Fueled by rage over the loss of his friend, Flash dashed off to rejoin his allies. He arrived to see Hyourinmaru chase Loki through the mystic portal, and overhear Superman try in vain to negotiate peacefully with Allevrah Azrinae. Realizing she was determined to raid the Watchtower, he felt no other recourse but to stop her. Wonder Woman concurred, launching into battle and surprising the Drow. She managed to cut Azrinae’s arm, inciting her wrath. Superman decided to take out the weaker soldiers protecting her, leaving Wonder Woman to contend with the evil priestess on her own.
Flash quickly joined in the melee, unleashing a barrage of fists and strikes on the unsuspecting Drow soldiers. They retaliated, meeting mixed success. Just as the Pathfinders were beginning to turn the tide on Azrinae, the dark elf unleashed a powerful destruction spell, vaporizing the valiant Wonder Woman before she could react. Superman watched on in horror at the sight of her death, shouting loudly. Enraged beyond measure, he launched headlong into battle with the Cleric herself. She held her own in combat, aided by healing spells from her priestess cohorts – one of whom ran off. Flash and Superman eventually defeated the lesser drow, surrounding Azrinae herself.
Meanwhile, blinking once, then twice, a patient awakened in a medical bay. Eyes still blurry, he tried to focus on his surrounding. Finally he realized where he was. The Watchtower. He realized WHO he was. Oliver Queen. How he was alive, he cannot recall – and still smelled the stench of burning mammoth hair in his lungs. Looking down to his chest, he saw what looked like a glowing arc reactor built into his sternum.
“You’re awake,” a gentle female voice echoed in his ears. Queen saw Aa’rya, the Chief Engineer on duty approach. “Stark said you’d come around eventually. She always did know her life support. How are you feeling?”
Arrow had little time for pleasantries. Hyourinmaru and Loki, after determining Castle Doomstadt was far too dangerous to handle alone, teleported onto the Watchtower to protect the Shard of Wrath. Soon thereafter the priestess Azrinae had sent away summoned a powerful, ancient construct known as a Clockwork Reliquary. The lumbering, skymetal-clad golem reached for Hyourinmaru, nearly felling him in one flurry. When the saurian backed off, the Reliquary turned its sights on Loki. Before it could destroy the demigod, however, Arrow arrived to intercede. He fired a single, powered strike into the golem’s back, shattering its armor. The Reliquary turned and mystically snatched the bow from Arrow’s hands, marching over to finish him off. Though weakened, Hyourinmaru found the strength to summon several spires of ice, which repelled and then tripped the colossus. It fell back onto an ice spire, running itself through. Green Arrow finished the job, unleashing a hailstorm of arrows – all infused with a new, psionic power. The threat finally eliminated, those in the storage bay at last caught their breaths.
Back in the Moonscar, Flash and Superman had their hands full trying to defeat Azrinae. They exchanged punches, spells, powers and lashes, all to no avail. At long last things were beginning to look in the Pathfinders’ favor, until the priestess mystically healed herself nearly to full health. Winded and running out of options, the Justice members bravely continued their assault.
Just then another magical portal opened in the same area as before. From its swirling vortex of energy stepped none other than Doctor Doom himself.
“Azrinae,” he quipped. “It seems you are now without an army. Not that they would save you, anyway. Your days as a thorn in my side are over.” With that Doom extended a hand, blasting Azrinae with a green energy ray. The drow screamed in pain, her body instantly turned to ash. Unharmed by the flames she had summoned, Doom stepped forward – speaking to Flash while looking down at Azrinae’s remains. “I presume you do not have the Shard?”
“No?” Flash answered inquisitively. Then without a word, Doom retreated through his portal again.
He reappeared in the Watchtower, flanked by a squadron of Clockwork Golems – or “Doombots” as they are commonly known. Arrow, without hesitation, fired several arrows at Doom – who harmlessly deflected them away.
“Queen. Good to see you have your strength back,” Doom warned. “You’ll need it.” Arrow tried again, only to meet the same result. “You test my patience, ‘Arrow.’ Lower your weapon. I wish only to talk…”