The Fourth Ringwraith
A Tale of the Ringbearers, by Brother Grimace
In the aftermath of the Vengeance Ring Crisis, it was believed that the Multiverse was free from the threat of the Ringwraiths. Nevertheless, the Ringmasters acted in this instance as they had never done before, in order to minimize the possibility of errant Ringwraiths appearing.
One of their choices was to act as they had never acted before in the millennium since they anointed themselves Masters of the Ring and sent the Ringbearers across the Multiverse to destroy the undead; an act only occurring once before in recorded history (to their knowledge).
Through unknown means, the alternate Earth where the Lost Corps of Ringbearers originated is now' time-locked' – effectively canceling out the existence of the entirety of the Ringwraiths. This belief was disproved by the revelation that three Ringwraiths survived the Crisis, by virtue of their being outside the space-time continuum during the period following the defeat of the Dominator Ring's wearer. All efforts are being made towards locating and neutralizing these weapons – a task made somewhat simpler in that (due to the corruption of the 'morality interlock' during the conversion process that corrupts the Defender Ring), Vengeance Rings can be destroyed.
It would be foolhardy to believe that no more Ringwraiths exist anywhere in the Multiverse. To that regard, all Ringbearers have been briefed with the relevant information necessary to deal with a Ringwraith, should an encounter occur.
- From a code-word-only report on the Vengeance Ring Crisis, drafted by a First Ringbearer at the Citadel of the Ringmasters, on Earth (D-476).
"But who knows what she spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all her life seemed shrinking, and the walls of her bower closing in about her, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?"
—Gandalf, on Éowyn, Lord Of The Rings
The smell of burning asphalt excited Anastasia Rowe. She didn't understand why, but it did.
Oh, yeah! Because I get a lot more people on roads! Stupid idiots – they always try to evacuate the cities, and they always clog up all the roads with lots and lots and lots of scared and angry people...
I can practically smell the pain and the fear miles and miles and miles away.
She hit Chicago first.
Funny... no matter which Earth I go to, no matter how the natives develop – as long as they reach a certain level of tech and social development, somehow, they always built a Chicago.
Let's have some fun.
A massive ring of pink energy appeared in the sky over the city of Chicago; a ring easily a full mile in diameter, and situated directly over the Chicago Spire – the tallest building in North America.
It was safe to say, as cameras rolled all across the city, transmitting the image to every corner of the planet, that every eye on Earth was watching.
A brilliant white shimmer began to iris out from the center of the colossal ring of energy, filling it – and after several seconds, the face of Anastasia Rowe appeared before the world.
The beautiful young woman was silent for a good ten seconds; then, her face broke into a beautiful smile that actually made many, many people suddenly feel calm and at ease – a feeling that dissipated like vapor as Anastasia spoke her first words:
"Be frightened. I mean you harm."
Her beautiful smile widened, and Anastasia continued to speak.
"Our enemies fall, from low and high
To salted earth, through burning sky
And all shall know our Ringwraith's cry
Let Vengeance Ring - and all hope die."
A massive pulse of energy suddenly exploded in every direction from the ring, sweeping through flesh, metal, concrete, glass: a tsunami of force that reverberated outwards and swept off into the distance.
In less time than it took to take a breath – North America had been forced darkness and chaos.
The day was January 9th – a day that would forevermore be known to the survivors as Arrival Day... the day the Ringwraith came to their world.