I own nothing.
Beacon. Located in the region of Vale, it was once labeled as perhaps the greatest academy to train future Hunters and Huntresses of the world of Remnant. But that was before the fall. Before the sudden attack. It started during the 40th Vytal Festival that the Grimm barged into the city. Many, many forms of Grimm, which had not seen attacking before since even before the great war, rushed the city. But they were not alone in this attack. The Grimm had aid from within. The Pro-Faunus organization/terrorist group known as the White Fang had infiltrated the city, removing any warnings that could have been given to the populace. They even flew in more of the Grimm to help in the chaos that was wrought. Many were injured; many more were killed. Professor Ozpin himself had vanished, presumed to have fallen in battle. Another great loss came at the demise of Pyrrha Nikos, a student at the academy who had fought against the one who had perpetrated the entire attack, Cinder Fall. Few knew this though, aside from one Ruby Rose, who had arrived late on the scene just as Cinder disintegrated the girls remains, casting her ashes into the wind. Poor Ruby would be the only one to see this travesty; to be Pyrrha's final witness…
Hear… Feel… Think…
A thick fog blanketed the academy. Crows cawed and Grimm type Griffins screeched, circling high above. Upon the remains of Beacon's highest tower where the battle's end was signaled, devastated by the Dragon type Grimm which was frozen but alive and clinging to the building's structure, stood a tall figure cloaked in a tattered shroud and hood. The long handle of a sword protruding from underneath and over the right shoulder could be seen, though barely due to its dark color nearly blending in with the dismal background. This man stood silently looking down at a golden tiara that had belonged to the girl who was seen dying in the Echo he had witnessed.
The scene changed, graying in color before the man's eyes as he continued to watch, the girl named Ruby screaming with a flash of blinding white/silver light from her eyes at his right. To his left was the Grimm dragon, gripping the building with its massive talons as the light grew. The man seemed unfazed by the light, never blinking as it intensified. Looking over his shoulder he could see the young woman in a fiery red and yellow dress. Cinder Fall was the name that came in the Echo. She had stolen a power that did not belong to her. That was what allowed her to achieve her victory over Pyrrha. But her victory seemed short lived as she looked to be… shocked? Maybe slightly frightened at the light with a touch of anger? Perhaps mixed emotions wasn't something she was used to displaying in such a short time frame. This made the man smile beneath his hood.
The vision played on, the stranger in cloak and hood watching Cinder disappear in the light, the Grimm dragon freezing in place when coming into contact with said light. The stranger's right hand rose, a gauntlet covered appendage twitching it's index finger once. The world froze. He had long ago learned to control the Echo. In times like this, it came in most handy. He stepped forward, walking to the edge which pointed East. In the distance, surrounded by what looked like a sphere of fire he could see Cinder, the woman using her stolen power to make a hasty retreat before the light could consume her fully. The word, or name, Mistral comes to his mind.
His head dips slightly. This was where she was running to. Possibly. He was sure of it. He would have to go through the academy, using the Echo to gain further knowledge of what had happened. He ignored the eagle like cry of the Griffins above as he thought on the subject. They do not frighten him. Even the frozen dragon to his side bothers him not. He had fought worse and much, MUCH, larger foes.
Color returns to the world. Or what color there was. The Grimm seem to suck away whatever beauty the city and academy once held. The fog surrounding the city didn't help either.
A shadow is cast overhead, a Griffin taking the chance to fly close to the stranger. His head tilts slightly as it banks around to come sweeping in. Red wisps begin to rise from the stranger, his cloak lifting from the combined effort of the wind and this red aura that began to permeate the area where he stood like smoke from a fire. The Griffin screeched as it approached, forward talons ready to cleave him in two. His left hand rose, gauntleted fingers stretching as a sphere of dark energy began to form. The sphere swirled like smoke in a glass bubble, growing in size and intensity. When it was released, the ball collided with the Grimm only feet away from the hooded stranger, the bird like Grimm giving its last screech as it evaporated into ash and red petals that seemed bathed in the purple wisps of his attack. Some swirled past him, the blood red aura pushing the ash aside like water running around a rock.
This attack signaled the rest which had been circling above. They cawed and screeched as they all took a dive. The stranger moved to meet the first one, hand reaching for the handle over his shoulder. His boots slid over the gravel, the sword came on high. When it bit down in the Grimm's neck, it continued on till it impacted the tiles, cracking the floor. Again ash washed over his aura. He turned slightly with a backwards leap and turn, the massive claymore brought around again one handed. Another Grimm thought it could attack from behind. It was met with the biting edge of the obsidian colored claymore, the blade splitting its face in two. More ash.
Running to the edge, the man turned as he jumped off. Facing the tower as he plummeted, more Grimm flew in to attack. The claymore was shoved into the wall, slowing his fall. Putting his feet onto the tower's surface he pushed. Twisting in the air he brought his sword overhead, a battle cry bellowing as he stabbed down onto a Griffin. It screeched and fell. Pushing off its body before it too became ash, he sailed over to another. His hand gripped tightly onto a wing, yanking the creature into a fall. Feet on its belly, he stood as it twisted in its fall and planted his sword into its underside. With great strength he tore it free, the Griffin nearly cleaved completely in half. Flung through the air with nothing to ride, the stranger was open for another Griffin as it swooped in, front talons open to tear him asunder. But a hastily charged sphere of dark energy tore one right talon away, leaving the left one open for him to grab. He was closer to the roofs of the city far below now. Just needed to get closer. Sheathing the massive blade to his back, he fired another dark sphere into the wing of the Grimm, it's screech echoing in the ruins of Vale, the city below just as much in shambles as the academy.
The Griffins stopped their chase, allowing their wounded kin to fall with its would-be prey turned predator. Buildings approaching fast, the stranger gripped the Griffin by its neck and turned it, its body becoming a buffer for the impact. A clothing store that had already taken a fare beating from the Grimm invasion now took another blow from the wounded monster and shrouded man, their bodies tearing through the edge of the roof.
Hitting the streets below, the talon of the Griffin tore free the cloak, the owner rolling over twice before sliding onto one knee and a hand anchored into the concrete to slow himself down. The Grimm rolled and rolled, till it fell into ash. The cloak was tossed into the wind, its owner climbing to his feet. Revealed was an imposing figure in obsidian armor. The cloth garb that made up its armor skirting was torn and tattered from past battle and with age. The edges of the armor were scraped and cut from battle damage old and new. The face was hidden behind a visor with only a pair of glowing red eyes to be seen. Two horns poked out from either side of his head, curving to aim forward with metal tips. A long, scaly tail pointed at the cracked ground.
His landing hadn't gone unnoticed. More Grimm were approaching. He could feel it in the ground. A pack would be upon him soon. A puff of air escaped his visor. Let them come.
And around the corner they came. A pack of Creeps rushing towards the man in obsidian armor, his hand stretching out with a spark of crimson. The beasts ran into his trap, all stopping as their bodies were wracked with pain. The ground at their feet burned with crimson smoke, a swirling dome surrounding them as they were torn asunder from their skin to their bones. Like all others they were turned to ash in seconds. Others would still come though. The city was infested now with Grimm, and it would take more than one man to deal with them. But it wasn't his purpose. It was not the reason he was summoned there. Hydaelyn had sent him there to quell the approaching darkness that was growing. And he could feel it there in the city, its lingering effect having touched the city with the infestation of Grimm.
As the effects of his Salted Earth began to wither, the Grimm Creeps completely gone, the Dark Knight felt a spark of energy some distance away. A magic of sorts. And it was strong, though its strength seemed to be waning. No doubt from continuous use.
Glynda Goodwitch aimed her riding crop towards the approaching pack of Beowolves. A two layer glyph grew from the tip of the crop, one spinning in the opposite direction of the other as a blast of violet energy condensed and fired, coring a perfect hole within their ranks. Some fell instantly into ash, others lost their limbs with red petals flowing from the wounds. Those just outside the radius of the shot only paused for a second to look at their fallen pack mates before continuing with their charge. Glynda sighed, arms sagging at her sides as she fought to stay on her feet. Her cape was torn, nearly nothing but tatters in the wind. Her neatly kept uniform was in shambles with small patches torn here and there. Her stockings had seen better days, and she had long ago ditched her high heels when one had broken some hours ago. Her blonde hair hung raggedly down over her shoulders, long ago falling from the bun she kept it in.
The first Beowolf to get within striking range, she easily swept aside with her crop, an aura of violet incasing the Grimm and sending it smashing into a building to her right. She swung again, two more caught in her power and slammed into a wall to her left. Sighing, she sunk to her knees. It didn't seem to want to end. They just kept coming and the now former teacher was beginning to reach her limit.
The ring of chains shaking and the flap of fabric came to her ears. The Grimm that were approaching paused in their stride, stopping some distance away. The sounds of boots thudding in the quiet street echoed to her ears. Just as Glynda was beginning to turn her head to look, she saw a faint wave of red in the air. Following it was obsidian armor and tattered leather. As she looked up… and up even more, she watched the mountain of a man approach the Grimm. Or was it a Faunus? He did have a tail. Though Glynda couldn't remember ever seeing a Faunus with a tail like that.
Glass shattered to the left as a Beowolf leapt from a store window, its target the armored individual that had walked past. His arm lashed out and caught the beast by the neck. Immediately it fell to its knee as his grip tightened. The teacher's jaw nearly fell to the ground at the feat she had just witnessed. Claws that could tear any human or Faunus to pieces scratched at the armor, doing nothing but cause sparks to manifest. A second later there was a sickening snap, the Beowolf's head angled off to the side before dissolving into ash. Ash trailing through his fingers, the man reached to his belt, drawing forth a glass bottle of some strange blue liquid. Looking back to Glynda, he tossed it to the woman.
Glynda caught it in one hand, nearly dropping it due to the liquid sloshing about. It was cool to the touch.
She glanced up to the armored stranger, his hand reaching for the intricate blade he carried on his back. The Beowolves rushed forward, he himself charging forward to meet them. Claw met blade, the two opposing forces clashing in a flurry of slashes and strikes. The armored warrior ducked below a claw meant for his throat, the edge of his sword cutting up into the armpit, never slowing. The blade passed, the Beowolf howled in pain before a sphere of dark energy tore from its back to its chest, passing on to kill the next one beside it. He did not stop there, swinging the sword as it was bathed in obsidian and crimson flames. It cut through two more with ease.
And Glynda did nothing but watch. It was astonishing as it was horrific in its own way. This stranger fought on a level of ferocity that was matched by the Grimm, but with the trained elegance of a Hunter. She heard no threats or cries. No banter or quips. Nothing of the usual she would hear from other Hunters, new or old. She did hear brought a chill down her spine. Through the melee she could hear him roar. With each swing, his cry was near monstrous, drowning out the howls of the Grimm. And coupled with the odd glow of his blade, switching from black and red, to purple, or blue and white… she didn't know what to think.
She looked again to the bottle in her hand, the liquid within seeming to pules in color. What was this suppose to do? She doubted it was meant to kill her. If he wanted her head, he could have done it himself considering her current state of exhaustion. Perhaps a medicine. Dust related maybe? She had seen dust used in medicines before but in small, very small quantities due do dust's volatile states. But she had never seen it as a liquid. Popping the cork, she took a sniff. The odor was different. Almost earthy, a serious contrast to its appearance. A sip couldn't hurt, right?
Glynda placed the bottle to her lips and sipped, the liquid passing through in a small sip. The taste wasn't good or bad. Not like water either. The minute it settled in her stomach though, her eyes shot open. She breathed heavily, her heart racing a mile a second. Her aura pulsed brightly around as she stood, hand gripping the riding crop with such force she feared she would destroy it in her grip. She looked ahead and saw the warrior was still fighting, tearing through the ranks of Beowolves that continued to charge at him. The sky darkened above them as she raised her crop, a massive purple glyph growing over the block they stood in. From the glyph rained down beams of energy that landed precise hits upon the Beowolves, reducing them to ash. More beams arched and turned, targeting nearby Grimm and like the others were completely reduced to nothing. The armored warrior paused in his fight, head tilted to the sky as he watched the show of power come raining down on the enemy. When the Grimm were gone, Glynda shifted her crop, twirling it once before brining it down and slamming the end onto the street. A glyph on the ground form and began to spread. Debris launched into the air in a swirling tornado, harmlessly passing the two. And brick by brick, the street and the buildings around them began to repair. Glass reconstructed and was as pristine as the day it was first made, the buildings held no sign of damage. Even Glynda's clothing began to reknit itself. Her stockings no longer looked ripped, her cape was new and long. The left lens of her glasses no longer sported a crack. Even her hair was back into the bun she liked to keep it in. The only thing missing were her shoes.
The glyphs receded, and the clouds settled. As her heart rate slowed, she glanced at the bottle in her hand again. She didn't take much of a sip, yet it had that much of an effect? What was this? And when she looked at the warrior as he slowly approached her, she wondered just who he was. His sword was back on his back. His stride was long, but deliberately slow. Probably so he wouldn't seem to be a threat. Hands were out to his sides and open, showing he carried nothing in them.
Standing up to her own full height, which paled in comparison to his, she met him halfway. Corking the bottle, she held it out to him. "I thank you for your assistance," she spoke elegantly as she always did, her tone showing pride and strength behind it. "I was not sure how much longer I would have last, but thanks to your help and this… medicine I managed to get back most of my strength." The large Faunus nodded, and took the bottle in his hand, Glynda noticing it was small in his grasp in comparison to when she held it. He continued to be silent, staring down at her from behind the mask of his helmet. His chaotic red aura had vanished, leaving him in a tattered state. He looked away, staring off into the distance. Glynda followed the path he looked to, and saw nothing. When she looked back he was already turning away and leaving. She frowned at that. "It is customary to exchange names, sir," she said, hand resting on her hip.
The warrior paused in mid step, looking back to Glynda. He said nothing for a few seconds, and just stared from behind his mask. "Hayden Tenebrae," he said finally.
"And I am Glynda Goodwitch," she said in return with a slight nod. "From what region to you hale from, Hayden?"
His shoulders shook from what she guessed was a chuckle. "Not one you know of, Lady Goodwitch."
Lady? She thought, a faint blush breezing her cheeks. "That's not telling a lot," she said, crossing her arms. She wiggled the toes on her right foot, thinking of needing some shoes. She did not want to walk around barefoot again. "Never the less, are there others coming in as a relief team, perhaps? There are other Hunters and Huntresses here but we do need the assistance if we wish to remove the Grimm entirely."
"I'm afraid that is not the reason for my appearance," Hayden answered with a slight frown behind his helm, his tail swaying to the side slightly.
"Its not?" Glynda asked in a slightly shaken tone. It had been at least a few days since the attack, and still the Grimm weren't pushed out of the city, or the academy. They needed help desperately. If he wasn't part of some aid of Hunters sent by their neighboring regions then why was he here? "Who are you? What is your purpose here if not to help?"
His head titled to the side slightly. "I guess you could say I am here investigating."
"An investigator? Why? What are you looking for? If its to prove that the White Fang were behind this, I assure you there are plenty of witnesses that had first hand contact with the terrorists when the attack happened."
Hayden shook his head. "The White Fang are not my concern," he said, though he secretly admitted that they were a large threat and that he would deal with them if and when they crossed paths. Especially a certain red haired figure dressed in black. But for now he had to focus on his main mission. "There is something dark here, Lady Goodwitch. Something far worse than the White Fang is working in the shadows, and as a Dark Knight it is my sworn duty to drag it into the light."
"Dark Knight?" she whispered.
Hayden looked to the side slightly, the fingers of his right hand twitching. "By the way, your shoes are two blocks back." And with that he turned, leaving a blushing and stuttering Glynda Goodwitch. He was sure with her renewed strength she could fend for herself till either help arrived or she decided to join with the other Hunters that roamed the city, dealing with the Grimm as they came. But like he had told her, he had to investigate the region, probe locations with the Echo to learn more of the world he was in.
A block later his mind churned through the information he had gathered of the city. Along with a growing head ache. He saw the past from near every angle. Both it's light and dark. The love of family and friendship, the kindness of others who helped those who were unfortunate or just felt it in them to aid another. The sting of racism. Of prejudice. The Faunus didn't deserve the treatment brought upon them, but this White Fang did not help the cause at all. They made it worse. He saw that these humans didn't make it easy, but the White Fang could have done a lot better in showing their image. Being terrorists didn't get a point around for equality. It only made things worse.
A slight glint of light caught Hayden's eye to the right, and he turned to see something that looked like a piece of glass framed in metal, or what they called plastic in this new world. Kneeling down, he took up what he remembered learning from the Echo being known as a Scroll. A communication device that had many other features as well. Using his ability, he watched the world changing and remember where it had come from. It was during the attack that this Scroll was lost from its owner, the woman running for her life as she tried to call home. She had decided to forgo the tool as she was being chased by members of the White Fang, noticeable by their black and gray armor and Grimm inspired masks. She only managed to escape with the timely arrival of some of Beacon's Hunters that blocked their path. He didn't need to watch any further, clearing his mind of the memory to look down at the device. The Scroll would come in handy for his journey. It would at least help him in learning a thing or two of the present as well. Though advanced technology wasn't exactly his forte. If his friend Cid Garlond was there to assist him, he was sure the master mechanic/inventor would have figured it out in no time.
A crow's call pulled him from his thoughts of his old friend. Looking in the direction of the call, he saw a single bird fly over. Following the call was the sound of battle. Hunters most likely still fending off the Grimm, trying to drive them back.
His instincts told him to go and help. To drive the darkness away and help save the city. But he had to follow the clues that would lead him to the source of this mess. A shadow that was slowly beginning to cover the world.
His boot slid across the concrete, kicking up a puff of dust as he took a step in the direction he needed to go. His target was the woman named Cinder Fall. When looking through the Echo he could see the darkness within and around her. Coupled with stealing and tainting the power she claimed as hers only intensified that. Once he found her and learned of what was truly happening within the world, he would cast her down. It seemed to be the only way to remove that power from her. And for her actions there was no better punishment. Along with his red haired target that peeked his interest when he investigated the academy. One that held a connection to the shadow that watched him currently from the roof above.
Looking back over his shoulder, he barely caught a glimpse of a figure garbed in black and white, with a bow upon her head.
Hayden hardly paid her any mind when he was lost in his musings. She had begun to follow him after his introduction to Glynda Goodwitch. She had watched the battle as well, but did not interfere. Spirit broken perhaps? Fear? Who knew. He could see into the past, but that didn't tell him he could see into other's emotions. Perhaps he would ask.
When Blake Belladonna followed the armored man, she didn't understand why. She didn't know why she cared about who or what he was. Maybe it was the armor. Not exactly her taste but the way he wore it like it gave no hindrance of any kind, or the way he fought viciously against the Grimm sparked a bit of intrigue within her. But how did he see her? How long had he known she was following him. Or did he just look in her direction and happen to spot her? She would like to think that it was just as possible that she slipped. Things hadn't been right since the attack. Nothing was anymore. Her team was disbanded, gone in the wind. Her home lay in ruins, infested with Grimm with a frozen dragon perched upon it. She didn't know what to do.
Looking back over the edge, she saw he was gone. No trace of the armor stranger. She sighed. Perhaps it was best not to follow him. He seemed… wrong in so many ways to her. The way he carried himself showed he had no fear. The armor was proof of many battles, but that could also just be from age. A family heirloom perhaps passed down? It looked old enough.
With a sigh Blake stood to her full height, though her head was cast down. She had to move. No point in sulking for the moment. She pivoted on her heel to leave, only to nearly trip and step back in utter surprise. The armored stranger was standing only a few meters away from her, right hand reached up and gripping the hilt of his massive sword which he carried on his back. How long had he been there? HOW did he get there without her knowing? She must be really slipping if he got the drop on her this badly. He stood in a calm stance but she was sure that beneath that armor he was coiled to strike if he was provoked into.
To Blake's surprise he relaxed, his hand slowly lowering to his side. "It's impolite to spy on someone," he spoke with a slight vibrating tone. Most likely caused by the helmet he wore.
"It's impolite to sneak up on someone too," Blake bit back, not liking the idea someone got the drop on her like this. Especially when he was covered head to toe in heavy armor. It was an insult to her skills. "How did you do that by the way? You obviously don't cry out 'stealthy'."
"Lets say I've had many teachers who've taught me many different skills, and leave it at that," he answered. Hayden has had too long a history with people watching him from the shadows. In the end they either aided, hindered, or stopped his efforts. He didn't like them either way. "Why are you watching me?"
Blake bit her lip, eyes looking for something other than the imposing figure before her. It was just something about him that made her either want to fight and run, or just run all together. She wasn't a coward, that's for sure. But the aura he put off… it was like he pulled the fear of anyone who looked at him out into the world. Made you face it, and him at the same time. "I was curious. That's all, I swear." She sounded a little too defensive. She had no reason to, but that how it sounded to her.
"Fare enough," he answered back, causing Blake to blink. "You're alone?" he asked, looking around.
Blake lowered her gaze, memories of her friends coming to the forefront of her thoughts. "I am."
Hayden knew that tone all too well. How many people had he met in his journeys that had friends, yet lost them or decided to lead themselves down the lonely road of solitude for one reason or another? More than he could count on two hands. She wouldn't be the last either he guessed. "If you have true friends, you are never alone," he spoke, turning on his heel. "So long as you keep them in your heart, they never leave you. They are always at your side."
Blake watched in stunned silence as he walked away, his back left open to her as he just seemed to end their conversation there. She chased after him though the minute he stepped off the ledge of the building, and disappeared. When she looked over the edge, he was gone.
To Be Continued…