Noctis stared at the Crystal, lips pursed. He needed to stop the daemons but mostly he just wanted…
"Please, help me save my friends."
The ring burned on his hand as the Crystal burst into glowing strands of light that latched around his arm like burning hooks.
SHOW ME YOUR RESOLVE
Noctis struggled to pull his arm away, ears ringing and eyes pounding at the voice echoing in his head. He didn't want this… whatever this was. He just needed help, more power, for his friends, his people. He needed to stand with them against the darkness!
"Unharmed by the light. The Chosen King, indeed."
Noctis grit his teeth and growled at the unfairness of it all. That damned Ardyn was here again after all he'd done to mess with his head and hurt his friends.
WHAT WOULD YOU GIVE
Ardyn's mocking voice was a nagging speck against the onslaught of memories yanked to the forefront of his mind. He watched everything all over again; the Marilith attack, Carbuncle, his years of struggling with magic and loneliness afterwards, his bonds with Ignis and Gladio, Prompto jumping headfirst into his life, the beginning of his adventure and everything beyond. He saw everything all over again. He felt everything all over again.
CALL FOR ME
Ardyn watched with glowing eyes, his intense interest darkening his sclera with Scourge. Everything had gone exactly to plan, Noctis and his retinue stumbling like puppets on strings to their doom. Everything was perfect even up to the the boy activating the Crystal with no issue… until this. The royal brat had started speaking, yelling really, grimacing in pain and shaking his head like a dog.
Then the crystal darkened, silvery tendrils turning black and a loud crack resounded right before Noctis screamed gutturally, words of an ancient language slipping through his teeth like crushed gravel.
Now this… was definitely not part of the plan.
All at once the daemons in him screamed and Ardyn slipped into shadow, sliding from the room as quickly as possible just as it exploded in mixed waves of Crystal energies, sharp chunks of rock biting through the layers of metal that held it before like little meteors.
In seconds everything had fallen apart, the catwalk twisting beneath his feet until it too crumpled like paper just as the room surrounding the Crystal did. Was it to happen right now? How unfortunate. He'd been looking forward to at least a few years of eternal night as he wreaked havoc upon the star that betrayed him.
Very well, then. Best he be ready. Soon the King of Light would be dead and he'd have his revenge upon the Gods that had cursed him.
For the first time in millennia, green eyes opened. With a shudder of delight he uncurled His limbs, the cloak settling about his shoulders like an old friend. He stepped forward, the very air beneath His feet condensing to carry him, towards the boy who had resonated so strongly it had tugged Him to full wakefulness.
With a flutter of eyelids, blue shimmered in the contrasting lighting as the ravenette groaned and tried to right himself.
The entity was there in the next moment, fingers stroking the ring on the boy's hand. When Noctis, the boy who he owed favor to for now, tried to jerk back in shock, eyes widening, the entity held him still by the lapels of his coat.
CLEVER SACK OF SCALES
His voice was raspy, deafening, and not at all what he was used to. He was losing his temper. No… He had long ago lost his temper there was just no way he could have shown so trapped in that immutable form. His lips curled back baring his sharpened teeth glinting off of the ever shifting energies still holding the room in a suspended state. With one easy motion He yanked the ring off the boy, severing the drain on the royal's life force as he crushed it easily in his palm.
"No," Noctis yelped in dismay, hands reaching forward to futilely try to stop him.
Poisonous eyes regarded him but there were more important things to handle at the moment. Like the thirteen spirits the Draconian had tied to the entity to drain his power, claiming it as a gift for the Lucis Caelum line.
Come forth servants and kneel to me.
His voice was still ringing, chilling the very air with his ire, even after He tried to reign in his tone. He could see the effects on poor Noctis as he clutched his head and shivered with a groan. Mortals were not meant to face so much of His power at once. That the boy was even still standing showed his amazing willpower and strength in the face of adversity. He cocked His head, pulling his energies in further after the initial burst of rage cooled into simmering embers that could be stoked at a moment's notice. Noctis noticeably settled even though he was still groaning in pain. Good enough.
Thirteen spirits regarded him warily, their forms stripped to their most basic appearance. Covered in humble clothes of wool, each still held a regal air about them. True Royals. The only ones that could stand the test of their spirits being shackled and used as conduits.
"Why have you summoned us?" One of the three females spoke, her soft blonde hair falling in a short bob around her face. Her features were melancholic, soulful blue eyes watching the struggling King behind the entity while holding a trident loosley at her side.
"The better question is how," one growled warily. He was tall, but not the tallest, with long hair braided down to his hips and a clean shaven sharp jaw, a scepter held tightly in his left hand. "We are commanded by the Lord Bahamut. Who are you to force this change?"
"He is nothing," another hummed softly. His blue hair was short with blue eyes that gleamed shrewdly in the fluxing lights. His hands rested atop a sword stabbed into the air in front of him.
Nothing? I bid you still and silent, wraith.
The man opened his mouth to retort but failed to make a noise, his lips flapping uselessly much to the entity's utter amusement.
No, you are nothing. Spirits held in limbo, forced to serve that wretchedly arrogant beast. He sought to use you as a means of controlling me. Utter foolishness, for now you are back in my command as you always should have been.
"What is this," a voice hissed from behind, malintent dripping from each word like poison from a dagger.
At once the spirits lifted their weapons to a battle stance, except for the blonde whom bowed her head wearily. He turned, taking in the ooze of sickness that seeped from the man's very pores, eyes and mouth bleeding with the stench of rot and viscera. He stood next to the, finally, unconscious the King of Kings, Bahamut's chosen, like a counterpoint of balance, both on opposite sides.
Ah. You… I remember you…
His tone softened as He moved forward slowly, fingers softly brushing against the whiskers on the man's chin.
You begged for help, only wanting to save your people even after the atrocities committed against you… You are the very culmination of Bahamut's Arrogance and Pride.
Ardyn Lucis Caelum had frozen at his touch, eyes clearing from gold to a soft hazel.
You, O' First King… have been wronged. I could not answer you back then, crucified as I was against any action of independence, but now… Now I can help you… If only you will allow it.
"Y-you… Who are… you…?" Shivering, Ardyn fell to his knees before Him and He crouched with him. This was the first man to plead with Crystal, the heart he had been trapped in. Certainly not the last, but the only that had almost broken Him from His prison. One filled with such sincerity, such a deep longing to heal and help that He had not seen in many ages. Feelings such as this, that ran so strongly you could be washed away in them, the gods did not understand nor care for and He had always found that such a shame. Mortals were precious beyond comprehension and it had always made Him sick how they were only perceived as lesser beings used for the Gods whims.
I am Inevitability. The End and Beginning. And the Gods in their Hubris sought to control Me for Their Own means... Mostly that glacier breathed stub-winged sack of supple scales…
There was a loud snort followed by a wheeze behind Him and His lip quirked up on one side.
Think on my offer O' First King. I still have other matters to tend at the moment.
Ardyn stayed as He turned back to his spirits. They were calm once again, weapons resting by their sides, staring at Him speculatively.
"My Lord," one murmured, shuffling forward a half step before kneeling, one hand stabbing his sword in front of him. "I beg you… my son… I only wish to see my son live happily and the Blademaster-"
Wishes his end for his own means. Thou art a dedicated man, O' Father. Would thoust fight the Gods to save thine son?
Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII looked up with a raging fire in his eyes as he growled. "I would."
The entity smiled eerily, pleased at the strong emotion still tying the Father and Son. This He could work with.
Then I grant thee Guardianship of Noctis Lucis Caelum until such a time as the War that will be waged has Ended.
With a wave of His hand the young King was flung forward straight into his father's arms who caught him with a grunt, the sword he'd been holding shattering into blue wisps. Regis was surprised at first but once he had his son in his arms, his face softened, age melting away wrinkle by wrinkle until a much younger King was fussing over his child.
Green eyes regarded the rest of the spirits contemplatively. Some had softened at His succor to the Lucis Caelum line, others, especially the one He had bound, still stared at him with shuttered eyes.
"My Lord… I beseech thee… I will follow you wherever you go if only you shatter my ties to the Blademaster that I may speak freely to my… to…"
Her plea she could not finish in words but He could feel her torment, see the torment she laid upon the man she loved whilst constrained in service, and her honest wish to repent to him that had been denied her. She had gotten close but Bahamut had intervened siccing another of his wraiths to turn Ardyn into the creature he had become.
If he chooses to speak with you, then let it be so. What wouldst you do if he does not?
Her hand tightened on her trident, shoulders sagging under an invisible weight, as she leaned on it as if it were the only thing keeping her standing. "Then I will still follow you willingly. I never wanted… Damn Bahamut and his twisted trickery. I will fight him and any God that sides with him. It was my fault in the beginning… just repentance but what I have done hence… no… no… tis not fair. He asks too much..."
Her voice was thick and moving, several of the surrounding spirits shifted to stare at her instead of Him.
"A-Aera…Somnus..." a voice croaked from behind. It was angry and grieving and so thick with emotion that it made even the entity shiver with it. He turned quickly, crouching again in front of his favored, the very one Bahamut forced Him to reject, and placed both hands upon his cheeks. Ardyn's eyes were starting to glow gold again, black creeping into his sclera like possessive vines. The entity frowned at how easy it was for the rot to creep back again. It was much stronger than He'd thought, His power also weak from disuse and separation from home, trapped in the lingering heart of the star.
O' First King, you must choose now. Three options lay before you. A Purge that will leave you mortal to live your life, A Pledge to me where your vengeance will be had, or the Eternal Rest that your soul screams for.
Hazy eyes focused on Him , clearing away to hazel once more though the rage had not lessened. Adryn's lip curled into a mighty snarl as he responded, "I pledge my life to none but myself and I will destroy the Gods without their help!"
Shadows swallowed the Accursed and dragged him away while green eyes watched in sorrow. The sickness' hold on him was the strongest He had ever seen and though His touch could hold them back but a moment, the voices were stronger than Him presently. With a soft hum, He turned facing the Oraclewho now had soft tears rolling down her cheeks.
Do you see what Bahamut has wrought with his own claws? Twisting a pious man into such a wretched creature and he calls it Fate. The Astrals were meant to be Guardians of this Star and yet it is one of their own that has brought about the End. Using Eos' Heart and My Power has only delayed the Inevitable… Stand with Me. Help Me save your Star and correct the Imbalance.
"If you are so… powerful, why can not you fix this? The Gods have always played their pawns and you seem no different," a shorter blonde man murmured softly. His bow was slung over his shoulders, his hands clenched tightly on it's string.
You are correct, O' Clever One. I am Weak now. I could perhaps summon my full strength but it would mean the End of All Life here. A mortal coil I must take to walk the lands unhindered and with it comes all its Weaknesses. Still, all spirits fall to my command no matter how drained I am.
"And what keep you here then? You talk as if this Star is not your own," the woman holding the shield said, a frown marring her scarred features. She was a handsome woman with bluish hair cropped short to her head and a deep voice; a spirit He wanted on His side with her strong values.
I could leave… but Eos has turned my heart and I am not willfully blind as most choose to be. So, I ask of thee, those that lived on and roamed this Star; will you fight? Or will you Rest?
Many turned their eyes in contemplation but He was not worried. Though, these spirits would be helpful there was still the living that could be asked as well and imbued with a portion of his power. Though He would rather not be like Cosmos and Chaos with their neverending stealing of champions, he could keep these mortals bound to their forms until the End of the War. The Star would be changed with his touch but they would then live under their own rule.
And there were still the other Astrals to entreat as well. Though Bahamut was the strongest, the others had quite the power of their own and would be most helpful.
Yes… This He could do for her, for Eos. Perhaps he could even get the Infernian to cajole the Accursed to their side instead of as a rogue agent. He did still regret not being able to help Ardyn as the man had begged but their souls did not resonate as strongly as His and Noctis' did. Still, he was free now and though he was mostly trapped on this Star until the End of the War his power still held Balance everywhere else until he could see to the End of This.
AN: Hey guys! So this was a plot bunny that just wouldn't leave me alone for a while so I decided to just write it and wow it ended up being more open than it was it in my head. There's totally room for an actual story to unfold but I'm really hesitant to start yet another one... If anyone wants to adopt it though I can give more thought to stuff behind the scenes?