Earth, a world covered in scars that predate the current age. Those scars it proudly carries like an old soldier who had survived uncounted battles. In truth that may be what it was; an ancient soldier, one who had survived Armageddon itself.
It had survived Hell's invasion just one age prior; it had survived the advent of the Icon of Sin, survived the return of the Dark Lord.
In surviving, it had been left scarred, it's cities in ruin, covered in overgrowth and its soil left cracked and jagged with relics of a forgotten age littering it.
There… they may be no way for Earth to truly recover, for its scars to truly fade away, and mend. But as scarred as it might be, Earth was at peace; and as the world knew peace, so did its people; descendents of those that had survived Hell's invasion in a prior age.
"Alaya!" Despite hearing his name, the youth of maybe 8 - maybe 9- continued to run off exploring the old park as he looked around, raising a toy above his head and making it fly. "Alaya don't run too far off ahead." Again young Alaya didn't really listen, instead continuing to run off as his father sighed before continuing to follow after him.
He ran through the autumn leaves that were gathered across the streets, ran across the grass that had mustered the strength to break through old pavement. At one point he did lift a leaf, taking the time to put it on the back of his toy to make it look like a cape and held it in place with his thumb. It didn't suit the toy in the slightest and that in mind he let the leaf just drift away in the wind. His attention turned else, not really seeking anything out, but rather drifting about trying to take everything in at once. So he ran, again, his attention turning away from his father who was trying to catch up to him and his mother who was just letting things play out as they might. She couldn't move too fast anyway, not now with her youngest still sleeping in the harness around her back.
Young Alaya just continued running, his attention drifting to the others who were scattered around the park, just enjoying themselves.
They smiled as they spoke amongst themselves, the younger ones played with toys and tried climbing the machines - the relics of an old age. Studies of these relics had been essential to understanding the past, helping them advantage what they could over the decades and centuries. It was simple technology, far more simple than the machines built on their sister world of Argent D'Nur. Study of both had allowed them to rebuild their cities, build their home upon two separate even touch upon the stars themselves as their ancestors did.
They found it only right to use both technologies, not just out of an innate curiosity, but because that represented what they were; children of Argent D'Nur and children of Earth. They had the blood of Argenta, and the blood of Humanity.
Not that little Alaya understood all this.
As he saw it, the old people liked looking at the relics of two worlds, and he liked too climb upon them like the other children upon occasion.
Regardless; running through the park, growing lost in his little activities, Alaya eventually found himself coming to a pause, his attention drifting to a collection of statues that formed isles.
They all wore armor, near identical but with a slight change or two in order to and each had a spear held by their side. These people, their helmets…
"Night Sentinels." Little Alaya muttered as he started walking through the parallel isles.
The Night Sentinels, the children of Argent D'Nur, the protectors of the realm.
Wandering up to a statue he squinted, attention trying to make out the words etched upon the pedestals these statues were standing on. Each one was well maintained, as if the grounds keeper had worked tirelessly to tear away at all the growth and mold that would no doubt try to claim these statues.
"Lord Sash." He started looking at the words. "Ban~ner… Sergeant." He moved on to the next one. "Ro...Roan the Mighty." The next one. "Gor the Relentless." He muttered before moving on to the next. "Vau… Va~len the Rede...Redeemed." He continued trying to read the names of others, stopping only when he came to the one they all stood before. "The Doomguy?" He looked up, his attention turning to see a Night Sentinel unlike any other. The armor was so different, but… familiar in a way. Looking at his toy he saw why. It was the same, though this statue was no doubt made to scale. They shared the same arm blade. They shared the same shoulder mounted launcher. But the statue carried a hammer like Valhen in one of its hands and in the opposite was some type of blade. Little Alaya just kept staring at his toy, his attention repeatedly drifting to the statue of a man who seemed to radiate a sense of purpose even in statue form.
At the same time he found himself scared.
Something about this statue, this man… it scared him, but at the same time…
"Don't get many visitors in this part of the grounds." Jumping, young Alaya caught sight of a figure walking up to him, moving through the path of Night Sentinels as they used their cane to support themself. "Rest easy child, there's no need to be afraid." Alaya puffed his cheeks out.
"I wasn't scared." Alaya muttered as he saw the old man stand beside him, staring up at the statue and seemed to smile weakly. "Who is this guy." The child asked. "He doesn't look like a Night Sentinel."
"Ah but he is." Said his aged counterpart. "He is and he is not… he is so much more." The man stepped forward his attention turned to see the etchings on the pedestal and frowned. "Ah… it seems someone had chiseled out his name." They muttered in disappointment. "Such a shame, must we forget it?" Alaya didn't say anything, instead just looking at his toy again before seeming to think. "This man…" Came the speaker. "He… is the reason we are here today, the reason we can greet the dawn and sleep in peace."
"What do you mean?" Little Alaya asked as his counterpart just chuckled.
"This is the man who saved the world, gave our people hope and rallied our ancestors against the legions of Hell…" They stated as they rested their hand on the damaged etchings and sighed. "Do you wish to hear his story?" Little Alaya said nothing, instead choosing to look at his toy once more before turning to the statue and then the aged man.
"Very well…" The man began as he set himself down and got comfortable. "Our tale… his tale, begins in the first age, in the first battle…" He smiled. "When the shadows first lengthened."
The story of the Doomguy, the story of the Doom Slayer is the story of a man who fought the forces of hell for uncounted ages. It is the story of a man who walked through fire and brimstone, walked those uneven paths that prayed upon the weak. It is the story of a man who gave everything; his chance at salvation, his life, and even his name to push back the black tide. It's filled with battle and suffering, and yet he still pressed forward, throughout time and across realms without rest. He is a man who broke the backs of titans and Archdemons alike. It's the story of a man - a mortal who fought the Dark Lord in ritual combat, and emerged victorious.
Young Alaya listened with rapt attention; hearing the tales of this ancient man, an entity who sacrificed everything in order to end Hell itself. He could scarcely imagine such a person existing, but the story, the way it was told with such passion and belief, there was no way this old man had simply made it up on the spot. He believed in this story, and so did Alaya's young mind.
"Did he really beat the Dark Lord?" The youth asked as the aged man just smiled, nodding his head.
"Yes, although how long their battle lasted is something debated." He confessed. "Some say that their battle lasted thirty years, others say it lasted only thirty seconds, his martial prowess having long surpassed the Dark Lords." The aged figure stated. "In the end, he was still victorious, and with his victory was hell vanquished."
"That's so cool!" Little Alaya stated as he looked at his toy, something he had inherited from his grandfather, just like his grandfather before him. "This guy sounds awesome." Alaya muttered before seeming to think. "So what happened to him?" He asked after a moment. "If he spent so long trying to stop Hell, what did he do after he did it? Where did he go?"
"He rests." Came the figure's voice, as his mechanical arm rested on the pedestal. "For now, he takes a long deserved rest, and in his sleep does he finally know peace." They look up at the statue and a sense of regret leaves them. "And only when he is needed again, will he awaken once more."
"When he's needed?" Little Alaya muttered. "You mean he's gonna come back?"
"Yes." Came the voice. "Though he knows peace now, it will not last. He will return when the forces of Hell rise once more."
"But if he killed the Dark Lord shouldn't Hell not bother us anymore?"
"The Dark Lord's reign is over and Hell is silent." The aged man whispered. "But where one evil falls, another will surely rise." The man states as he looks back to the child. "Then that evil comes, he will awaken once more to face it."
Little Alaya made a noise as he stared at the statue. "That's weirdly sad." He mutters. "I mean… it's really cool that he's gonna come back, but… he's earned his rest. Why does he have to come back just to fight the bad guys?"
"Not even I know the answer to that young one." The man stated as he looked back at the statue. "As you have said he's earned his rest, but he is our shield and our sword. When the dark times come, he will return, and he will set things right." They muttered as they looked at the child.
"I want him to keep sleeping though." Alaya muttered as he looked at his toy. "Is there any way we can just let him sleep?"
"Yes." The aged man stated as he knelt before the child. "We must be better than those that came before us. When hell whispered into the ancient's ears, many answered and let the demons creep into our world. If we can be better, if we can resist the call of Hell he can rest as long as need be." They stated. "And if we fail… we must be vigilant. Ready to stand as his shield so his time of awakening is prevented."
"Alaya!" Hearing his father, young Alaya looked back as he stared outward, trying to make out his father's location. "Alaya? Where are you?" Then he looked back at the aged man, seemingly made a decision as he nodded.
"I'm gonna do what I can to make sure he stays sleeping." Alaya stated. "He's earned his rest." The aged man smiled, seeming to nod as he raised a hand to his chest and little Alaya copied him in giving a Night Sentinel's salute. That done little Alaya ran off, disappearing down the isles as his father called out to him once more. Then even though he was out of earshot, he looked back at the statue and smiled. "Thank you Mr. Doomguy."
Back at the statue the aged Valen got to his feet and turned to see the armored visage of his old friend. He gave no words, simply looking upon the statue of the man who saved his son so long very long ago.
"I wish you could go where I am going soon." Valen muttered as he nodded his head. "But this realm will need you again." Valen stated. "I don't know when, but it will call upon you once more, and maybe when the realm knows true peace will you follow the rest of us." He stated as he made a gesture again, his metal arm crossing his chest as he closed his eyes. "Until, may you rest in peace."