The following story takes place not long after the events of Fall of Avalon II.
Thor stood alone at the top of a great mountain overlooking the scarred landscape of Avalon, which had been altered dramatically due to a series of conflicts - the most recent and prominent being the rise of the Misery-Flight: who had lain seige to large portions of the land before being driven into the wastelands.
Thor had been one of several heroes who fought to ensure that the corruption of the Misery-Flight did not spread into other dragons, the battle having taken its toll on a few - including himself, yet he was of the Valkyrie and knew that such hardship was a part of being a warrior.
Thor looked over the land some more before he reached up and removed the helmet which covered most of his face, revealing for the first time his face - glowing skin and a long mane: his wings folding over his shoulders like a cape as he sighed slightly.
"So many wars have ravaged you, sweet Avalon.. yet you never fail to amaze with your ability to withstand.. I only wish that Inferno was here to see it.." Thor said aloud, as if speaking with the land.
"It is a haunting land, young Thor.. yet it is also a land of anger.. hate which can never die.." a voice speaks out in turn, a figure in a golden robe manifesting nearby - resembling a human with a long white beard and a pointy wizard hat.
Thor's eyes widened upon seeing the figure and he instantly fell to his knees, as if addressing a god - bowing his head as if unable to look directly at the image: "..Merlin! after all these centuries.. how? ..how can you be here?".
Merlin smiles slightly as he observes Thor, his eyes sparkling with wisdom far beyond that of any scholar "..I was the one to bring Avalon into being.. it should be no surprise that I can return.. it has been so long because I wanted this land to grow independent.. Excalibur was sufficient to guard it.. along with the Celestial-Blade and the Once and Future King..".
Thor kept his head bowed, "..Inferno rests in paradise until he is needed again, as is the prophecy.. Equis has the throne and Excalibur by default.. please Merlin.. do not tell me another terror awaits Avalon? she has barely healed from the last assault..".
Merlin's smile fades "..Avalon is not yet in danger, however if we do not act quickly she will be utterly destroyed - neither Excalibur nor Inferno could save us now.. which is why I have come to you Thor.. you must bring forth heroes and brave Tartarus itself, descend the seven realms until you reach the Great Witch, Morgana Le Fay..".
Thor suddenly looks up, his eyes wide once more "..Merlin!? I..!"
"Listen, Thor.. we don't have much time.. the Great Witch is gaining more power than ever.. the wars of Avalon have been feeding her for centuries.. soon she will have absorbed enough negativity to break her chains and walk amongst the mortals once more.. you can not allow her to do this.." Merlin states.
Thor nods slightly, still trying to take all the information in "..how will I get the others to believe me? they won't walk into Tartarus without proof..".
Merlin extends a hand and produces a golden statue, small enough to be held in one hand "..this will be proof enough, now go..".
Thor blinks, somewhat confused yet has little time to say otherwise as Merlin vanishes in a ray of light.
"..Ugh.. here goes nothing.." Thor mutters, putting his helmet back on as he flies off towards the Royal Palace - statue in hand.
As Thor flies off into the distance he is completely unaware of the fact his shadow remains on the ground where he had once knelt, the shadow forming a strange being with glowing eyes that observed the Valkyrie:
"..yes.. fly Valkyrie.. bring forth your heroes.. so I may live again..".
"..so.. let me get this right.. I am to believe that you conversed with the spirit of an ancient wizard, who informed you that Avalon will soon perish if you do not take a group of heroes to the pits of Tartarus to confront a long dead sorceress who exists only in fairy tales?" Equis said, leaning forward on his throne as he rubbed his chin slightly - giving Thor a strange look as Excalibur lay at the side of the throne, shining in the light.
Thor frowned slightly "..I know you're mocking me, Equis - but I need your help..".
"Oh no.. not at all.. I mean you Valkyries have always claimed to be knowledgable on the ancient past.. I would not be surprised if you conversed with one of the Ancestors.. in fact I think I have the perfect champion for such a quest.." Equis said, leaning back as he made a motion, a few guards moving aside as the court-jester entered the room.
"..enough.." Thor said as he turned away and headed out of the room, Equis and the guards laughing all the while.
Thor continued to march his way straight out of the Royal Palace, only stopping when a familar voice called out to him.
"Hey! Thor! Wait up!".
Thor turned around to see Murk running after him, the dragon still prone to walking on his hindlegs despite having wings - which often caused him to trip and stumble as he tried to keep up with others.
"Murk? What are you doing here? I thought you were patrolling the wastelands.." Thor said.
"Yeah, let's just say I didn't fancy staying in the wastelands any longer than I had to.. I mean I almost burnt my feet off.." Murk said, wiggling his toes.
"Murk, you're a dragon.. walking on coals is nothing.. your kind have been known to swim in lava.." Thor noted.
"Really? Those must be some kind of super-dragons or something because my feet sure as heck don't agree with your theory.. seriously.. I think I've got burns on my burns.. which just shouldn't happen.." Murk complained.
"Alright, alright.. look Murk, I don't have time to talk right now.. I have work to do.." Thor said
"I know, I heard you talking to Equis.. some story.." Murk replied.
"I suppose you don't believe me either?" Thor frowned slightly.
"You have the golden statue, don't you?" Murk asked, somewhat suddenly.
Thor blinked and held out the golden statue "..how did you-?".
"Dragon gifts" Murk replied simply, tapping the side of his head "..well? say hello!" he says, addressing the statue.
"Murk, it's a statue - it's hardly going to -" Thor began.
"Oh Joy.. As If Being Manhandled By This Barbarian Wasn't Enough I Must Now Endure The Presence Of A Glorified Reptile!" the statue suddenly complained, causing Thor to drop it in surprise.
Murk raised an eyebrow as he bent down and stared at the statue, before picking it up "..it's a Questing Statue, magical beings that help adventurers and so forth.." he tried to explain to Thor.
"Help! Help! I'm Being Oppressed!" the statue called out.
"..only this one seems broken.." Murk frowned, thumbling the statue around as if inspecting for faults.
Thor simply placed a hand on his head in frustration as he sighed again "..great.. just great.. come on Murk.. you may as well come along.. Maker knows we need all the help we can about now.."
Murk grins as he keeps the statue close, following Thor out towards the town "Cool! Where we going?".
"Tartarus" Thor replied.
"..forget I asked.." Murk replied in turn.
having gathered the heroes necessary Thor and Murk brave the first section of a lawless Tartarus - the Raging Chasm.
the group face the second section of the current Tartarus - the Shattered Path.
the group face the third section of the current Tartarus - the Gnashing Woods.
the group face the fourth section of the current Tartarus - the Traitors' Road.
the group face the fifth section of the current Tartarus - the Fel Mine.
the group face the sixth section of the current Tartarus - the Blinding Depths.
the group face the seventh section of the current Tartarus - the Endless Plight.
having braved all seven sections of the current Tartarus the team find themselves barred from Morgana's lair and must face the final form of Mordred, who continues to defend his demonic mother and ensure victory for both.
defeating Mordred the team break through to Morgana's lair and face the great witch before she can succeed in her attempt to break free.
Morgana Le Fay