"The Letzter Krieg was the result of decades of international cooperation and preparation, ever since the abrupt end of the Great Devastation after the Battle of Heaven and Hell. Despite the fact that threat of the Rumbling alongside the Eldian Race's ability to turn into Titans was forever destroyed due to the actions of Armin the Unlikely and his compatriots, leaving Paradis Island severely unprotected and venerable to outside attack, much of the world had been devastated by their attack, forcing the remaining nations to sue for peace while they rebuilt their strength. Since then, the greatest rearmament campaign in the history of mankind took place, old rivalries burned away by the hatred all shared for the Island of Paradise.
Mid-Easterners worked alongside surviving Marleyans. Hizurese toiled together with their old enemies in Manzhou. The Emperors of the Raaj stopped their infighting and stood together for the first time since the Defiance at Daghan. Men and women, many of which had been enemies but a decade ago, all worked in tandem- work that would be rewarded on that fateful day... the Ninth of June, c.933.
All of the world's united work would culminated in what would become coined in the Marleyan language as the Last War- the systematic bombing and purge of the Devils of Paradis, ending two-thousand years of built up hatred and conflict…"
- A History of the Modern World Reexamined, Lonnsaich University, c.957
The boy slipped.
The boy fell.
The boy hit the water and sank like a stone, the yawning void of darkness moving to claim him as its own.
He could here his faithful companion's muted, frantic barks from above the pool in which he had fallen, and he reached out desperately towards it, to no avail. His pack was heavy with all his worldly possessions, and his clothes weighed him down, soaked with water. He could not swim up, despite his efforts, and the water dragged him down- further into the darkness, further out of the light.
The boy would have wept, had he been able to. To think, that it was not some wild beast that would fell him, or the pangs of starvation that would do him in, no. He would drown, out of sight and out of mind from everyone he had known, alone in this dark, fetid place.
He would never see the sun again. Never see the collection of wooden huts that had been his home for as long as he could remember. Never bask in the warmth of the sun.
The boy didn't want that. He didn't want to die.
Or… maybe he did want to die. It had been his dreams that had led him to this place, after all. His stupid, foolish, half-remembered dreams that he could never truly recall.
Where he had been going, what he had been seeking... the boy had no idea, not then, yet his body seemed to know in his stead, for once he had set out from his people's lands, he had been moving steadily in one direction, following the setting sun. All the boy had known was that he had been quickly approaching the Razed Lands, where the elders, the few that remained who had lived there, had forbade all others to traverse the area, for fear of incurring the same wrath that had befallen their people years ago.
The boy hadn't been alive to see the sky rain fire, nor had he been alive to see the sun fall... but his mother had. The aftermath had caused her suffering that he knew she had done her best to hide from him, to the point that a part of him had been glad when she had passed, knowing that she wouldn't suffer any longer.
The elders of the tribe had told him that the nations across the ocean had been responsible for the Sunfall, and though the boy had never seen any people but his own, he hated them with all his heart.
What had his mother done to deserve the burns that had scarred her for as long as he could remember, the disease that had eaten her from the inside out? For what reason had his mother slowly languished away, taken long before her time?
As far as he knew, there had been no reason, and he hated the world for it.
Maybe it was that hatred that had driven him all the way out here, far from the tribe's lands further inland. The boy knew not what had drawn him this far away from home save his forgotten dreams, only that he knew it was something he had to find. The wooden huts that had made up his world for the past fourteen years only seemed empty to him, and they boy simply couldn't stay there any longer. What was left for him, there, save horrid memories, and the risk of raids from the other tribes? He had taken all he owned with him when he left the tribe, and there was no one waiting for him now, not with his mother gone.
His friends, the few people he could call such, had tried to convince him to stay when he had told them of his intentions, even going so far as to tell the elders, who threatened to exile him should he leave for the Razed Lands.
And there he had been, further from home than he had ever been before, searching for something of which he had no clue.
Yet, search he would, the boy had decided.
Maybe it was the ocean he searched for- that mythical, grandiose lake that covered the whole world. His mother had told him of the ocean, once. That, for all that it heralded a fragile border between his people and their enemies across it, it's water was a beauty to behold.
It was ironic, almost, a small part of his mind laughed, while the rest cried. A pretty dream, he thought, and the boy continue to drown.
The boy ran out of breath.
The boy began to die.
And, far from any ears that could hear his plea, the boy cried, screamed, raged against the night that sought to take him.
I don't want to die! I- I want to live! Please-!
His lungs burned. His throat clogged. His vision blackened. Every part of him was screaming to just stop. To give in. To go quietly, to end the pain. To see his mother's smile again, to revel in the embrace of a father long-dead. It would be easy, he knew.
"Enough, already," the darkness seemed to growl angrily, and the pressure increased. "Just give in."
The boy refused.
The boy fought.
The night would not take him. Not gently, not silently. Not ever, if he had his way.
I WANT TO LIVE!
The boy raged against the night, yet no one came to his aid.
Then, something did.
The darkness was cast away by a bio-luminescent glow unlike any the boy had ever seen before, a great, bright blue that burned the darkness away, and out the corner of his eyes, he caught sight of somet̵̤̟̓̕͘ḧ̵͈́̌͘͘ͅȋ̵̙̝̈n̸̨̪͖̼̒̈g̷̢̫͚̓̓̊ writhing up towards him, the source of the glow, a t̵̤̟̓̕͘ḧ̵͈́̌͘͘ͅȋ̵̙̝̈n̸̨̪͖̼̒̈g̷̢̫͚̓̓̊ of which no words could describe
With the last of his strength, with the fading beat of his heart, the boy pulled against the pressure holding him down, bringing himself closer to the t̵̤̟̓̕͘ḧ̵͈́̌͘͘ͅȋ̵̙̝̈n̸̨̪͖̼̒̈g̷̢̫͚̓̓̊ that glowed, and the t̵̤̟̓̕͘ḧ̵͈́̌͘͘ͅȋ̵̙̝̈n̸̨̪͖̼̒̈g̷̢̫͚̓̓̊, I̸̲̥͚̒̆͝ͅṋ̷̳͆ t̵̛̃̈͛͒͛ͅṳ̷̼̘͙̦̪̓̃͐͠r̶̡̦̖͉̦̣̽͝͝ǹ̴͍̂̂͐̎̊,
And the two beings intertwined.
T̸̩͌h̸̳̼̾ẽ̸̖̹̟ ̴̣͉͕̐̆̕ḇ̷̡̬̄͐o̴͇̜̤͂ŷ̴͙̣̪̌͑ ̷̭̱̹̇͑̑c̷̘̀l̵̖͊õ̶̩̯ͅs̶̫̹̠͋͌̋e̵͈̣̤̊̋̉d̵͖̊̒̓ ̷̯̗̟̈́h̶̬͊͛̕i̴̳̐s̴̤̗̜̆ ̵͎̝̔ẽ̶͉̞͆͜y̶͇̙͙̏ë̸̗͓̦s̸͚̤̊́͐,̴̻̲͍͗ ̸̦̎͋̾ä̸̹́̀n̶̹̬͍̏͗d̷̗͉̃ ̷̜́d̵̛͎̝̒͛͜î̸̧͝e̸͔̮̺͛̆͐ḑ̷̞̪͌͌͝.̶̲̦̿
The boy opened his eyes and lived.
And, wreathed in golden light, the boy rose again.
A/N: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to what r/Titanfolk would call Beren: AoT Next Generations!
To be honest with you, I really didn't like the ending, but I felt sadly vindicated when it was leaked that Paradis had been destroyed, because Armin's Umi Da was stupidly naive and unrealistic and Floch was, and is, right. But, the ending is the ending, unfortunately, so I've decided to cope with it by making this.
I honestly have no idea where I'm gonna take this, but those the best kinds of ride, isn't it? Let's see where this takes us.