A/N: This chapter has been revamped to make Tiamat marginally more realistic. There is now also a codex entry at the very end. Further edits to make Tiamat more realistic are incoming.
Five-thousand years ago, the world had gone to shit. From the farthest reaches of the Earth and beyond, the gates to the shadow realm opened, and the Army of Armageddon passed through, raging like a storm. Tiamat had only been a few hundred years old then, but that was still old enough for her to know what a monster the real world was. It was full of greed and treachery, and she thought she'd seen the worst. Oh, how cruel reality had been.
They were rage. Brutal. Without mercy.
Even now, the names of the dark ones left a horrendous taste on Tiamat's tongue and conjured burning memories she desired to forget. These weren't those fakes or imitations that beings were labeled out of fear—these were real. And they were horrifying.
They came and swept through the land like Hell fire, their sole purpose to inflict as much suffering unto their victims as possible. Like a swarm of locusts they came by the millions, crashing down on the innocent like tidal waves, sparing none from the onslaught. Their bodies were torment and chaos given form, and the magic they wielded was agony; there was no defense against it, only inevitable torture—the body and soul were torn apart, the flesh tenderized and corrupted beyond ascension, the soul painfully warped and processed into nothing more than raw chaotic energy, suffering perpetual agony.
To die by their claws was damnation of the highest order, for those who fell to their wrath became demons themselves. And they never stopped.
Even with their entrails hanging from their sides, their limbs shredded to bloody pieces, they roared in loathing, slaughtering as many as they could until they fell apart at the seams. Their rage was endless, as was their capacity to destroy. They were truly evil given form.
The world never stood a chance against them. In four months—what seemed like the blink of an eye—they took everything. The once gorgeous grasslands, forests, deserts, and mountains of Earth had become smoldering wastelands of charred Blackstone and magmatic spires. The air had been poisoned, the land terraformed to suit the insidious needs of the Hell-kin. Entire dimensions had already been absorbed, massive pantheons and factions cast into the mouth of Hell, never to be seen again, their people likely becoming nothing more than enforcers of Hell's will. What remained of civilization was desperate.
For the first time in eons, the factions and pantheons—or what remained of them at least—banded together for the sake of mutual survival. Dragons, devils, angels, and even gods—the most arrogant of beings—stood side by side to stare death in the face. Such a spectacle was unheard of and would have been a magnificent sight to behold had anyone given enough of a shit about things such as politics or social standing to care. At the time, nobody did. All focus was on surviving long enough to see the light of dawn once more. All day. Everyday.
But even then, it soon became clear that survival was hopeless. At best they slowed the demons down, but even then, with each day and night that passed, outpost after outpost fell, the news of such losses demoralizing those who remained. Entire legions of organized resistance fighters were wiped, only to be corrupted upon death, bent to Hell's will like puppets.
With each friend that she lost, Tiamat felt herself crumbling, her mind clouded by fear, anger, and a dulled sense of pessimism and cynicism. Her core had been gouged out, and a seed of doubt had been sewn in, taking its place in her heart—in everyone's hearts. With each pained breath she took, she fed the seed with her fear, and from the cursed nut sprouted veins and tendrils of despair that entangled her limbs and entrapped her soul. Darker the clouds above her head grew, and in time those vines sought to drag her into the abyss.
After struggling for what seemed like an eternity, the resistance had been thinned to the last few thousands of beings. Only the strongest managed to survive—a couple hundred from each sentient race and only a handful of gods to boot. Hope no longer had meaning, and survival was doomed to fail. Cut off from one another, the last few circles of life in the known universe had nowhere left to run. Tiamat was one among them.
Her body had been battered and bloodied to near death, her scales melting from her hide and her wings torn to shreds. The pain was immense and everlasting, and as she gazed at her rapidly falling comrades, she shuddered, fear overtaking the void that had filled her quaking soul.
'This is the end,' was the collective thought of everyone left. As if to punctuate the end of their world, to ensure that nothing was left, a harbinger arrived.
From the darkest depths of the nine circles came a Titan, a World Eater, the Icon of Sin. It's mere existence was wrong—an inverse to what should and shouldn't be, and those who lay their eyes upon its awesome form were driven to madness. With its presence alone, it warped reality, damaging the intricate order of the universe, jeopardizing all of creation.
The very moment that its hooves touched the Earth, the very idea of hope had been banished from the world. The Beast of Armageddon flared its aura of torment, and every last remaining soul in the universe began to sink.
Tiamat didn't even have the strength to gasp let alone breath as the metaphorical vines and tendrils tightened, constricting her soul, blackening it with dark energies. She felt herself slipping away, the wave of corruption entangling her, pulling her down, changing her. For a moment, she could see their world, and in an instant she broke as she was assaulted.
Pain, suffering, and torment was absolute. Fear was the only emotion. Damnation was upon her.
But, in the final moments, when nearly all life in the universe ceased to exist, he came.
With his blazing arsenal of adamantine strength, the Doom Slayer cut through the Beasts of the Nine Circles like a sickle through a field, his fury far surpassing their own, his thirst for retribution unquenched. He moved quickly, graceful as a butterfly, his speed and finesse unparalleled by any of his demonic foes, but his fists struck with barbarous brutality, showcasing his celestial might. He crushed his adversaries with vigor, the power he possessed shining brighter than a star, the ethereal light illuminating the shadows that had swallowed the world.
His heart laced with cold but disciplined fury, the Doom Slayer faced the Icon of Sin. Two titans met, and the legendary battle that followed shook the very foundations of reality. Blows that transformed the land were traded, mountains toppled, islands were sunken, but though the Icon of Sin threatened to consume all of creation, the Great Slayer's strength and will surpassed all else. The Slayer struck the Icon down, and the World Eater's hold on this plane faltered. The tendrils of darkness that constricted the souls of many were destroyed, the hearts of the free now basking in the ethereal light.
As the tide of demons receded, Tiamat felt tears of gratitude prick at her eyes. She had nearly turned and would have been damned for eternity, forced to relive that pain over and over again. She never wanted to feel that again, and luckily she wouldn't need to. The battle finally over, the war for survival at its end, Tiamat felt something brewing within her, something she hadn't felt in a long time.
The Slayer came down to her incapacitated form, and he pulled her and many others away to safety. During that time, Tiamat made a decision that would change her fate forever. Without his knowledge, and perhaps rather selfishly, Tiamat fulfilled one half of a lifelong familiar contract, binding her soul to his. She did not care if it seemed presumptuous, nor that they had only just met. The warmth that had filled her being when he freed her from the shackles of damnation was something she had never felt before—it was undoubtable. Despite her nature as a dragon, despite the quickness of the whole situation, she felt protection and familiarity in his presence. She was not sure why, and she didn't care either. If she could be with him, she knew that happiness would follow.
But before she could ask him, plead with him to do the same, to allow her to stay by his side, he left, following the demons through their fiery gates directly into the heart of Hell.
The warmth and comfort she felt by his side, the aura of protection and familiarity she had grown fond of, however brief it may have been, suddenly disappeared, and back came the aching cold of loneliness and vulnerability, amplified by the lingering effects of the dark Essence. Not for the first time in the past few months, Tiamat wept.
With the invasion having met its end, the last few thousand beings in the universe united under one banner for a little while longer. Nobody forgot about the Slayer or his impossible presence. Many came to worship him, even in the presence of other gods. Said gods didn't argue.
Over the next two-thousand years, sentient life would spend time recovering and repopulating. The Slayer's memory gradually faded, but that was a given. There had only been a few thousand people left when he had saved the world, and that many people can only spread his name so far before it was lost in the sea of millions that came with newer generations, especially since the Slayer himself was nowhere to be found.
With so few people to even remember the events of the invasion, unrest grew between the many races as some questioned why they were united under one banner; the arrogance and greed that came with sentient life was resurfacing. Tiamat was angered by the idea that nobody knew of the hero's name, that they would tarnish the unity that he had brought to this world. She didn't act on it though. She was too tired, and the scars of the invasion, both mental and physical, had not yet faded.
Instead, she focused on getting stronger, elevating her skills to heights strong enough to rival gods and Satan-Class devils. Over time, she slowly integrated back into society and lived as she pleased, trying to find peace within herself. Soon she was granted the title of Chaos Karma Dragon, the strongest of the Five Dragon Kings, a testament to her strength and hard work.
Eventually the different races and pantheons separated into their separate groups once more, effectively ending world peace. Although the Slayer's name was forgotten, his influence still spread throughout the universe, and would continue to do so in perpetuity.
Another thousand years passed, the factions growing restless and uneasy as tensions grew between them. Tiamat cared none for their squabbling, and would have liked to ignore the political spectrum if possible. What happened next however, changed her mind and the world as everyone knew it. What followed several thousand years of peace would ignite the Great War.
Only a little over two-thousand years ago, powerful artifacts of stellar might rained down from the cosmos, appearing from a short bend in space and time. These artifacts, which granted Earth-shattering strength to the users, would come to be known as the Relics of Doom. Tiamat knew why. She could feel the Slayer's presence on them, his power and influence flowing within them...
The Relics of Doom came in many odd forms and numbered more than fifty. Some came in the form of what seemed like children's toys or Collectibles, said to be able to summon astral projections representing the powerful aberrations of Hell itself. Others came in the form of small cards called Cheat Codes, granting the users unbelievable powers. One of the most rare types of the Relics of Doom came in the form of large batteries, said to be able to power entire civilizations for generations untold.
The Relics of Doom were the straws that broke the camel's back, and with their timely arrival, the Great War between all peoples broke out. Entire civilizations rose and fell in the blink of an eye just for putting their hands on a powerful relic. Others who learned how to control the powers became unstoppable, leading nations and societies with irrefutable authority. Battles were fought, blood was spilt, and the power-hungry only grew evermore powerful.
Tiamat was disheartened to find that the Doom Slayer continued to remain absent from this world despite what she assumed to be his possessions showing up. She knew that he was in a perpetual battle with the forces of Hell and thus would remain absent for possibly all eternity. She also knew that, even with the circumstances surrounding it, time moved differently in Hell. Her heart grew cold at the idea that the Slayer had been attacked, possibly defeated, and was now lost, tumbling through space and time.
She tried not to think about it and instead focused on the war. She took no sides in battle, but with luck she managed to snag one of the relics: the Doom Slayer Collectible. She was overjoyed to have obtained what was essentially a homage to her hero, even if the relic didn't seem to do anything. With it, many sleepless nights became rejuvenating, the subtle aura of her master bringing her comfort. It was the greatest gift the universe could have given her. She cherished it.
That was, until that bastard Ddraig borrowed it from her to fight Albion. Tiamat was angry, no, absolutely livid when she realized her relic was missing. Worse, Ddraig had figured out how to activate it before she did. At that point Tiamat cared less about what the artifact did and more about the fact that Ddraig had basically stolen her prized possession, used its sacred powers without her permission, then lost it in battle.
For the next few decades, Tiamat went on a blood-fueled rampage, her Dragon Rage giving her the power to clash with both Ddraig and Albion at the same time. In an agreement with the many factions of the Great War, who had grown sick and wary of the battle between Heavenly Dragons, Tiamat managed to beat said dragons down with assistance from all sides before the Biblical God sealed them within their respective sacred gears: Boosted Gear and Divine Dividing.
After that, Tiamat lost interest in the war and went back to sleep in her cave for the next century or so. After the war ended, Tiamat moved from Earth to the Underworld after making a contract with the devils. She had owed Ajuka Beelzebub a favor she didn't care to remember, and in accordance to their agreement, she would oversee any and all Rating Games, also known as the arena fighting devils did for entertainment.
For the next thousand years, life had been quiet. Tiamat had made some friends in devil society, and lived as she pleased, indulging herself to an extent. None of the pleasures she experienced gave her the same feelings as the Slayer had though. Recently there have been larger political movements and no doubt a nefarious plot brewing up somewhere in the background, but otherwise, things were stale.
Throughout all that time, Tiamat had lost hope that she would ever see her hero again. Though she had never voiced it in the past, Tiamat had grown depressed when the Slayer left five-thousand years ago. She had been filled with guilt knowing that the Slayer had saved the world, saved the universe, but didn't even get so much as a thank you for it. He had put himself between the innocent and the evil, suffering perpetual torment so that nobody else had to. She thought she would never get to pay him back for what he did for her—for them.
Imagine her surprise when the Doom Slayer himself appeared in the middle of her cave. No message, no warning, nothing. Just a brief flash and boom. She couldn't believe it. For the Great Slayer to suddenly appear, this was her chance! Her chance to make things right, to thank him for what he'd done for the world and for her! This was her chance to show her eternal gratitude!
It was far too unbecoming of her, but like a needy child hurrying to their parents for mindless physical affection, Tiamat rushed at the Doom Slayer, subconsciously transforming into her nude human form. She crashed into him like a meteor, wrapping all her limbs around him and bathing in the familiar aura he gave off. For the first time in a long while, she gave a happy sigh.
She knew it was unlikely that her master would remember her at all, but it still hurt slightly when the Slayer gave her that cold, questioning look. Regardless, she was still happy. After five-thousand years, the one that had saved her finally returned!
After a couple moments of one-sided conversation with her master, Tiamat soon found that the Slayer actually knew little to nothing about this world. Of course, she would be glad to explain everything to him if it meant spending more time by his side. However, an opportunity to tie loose ends arose.
Now fully clothed in a blue skirt produced from magic, Tiamat sat with one knee crossed over the other on a large couch across from the Slayer, who preferred to stand. They were in the furthest reaches of her cave, where she actually lived in a fully-furnished cavern, complete with wooden floors, ceiling lights, a full kitchen with an island, a couch in front of the island, a television, a massive bed that could accommodate her true form, and a door that led to a bathroom with magically sustained indoor plumbing.
As the Slayer eyed her cavernous living room intelligently, surprised by the civility of Tiamat's living conditions, Tiamat took a deep breath, gathering her thoughts. Now that the time had finally come, her nerves were flaring. Five-thousand years lead up to this moment. She would not falter.
"M-Master?" she started timidly. Damn, where was this anxiety coming from!? She may have been excited by the Slayer's presence but she was a dragon, not a school girl! The Slayer turned his head towards her, his opaque visor boring into her.
Anger rose within her. She would not let her nerves get to her now of all times. Her eyes closed, her fists clenched, and she steeled herself. When her eyes reopened, her face set into a neutral stare, and she met the Slayer's gaze with electric blue eyes. "First things first, allow me to formally introduce myself to you. I am Tiamat, the Chaos Karma Dragon, and one of the Five Dragon Kings, but don't worry about those titles for now."
The Slayer didn't move, prompting Tiamat to continue. "Let me get straight to the point. I would like to stay by your side. Please make a contract with me."
The Slayer gave her a perplexed look.
"Allow me to explain. A familiar contract is...If I were to become your familiar, I would be magically bound to you for life. I would perform tasks for you, do as you ask, and in return you let me stay by your side and we work together towards our goals. However, you would hold the reins."
She raised a hand palm-up, as if raising a point. "You would be able to hear my thoughts if you would like. You would also be able to summon me at any time, anywhere. Our souls would be bound," she explained. "On top of that, nothing bad could possibly come of it for you. As your familiar I wouldn't be able to go against your order, nor would I have the ability to intrude on your privacy should you forbid it. You would also be able to end the contract at any time. But… I trust that you wouldn't abuse this power.
There was a pregnant pause, and for a moment the dragon and the Slayer stared at one another. Then, the Slayer turned his head, gesturing in a way that seemed to ask, "WHY?"
Tiamat blinked at that. She took a moment to think before replying. "Master...or should I say, Doom Slayer. I am aware that you have no idea who I am, and thus, I have no right to label you as my master. I can only hope that by the end of this conversation, I will be able to do so. Be warned though—I haven't much to say."
She sighed, looking for the right words to say. "To you, I'm nobody more than a strange girl you met just a moment ago. But to me, you are...well, a hero. You are the light that shines through the darkness of my world."
The dragon paused to gauge his reaction. He didn't move an inch. "Ever since I was young, I had always been lonely. Born from the latent draconic energies of this world, I never truly understood emotions that well, and a feeling of emptiness followed me wherever I went. I put up a facade of innocence, and for the first few hundred years of my life, I lived in a poor state of being. I witnessed the greed and the darkness within the hearts of many—some had even come to me feigning kindness and respect in order to use my power. It was...terrible."
She paused, gauging the Slayer's reaction. He gave a slow nod for her to continue.
"The only time I had ever truly found companions to call my own was in times of desperation." She swallowed, recalling the past. "When the demons invaded five millennia ago, I found allies out of necessity, but rather than laughing and playing with them, I was running and fighting alongside them. Though they were good allies, friends even, the time I had with them was short—they were taken, consumed by the invaders."
Tiamat didn't notice the Slayer's fists balling slightly at that.
"Over time, my emptiness became a depression as fear and melancholy fell over me, my newfound companions falling one by one. Eventually, we were driven into a corner, and only a few of us remained. I thought I was to meet my bitter end there," she sighed, remembering the faces of a few who had been struck down.
"But then, you came." The thoughts dissipated as she turned her head to the Slayer's, a soft smile adorning her lips. "I won't bore you with a pitiable sob story any longer. Let me spare you the details and just tell you how I felt."
She rubbed a thumb across her fingers. "You saved me—saved the world from the demons and felled the Icon of Sin. You brought hope when there was none. And...that's not all. When you carried me to safety, I felt something from you... Something I'd never once felt before in my long life. It was...warm and comforting, just being near you. Your aura filled me with a feeling of protection and familiarity, as if you were a long lost relative or the father I never had. After centuries of nothing but darkness in my life, you came and lit up my world like no other. I just knew from then on that, if I had the chance to stay by your side, It would grant me the happiness I'd never felt before."
She looked down as she considered the Slayer's own situation. "I...also wanted to thank you. I...You saved me—us, no, every living being in this universe from eternal damnation. You saved all of us and didn't get so much as a thank you for your work. Someone of your caliber, who is willing to sacrifice himself to evil incarnate to save everyone else, to bring justice where there is no light—you're a hero to many, Doom Slayer. To be by your side would be the greatest honor. So please, I am aware of how selfish it may seem, but allow me to be your familiar. Let me stay by your side. I promise to do whatever you ask. If it is taking care of me that worries you, you needn't worry. If it is my strength that holds you back, let me prove to you that I can strike down any of your foes—I haven't sat idly by for the past few millennia, I'll have you know. I can even act as a guide for you, help you on your travels throughout this world. Please...give me a chance. Let me be granted the honor to call you Master."
With bated breath, Tiamat waited for the Slayer to reply, to do something, anything. Instead, he just stood there staring at her for what felt like hours. When the silence became almost uncomfortable, the Slayer suddenly moved.
In a few steps, the man stood before her, his visor the incarnation of judgment. Tiamat stared back resolutely. Another minute passed, then, almost imperceptibly, the Slayer nodded.
Tiamat was overjoyed. She let out a small but shaky breath, a smile coming to her face.
"Thank you, master," she said softly. "I promise. You won't regret this."
She paused for a second. She was the Chaos Karma Dragon, not a fragile little girl. But maybe, this once. Just this once...
Tiamat made a split second decision, and she wrapped her arms around the Slayer in a tight hug. The Slayer only raised his arms in surprise as the blue-haired bombshell lay her cheek flat against the Praetor Suit. His fists balled in slight annoyance, but he didn't glare or push her away this time. After a few moments of silent one-sided hugging, the Slayer made the admittedly split-second decision to finally reciprocate by giving her a soft pat on the head...
Tiamat smiled but didn't pull away. Silence reigned as one side enjoyed the attention and the other side remained awkward, yet indifferent. Eventually, the occurrence lasted one second too long, and in a bout of annoyance, the Slayer pushed the dragon away.
Tiamat had the gall to at least look sheepish.
"Let's get this contract done. Please wait a moment."
The Slayer did exactly that, his arms at his sides as Tiamat went to work. After a few moments of a much more comfortable silence, the ritual was prepared.
"When I say the word, please pour your aura into this circle," she said, holding her hand out. A magic circle was slowly spinning on her fingertips.
The Slayer gave another nod and stepped forward.
As the contract was completed, the Slayer closed his eyes and felt a rush of information invade his mental faculties. He didn't fight it, allowing the knowledge to settle. Information about the Hell invasion from five millennia ago, the different races and factions, gods, angels, fallen angels, and devils.
In a way, this way of gathering information was very advantageous. Had Tiamat tried to explain the difference between devils and demons to him verbally, he might have gone on a fucking crusade. While these different races were by no means perfect—some were pretty fucking terrible in fact—they were by no means demons.
That being said, the Slayer felt his inherent rage rise as information about the grievances and atrocities this world had committed came to the forefront of his mind. Corrupt politicians, warmongers, mass forced servitude of the innocent, mass rape, mass genocide, criminal organizations, terrorist organizations, the sheer disdain and condescension that the supernatural treated humans with, the sadism of the magical world in general, the greed and perversion conjured by evil...
His fists closed hard enough to pop all of his knuckles at once, the sound rebounding off the walls of the Tiamat's room. After a moment, he loosened up, the rage settling. He would do what was necessary to crush those fuckers, but from now on, one thing at a time.
As the information kept coming, the Slayer opened his eyes to see what was essentially his number one fan smiling at him. He was fine with it—it showed that his efforts weren't in vain, and that he'd made a difference in the lives of some. It was nice to know that he was appreciated.
Tiamat really wanted him to trust her—he could tell. Especially with the near overload of information he was receiving about her: her age, her full name, her titles, her experiences, her feelings and emotions—the essentials of her life story flowed right into his head. There were a lot of interesting stories in there, but none of Tiamat's words or thoughts were lies, nor were there any double meanings. In less than a minute, the Slayer knew as much as a close friend would know about her. In the end, he came to a conclusion. She was strong… and trustworthy.
The Slayer thought back to Tiamat's story, connecting them to some of the memories he was receiving. The dragon had said what she meant—about that feeling of emptiness within her. As cold and distant as the Slayer may seem, he could empathize. After Daisy had been taken from him, his soul had become a void filled with nothing but his rage for the demons, and even after defeating them, that rage was still there. When he had found himself among the Night Sentinels, they became his brothers-in-arms, true compatriots with bonds forged in the heat of battle. Every one of them would eventually fall to the claws of the demons, only further fueling his rage. At least, in the end, their lives were taken for the greater good of everything.
Now that Hell was finally gone however, he could finally find companions once more without running the risk of losing them in his crusade. Perhaps having such companions—especially ones that he could empathize with—could even help him find peace within himself some-fucking-how. Unlikely, but it would be nice.
That being said, Tiamat was somebody the Slayer could have around. Not only could he empathize with her, she was familiar to him, being descended from the dragons of Argenta. He wondered if that's why he felt familiar to her. All dragons on Argent D'nur seemed to have an innate sense that told them that he was their king.
More so, he knew enough about her to determine that she could be trusted and was strong enough to take care of herself.
She seemed to have a desire for physical affection that she herself was not aware of. Even if she wasn't aware of it, the Slayer could understand to an extent. Once upon a time, ages before this universe even existed, there had been a simpler time when the Great Slayer of Argenta legend had been nothing more than a violent, gold-hearted space marine that enjoyed cuddling with his pet rabbit.
"How waa it?" Tiamat asked suddenly. She raised a knowing brow. "Transferring information this way is much better than doing it verbally, don't you agree?"
The Slayer nodded.
"Hmm, I'm glad... So, what now?"
The Slayer tilted his helmet inquisitively again.
Tiamat crossed her arms. "While this is technically my home, I am not opposed to abandoning it. From now on, my home is yours. Where you go, I go, even if it is to the ends of the Earth. Hah, I'm so excited!" she muttered that last part.
Before the Slayer could think of a nonverbal reply, the last bit of information processed in his mind...
His fingers twitched dangerously as his blood boiled with fury under his skin. It turns out that, by some unknown means, the Fortress of Doom and all of his possessions within it had been transported to this world two-thousand years ago. Perhaps there was a hardware malfunction, or maybe a few demons had somehow managed to escape the Ripatorium before Davoth's death and wreaked havoc on the ship's controls. As if to spite him even further, said possessions had been granted law-defying abilities by means he didn't understand. Worse still, an entire war had been fought over his stuff, and now all of his prized possessions were scattered throughout the universe, held in the hands of pissy, greedy individuals who were using his own power to their benefit, malevolent intent or not. What a fucking way to start his societal rehabilitation.
With practiced control and discipline, the rage settled to a simmer, and the Slayer let out a low grunt indicative of his discontent. It seemed that he had a new mission aside from cleansing the corruption from this world. For now though, he would put said mission aside. His possessions had been scattered about for over two-thousand years, and it wasn't like he was limited by time. He could take things...slow.
With a thought, the Praetor Suit's HUD blipped a couple of times, setting a waypoint for the nearest city. Ironic as it was, the Slayer had been transported into this Universe's Underworld, synonymous with Hell. The only difference was that this place wasn't evil incarnate. He wanted to see exactly how true that statement was. In other words, he wanted to see, in person, what the devils were like.
The Slayer tapped Tiamat on the shoulder and motioned for her to follow. She nodded with a smile in response, and soon, they exited Tiamat's room, then the cave.
"Say, Master?" Tiamat started as she followed behind a silent Doom Slayer, hands at her sides. "Can you not speak? I would love to hear your voice, if not get to know you a little. After all, how could I be your familiar if I know nothing about you? I'm sure by now that your knowledge of me is...quite intimate," she smiled coyly.
The Slayer stopped walking for a second before continuing. He gave a light shrug, indicating that he could speak, he just preferred not to.
"I see... Well if that's the case, perhaps you could send your thoughts to me via the Familiar Contract?"
He paused again as he gave the idea some consideration before he shook his head, another idea coming to mind. With a brief thought, pre-recorded dialogue began to play from the speakers in his helmet. The smooth, yet mechanical sound of VEGA's voice began to recite the Codex entries.
"Codex Entry: UAC REPORT FILE H8UM66S - Slayer's Testament I," it played.
"Master...?" Tiamat inquired in wide eyed befuddlement at the voice. At the shake of the Doom Slayer's head, she understood that it was not actually him speaking. It disheartened her, but at the same time it delighted her. It showed that, despite the Slayer's seemingly mysterious nature, he trusted her enough to share information about himself.
"In the first age, in the first battle, when the shadows first lengthened, one stood..." VEGA's voice prattled on and on as Tiamat listened with rapt attention. It gave the Slayer a little bit of time to think for himself.
Earlier, Tiamat had offered to teleport them both to the nearest city, but the Slayer had politely declined with a wave of his hand. With demons less and less on his mind, he could focus more on the environments around him. Back with the Sentinels, demons had always been his focus. Though he gave very fine attention to detail, even to the smallest and most trivial of things, the Slayer never had time to appreciate many things except for the things he cared about most; his possessions and his comrades. Now though, he could appreciate, perhaps even enjoy the art that nature provided. Thus, he wanted to see as much of this world as he could, even if such things took up time. Again, it was not like he was bound by mortal limitations. For him, time was unlimited.
Once they arrive in Lilith, the capital city of the devils in the Underworld, the Slayer planned on gathering more information about this world. As much of a helpful guide as Tiamat was, she wasn't omniscient.
Information about the supernatural civilizations in general would be helpful, then possibly some information about the whereabouts of his stuff—the Relics of Doom they were supposedly called. Then, if he was feeling especially irritated, some information about the various criminal organizations that were undoubtedly surrounding this world. If there were shitheads causing trouble out there and nobody was doing Jack about it, then he would. Call him a justice if you wanted, but he wouldn't sit around while innocents get harmed. It was one of the reasons he had joined the Marines so damn long ago...
Now, would he rather stay in the Underworld? Or should he find a place on Earth? These were the real questions he needed to ask.
At some point during their trek, the Slayer had started doing maintenance on his weapons, a mechanical, yet passionate procedure of his that required utmost attention. A little bit after that, the Codex entries finally ended, Tiamat looking about in dazed wonder. She quickly went over the new information in her head, recounting the tale of how the Doom Slayer came to be and how Hell came to fear him, as well as how he came to be sovereignty among the Night Sentinels and their inter-dimensional empire.
She knew the Doom Slayer was an important figure, but this! This was groundbreaking! To think that there are so many worlds out there, so many civilizations her Master had already saved. There were so many, in fact, that she considered herself lucky to even have him standing here! What was it that had brought him to this world after Hell's sealing? She could only ponder...
Either way, Tiamat's interest in the Slayer grew every minute. She was beginning to understand her master better, able to empathize with him better. His backstory was heartbreaking, but at the same time it was badass. Hearing of his trials and tribulations, the things he had gone through to keep the innocent safe, to keep the multiverse balanced—it was indeed amazing.
Her focus eventually fell to the current weapon in the Slayer's hands, one that he had just finished putting back together.
"Ah! That must be one of your celestial armaments," she noted. "Amazing... I never thought I'd have the opportunity to see one in person."
The Slayer paused his ministrations when he heard the words, celestial armaments. He turned his head and gave his draconic companion a flat look. She didn't seem to notice.
"It is said that every one of the weapons in your arsenal is capable of destroying gods and even primordial beings. In recent years, I believe that humans have been modeling their weapons to look similar to yours, though they are nothing like yours. Yours radiate so much energy that it's almost blinding to look at."
The Slayer grunted at that, looking down at the Heavy Cannon. His weapons were enhanced by his aura and Argent Energy. As long as they remained in his hands, they were capable of destroying anything.
"Hmm... Now that I think about it... Master, are you aware of how strange your aura is?"
The Hellwalker thought about it, then made a so-so gesture.
"I see... Well, allow me to explain. Normally, we supernatural beings, and us dragons especially, are able to control the boundaries of our auras. Auras are like fields that represent how much energy or power we have. For example, my aura, or the field around me, is currently expanded throughout the forest, and my power is filling up that field, enough so that any creatures nearby would know not to walk in our path. If I were to retract my aura, I would be able to hide my power and presence from everything around me, unless one were to use an energy sensing technique."
She waited for the Slayer to nod in understanding before she continued.
"Your aura seems to work differently, and I'm not quite sure if this is correct, but based on what I have observed so far, I believe my theory is defendable. Your aura is very small, only covering your body. Your energy however... Usually when a being hides their presence, their energy is retracted, but still there, if only faint. When I look at you and sense your energy...it's like staring at the Sun. It's so powerful, potent, and blinding. Even now, despite your aura being well-contained, I can tell that your energy is limitless, feel that it demands respect and attention—and that shouldn't be possible, considering that I'm not even in your aura field."
A brief concern came to mind as Tiamat explained. "Before I continue, I must warn you. Beings that can sense energy may cower or jump to fight you when they see you. Your energy is so blinding that it simply cannot be ignored, and some might register you as a threat."
The Slayer nodded in acknowledgement before giving her a motion to finish her explanation.
"Right... Anyways, about the strangeness of your aura. It's quite dangerous I must say. You see, your aura, while usually constricted to your form, will expand whenever you are... angry." She frowned as the Slayer turned to her, an inquisitive look behind the visor.
"I will not pry. I understand that what you've gone through is far beyond my imagination, and I'm sure that it was not pleasant. Your aura is proof of that. The few times that I've felt your aura expand so far, it was...suffocating. I could feel your rage, and your overbearing presence demanded that I submit or be torn apart." She closed her eyes. "I'll admit, even I was a bit off-put by your anger, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one. When you first arrived here, your aura expanded to unimaginable lengths. It might have even encompassed the world..."
She looked up. "Hopefully not. Otherwise the supernatural world will be in a riot by the time we reach Lilith. The devils might even recognize that it was you who exuded the aura, and take it upon themselves to attack you out of fear."
The Slayer only huffed in what she assumed to be exasperation before he shrugged, turning back to the invisible path. If anyone gave them shit, he wouldn't hesitate to give them a proper beatdown.
They walked for a few more hours, intermittently in silence and one-sided conversation, Tiamat recounting her adventures in the past, some of which the Slayer found to be actually interesting. They crossed many different terrain types, ranging from forests, to steppes, to rocky mountainous areas. It was odd that such different biome types were stuck so close together, but the Slayer didn't question it. In fact, he rather enjoyed such qualities of nature—him, a guy who took great pleasure in destroying things. It said a lot about the dichotomy in his personality.
As they traveled, the Hellwalker noticed that his draconic companion kept rubbing at her head like she had a bad itch. He had a feeling that it wasn't the case and was in fact proven correct when she finally spoke up about it.
Her eyes lowering, the Dragon King huddled closer to the Slayer's back.
"Hey, Master?" she started.
The Slayer turned his gaze slightly, indicating his acknowledgement.
She clicked her tongue. "I know it's childish, and I'm a Dragon King for Heaven's sake. I should be above such things, but… could you pat my head again? Just this once?"
"N-Nevermind, sorry for ask—" she was cut off, her eyes widening as she felt a heavy gauntlet gently rub her scalp. She looked back at the Slayer, who continued to walk unabated in his stride. For one of the very few times in her life, Tiamat blushed. "T-Tell nobody of this."
Out of the five millennia and four centuries that she'd lived so far, this was the best day of Tiamat's life.
With such trivial matters out of the way, the Doom Slayer and his new familiar, Tiamat the Chaos Karma Dragon, continued their trek through the lands, the capital of Lilith little more than a day away.
CODEX ENTRY - The Aftermath:
The end of the Demonic Invasion of the DxD Universe was a difficult time. Though the fires had been quenched, the ashes had not cooled, and survivors emerged from hiding to find a world that had been eviscerated, permanently scarred by demonic corruption. On Earth, any and all plant and animal life had been completely destroyed, the average temperature had risen to a constant 66.6 degrees celsius, and the lands from deserts and mountains to oceans and plains had become uninhabitable wastelands of toxic gas.
While these effects are temporary, the larger effects of the invasion reign eternal. From hemisphere to hemisphere, a large gash twenty kilometers in width and one kilometer in depth cuts through the North American Continent all the way to the Asian Continent, creating a world-spanning valley now known as the Valley of Doom. Curiously, water from the oceans does not fill this valley, as on each continent, the valley's ends are blocked by meteors derived from the Icon of Sin.
In the modern continent of North America, this valley runs from the east coast to the west coast, once a river of magma flowing from end to end. In Canada, a hot volcano rises in the center of the state. In the United States, magmatic stalagmites rise from the ground in jagged structures, and to the northeast of the modern day city of Mesquite, Texas, California is separated from the mainland, and an indestructible tapering spire of Blackstone three-hundred meters in diameter rises twelve kilometers into the sky, visible all the way from modern day Oklahoma City. To this day, it's composition remains largely an unstudied mystery because its material proves impervious to all modern day tools. Scientists are unsure of why the structure has yet to collapse under Earth's gravity.
In South America, an extreme burst of Argent Energy saturated the border between Argentina and Paraguay, and its metaphysical properties pulled massive amounts of earth into an expansive mountain range that now separates the two countries. The mountain range has a number of city-sized lakes, each one derived from the Icon of Sin's meteors.
In the eastern continents, the Valley of Doom separates Europe and Africa, and splits China in half, ripping through the northern edge of the Himalayas. In Japan, a massive crater surrounded by hills and mountains would eventually house in its center what would become known as Kuoh Town, a town important to all of the supernatural world.
Although the damage on Earth is extensive, the damage in the Underworld is much more severe. Ninety-five percent of the Underworld's oceans had been vaporized, then stolen away by Hell, sent to the demonic realm and never to be seen again. In a northern continent, five-hundred kilometers to the east of modern day Lilith, a clash between a titan and a god produced the modern day Adrian Naberius Superbasin.
Throughout the rest of the universe, twenty-seven sets of pantheons, religions, and gods were devoured by Hell, never to be seen again. Those who remain are those who can be seen in the present day.
With these conditions, recovery was anything but easy. A toxic atmosphere and corrupted environments made trying to survive in a world undone by the demons a terrible affair. Had it not been for the Greeks, who had preserved atop Mount Olympus an abundance of plant and animal life, recovery would not have been possible.
Strangely enough, the one place that the demons had left largely untouched aside from Mount Olympus was Oceania, or modern day Australia. That is where recovery began. All species had to work together, and with the use of powerful magic, the terraformation that the demons had induced on Earth and the Underworld was slowly reversed—a process that took five-hundred years.
In the present day, the damage remains eternal, even if most are unaware of its origins.