He had it all.
Everything Ardyn desired, he had taken with his own hands.
The man once denied his right was now King. The Chosen, the pathetic champion of the Gods, had been defeated. Ardyn's younger brother, that naive child, had been punished. The Gods themselves could do naught against the man they named the Accursed. No, they had even allowed this to happen, even made it so with their own power. They hadn't a choice in this matter.
Ardyn, the Immortal King of Lucis, had obtained his every desire.
However… Why was it that he was not happy?
The Accursed glanced over at his brother. The dark-haired man sat on his bed, propped up against the wall. The man was still but for the occasion blinking of his eyes and the steady movement of his chest from his breathing. His eyes were glassy, devoid of any sort of awareness. He gazed ahead of him without so much as a hint of movement.
Ardyn got up from the sofa he'd been sitting on and walked over to his brother. He took hold of his face, tilted it up so Somnus looked up at him. The elder brother searched for any sign of awareness in the younger's blue eyes. That maybe Somnus would recognize Ardyn, that he could understand where he was, that he would snap out of whatever this was.
But there was nothing.
Somnus just stared back and blinked.
"You've ruined it," Ardyn sighed as he let go of his brother. There was no anger, just a heavy bitterness in his voice. "The revenge I had planned. You've gone and ruined it all."
The Gods and Crystal at his mercy, the Chosen kneeling in his defeat, Ardyn gleefully demanded everything owed to him.
The Gods relented. Their only other option was to allow the world to suffer in eternal darkness. They gave the Accursed all he asked for, using up their powers in the process. After returning the world to a state 2000 years ago, they retreated into slumber far away from his grasp. This allowed Ardyn free reign to do as he wished. None could hope to stand against him.
Ardyn took the throne as the first King of Lucis. He was the Founder this time. As the man was still infected by the Starscourge, he could not use the power of the Crystal or Ring. That did not matter however as the disease in his body allowed him power far greater than most Kings of Lucis could ever hope to imagine. He was more powerful than the so-called Gods.
Noctis, the failed Chosen, had been thrown back into the Crystal where he would remain. Ardyn then locked both the Ring and Crystal in the depths of the Citadel, surrounding them with a corrupted barrier. No one would be able to near them, not until he wished for it to be so.
The Accursed felt the Crystal's cleansing power but it was a mild annoyance. Though the stone was still full with the energy of over a hundred of the Lucis Caelum bloodline, it would not be given the chance to use that power. Not for some time anyway, whenever Ardyn saw fit to allow it as he'd given the Gods no time frame. He might one day grow bored of this world, but that may be long into the future. The man planned on enjoying the fruits of his labour for as long as he could.
Ardyn had been delighted that he now had the ability to do to Somnus as his brother had done to him. He wished for him too, to suffer alone in the darkness. To spend 2000 years in with nothing but despair, anger and loneliness as his company.
And so the Accursed imprisoned Somnus within Angelguard as he had once been. His brother was 'gifted' with immortality by the Gods, something Ardyn ordered them to do as well as returning him to his human form. His younger brother had then been infected with the Starscourge. Somnus was to spend as long as Ardyn had in that prison. His brother would know in his imprisonment that his choice in savior had failed; that the last of his blood had been worthless.
The last thing the elder brother saw was the younger's resigned form, arms tied together above him and impaled through his stomach by his own sword. The Sword of the Mystic as it had been dubbed after his death.
Ardyn left the island with a triumphant grin. It was time to enjoy his right as the Founder King.
Ardyn spent the next two thousand years thoroughly enjoying everything he'd suffered for.
The Accursed was not a benevolent King. He did as he wished and his people remained his subjects as the alternative was far worse. The world outside Insomnia even was more harsh and unforgiving than their King.
Lucis was plagued by Daemons as Ardyn did not drive them back. He had the means but the King did care to protect all those he ruled over. Only Insomnia was free of Daemons, though Ardyn occasionally summoned them to do his bidding inside the city.
The humans of the world fled their ruined homes and villages to flock to Insomnia. They allowed themselves to be subjugated so they could be spared from the monsters that plagued them outside. Some villages survived on the outskirts but most succumbed to the Darkness.
Ardyn cared little for his people. Their sufferings were of no concern to him. Over the years, there were many rebellions. The Accursed took great amusement in crushing them. Mere mortals could not stand against him, their Immortal King.
Technology did not flourish as it had once before. So many lives were lost over the years. Civilization and innovation stalled.
The people prayed for a savior and for the Gods. But none were to be seen. Soon, they began to forget about them until they were nothing more than children's fairy tales to the vast majority.
Ardyn anticipated seeing Somnus once more. He desired to see the rage on his face, the despair and madness brought on by so long in darkness. He would feel as Ardyn did.
The man dreamt about it frequently. It was torture to wait so long for that moment.
And then the day finally arrived.
Ardyn left the ship alone. This was a special moment. He would not allow anyone else to witness his brother's release. He wondered how Somnus would react to his older brother freeing him. He could not wait to find out.
Giddy with anticipation, Ardyn made his way towards Angelguard. It was quiet in the depths of the night. The moonlight illuminated the island but even if it hadn't Ardyn had rather good night vision thanks to the Scourge residing within him and offering him powers beyond a human.
There were no sounds in the darkness. Everything was quiet as Ardyn approached the ancient structure. He once abhorred this place. Now, it was a useful tool in his plan for revenge.
As the Accursed approached the building's entrance, he noticed that there were a great many mushrooms and other fungal species growing around the door. There was something strange about it and the man found himself frowning. A strange scent lingered in the air, of rot and sickness. The man dismissed the oddity, seeing as he had something quite important to do right then.
The Immortal Accursed opened the door to Angelguard with a grin on his face, knowing his revenge would soon be complete. It quickly fell when the man was immediately hit with a wave of stench so strong, so vile, he bent over and gagged.
Ardyn retreated a few steps, bewildered at such an occurrence. It smelled of mold and vast amounts of stale blood, the earthy and copper scent so strong he could taste it upon his tongue. Unease building within him, the King of Insomnia covered his nose with a sleeve and hurriedly ventured inside.
The man noticed that more types of fungus grew all around the interior of the structure. It appeared as if they had overtaken the place. Ardyn proceeded further into the prison, intent on figuring out what exactly happened. A sense of foreboding filled him.
As the Accursed neared the place he'd left his brother, he noticed the floor became increasingly covered in mold and fungus. Ardyn found Somnus exactly as he left him last. The Blade of the Mystic was still embedded in his body, but now it was drenched in blood. The blade shone with stickiness, coated in crimson. The floor beneath his younger brother too was covered in both aged and fresh blood.
Ardyn's boots slid and stuck in the filth that surrounded his brother's still form. The fungus grew more prevalent here, feeding off his brother's lifeblood, however much he had lost over the many years. It should not have been possible for him to have lost so much that it covered the floor in such a way. The Accursed had a suspicion as to what had occurred and he did not like the implications.
Somnus should not even be bleeding. He had been heavily infected with the Starscourge 2000 years ago. When Ardyn thrust his brother's sword though its master's body, Somnus had not bled like a human. Only a faint bit of miasma had been released.
Somnus's eyes were closed, his body completely still. It was as if he was dead as not even his chest moved for a breath. Drops of blood dripped to the floor from his blade, however. The wound still bled freely.
"Somnus," Ardyn coughed out, the scent of copper and earthy stench even worse now that he was at its source, it being the blood from his brother's body. When the younger did not stir, the Accursed tried again and nudged him.
This time the bound man's blue eyes opened. His chest moved as he began to breathe.
Ardyn waited for Somnus to recognize him. Despite this occurrence, it changed nothing. Ardyn wished for Somnus to be like him most of all. Ardyn's intent was to twist him. This here was the moment he'd waited for.
But the Accursed did not get what he desired. Somnus gazed blankly, unmoving... Until he choked, blood spilling from his mouth to fall to the floor below. The younger brother closed his eyes again, his breath raspy, pained and stuttering.
Ardyn felt a surge of anger. He grabbed his brother's hair roughly to pull his head to look at him.
"Somnus," Ardyn hissed furiously, "look at me."
But the man did not even seem to recognize the order. His eyes opened but once again, there was no recognition. His head hung limply in Ardyn's grasp.
The Accursed stepped back. Things were not going as he expected. Maybe Somnus just needed some time to recover his wits. It had been quite a while. Ardyn too needed some time to adjust when he'd been free of this place.
Ardyn took hold of his younger brother's sword and pulled it out of Somnus's body. The sound of it traveling through flesh, made Ardyn feel a tad sick. But that may have also been the stench that permeated this place. The Immortal King then used the bloodied blade to cut the bonds that held his brother up.
Somnus fell in a crumpled heap as he was freed. Whatever bits of clothing not drenched in his blood were now covered in it as well. The former Founder King remained on the floor, despite being released after 2000 years. Ardyn nudged him with his boot, expecting to see some reaction.
But the Accursed received nothing. Somnus did not flinch nor did he make a sound. Not even as he was forcibly dragged out of Angelguard and into freedom.
It was only when they returned to the ship that Ardyn checked to find that yes, the Starscourge was in fact purged from his brother's form. He'd had his suspicions while in Angelguard but had been hoping that was not the case. The wound inflicted by the sword healed itself by the time the two brothers made it onto the ship. A scar remained however, one that Ardyn felt would never fade if it had not yet healed.
Ardyn angrily ordered his men to clean his brother up as he smelled vile.
Afterwards Ardyn cleaned himself up while also trying to keep calm. It felt as if he were being denied his hard earned revenge. He pushed back the feeling, believing it to be too early to know for sure. Somnus had not been freed for even a few hours yet. There was still time to see if what he'd done took root.
Somnus did not regain himself, no matter what Ardyn tried. Weeks passed after they returned to Insomnia and Somnus behaved no different. He was like an empty husk with nothing left inside. Nothing from shouts to physical violence could wake him from his state.
Ardyn realized that while the Starscourge had kept his pain at bay, it had not for Somnus. He wasn't sure when the Starscourge had been purged from his brother but it may have been a quite some time ago. The man would likely never know when.
The sword of his brother's might have been at fault as it was a Royal Arm. Something meant to destroy the Daemons an Starscourge. Somnus too, had not been as heavily infected as Ardyn was. The thousands upon thousands he'd once saved in a life long passed meant his very soul became corrupted by the disease.
With an immortal body, and 2000 years to work, the sword of the Mystic must have eventually completely eradicated the Scourge from his brother. Somnus may have possibly endured hundreds, perhaps even more than a thousand years of constantly, horrifically dying and reviving from his forced immortality.
The pain might have destroyed his mind entirely.
It might have been a fitting revenge. But that was not what Ardyn had waited for. It was not what he planned. What use was this husk his brother had become?
Ardyn was furious. At his brother. At the Gods. At the entire world. His revenge was ruined. He'd waited 2000 years for it and all for naught.
Somnus was supposed to be broken. But not like this. He was to have been warped, his anger and despair causing him to abhor the world as Ardyn did. They would have fought. They would have had glorious battles filled with their mutual hatred of one another after he was freed.
Somnus was to have known the world turned on him. That everyone he trusted allowed him to be imprisoned. He was to have slowly realized that no one was coming to save him. That the Gods left him behind for the 'greater good'.
The former Founder King was to be furious and full of despair. He was to succumb to the madness of the Starscourge and allow his body and mind to twist into something far removed from himself.
He was to become like Ardyn.
Only then would Somnus have finally understood.
Not exactly sure what I'm doing with this but it should only be two chapters long. Second chapter is still very in it's early stages so I may not update this for some time. I might possibly end up changing a couple things in this chapter that I'm not so happy with next time I update. I will leave a note if so.
Thanks for reading!