unaffected by taint of the void.”

Galladriel watched impatiently, while the Blackdrifter remained kneeling beside her watching in astonishment as the memory projected by thorne showed two views simultaneously. The horrified face of Eridan as he struggled against the beast and presumably, through the other face of the black-hole projection we see the face of the distorted doppleganger attacking him, with clear, normal piercing but crazed blue eyes.

“No tell-tale black eyes there, are there?” Thorne noted, voice dripping with sarcasm.

“What is the meaning of this?” Galladriel asked, withdrawing the hand she had used to scan Eridan’s mind to her chest as if comforting a burn, looking down at the Blackdrifter who kneeled in disbelief beside her. “Your memories, they’ve been manipulated!”

Eridan rose to his feet, unsteady. “I don’t understand. If my memories have been manipulated, then why was I able to see the black eyes on the attendees of the peace accords?”

“Ah, yes. That’s the question isn’t it. We assumed the Shub-Nagarr arrived alone. What if they didn’t? What if there was another void creature even more insidious than the Shub-Nagarr. A psychic Virus made of nightmares and unbridled primordial terror? What’s more horrific, this would be the first that demonstrates the capacity for manipulation and machination.” Thorne paced the floor of his quarters,  thinking out loud now.

“Yes, there is another void creature at play here. Azathogros. The ‘Dreamer in the Dark.'” Thorne, stopped at the balcony overlooking the Great Spire. Gesturing to the sky with a flourish of his wrist, Thorne let loose a wisp of Zoe-Tropic Energy causing the Nyarlathotep in orbit to writhe and strain against the protective shield preventing it from getting into purgata. “The Nyarlathotep arriving here in Purgata brought with it a psychic plague. You’ve said yourself, Galladriel, there are thousands here in Purgata affected by this Azathogros that you’ve experienced. Perhaps thousands more that you haven’t encountered yet. And we must take action to root it out. Now I implore you, let me take action! I’m asking out of respect for your dominion over Purgata, but as a Chief Archon, you know I don’t need to ask.”

A tense silence fell over the room. Thorne remained on the balcony looking up at the stain of the Void Creature over the skies of Purgata.

The Blackdrifter stood uncertainly next to Galladriel, looking from Thorne, to her and back, when realization dawned on him. “So what you’re saying, Lord Thorne, is that if we think of the shub-nagarr as a parasite… The Azathogros is in some kind of symbiotic relationship with this parasite? Sort of like it’s riding piggy-back?”

“No, I think we’re looking at something a little more complex than that, dear Blackdrifter. The Azathogros manipulated your memories, yes. But I fear they also infiltrated your waking consciousness as well. The other Mortal souls here stained by the Azathogros are merely caught in traumatic loops made up by the creature and planted in their consciousnesses. Similar, but different. Your memories were manipulated with purpose. Subterfuge even. I would venture that your close contact with the Shub-Nagarr exposed you to the Azathogros, and that you were psychically affected from the evening of the rooftop incident onward. I’m of the mind that there are true machinations at work here, and I believe we’ve just spotted the mastermind.”

Thorne, with his back to the room raised a hand, radiating with Zoe-tropic energy, slowly closing it into a fist. The sky quaked, and Galladriel bristled. “Thorne, this is the last time I’ll ask you – refrain from using your powers in my domain!”

Once again ignoring Galladriel, Thorne asked without turning, “Tell me Blackdrifter, right now, what color are the Archon of the In-Between’s Eyes?”

As the Blackdrifter locked eyes with Galladriel, he saw the void staring back at him—a darkness that mirrored his own inner turmoil. Without hesitation, he seized her wrist, their connection unspoken but understood. The Blackdrifter delved deep within himself, tapping into the wellspring of pain and existential dread that lay dormant within his being. With a surge of determination, he unleashed a torrent of Zoe-Tropic energy, shrouding both of them in a swirling shadow that engulfed their forms. In an instant, they vanished from Thorne’s sight, leaving him alone on the balcony.

Thorne turned to survey the empty room, his mind focused on the task at hand. He leaped from the balcony, his essence dividing into countless individual forms that took to the trembling skies. The ground quaked beneath them, the strain of the Nyarlathotep’s presence testing the limits of the protective shield. Thorne engaged the creature in a fierce battle, luring it away from the skies of Purgata.

As he escaped the reach of Galladriel’s shield binding, Thorne felt his full power returning to him, and shedding his corporeal form, transformed into a grand celestial being—a moon-sized obsidian angel that grappled with the monstrous Nyarlathotep. The creature unleashed a brilliant beacon of Zoe-Tropic energy, draining Thorne’s power at an alarming rate. With unyielding resolve, Thorne pushed himself to the brink, summoning all the energy he could muster. Summoning a black hole, with tremendous effort, Thorne cast the writhing Nyarlathotep into the abyss, sealing it away with a final, resounding scream.

Returning to his mortal form, Thorne reformed on the surface of Purgata outside the Grand Spire. He cast his gaze upon the bindings that restrained his powers, realizing that it was time to break free from their constraints. With calculated precision, he unraveled the threads that held him captive, causing the protective shield around Purgata to crumble. Now unbound, Thorne turned his attention to the gathered masses on the steps leading to the Grand Spire. The fate of Galladriel and the lost souls of Purgata weighed heavily on his mind.

Taking to the sky once more, Thorne divided his essence, dispersing himself across the expanse of Purgata. His psychic reach extended far and wide, delving deep into the realm to locate the pervasive stain of Azathogros that plagued its inhabitants. Driven by an unwavering determination to eradicate this insidious presence, Thorne embarked on his next crucial mission—to ascend the tormented souls affected by Azathogros, expelling the creature from their psyches and, with any luck, purging it entirely from Purgata. Allowing it to persist would only result in its relentless spread through the Hypostasis, as the tainted souls reincarnated and carried the infection throughout the realm. However, the magnitude of the afflicted posed an immense challenge, one that even a mighty Archon like Thorne could not conquer alone.

Filled with frustration over his limitations, Thorne returned to the steps of the Grand Spire. The gravity of the situation weighed heavily on his mind, as the infection of Azathogros continued to extend its tendrils into the minds of countless souls in Purgata. Immediate action was imperative, yet the rigid structures and aversion to disruption within the Council presented a formidable obstacle. Finding a solution seemed increasingly daunting as Thorne grappled with the Council’s resistance to unconventional measures in the face of such a dire threat.

As he contemplated his options, Thorne acknowledged that the Council as a whole would reject his plan. Ascending millions of souls to the rank of Aspect was an unprecedented move, one that would disrupt the delicate balance of power within the Hypostasis. But in the face of the invisible menace that was Azathogros, Thorne saw no other viable path.

His thoughts turned to the members of the Council, each with their own strengths and biases. Cygnus and Calantha, guardians of celestial bodies and mystical arts respectively, would be unlikely to consider his drastic proposal. Their rigid perspectives on the functioning of the Hypostasis limited their ability to grasp the severity of the threat.

Aria and Oriel, with their roles in diplomacy and policing, harbored deep-seated suspicions toward Thorne. Their inherent distrust made it unlikely that they would support any plan he put forth. As for Orin, the master of shadows and covert operations, he had his own intricate web of secrets to protect and would hesitate to draw unwanted attention.

There was only one option left—Xanthe, the Archon of Solar Flares and Commander of the Martial Vanguard. As someone responsible for leading the armed forces, she would understand the necessity of marshaling additional troops to combat the insidious infection of Azathogros. Thorne believed that Xanthe’s practical mindset and grasp of the dire situation made her his best chance at garnering support.

With conviction, Thorne reached out across the cosmic symphony, sending a resonating call to Xanthe. His message carried the weight of urgency and the plea for her presence at the Grand Spire in Purgata. As he waited, Thorne knew that the fate of Purgata and the fight against the Void rested in Xanthe’s hands. He could only hope that she would see the necessity and join him in his quest to protect the Hypostasis from the encroaching darkness.

As the formless black void envelops them, Galladriel unleashes her wrath upon the Blackdrifter, demanding to be returned to Purgata. With a furious struggle, she breaks free from his grasp, her figure floating within the depths of the shadowy abyss.

The Blackdrifter remains resolute, his voice calm amidst the chaos. “Lord Thorne didn’t provide specific instructions, but I know that returning you to Purgata is not the solution we seek.” His words carry a sense of determination, a testament to his conviction.

Galladriel’s voice echoes with a twisted distortion, her form contorting as the presence of Azathogros intertwines with her being. Inky black tendrils of void energy coil around her, exuding an aura of malevolence. She sneers at the Blackdrifter, her voice laced with a venomous threat. “I possess countless experiences that surpass your feeble understanding. You cannot fathom the ways in which I can end you. I will tear you limb from limb and turn this place into your eternal prison. What do you have against the power of an Archon, A spark before a flame?”

Undeterred by her taunts, the Blackdrifter reaches deep within himself, drawing upon the wellspring of his Zoe-Tropic flame. With a focused gaze, he materializes a massive lance made of pure zoe-tropic energy, its brilliance illuminating the darkness. A flicker of confidence gleams in his eyes as he responds, “Well, I do have this…”

The clash begins, a battle of cosmic forces unleashed within the depths of the pocket dimension. Azathogros, sensing the threat posed by the Blackdrifter, interjects with a chilling declaration. “We’re so close to the council now. We’ll not be stopped by the likes of you!”

In a sudden surge, Azathogros strikes out, driving a tendril of pure void energy directly into the third eye of the Blackdrifter. The visor of his helm shatters, releasing a burst of cosmic energy. Additional tentacled restraints ensnare him, binding him within the grip of the void.

As the darkness tightens its hold, Eridan’s mind is assaulted by a deluge of unimaginable horrors. Visions of personal tragedies, global cataclysms, and cosmic calamities flood his consciousness. The weight of despair threatens to consume him, his spirit teetering on the edge of surrender.

But within the depths of his being, the spark of resilience ignites. The Blackdrifter strains, refusing to succumb to the overwhelming darkness. He taps into the essence of his Zoe-Tropic flame, channeling its radiant power.

With a surge of determination, Eridan unleashes a burst of celestial energy, shattering the encroaching tendrils and casting aside the suffocating grip of Azathogros. The pocket dimension trembles under the intensity of their battle, its very fabric warping and distorting.

Reclaiming his stance, the Blackdrifter stands tall, his body emanating a radiant aura. His eyes, filled with unwavering resolve, lock onto the form of Azathogros. It is here, in the heart of darkness, that Eridan realizes the true depth of his power as a cosmic knight.

With each strike, he channels the harmonious symphony of the cosmos, melding his strength with the celestial bodies that surround him. Waves of cosmic energy crash upon Azathogros, the force of his blows shaking the very foundations of the pocket dimension.

As the battle rages on, Azathogros attempts to manipulate Eridan’s mind, weaving illusions and projecting false visions. Yet, the Blackdrifter’s heightened perception allows him to discern truth from deception. He fights with unwavering determination, his movements guided by the celestial rhythm that courses through his veins.

In a climactic moment, Eridan gathers every ounce of his cosmic might. He focuses his energy, channeling the essence of his Zoe-Tropic flame into a concentrated blast of pure celestial power. The lance becomes a conduit, magnifying the cosmic energy as he unleashes a devastating strike upon Azathogros.

The creature writhes in agony, its form quivering and weakening under the onslaught of cosmic forces. Sensing its imminent defeat, Azathogros recoils, its once imposing presence faltering in the face of the Blackdrifter’s unwavering resolve. Briefly, the horrific visage of Azathogros is broken, allowing Eridan to see through to a bloodied and bruised, Galladriel being dragged through a Portal as Azathogros takes her with it back to the Void from whence it came.

Eridan stands amidst the dissipating remnants of the pocket dimension. His breaths are heavy, his body trembling with the exertion of cosmic combat. He has emerged victorious, having harnessed the power of the cosmic knight to overcome the insidious grip of Azathogros.

The Blackdrifter then turns his gaze towards the fading portal through which Galladriel disappeared. Determined to rescue her from the clutches of the void, he sets forth, embodying the valor and resilience of the cosmic knight. The fate of Galladriel, the Astral Assemblage, and the Hypostasis itself hangs in the balance as Eridan embraces his destiny as the Blackdrifter.

“If I do this, you’ll carry this stain upon your being until we find a way to seal the void rifts permanently,” Thorne warns, his voice heavy with the weight of the decision.

“Purgata needs its Archon, Lord Thorne,” the Blackdrifter responds, determination resonating in his voice.

“So be it,” Thorne states grimly, accepting the responsibility. He extends his astral hand into the ethereal depths of the Blackdrifter’s pocket dimension, summoning forth a small black hole. Plunging his consciousness into the tear, he delves deep into the void, searching for the elusive veil that separates the material realm from the abyss. Guided by his indomitable will, Thorne finds purchase on the oily, spiny material and pulls, gradually creating a small tear.

The Blackdrifter’s agonized screams reverberate within the confines of the pocket dimension as Thorne persists, his determination unwavering. Casting his consciousness further into the tear, he ventures into the heart of the void, questing for the flickering presence of Galladriel’s energy. As he ventures deeper, a horde of Cthulgrith creatures sense his zoe-tropic essence and converge upon the newly formed tear. Thorne’s voice rings out, urging the Blackdrifter to stow his cosmic lance and rely solely on conventional weapons to avoid drawing unnecessary attention.

Reluctantly, the Blackdrifter extinguishes his cosmic lance, replacing it with his trusty sword and plasma cutter. Meanwhile, Thorne’s search yields success as he enshrouds the seemingly unconscious Galladriel, gently but urgently pulling her back into the pocket dimension alongside himself and the Blackdrifter. The swarm of Cthulgrith closes in, hungry for the power they sense.

“Galladriel, we need you to fight. Can you fight?” Thorne implores, his eyes fixed on the battered and weary Archon.

Driven by inner strength, Galladriel rises to her feet, taking one of Thorne’s swords in her hand. Together, the trio confronts the swarming Cthulgrith, their collective exhaustion tempered by unwavering resolve. With every strike, they push back the relentless horde, their weapons cleaving through the twisted forms of their adversaries. As the Cthulgrith sense the diminishing zoe-tropic energy, their attacks dwindle, and they ultimately recede into the void rift.

On the brink of complete exhaustion, Eridan collapses the pocket dimension, its boundaries folding in on themselves. Overwhelmed by the intensity of their struggle, Eridan succumbs to unconsciousness, his body falling to the floor. The scene fades, leaving a poignant reflection on the heavy price paid by the Blackdrifter in the face of relentless darkness.

Xanthe’s arrival at Thorne’s quarters overlooking the Grand Spire of Purgata brings a renewed sense of purpose to the room. Thorne, Galladriel, and the Blackdrifter gather, their focus fixated on the task at hand—neutralizing the threat of Azathogros by ascending the infected souls to the rank of Aspects.

As Thorne lays down the law, stating that Galladriel cannot participate in the Ascension due to the uncertainty surrounding the effect of Azathogros on her abilities as an Archon, tension fills the room. Galladriel’s anger flares, her eyes burning with defiance. However, Xanthe steps forward, offering a proposal to appease Galladriel’s frustration. She suggests that the Ascended be evenly divided among the Martial Vanguard, where they will serve as defenders of the Hypostasis and be stationed in Purgata.

With the plan in place and roles assigned, Thorne, Xanthe, and the Blackdrifter prepare to embark on the arduous task of Ascension. Galladriel remains under the vigilant watch of the Blackdrifter, his presence ensuring that the Celestial Flux remains dormant and contained. The team’s synergy is crucial, as any unintended flares of zoe-tropic light could lead to another incursion into the pocket realm where Thorne created the Void Rift to save Galladriel.

Rested and recharged, Thorne and Xanthe stand ready in his quarters, gazing out over the majestic Grand Spire. The moment has arrived. Subdividing their forms, they disperse themselves across the vast expanse of Purgata. Their presence, awash with shimmering zoe-tropic light, permeates the collective psyche of the infected souls. It is a cosmic spectacle, a sight unparalleled in the annals of the Hypostasis. Thousands upon thousands of lost souls, tainted by the insidious touch of Azathogros, are guided towards the path of Ascension.

Exhaustion weighs heavily on Thorne and Xanthe as they stand once more on the balcony of Thorne’s quarters. Victory courses through their veins, but the toll of the ascension process is palpable. Overwhelmed by the echoes of trauma and terror experienced by each ascended soul, Xanthe collapses to the floor, her sobs echoing in the room. The weight of their collective pain becomes almost unbearable.

In the midst of Xanthe’s distress, Galladriel and the Blackdrifter rush to her side, their presence offering solace and support. Thorne, on the other hand, remains seemingly unfazed, his mind shifting gears into detective mode. The pieces of the recent ordeal refuse to fit neatly together, leaving him with a sense of urgency and a barrage of unanswered questions.

The enigma of Azathogros consumes Thorne’s thoughts. What became of this insidious creature? Did it summon the Nyarlathotep, or did it ride the coattails of the ancient entity to infiltrate Purgata? And was Eridan unwittingly the source of the infection that plagued the realm? The very existence of this sentient, insidious psychic virus within one of the most secure locations in the Hypostasis perplexes him.

As Thorne delves deeper into his contemplations, a stark realization dawns upon him. The mass ascension, though successful in its own right, has only deepened the mystery and intensified the threat. The Void, once a force driven purely by insatiable hunger, has revealed a newfound intelligence through Azathogros. Its cryptic declaration about the Council during Eridan’s encounter with the creature sends shivers down Thorne’s spine.

The heart of the Hypostasis now stands squarely in the sights of the Void, a target for its insidious machinations. If the Hypostasis is to emerge triumphant over this looming threat, the Archons find themselves in a race against time. The urgent task at hand is clear—seal the Void Rifts once more, staunch the incursion, and put an end to the lasting damage it could inflict upon their realm.

With determination burning in his eyes, Thorne realizes that the fate of the Hypostasis hangs precariously in the balance. The Archons must act swiftly, drawing upon their combined strength and resilience to navigate the treacherous path ahead. The final battle against the encroaching Void looms on the horizon, demanding unity, unwavering resolve, and a relentless pursuit of the truth that lies at the heart of this cosmic struggle.

As the Blackdrifter’s Saga reaches its gripping conclusion, a new chapter awaits in the vast tapestry of the Astral Assemblage.

In the next deep-dive, uncover the truth that lies hidden within the sacred halls of an ancient temple and it’s role in safeguarding the realms of the Hypostasis from the ever-looming darkness.

Stay tuned as we unlock the secrets of the Sin-Eater and immerse ourselves in the captivating world of the Astral Assemblage, where cosmic wonders and celestial enigmas await. The cosmic symphony continues, and new revelations beckon. Don’t miss this upcoming exploration the Priest Aspect!

Keep your eyes, on the stars, Cosmic Wanderer! And while you’re looking, drop a follow on our twitter: @playAAgames!