Ask of me what you will to make your decision.
"You speak of balance, as if our world is not right. What is it you seek to correct?" This time the speaker was the tallest of them, his blade almost as massive as he with serrated edges that could easily rend flesh.
Balance is lost as are thine creators. Those who birthed this world have fallen and so too will their creations. With rage in her heart at His betrayal, she scourged the land, only a shard of her purity surviving. When an Aspect of Me was Lost with her sister I came seeking answers. To save the world His mistakes, the Dragon bound me to the Crystal, halves one whole again. Or so he hoped. He only delayed the Inevitable and tipped the scales further at the Imbalance of Powers.
"It sounds as if to correct the wrong done… you seek destruction." The man was glowering now, even through his unease. The entity could respect his mettle.
I seek only the destruction of those that caused the Imbalance; Bahamut and his messengers. He meddles in powers not his own and cares not for being a Guardian of this Star. He steps above his station and so must be removed before Destruction follows in his wake.
"You have spoken of Guardians before," a woman cuts in. Her large bladed throwing star hangs loosely from her hand as she stares at him with a frown. "What exactly are they?"
Guardians are as they sound. Protectors entrusted with the well being of their charge. Bahamut and the Astral Six were entrusted the Guardianship of this Star. As long as it so exists, they protect it.
"Would we have to become Guardians?"
No. Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII was granted Guardianship over his son because his soul cried for it. Unless you so desire, you will only be asked to fight when needed.
She stepped back a bit signifying she was done. The tallest of them was still frowning at Him but he was less angry and more thoughtful now. Another one of their number stepped forward a question spilling from his lips in a rush, "If we Rest will we see our loved ones?"
Many of them perked up at that and the entity couldn't help but mentally sigh. Explaining the afterlife was… not impossible but… Mortals could not technically comprehend the entirety of its complexities, not even dead ones. He wished He could simplify it to a yes or no but that was dishonest. Still, simplicity was better.
In Passing to the Beyond your soul will enter the River. There, those you once knew and those you will know will greet you.
Death was complex. Eternal, All Encompassing, reaching the furthest of any Power that has or will Exist. As such the souls in the Beyond gather in one place from across every universe. In a way they become One for their tenure in the River. It was not something that could be described in words, it was not even something one realized while they were there or after they left. It most certainly was not what most humans believed it to be, though.
His explanation seemed to confuse most of them, but the man who asked only sighed in relief, his katana clenched in both hands, his blue bangs falling over his eyes.
"We can fight and still see the afterlife, though right? We won't be here forever?" This time it was brunette, his hair almost entirely shorn from his head, his massive battleaxe resting by his feet.
"Then I will fight for the people of Eos as I fought for the people of Lucis! You have my axe, My Lord!"
Many of them followed, falling to a knee, their weapons stabbed into the air in front of them.
"I would like to rest, My Lord," the War King pleaded, bowing at the waist. "I would like to see my Queen again."
The rest of the Kings agreed.
Very well then.
With a wave of His hand, the entity sent 5 of the Spirits to their Final Rest. The rest bowed their head from their kneeling position and disappeared with the exception of Regis and Somnus.
He watched the Faux Founder King contemplatively before finally relenting and releasing the bindings.
What Path does thou wish to walk?
Somnus pursed his lips but eventually bowed to one knee.
"I… still don't see how fighting Bahamut will return balance to the world. Bahamut Called us for the Greater Good-"
And yet you have still chosen to remain. Somnus Lucis Caelum, what drives your will to continue?
The spirit sucked in a sharp breath but did not answer. He could more than see the emotions that radiated from the faux Founder King but He would say nothing. Though, He felt emotions were precious and necessary… it had been a long time since He had dealt with any Himself and Somnus was a compilation of extremely complicated knots of feeling.
Regis was watching his ancestor carefully as well, his son held carefully in his arms so the boy was tucked into his chest while he stood.
"I do not claim to know the past… but perhaps your unfinished business should be handled delicately… and away from Bahamut." And my son went unspoken.
Somnus' blue eyes darkened and his mouth twisted in a sneer. "Speak not of what you do not know! My brother…."
The entity hummed, the sound echoing in their small subspace.
Regret is a strong motivator. Love even stronger. But be wary of yourself lest you become the very Monster you claim your Brother to be. Do, also, keep in mind I may dismiss you whensoever I please. We are to fight a War and I do not suffer dissenters.
With a huff the spirit bowed his head briefly and disappeared. They were not entirely gone from this plane, only resting, and could keep up with His adventure as they pleased. If they had enough Will they could also force manifest themselves, though He still held the final say in their continued presence.
"My Lord… what happens now?"
Green eyes studied Regis for a moment before turning back to the completely decimated entrance.
Now, Allies are to be gathered and the War started. Bahamut is Awakened as I destroyed his Gate from his plane to yours. That will only delay the mongrel so much, unfortunately. The sooner We are ready the better.
The entity pulled its power in, its form shrinking into cold black flames, no longer over ten feet tall, dimming the shimmering lights and resuming time. Regis blinked in surprise, not having realized that time had paused. Metal screeched and concrete rained down with alarming speed and intensity and the dead King couldn't help but clutch his son closer in alarm. There was still nothing but air beneath his feet and it was a very disconcerting sight considering it felt as any floor would.
"Come on then! We don't have all the bloody time in the world!"
Regis started looking up at the young man that bore the eyes of the Death Entity. He was young with black hair much messier than Noctis' and a pale face with rounded glasses sat upon his nose to dim the sheer potency his gaze held. The boy turned and bolted towards where part of the catwalk was still hanging, though the entrance was still blocked by fallen debris. With a wave of his hand, the twisted iron and concrete lifted and Regis, though still slightly dizzy from confusion and awe, shot forward through the hole just big enough for them.
A blonde scrambled back with a yelp, his blue eyes watery and red rimmed. Prompto Argentum. When Cor had brought the baby home he'd had a few misgivings but even he was not cruel enough to place the sins of the father on a babe. Years later when Noctis had befriended the blonde, unknowingly dragging him back into Royal's life, he had been nervous. But the sheer joy and lack of loneliness Noct displayed had calmed his worries. Then the boy had joined the Crownsguard and finally Noct's retinue and Regis couldn't be more proud of how far the tiny squalling babe Cor had almost adopted had come. Seeing him here, now, at the very end still following his son, warmed his heart tremendously.
Behind Prompto was Gladiolus, a worthy and headstrong Shield that Clarus had been so very proud of, and Ignis, the Advisor and brother his son had sorely needed. Who was now blind because of his efforts to protect Noct. The dead King still considered it an unfair price his fore bearers had exacted but who was he to fight Fate? (Apparently a great deal now that he was a Guardian as the entity had explained in answer to one of the spirits many questions in an attempt to determine whether they would offer to fight.)
"Y-Your Majesty," Prompto gulped at the same time Gladio pulled his sword.
Regis frowned. "Peace Gladio. I mean no harm-"
"Put him down," the large man practically growled.
"Gladio," Ignis said half-reprimand, half-question.
"We'll not fall for your tricks again Ardyn! Put him down!"
And suddenly, with a little fumbling in the beginning, he was faced with a gun as well as a massive broadsword and Ignis signature frown of disapproval. He was too old and much too dead to deal with this right now. Couldn't he just enjoy the time he got to hold his son?
"Really now boys, I'm not-"
"And what have we here," the entity mused stepping out from behind him.
Regis startled a little again. Damn the Gods and their messengers, they needed bells. Behind them there was another loud crash, the metal grate vibrating under their feet, as the debris the God had been holding was released.
"Oh! Allies? Yes! You're the retinue if I remember correctly."
"You are correct, My Lord-"
"Bah! Just call me Harry for now. All that lord and titles business gives me a headache. So, wouldst thou like to introduce them," the man mocked lightly, leaning on Regis' side to comb his hand through Noctis'. The action seemed entirely subconscious, which made his lip twitch. He made no move to stop 'Harry' (and how different he was once the God had seemingly shed his titles and otherworldly form) and focused on the boys in front of him, watching them warily. Ignis' hand on Gladio's arm was probably the only thing stopping outright confrontation at the moment.
"This is Prompto Argentum," the boy squeaked his eyes darting from each figure to the next, hands firm on his gun, "Gladiolus Amicitia," the Shields eyes narrowed as he adjusted his grip just the slightest bit, "and Ignis Scientia. They are my sons closest friends and followers. They will certainly fight."
Harry smirked still relishing the feeling of his mortal body. It was tightly constrained, almost enough to make him lightheaded, but it was an extremely familiar feeling. He hadn't had a chance to flex or constrain his power in such a long time even if it was but a drop of how long he had technically been in existence. Becoming Death and receiving all the memories of 'living' even if he hadn't been alive was a horrible experience and one he wasn't keen on experiencing. Though… his two millennia imprisonment did give him time to compartmentalize and come to terms with his powers the few centuries he'd had before hand hadn't been able to do. It was fantastic to separate his main personality from the Godly Entity he had become. Not that he was ever going to acknowledge that ever. He was still going to kick Bahamut's ass while trying to keep trauma to the Star and its occupants to a minimum.
"Nice to meet you! I'm Harry, a pleasure really. It's been so long since I've interacted with the Living so you'll excuse me if say anything offensive… or something," he shrugged with a light laugh.
"Pardon but," Ignis spoke over the others, adjusting the visor glasses on his face. Harry wondered if there was anything he could do to help with that problem. Spite for Bahamut's prophecy was a major motivator but he also was fond of Noctis… and the blind man's soul reminded him a little of one of his friends from before, "Did you say it's been so long since you've interacted with the living… as in you do not normally interact with them? Are you a messenger?"
"Mhm. Close enough. That's why O'Father is here. He's under my… er, power at the moment." He wasn't sure how to word that without it making it sound like he was controlling the man. Which he… technically was but he also wasn't at the same time. Regis was here under his own power… as long as he fought on Harry's side. "I work with Souls of the Dead normally so this is a bit atypical but needs must and all that."
He watched the furrow on the chamberlain's brow grow. He watched the anxious blond keep most of his focus on his friend even while trying to pay attention to the conversation. He watched the Shield adjust his stance, trying to find the best way he could attack without harming his allies if it was necessary. Harry decided that he liked them and that as Noctis' friends, the very friends he sought to protect that awoke him, he would grant them boons instead of just his power. But first… He'd need them to pass his Trial.
"I see… So you… protected Noctis? And brought his Father back?"
"Well, I wouldn't say I brought him back. He's only corporeal for as long as he's a Guardian for his son but yes and also yes. As for Ardyn," Harry tilted his head to Gladio, "he's not in the near vicinity. Still in Niflheim but not near this Keep."
He could feel the ichor roiling in the back of his mind, pinpointing exactly where the Accursed was raging in the mountains. He'd love to go after the man now but… The Niflheim chancellor and Ardyn were two separate beings technically and Ardyn was still suffering under the weight of his own emotions. Harry would just have to wait until he'd collected a few more people before he went after that tangled mess. He didn't need too many things on his plate just yet. He was still in recovery too, after all.
"Then I thank you," Ignis said smoothly, bringing the God's attention back to the present situation.
"No need," Harry grinned. "Noctis did me a favor and I'm only returning it. Now… strange question. What would you do to keep your King alive?"
After only just starting to relax, all three of them tensed again. Ignis, though, seemed especially pale and shivery as he answered quickly, "Anything."
Harry hummed while looking up at Regis, "Looks like someone already knows besides you."
"W-what are you talking about," Prompto squeaked. "You wouldn't save someone just to kill them would you?"
Gladio just growled, "If you hurt even a hair on his head..."
Harry almost wanted to pluck out a silky black black strand to be contrary but well, he probably shouldn't agitate the giant man with the broadsword; dying in this mortal form would be highly inconvenient after all. Instead he deliberately stroked his fingers through the unfairly soft hair. Like, what the hell did this kid use? He wanted some.
"Gladio stand down," Ignis huffed shakily. "You as well Prompto. Messenger," he started formally only to be cut off, "Call me Harry please. Titles are so annoying."
The Advisor's lips pursed but he nodded in agreement before continuing. "I believe you are talking about the prophecy. Am I correct?"
With a soft breath Ignis rocked back on his heels his cane tapping twice on the ground. "Are you perhaps suggesting… that you can subvert the Astrals?"
"I'm not suggesting anything. I'm telling you the prophecy is utter drivel and I won't stand for it. I also have a bone to pick with Bahamut for delving into realms that don't belong to him and causing more issues to solve a problem he himself created. So, I will fight the very heavens of this Star to right the Balance and it is Noctis who has allowed me to do so after so long. Whether he fights on my side or sits on the sidelines, he is under my Protection and will remain so until the End."
"Harry will be starting a war against Bahamut and whatever Astral sides with him. He is looking for willing fighters. I have already agreed to join so long as my son does," Regis spoke, his eyes tenderly tracing Noctis' sleeping face. Okay, maybe the blackette was a bit jealous of the obvious love the dead king had for his son. James Potter had loved him, he had no doubt, but he had never had the chance to bask in it. Not even in his very unhappy afterlife. He didn't want to disturb his own family for selfish reasons after all… and he hadn't been in a very good head space then either.
"May I ask then… what God you belong too that would grant you power enough for this?"
Harry's lips twitched.
"Uh... Iggy… didn't he say he worked with Souls? I don't think any of the Astrals do that. Only like Etros and she's a myth!"
Ah yes. Etros, the overly curious aspect of Death that used to help maintain this Star. She passed as her twin did. Freaking scaly asshole had given him more work than he ever thought he'd have to deal with.
"Fair assumption Prompto but Eos and Etros are only myths. There's no evidence they exist like the Six," Gladio huffed, his sword finally blinking away into shattered blue light.
"Oh but Death is my domain," the God laughed. "Your blonde friend is smart."
"Wait, you're actually a messenger of Etros!? Dude that's so cool! And also like, really creepy." The gunner threw his hands in the air, gun waving wildly as he had a mini freak out while Gladio stepped in front of his blind companion protectively.
"Prompto! Stop waving your gun around dammit!"
"I'm sure you'd be very sorry indeed if you accidentally hit something," Ignis chimed in dryly.
"I'd never do that, Iggy!"
Harry watched in amusement for a few moments before clearing his throat. All three of them practically snapped to attention. "So, you've heard what I wish to do. Will you fight?"
"Only if Noct does," Prompto said immediately, his face falling into a contemplative frown.
"Agreed," Gladio and Ignis chimed at the same time.
"Fair enough," he shrugged. They were strong fighters and he'd like to have them on his side but he could find others if they were going to stick to their King. He still had other spirits tied to the Crystal he had to release as well. The main thirteen, being the ones that were tied directly to him to siphon his power, had been his main concern but once he got somewhere safer and he could relax, the rest could be called forward and dealt with.
"Then perhaps we should leave," Regis suggested, as he adjusted his sleeping son and stepped forward.
Ah, yes. Royalty and their commanding presence and actions. Hm. He'd never liked listening to authority but it would be nice not having to corral everyone. They already trusted their dead king and the man knew what he was doing with people much better than Harry. Perhaps he could be in the lead for now then. Yes, he could do with a break to settle into his skin.
"Lead the way, Your Majesty!"
AN: So it actually happened. I continued it. I'm slightly regretting it but my brain won't let this go. Good for you guys, I guess. XD
Please tell me what you think!