Manifested into the Fade
Welp, it is finally up. My dream story it's taken awhile but I welcome the lot of you to read this story that JIMMYJAMSTER728 and I collaborated on.
This is the updated/edited version, so please read, enjoy and review!
Also, I don't own shit.
Chapter 01: A New Player in the Game
The Wilds were peaceful, even as the darkened and blackened woods appeared to be almost malevolent, it still held a certain sense of tranquility about itself. No animals moved through its muddy and swamp covered floor, and nothing hid within the canopies of its many dead trees. Not a living thing could be seen or heard, had anyone been there if that was the case, for nothing lived in these Wilds.
While these lands were continually shrouded in a mist that left a world of white during the day, not too unlike a moonless night leaves a perpetual black. These swamps were a place that few could live within and truly be safe, for there were things lurking within these dark and terrible lands. Worse than any beast or Wilders that had lived in these lands for centuries, perhaps millennia, for something even more dangerous and monstrous now moves through this place.
It was fortunate that none would be foolish enough to venture through here.
A loud thunderclap sounded off as something shattered between the realms of reality, two separated realms breaking apart and allowing for something to open. A brilliant light of green shone above the forests and created a rupture in the world, the swirling mass encompassed the forest below in a deep glow.
It remained fixed above the forest, the green energies fluctuating rapidly within the eye of the rupture into the dreaming realm. Something fell through, a single object shrouded in green energy that broke away from the slowly sealing breach in the veil. It fell several hundred feet, breaking through countless tree branches, smashing through thick and narrow pieces of wood as it continued its descent before finally stopping with a loud crash.
The object lay on the ground, its form shrouded in specs of green fire and electricity, unmoving within the small indent it had left on the muddy ground. Even as the light of the rift left and bathing the entire forest back in darkness the figure did not move. It remained as such for hours, only the occasional twist and shuffle of its breathing could be seen. Until it finally began to twitch.
Its hand moved slowly, painfully slow, as it tries to pull itself up from the ground and fails many times before it settled on its knees and remained there. Taking in deep breaths it tried to fight through the pain wracking his body, though even with its near superhuman endurance and durability it could not help but quake from the pain.
His hand went to his waist and a surge of agony passed through his body, looking he could see that a wound had been sustained. A large one in fact, only sealed because of the object that had caused it, a thick branch had pierced him through the side and exited out his back. Near the size of a baseball bat, and most certainly pressing against his lower intestines and possibly his kidney and liver.
"Dammit… How did I get here?" Ichigo growled out in pain and anger, through clenched teeth.
With a heave of effort, he got to his feet, growling as he tried to keep himself from toppling over. He didn't know why but the feeling of something pressing against your internal organs did not exactly make it easy to stand up. He would have laughed at the fact that in his Shinigami form he had suffered much worse and could have done a marathon without an issue.
Now, he was struggling to keep himself on his feet.
"Got to get back… kill those bastards…" He said, taking a tentative step forward and nearly falling.
He pushed through it, just like he did for the many more that he would struggle with for the next few hours as he walked haphazardly through this swamp. The young man would not allow himself to be beaten so easily, and he would fight for every step he had to take to get back home. But what he did not see through the dark mist was that he was being pursued, his blood was on the air and they hungered for it.
He knew he was being followed; he could hear it through the mist and see shadows within the dark moving. Glowing eyes could be seen all around him, looking at him and followed by hissing and growls, he was being hunted like some animal.
'What the hell are they waiting for?' He thought, he was wounded, and they outnumber him, not like he could really fight back right now.
But he guessed they would wait for him to collapse and then take him, and likely his spiritual energy was keeping them away. Unwilling to risk attacking a powerful entity that could wipe them out, but if they got impatient they may just attack anyway. He just hoped he could hold on long enough to get somewhere safe where they wouldn't be able to follow.
'What are they?' He mused.
They weren't hollows, or anything he has seen or felt before, they appeared human-like and had an oily presence about them, but it didn't feel like spiritual power. But he was more concerned with what they intended to do, if they were going to attack him he needed to be ready to defend himself. Even if it was futile at this moment, he was not going to be taken down without at least putting up a fight.
For the next hour he moved, managing to take twenty-three steps a minute, and getting about a kilometer deeper into this swamp. He knew not where he was but what he did know is that these things that were following him had not stopped. They had grown in number, now he could see and feel dozens of them all around him, looking at him through the mist with hungry eyes.
He gave one final breath before he fell to his knees, unable to remain standing any longer he just waited in the middle of a small clearing. The hissing and howling grew in volume, the wolves had their prey and now they would pounce at the opportune moment. He could seem them more clearly now, pale grey skin beneath thick black spiked armor, clearly, they were only human in stature rather than appearance. They were almost like zombies, he would have laughed a little at that, him fighting a bunch of zombies, truly this was not how he had expected to die.
He saw them rush out of the trees and mist, their weapons raised and poised to be dropped as soon as they got close enough. This was going to be the end for him, there would be no vengeance or retribution for those that did this to him. They would go unpunished while his friends and family were still held under their grasp and no help was given. He had been left to scrounge for himself and he was going to pay the ultimate price, all because he had been left alone.
'I… failed.' That admittance did not bring him any comfort or relieve any pain, only salt the wound that already lay gaping upon his soul… and in his gut.
Ichigo just closed his eyes, waiting for the darkness to take him and hope that his soul did not have to persevere through this pain.
But all he felt was not the cold embrace of death, but instead an intense burst of heat that washed all over him and even through the bone-like material of his Fullbring. His eyes shot open to see the entire world around him being consumed by red hot flames, as if he had immediately passed into the depths of Hell. All around were the burning bodies of these strange monsters, screaming and thrashing wildly as they were turned to cinder and ash.
Ichigo did not understand what had happened; it had been so sudden and unknown to him that he couldn't even begin to comprehend how this happened. Until he saw something, walking through the flames casually, and kicking aside a fallen monster with her heel as she advanced on the wounded young man. She stopped just shy of arms reach from Ichigo and was standing over the kneeling Fullbringer.
"Well, well is this what I sensed all those hours ago? A half-dying boy?" She questioned casually.
Ichigo could make out the pale white hair on her aged face, framed by a strange maroon crown piece. While her form was clothed in similar red and dark maroon robes, with few pieces of armor along her legs and hands. Ichigo had no idea who this woman was but he got the idea that she was the one that created those fires, and from what he could guess she was here for him.
"But what of this strange power I sense, so unlike the Fade." She said, tracing a hand over his shoulder and scrapping along the armor. "Hmm, the armor is composed of nothing of this world, the Fade maybe, but it has a dark taint to it. Very unlike a demon, yet I can tell it holds a touch of Despair."
Ichigo had no idea what she was talking about, his vision was swimming and he couldn't even turn his head to follow the woman as she circled him. All he could do was fight for these last few moments of consciousness, for what reason he did not know, maybe he was just being stubborn again. Yet all that did for him was make his last few moments awake to be all the more strenuous.
With that strength now gone, he simple fell forward, hitting the muddy ground with a thud and leaving his eyes to slowly close and all feeling and thought to leave him. He welcomed the darkness, it was peaceful and without any pain, it would give him the rest he needed.
"Surviving a wound like that, quite impressive as well. I am most intrigued." She said, leaning down and watching in fascination at what occurred next.
Soon the armor along the boy's body began to move and disperse into particles of energy, shooting out and onto something in his hand. She looked down to see that the sword he carried now had broken down into something. The blade dispersing and leaving only the handguard, the strange wooden crest that absorbed all the matter that dispersed from the boy.
"Even more curious, a Knight-Enchanter perhaps? No, this comes from the object rather than the Fade, but the object comes from something else. Yet it houses no will of its own, so where does this power come from?" The Witch said, smiling as she mused over the prospects. "I am sure it will be quite the revelation when I figure it out."
This boy had caught her attention, wielding something she had never seen before, that was more than enough reason to see what she can gleam from him. If she could learn of this power and see of its uses she would most certainly see about using it, after all she did have a few plans in the works. Maybe a new gear in the machine would add to the inner workings, and it is possible he would make the perfect tool for it.
With that she hoisted the boy up and draped him over her shoulder, she had a long way to go in order to reach her hut.
Twenty soldiers moved across the bridge into a tight formation, behind them another twenty followed, their shields and sword ready for anything that may appear. They had already cleared the Eastern end of the fortress and the Tower of Ishal, leaving them to clear the West. The Darkspawn had been quite few in numbers here and it had been easy to dispatch them, now all that remained was to take the rest of the stronghold and finally begin preparations.
As they moved they were led on by a single man on horseback, adorned in golden armor and wielded a large blade upon his back. His hair matched the armor and his confident smile glistened as the precious metal did. The men followed him without question, at his side followed another man, his armor and demeanor a grim contrast.
"Do you see Loghain, not many Darkspawn here, and the fortress is in perfect condition for the battle." The young blonde-haired man said, smiling all the same even when met with a stare from the grim man.
"I did not doubt that this fortress would be uninhabitable, I spoke of the dangers of when the battle began. This location does not offer a means for an easy retreat should the Darkspawn overrun us." Loghain replied, his black hair and pale skin only adding to the depressing explanation he had given.
"Do not worry Loghain, we have the numbers to easily defeat these creatures, with our defenses shored up and our soldiers prepared we can do this." He replied.
"As you say, my King." Loghain replied to his Son-in-law.
Cailan Theirin, King of Ferelden and son of Maric Theirin and a hero of the Ferelden Rebellion and known as the Savior of their people. His father had freed their nation from the rule of the Orlesian's and brought about prosperity and rule for their people after so many years. His son had been placed on the throne five years ago, and many had expected great things of him, but there was some discontent.
"Cheer up Loghain, we have a battle to plan for and I think that being grim too much can make the time leading up to it quite unenjoyable." Cailan said, glancing at Loghain from the corner of his eye but never letting his smile drop.
Loghain could pick up on that, he was telling him not to go about sprouting anything that could demoralize the men. Yet him acting like a child and trying to appear calm and cheerful was nothing but pathetic in his eyes, his father was a better man than that.
"As you wish, my King." Loghain replied, signaling the men to a light jog compared to the march.
Cailan watched him move ahead and gave a sigh, he had always been quite vocal about his issues, and likely the loss of his father has caused bred some distance between them. Likely Loghain thinks him not ready for something like this, or even just maintaining the security and peace of the Kingdom his father saved. Cailan plans to prove him wrong soon enough, with the end of this Blight he will show the entirety of the world what he can do to protect it.
With that he moved ahead with his army to the Western section of Ostagar, he would clear out any opposition within and begin planning for this invasion of Darkspawn. They had two weeks to get ready and for their allies to arrive, from the Cousland and Howe families, they were sending reinforcements.
But it would be the Grey Wardens that would take the glory here, for they were trained specifically to fight this. Along with the Chantry forces, the Templar Order, and the Circle of Magi, supplying their forces they were more than ready to face this enemy.
All that they needed was to come here as a united force and they would prevail.
Duncan briefly poked the fire, keeping the embers alive and allowing the air to reach beneath the ash. It had been a hard three weeks for them, the time they had been on the run had been quite perilous for them. He looked up to his only companion; she was resting by herself and seemed to be only keeping herself company.
Truthfully, he could tell that the young noble was struggling to cope with what had happened to her back at Highover. The loss of her entire family was doing things to her mind that she couldn't even begin to handle. She may be a warrior of great strength and skill, but the mind has always been something that has been the greatest chink in the armor of any warrior.
"Get some rest and eat up, we won't be arriving in Ostagar for another two weeks." Duncan said, looking at the last surviving Cousland who only nodded her head and simply slumped to the ground.
Duncan sighed, the girl would not likely get much sleep tonight, probably continue to dwell on what has transpired for her. As much as he would like to help her, at least to form some detachment from this situation so she could focus, yet he had no means to right now. But it is possible that he may be able to do something when they have reached Ostagar, maybe have someone look after her while he planned the Joining.
With that last thought he rested against the cave wall, having already placed a trap near the entrance of the cave to prevent anything from wandering in. It would not be a quick journey to Ostagar, but they will get there eventually.
Morrigan let out a blissful sigh as she looked out at the night sky, letting the cooling and thankfully stink free breeze rush over her. She was bathing in a freshly heated bath; the waters were clean and warm and even more enjoyable.
She had not had one of these in a long while, her damn mother always getting her to do these little things and never allowing her to relax and have fun. But tonight, was different, her mother had unexpectedly taken off without so much as a word and left her precious daughter to her own devices.
'I will most certainly not complain,' Morrigan thought to herself.
Now she was busy relaxing in her bath after a nice meal and was simply letting the cool water release all the stress from her body. Being trapped in this, little section of the swamp for the last twenty years of her life and she couldn't stand it. The only people she ever met were those damn Chasind Wilder and the occasional Darkspawn, and that did not make life for her fun.
Instead she was hold up with her mother in the middle of nowhere to do nothing, always being told to do some little task or test. Honestly, she kept complaining that she should see about getting a man now, and since the only men around were a bunch of village idiots she did not like the prospect of her getting married. Also, she never brought anyone here unless they were to be killed; it honestly sent her mixed signals on what her mother wanted of her.
"Doesn't matter, I am going to enjoy this bath, and no one is going to ruin it for me." Morrigan said, leaning back and smiling to herself.
"Oh, really now."
Morrigan shot out of the tub and turned around, finding her mother standing there with a frown on her dirty and aged face. Her hair was disheveled as it always was, and her ragged cloths looked about the same, her typical appearance that seemed to be one of the many constants around here. But this time there was something different.
"Who is that?" Morrigan asked, seeing some orange haired man over her mother's shoulder.
"A boy I found half dead in the wilds." Flemeth said, giving a dismissive wave of her hand. "Now, empty that tub, bring it inside and put some clothes on, we have a patient and I want to see how well your healing spells are coming along."
Morrigan gave an annoyed huff before she stepped out of the tub and quickly wiped herself down and then clothed herself. She should have known that her alone time would be interrupted by her controlling mother, it always was. Now she had to tend to some half dead boy that likely her mother brought back for some nefarious purpose.
As she ended that thought she entered the house, dragging the small basin that they often used to clean cloths back inside. But recently they have been using it for almost anything, and it had been her temporary bath. Morrigan looked to see that her mother had laid the boy onto her bed and was busy removing his shirt.
Flemeth discarded the dark and bloodied piece of clothing and looked down at the injury, one caused by a thirteen-foot-long branch that had passed right through him. The bleeding was mostly stopped but she could see that he had still lost a lot of blood from aggravating the wound. He would surely die if he is not given immediate treatment, and until she learned of what he is she couldn't let him die so quickly.
"Morrigan, get some herbs together, I will need to seal the wound and heal him. Get me a kit as well, this wound will need to be sealed as soon as I remove the branch." Flemeth said, waiting for her daughter to get the needed supplies.
"Mother, what is it that made you bring him here? What is so important about him?" Morrigan asked.
"Oh, my child, I cannot answer that, as I have yet to even see what he is capable of." Flemeth replied, smiling slightly at the prospects of what this boy could be capable of in the future.