These stories are fan-fiction, and are not intended to infringe on the rights of others in any way. The Thundercats characters are copyrighted by Lorimar Telepictures, Rankin-Bass Productions, Turner Broadcasting, or whoever owns the current rights. I post this freely, and make no profit other than the satisfaction that my fellow fans and I get from these stories. Enjoy!Chapter Seven: Bad Magic
The twins gave their thanks to the wallab innkeepers and set out on their journey. The town of Lillyville was only a few miles to the west and WildKat couldn’t wait to fire up his spaceboard. Now that the sun was up, WilyKit and WildKat could see how beautiful the landscape was. The background smell in the air was very different, but pleasant: it told of the strange flowers and trees that lived on this continent. The birds also looked and sounded different. Everywhere WilyKit looked, there was something familiar yet different once she got up close. Her two years among the Warrior Maidens had made her much more observant of the surroundings. WildKat, on the other hand, was impatient.
“Haven’t you sniffed enough flowers, Kit? Let’s go!”
“Hold on, Kat. I’m checking out what’s edible and what’s not.”
“Who cares? We have our survival packs… come on!”
“You’ll care when we run out of food. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.”
“Oh yeah, ‘Warrior Maiden WilyKit.’ I forgot.”
WilyKit felt a flash of anger but didn’t show it. “You’ll be begging me for berries soon enough, brother.”
WildKat was about to say something, but the reasoning part of his psyche knew she was right. He propped his spaceboard against a tree, kicked back against a rock, and watched his sister. His curiosity was aroused as she made light scrapes against her skin, brushed various herbs and whatnot against the scratches and noted the reactions. She was also crushing different berries, sniffing, tasting, and spitting some of them out. Whatever she had learned from the Warrior Maidens must have been intensive. It was interesting watching her analyze the foliage. WildKat admitted to himself he would be starving before even thinking about touching any foreign berry or vegetable.
“Okay, WilyKat… these and these are safe for sure. These, I’m not sure of… and these are deadly.”
WildKat looked at the different berries inquisitively. The ones she said were safe were everywhere, so he supposed they wouldn’t have trouble finding something to eat. He picked a couple different berries himself and sniffed them. “Are you sure these are safe?”
“Yes, they pass the five tests.”
“What five tests?”
“Something the maidens taught me.” She ate a handful of both kinds of berries. “Watch… I won’t drop dead, okay?” WilyKit activated her spaceboard and jumped on. “Coming?”
WildKat grinned. “I thought you’d never ask, sis!”
Jackalman was startled by Monkian creeping up on him. “What do you want?”
“Hoo… that girl over there… she’s part of your family!”
Jackalman turned his head to look Monkian fully in the eyes. “What? And how do you draw such a conclusion, detective Monkian?”
Monkian smiled and tapped an index finger against his nose. “The nose doesn’t lie… you should know.”
Jackalman started to frown as Monkian turned around and rejoined the game he was playing with the kids. He looked towards Racina, who was sitting alone against the wall away from the others. Shrugging, he slowly got up and walked over to her.
“There, there…” Jackalman said as he gently wiped a tear away with his thumb. “You will be just fine… trust me.”
Racina sniffed and looked up at him. “Sit with me?”
“Of course. They don’t want to hurt any of us, they’re just trying to get to the Thundercats.”
“I’m a Thundercat…”
“But they don’t know that. You weren’t wearing your insignia, after all. Otherwise, they would have used you for bait, knowing them. Thundercat… hah, that’s funny.”
Racina’s expression turned serious. “Why?”
“I was one of the original Imperial Mutants that were stranded for years on Third Earth with the Thundercats. Slythe and the rest of us were always attacking them—trying to take over. It doesn’t make much sense now, but back then, Plundarr was a strong world and it was the first time our clan joined with the others to fight a common enemy. I don’t see them as the enemy anymore, but I still want to kick Tygra and Lion-o around a little… nyahh hah hah hah hah.”
Racina’s eyes went wide. “Really? So you knew WilyKit and WildKat when they were kids?”
“Yeah, and I knew Lion-o when his hair was nothing but red.”
Racina lost her worried look and grinned. “Neat!”
“Not really, they were usually smacking us around like it was no contest. It doesn’t matter though, I’ve left Slythe and the rest behind for good. So, what’s your story Racina? You know, they should call you a Thunderjackal.”
Racina giggled a little. “Panthro calls me that…” Her expression became more serious as she thought for a moment and said, “I was an orphan, born of a slave and a noble—the noble being my father. He was a local lawbringer, but that’s all I know of him. I don’t remember my mother, except for this.” Racina pulled out an old silver locket from a pouch she wore and handed it to him.
Jackalman’s breath hitched for a moment as he looked at it. He wondered if he should take a chance and open it… it looked exactly like… no, it couldn’t be! But, her mother… a slave…
Jackalman held his breath as he opened the locket. There it was: the old picture of his parents as he remembered them. His sister, Shayala, was given that locket the day before she was sold.
Jackalman started to draw a shuddering breath and started to shake his head. “Oh… oh no… no…” The memories came flooding back to him: the last day he saw his sister. He was only seven years old at the time, and didn’t understand. He still didn’t. Tears welled up in his eyes as he relived that terrible day when his parents were forced to give up their daughter. As if on cue, the breeze changed direction, and he caught Racina’s scent. There was no denying it, he clearly recognized his sister in her. He didn’t realize it before, but maybe he was subconsciously denying the painful memories. It didn’t matter now—there was no turning away.
Jackalman buried his face in his hands and started crying silently. He hadn’t cried since he was a child. Racina didn’t quite understand until she realized his scent told of the relationship between them: this man was family! She started crying also, and wrapped her arms around him. She didn’t fully understand his pain, but she didn’t have to.
Trameea looked over at the jackals. She thought to herself, “Amazing! Racina with one of the Thundercats’ worst enemies… crying together? Wait until I tell Kit and Kat about this—they won’t believe me!” Just then, Jackalman looked up from his hands and hugged Racina. Trameea stifled a gasp as she saw the expression on his face. It was the same look of deep pain that she saw in the mirror after her father had died several years ago. No, Kit and Kat didn’t need to know about this.
That afternoon, Jackalman called for the guards. He was taken to see Jagrow again. Shortly after, Racina was mysteriously taken away. When Trameea saw Jackalman again, he smiled and assured her that Racina had been returned to their home. Trameea knew there was some connection between Jackalman, Jagrow, and Seph-Ra. Whatever it was, her instincts told her Jackalman could be trusted.
WilyKit and WildKat dropped their spaceboards to normal power as they neared the small town. Calling it a town was an exaggeration: the “town” consisted of three houses, a well, and a walkway composed of bricks that terminated in a circle. The house closest to the well had a large smokestack belching a steady stream of dark smoke that smelled of rotting wood.
WildKat looked over at WilyKit as she jumped down from her board and switched the power off. “Well, that must be it.”
WilyKit nodded as she picked her board up and carried it under her arm. “That is one creepy-looking house.”
A voice from inside greeted them as WilyKit knocked on the door. “What do you want?”
“That’s me, state your business!”
WildKat answered. “We seek an ancient wizard… Ventack!”
The twins jumped as the door suddenly swung open. The Lady Yartren stood in the doorway with a big smile on her face. She was an old human… very old. Her tattered clothing had a strange bluish mold growing on it, and her face was gnarled tremendously. She stroked her white hair, what was left of it, as she considered the young man in front of her. “Well, aren’t you handsome and furry… what business do you have with Ventack?”
WildKat realized she didn’t speak with the accent of the local population. “Umm… we need his help. There is…”
The Lady Yartren waved her hand. “Bah… you’ll never awaken him. We’ve tried for centuries, but Ventack sleeps eternally in the stone monolith.”
WilyKit said, “We?”
“The Guardians of Ventack. Our order is old, and we keep him safe as we await the day he will emerge and grant us eternal life.”
WildKat was skeptical of this. “Well, the good mumm… er, sorceress gave us the means to wake him.”
Now they had her full attention. “Oh? Come in, won’t you? And tell me of this means.”
WilyKit and WildKat looked uncertainly at each other, nodded, and entered the house. It looked like a time capsule. Artifacts were roughly nailed to the walls and the ceiling. There were hundreds of things of all kinds attached everywhere. Parts of masks, boxes, metal plates with letters and numbers stamped into them, plastic cards with pictures of humans, it was too much to take in. The smell of old age permeated this place and was intensified by the roaring fire that made the house uncomfortably warm.
“Sit, please. Now, how do you propose to do what my order has failed to do for centuries?”
WilyKit pulled out a small scroll. “We have an incantation given to us by our… sorceress.”
The Lady Yartren hobbled over to WilyKit, stuck out a bony index finger, and asked, “What sorceress?”
“Mumm-Rana, the Ever-Good.”
“Never heard of her. She sounds like some failed attempt to copy Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living.”
“You know him?”
“Why yes, he once tried to wake Ventack… about ten years ago. No luck… none at all. He was really something to see, yes.”
The twins were now suspicious of this woman. If Mumm-Ra had tried to wake him back in those days, there must be something wrong. Either Ventack is evil, or Mumm-Ra had wanted to control him to use against the Thundercats.
WildKat asked, “Did Mumm-Ra say anything to you?”
“Yes, he said we’d be rewarded with eternal life if we helped him awaken the wizard, but we had no luck.”
“Interesting… where is the wizard now?”
The Lady Yartren pulled out a small slip of paper and started to draw a simple map on it. “You must go along this road to Millaa Millaa. Turn here, and follow the road through Ravenshoe and Mount Garnet. Keep going until you see the sign pointing to the Undara Lava Tubes. You will see the guardian at the entrance. Tell him I sent you, and say, ‘Matanas Ventack.’ Now, off with you, and good luck!”
WilyKit was starting to thank her when she interrupted and said, “Oh, and beware of the kayroos: they are evil, and will not hesitate to kill and eat you.”
“Who are the…”
“The wallab’s primitive cousins… much bigger, stronger,” her eyes narrowed, “and hungrier!”
WildKat couldn’t wait to leave this place. “Okay, thanks! Let’s go, sis.”
WildKat jumped as he felt a sharp pinch on his backside as he was halfway out the door.
The Lady Yartren had a big, lascivious smile on her face that made WildKat ill. “My pleasure, cutie!” She stood in her doorway and stared as the twins got on their spaceboards and departed.
After they cleared the trees, WilyKit shouted, “Here’s the road… hee hee… she seems to like you!”
“Oh shut up, Kit. She pinched my… hey!” WildKat shouted as his sister had engaged her spaceboard’s full power mode, and was rapidly disappearing down the road.
WildKat grumbled to himself as he punched his board to top speed and sped after his sister.
WilyKit and WildKat spent the rest of the day flying at top speed. They cruised about twenty feet over the road, startling a few wallab farmers along the way. The sun was getting low in the sky as they saw the junction that led to the Lava Tubes.
WilyKit gestured to WildKat to follow her. “Come on, we’ll camp in the woods back there.”
WilyKit was starting to gather an assortment of plants that made WildKat wonder about her. She asked him to gather firewood, and he was delivering the last bundle of the dead wood that he had found earlier. The sun was below the horizon now, and he was getting nervous.
She looked over at him with a half-smile as she continued cleaning and cutting the roots and stalks. “Yes?”
“Are you sure this stuff is safe to eat?”
“Yes, brother… Jake and Mary served these to us last night, don’t you remember?”
“Not really, all I know is that it was good.”
“Well, there you are. I don’t know the local spices, except for this… but I guess it’ll work.”
WildKat smiled as he pulled out a small pouch. “Hey, put this in there!”
WilyKit was confused at first, until she realized what it was. “Ha! We might make a cook out of you yet! Hmm… I imagine that little bit of Vegemite will help. Nothing like the flavor of dead yeast and whatever else they put into this to make some wild soup, huh?”
WildKat smiled as he anticipated the flavor of the soup she was cooking over the fire in a steel bowl she kept among her supplies. “We’ll just have some of Panthro’s rations in the morning…”
WilyKit pointed towards some nearby bushes. “Yeah, with these berries.”
The twins ate well. WildKat only managed to get a small amount of the spread from the innkeepers, the soup needed a lot more. Still, it was very delicious. They both slept soundly, despite the fact they were in sleeping bags on the ground.
WildKat was the first to awaken. The sun was still below the horizon, but the first signs of daylight were making themselves known in a deep shade of blue. He pulled out one of Panthro’s “survival biscuits” and carefully opened the wrapper. He looked at his sister, still sound asleep. She was laying on her stomach, her shoulders and half of her back exposed. WildKat took a bite as he thought about WilyKit. He really hadn’t noticed how beautiful she was until now. Under the deep twilight, she looked something like a finely sculpted work of art. “Kit, whoever gets you is going to be one lucky thunderian.” The thought of someone marrying his sister made him think of his girlfriend Trameea… he was so lucky to have a love such as hers. WildKat made up his mind right there: as soon as they got back, he would ask her to marry him… unless she was really upset at him for leaving with no warning like he did. Then again, maybe a proposal would make her forget her anger. Then again, if that didn’t work, she might never marry him. WildKat wrestled with his doubts as he lay on his back and looked up at the stars.
WildKat’s thoughts had drifted among the stars as he stared at the unfamiliar constellations. He was fascinated by the two patches of light that were the two small satellite galaxies of the one that Third Earth and her sun were in… they were a feature of the sky he never saw from Cat’s Lair. The few familiar constellations along the horizon were upside-down in the sky. It was so strange being on the opposite half of the planet. WildKat continued drifting among the stars, flying between them as the haze of daylight slowly swallowed them, one by one. His thoughts returned to Third Earth as his sister stirred from her sleep.
“Good morning, sleeeeepy head!” WildKat was beside himself with joy… for once, he got to deliver that line!
WilyKit yawned, stretched, and looked over at her brother. “Ha ha… funny.”
WildKat had a silly grin on his face as he said, “I think so” as he tossed her a biscuit.
WilyKit propped herself up on one elbow and started eating the makeshift breakfast. “It sure is beautiful out here.”
WildKat said, “I have to admit, the fresh air sure made me sleep deep… so deep, I didn’t have any dreams.”
“Wow, that is deep! I had a dream that I was in the Tree Top Kingdom, but all the trees were wrong—they were these trees. Other than that, I don’t remember much.”
“Well sis, I’m going to grab us some berries.” WildKat got up, dressed, and took the soup pot with him.
WilyKit watched him as he started picking the rest of their breakfast. Trameea was going nuts, waiting for him to ask her to marry him. She started to realize that her brother had grown up into a handsome thunderian man, once you looked past the overgrown hair. It was time to start throwing hints at him. “Well, he is a bit dense… I’ll just hit him over the head with them! Hee hee hee…”
The road to the Undara Lava Tubes was short compared to the rest of their journey. It wasn’t long before they were upon the Guardians’ camp. They lived in small huts scattered around the opening of a large cave. As they got closer, they realized the cave was a long tunnel with electric lights strung as far as the eye could see. It seemed to stretch on forever.
The twins were greeted by a human wearing a simple robe with a hood. “Welcome… what brings you among us, strangers?”
WildKat said, “Umm, The Lady Yartren told us we could find Ventack here.”
“Oh? And what makes you think we will allow you into our sacred chambers?”
WilyKit said, “Uhh… Matanas Ventack?”
“So, she really did send you… how interesting! She must have a good reason.”
WildKat said, “We need to awaken him.”
The guardian openly laughed. “That’ll be the day! Well, you’re certainly welcome to try. Go down this main lava tube fourteen kilometers, and turn down the right tube at the junction.”
“Yeah, this is a big place.”
WildKat fired up his spaceboard and hopped on. “This should be interesting.”
The guardian gasped as WilyKit followed suit and the two of them took off down the path and into the tube. He picked up his radio and called to the others within the inner sanctum. “Hey, we have Thundercat visitors who say they can wake him. Do not harm them, unless they fail…”
After a long flight at normal speed down the giant lava tubes, WilyKit and WildKat found the junction and landed. The tube was too narrow to safely fly through, so they walked. The smaller side tube suddenly opened up into a gigantic underground chamber. The ceiling looked to be at least forty meters above the floor, and a narrow jagged path led down to the floor of the chamber. On the far side of the chamber was a giant black rectangular stone. It looked like it was holding a giant being prisoner: they could see his head, hands, and feet protruding like they were carved from the stone. The rest of the body was a vague outline.
Ventack himself looked to be at least a hundred feet tall. His head was enormous: it had large curved, jagged horns that made him look something like a demon, but his head was the shape of a bull. WildKat thought he looked familiar somehow—he didn’t place it until he saw the hieroglyphs around him. “Hey, he looks like one of the Ancient Spirits of Evil”
WilyKit’s eyes went wide. “You’re right! He does! Only, much bigger.” She started to shiver. “Do you think it’s really a good idea to wake him up?”
“We have to, WilyKit—how else are we supposed to defeat Seph-Ra?”
Upon reaching the bottom of the chamber, they slowly walked towards the enormous wizard. WilyKit and WildKat looked around at the robed figures and felt uneasy. They were clearly being surrounded from all sides. WilyKit pulled out the scroll and started reading. “Ventack! Kham akton ra… forseth damman pretek!” Nothing but silence followed. WilyKit repeated the phrase and put the scroll back in her pouch. Still nothing. The guardians started to close in on them.
WildKat lost his patience and started his spaceboard. “This isn’t right—let’s get out of here now!”
WilyKit was about to protest when she saw that one of the hooded figures was concealing an ancient weapon she recognized as a shotgun from WildKat’s movie collection. She quickly fired up her board and jumped on it. WilyKit and WildKat flew upward towards the cavern opening up above as they heard one of the guardians shout, “Matanaxan spearhooks!” Shots started to ring out as the twins flew into the narrow passageway they had entered from. WildKat yelped as his elbow caught an outcropping of rock on the way out. In the main lava tube, a pair of guardians dropped down to the floor and took aim.
WildKat shouted, “Punch it, Kit!” There was no time to think, only act as the twins flew along the lava tube at top speed. A few stray guardians along the way tried to shoot at them, but they were moving too fast. They finally made their way to the mouth of the cave, but the rest of the guardians blocked it. WildKat could see at least twenty of them had taken positions around the mouth of the tube, and were aiming their guns in their direction. Without a moment to spare, WildKat fired a quick burst of magnesium pellets from his launchers. WilyKit shielded her eyes just in time. Several shots rang out, but they were random and none came close to the fleeing twins. As an afterthought, WildKat dropped a handful of his special sneezing/itching powder pellets on the small crowd of gun-toting guardians as they emerged from the lava tube. They sped towards the woods at high speed, and after several minutes, started to land.
WildKat was beside himself. “It’s hopeless! We’re never going to beat Seph-Ra.”
WilyKit put a hand on his shoulder. “Come on, Kat… we can’t give up.”
“Oh yeah? Want to try talking it over with those… those fanatics back there?”
“Everything will be fine, WildKat… at least we had a good adventure.”
“Good up until now… hey, you called me ‘WildKat!’”
“Hum… I guess I did. I’ve been hanging around your fiancée too long.”
WildKat’s expression changed. “What do you mean ‘fiancée’? We’re just… boyfriend/girlfriend!”
“Oh, come on! You know you want to marry her. I know you too well!”
“Okay, so what if I do want to marry her?”
“Just ask her, you big baby!”
“Fine, I will!”
WildKat fumed for a few moments, then looked at his sister. “Uh, what the heck are we arguing for?”
WildKat shook his head and looked up at the sky. “Dear Jaga… this has been one hell of a…”
“HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!!!”
The twins looked in shock towards the voice that barked at them. There was a very large wallab… no, this had to be a kayroo—standing behind them with a very large shotgun pointed right at them.
“Put yer hands upon your heads now!”
WildKat was about to make a run for it when he saw other kayroos emerging from all sides.
The twins were stuck. Their spaceboards were shut down and lying on the ground, and they had nowhere to go.
“What did we do?”
“Ye’re trespassin’ in our territory, and ye ‘ave some questions te answer! Come with us, now.”
The twins looked up into the towering kayroo’s face. The wallab officers were frightening enough, but these guys were terrifying. The kayroos stood at least ten feet tall, and their fur was darker. Their legs were extremely muscular, and they looked like they had nothing in the way of a sense of humor.
One of their number picked up the twins’ spaceboards and looked them over. “Interestin’ mode o’ travel.” One of the others forcefully removed the twins’ pouches and WildKat’s launchers.
The first kayroo said, “Move along now…”
WildKat glanced at WilyKit with a look of despair. WilyKit’s eyes said, “What’s going to happen to us?”