(a crossover between World Walker and Codex that shall have Todd and Nathan meeting for the first time, alongside a plot involving Marquis de Sade and a device that could spell the end of reality as we know it)
In an alternate London a dark figure stood in the shadow of the legendary "Big Ben" - staring intently at the great clock as he clutched a book in one hand, the entire city was ablaze as the sky itself was consumed in red, Big Ben being one of the few structures left in the devastated cityscape.
"..it won't be long now.. they'll be coming for us.. after all we did.. it was inevitable.." the figure states, staring at the clock tower with terrifyingly cold eyes, unnaturally calm as the world fell apart around him.
"..you and I.. we had such fun.. all leading up to this moment.. to think.. this is the end of all things.. I do hope they won't be late.." the figure continues as the clock hands began to draw dangerously close to midnight.
Then in the midst of the chaos a portal opened and two figures emerged, one carrying a book of his own - the portal closing behind them.
The dark figure continued to stare at the clock tower as the hands moved forward, as if in slow motion - his eyes fixed on the clockface as he remarked : "..ah, here they come now.. do you remember how we first met, my friend? I remember it like it was yesterday.. in fact.. I think it may well of been just that..".
Chapter 1 - Zero Hour
Todd has managed to tuck himself away into the attic of the library, continuing his study of the Book. The magic tome that started his carrer as the World Walker has given him an incredible grip on his powers, but also was a source of confusion. Case in point, after flipping through its literally limitless pages, he stumbled on one that seemed to show that time. The clock was approching midnight. "You're a clock now? What's next? Are you going to be a communicator and who ever I'm talking to's face will appear in the words or something like that?" He sighed as he opened his weather app on his phone.
Chance of thunderstorms.
"Well," Todd said, hiding the book under a stack of old novels and out-of-date text books which he then covered with a dusty white sheet, before teleporting to the street, "Better get home." Todd wasn't totally worried about his parents' concern as he has begun to take his long walks again ever since the events that gave him his magic. Yet as he walked away from the library he felt as if something was not quite right, as if someone was watching him as he made his way home.
The air seems to develop a chill as things seem to slow down, then Todd finds himself confronted with a frightening image of a headless figure suddenly appearing in front of him like a ghost - its mere presence causing him to feel uneasy, as if it was trying to telepathically enter his mind.. feelings of anger, regret and negativity surrounding it.
Todd shivered at the air and the intruder in his mind. 'Focus Todd,' he thought, 'Do not give this thing an opening into your thoughts...aside from this one. Really need to work on clearing my mind.' All Todd could do was try to give the specter information that's right in front of him/her mentally.
'You're headless, no horse though, pity. I am 14 years old. This plan is already failling and I really want to punch this creepy son of a bitch in its nonexistent head.'
The figure shudders in a disturbing manner, Todd's vision seeming to blur for a moment as it vanishes - then reappears moments later a few steps closer : another rush of violent thoughts flies at Todd as the entity tries to once again develop a psychic link, yet it is clear it has no voice - almost as if it was made up of pure aggression and hatred.
Todd jumped at the monster's sudden appearence, instinctivley (or perhaps not) throwing a fire ball towards the figure.
The figure shuddered again yet the fireball seemed to go straight through it, adding to the spectral feeling as it once again appeared closer - despite all the time that has passed somewhere an old clock face moves a single pace, signalling a minute past midnight.
As this occurs a blast shakes the area, the spectral figure vanishing quite suddenly as a seemingly human male stands nearby, holding a dark book of some description - his eyes stare at Todd, he is clearly an older looking individual with brown hair and a rather impressive beard but was dressed in a rather casual manner, almost modern but perhaps a little behind the current fashion trends.
Todd suddenly flet something in his bag...which he just realized materialized on his back, "What the?" he muttered, completely forgetting about the man for a second to see what was in it. It was his book. Todd groaned slightly as he put the mystical book back. "Well now that I'm done with that little bit of weirdness, I'll have to ask, who are you strange man who came from nowhere after a mysterious ghost-thing appeared?"
"Not a ghost, a psychic vampire - known as a Dullahan.. as for who I am, let us say I am a wanderer much like yourself.. I hunt down monsters and prevent them from causing harm to the multiverse - you have no reason to trust what I say but I have news that a World-Walker such as yourself needs.. concerning a Doomsday Clock.." the man replies.
Todd scratched his head, "A doomsday clock? I've only seen metaporical versions involving political stuff. Not really my cup tea. And you said that was a Dullahan? They looked different then what my...resources have shown me. Then again it is a big multiverse now isn't it?"
"Indeed, very big.." the man notes, opening his book - which causes the area to shake and crackle with tremendous power, a three-dimensional map of entire worlds swirling in a vast space/time anomaly manifesting as he continues, remarkably calm:
"..I am in possession of the Tome, an advanced alien technology - I safeguard these worlds from aliens that pose themselves as myths and legends.. yet there is another like me.. one who will destabilize the worlds.. I do not expect you to blindly follow me nor trust what I say : however I must show you what I can.."
The images fly by, focusing on the worlds as smaller "maps" open - revealing hundreds of alternate Earth-like environments, each beseiged by deadly alien invasions and madness, amidst the flames of a particularly ruined world a lone figure walks, forming a portal with the aid of a book similar to the Tome.
"..the Doomsday Clock is that book - found by a boy who believes he is a Saviour.. yet he is simply a pawn - if not stopped he will herald the end of humanity on all worlds.. for the Doomsday Clock is ticking fast.. across time.. breaking dimensional-barriers and unleashing aliens where they do not belong : as the boy travels from world to world he acts as the "ticking" of the clock..".
"So it is a literal doomsday clock?" Todd asked, interested by the idea of technology actually advanced enough to seem magical. In the all the dimensions he's been to he honestly never saw that. While the risk of the Multiverse seems very real, Todd wasn't sure he could trust the man. Regardless he said, "I'll look for your friend here. I'll see what I can do when I find him." In his bag, he could feel his book shaking.
The man nods, closing his book - the "map" fading in the process :
"..be mindful.. he is not an evil man - simply young and unaware of what he is doing.. if you need me I will be in touch.." - he holds out a small pocket-watch. Todd takes the pocket-watch fom the man's hand.
"Well any clue on where to go? If you want me to help I'll need to know where this Universe this or else I'll just randomly "walk" around." Todd questioned.
"Oh, you'll not need my aid in that regards.. the World-Walker can not travel freely across Multiverses - this clock will aid you.. each hour it shall transport you to a new world, if necessary.. tracking down the boy's energy.. as for why I can't do this myself : the book he holds would react.. violently.. with my Tome.. the fate of many humanities, I'm afraid, will stand with you now.." the man replies, even as he does so the clock starts to glow and Todd feels reality starting to warp around himself as he is transported away.
When Todd vanishes the mysterious man stays for a few moments, staring at seemingly empty space as he notes to himself: "..now we see how long our little game can last, my friend..".
Chapter 2 - 6th Hour
"Hmm. So now my Walking is dictated by a clock..." Todd muttered "And I guess that since this is a doomsday senario, I'll guess that time will more or less be the same between the dimensions...which means I will be in so much trouble when I get home. So, what kind of world am I in now?" He started to explore his surroundings.
To Todd's surprise the clock has already skipped to 6pm - the world he lands in seems to be abnormally calm and somewhat like a world from a 1950s TV show, with suburban homes all placed in a neat row, each looking identical right down to perfectly cut lawns and smart cars.. yet the streets seem abandoned and a single sign is place in plain view reading : "A smile a day keeps the Grinners away".
Todd repeated what was written on the sign before asking himself, "Grinners? What the hell is a Grinner?" He merely shrugged and started to wander the streets for any signs of life, peering into the nearest house on the left.
As Todd peers inside a sudden shaking occurs nearby as a portal opens and a young man steps out, the portal closing as he looks around - holding a book, he is dressed in smart casual attire and seems to be searching for something : he eventually makes his way over to the sign and starts to read it.
Todd looked towards where the shaking occured, noticing the young man. Todd jogged up to him, asking, "Excuse me, may I know your name. And tell me, did you happen to come here from an alternate dimension?"
The man looks to Todd, then leaps forward - "be quiet!" - he says, aiming to pin Todd down near a bush as a group of cloaked figures materialized into the street in rays of blue light, appearing to hover inches from the ground.
"..you don't belong here, do you? I'm Nathan.. you must be the World-Walker.. I've been looking for you, thought you'd be older - but you need to keep your voice down.." the man says, whispering as he opens his book, which reveals a small image of the street and cloaked figures, like a spy-camera of impossible design.
Todd questioned, "So what are these things? I was told they were aliens but nothing else really." Todd created a small tornado in his hand, in case he needs to fight, be it either the aliens or Nathan, not revealing his intention either way. 'Hope I don't have to fight this guy,' he thought, 'Seems like a nice person.'
Nathan's eyes grow wide as Todd creates the small tornado, snapping "-no! don't use technology around the Grinners.. they can detect it in a heartbeat.." - despite his alarm he keeps his voice a whisper, clearly not wanting to attract attention.
"..these are Grinners, one of many alien races you've caused to move around the multiverse - I'd blame you for that if these creatures didn't make a habit of travelling across worlds.. often in a hostile manner.. yet I do request you give up that Doomsday Clock before you get humanity wiped out or enslaved.." Nathan states, keeping an eye on both Todd and the image his book is producing, the cloaked figures coming to a stop and suddenly removing their hoods as they stare straight ahead, revealing disturbing feline faces with unnaturally wide smiles filled with fangs.
Todd shuttered at the catlike faces as he secretly peered through the leaves. Only then did what Nathan saId fully sink in. "OK 1) This isn't technology, this is magic, trust me I've only just seen your technology today. And 2) I don't have the doomsday clock! You do! And you're the one who's been accidently letting them enter. Some guy even gave me a watch to contact him if I need help." Todd whispered in return, taking the watch out before concluding, "Though I don't trust him enough to use it."
"Magic doesn't exist.. you may think it's magic.. you may be told it is magic but magic is nothing more than fantasy.. illusion.. everything you manifest is due to science beyond your understanding : you keep believing in fairy tales and you're going to get us all killed.." Nathan said, his expression darkening somewhat - when Todd reveals the watch he snatches at it - "..give me that!..".
Yet before he can succeed either way the bush suddenly tears apart and the pair are sent flying as one of the cloaked figures unleashes a beam of energy at said bush - knocking Nathan and Todd to the side as their cover is reduced to a smoldering heap.
"..crap.. no time for pleasantries.." Nathan said as he recovered, stumbling to his feet and grabbing his book, lights turn on in numerous homes nearby and people start to exit their homes with varied weapons ranging from rifles to kitchen knives and other items found in a home, every one of them baring an unnatural grin.
"World-Walker.. magic or not.. keep the watch away from the Grinners.. that is what they truly want - they won't be as talkative as me either.. cats have claws.. these cats have disintegration rays.. though they prefer to get humans to do the dirty work - typical felines.. lazy.. yet profoundly playful predators.. which is why we aren't dust particles right now, they set it to target the local flora over us.. I wouldn't test to see if that playfulness can last.." Nathan states to Todd as he flips through his book, the pages glowing in the process.
Todd, while slightly offended that his demon hunting has just been called a "fairy tale", created water in his hands and started down at the Grinners, "So you over grown Singapuras, I wonder if you cats like water." With that the water in Todd's hands shot out with the force to knock a full grown human off his feet, wondering what Nathan was doing with his technological book.
As Todd attacks the Grinners form force-fields around themselves and hover further back, the crowds now taking their place as groups of grinning humans head towards Todd - some are as young as children and all seem to be brandishing day to day items as weapons.
"Come on.. this isn't the time to be stubborn.." Nathan murmurs, as if arguing somewhat with the book - which glows further in intensity and starts to crackle : "..World-Walker.. don't harm the crowd.. they aren't aliens.. just people - like us.. I'm trying to Chrono-Lock us but the Codex is being somewhat stubborn - she never did cope well with this kind of stuff..".
Todd raised a shield to prevent being attacked by the crowd of armed humans, responding, "Don't have to tell me twice about attacking the people Nathan. And please tell me Chrono-Lock is a good thing!" Todd then looked at Nathan and asked, "Your book is a girl? It's sentient?"
"Chrono-Lock allows space-time to halt, it will freeze them while we make our escape.. the Codex isn't just a book.. she's -" Nathan began, only to pause as the Codex unleashed a brilliant flash of golden energy that clears, the crowds frozen in place like statues.
"- no time to explain.. we should retreat while the Chrono-Lock is in place..".
Todd nodded as he followed Nathan away from the frozen crowd. "How long will that last?"
"Until we exit or the Codex is disrupted.. we aren't the only ones that can alter space-time, Grinners have been doing it for centuries.." Nathan replies, flicking through a few pages in the Codex - as he does so he looks to Todd again "..you need to give me that clock, by the way.. it is causing all this.. who gave you it anyway?".
Todd, rubbed his chin as he recollected the image of the man, "Uh, brown hair, causal dress, sporting an epic beard..."
Nathan frowned and extended a hand, "..the watch.. give it to me.. NOW.." - his tone darker, more demanding.
Yet within a second of Nathan's demand the watch suddenly glows and Todd finds himself temporarily blinded by a white void before manifesting in an entirely new world..
Chapter 3 - 7th Hour
The watch ticks as Todd regains sight, now at 7pm.. upon a glance he notices things have completely changed as he stands in the rain outside a rather imposing building of late Victorian design : a sign proudly proclaiming "Amity's Home for Boys".. no sign of Nathan is to be found as old Victorian era lamps provide limited light in the dark, cold streets that surround the building.
"Right," Todd sighed, "Walking is controlled by the clock. That's going to take some getting use to." So Todd decided to look around, creeping closer to the Amity's Home for Boys, to peer into the window and see if there was anyone he could talk to and get some information about this world. He looked through the window.