Officer Misako: Case of Amoresi
Epilogue: The 'Fourth Reset'
(Year: 8012.5 DL, Battleon Time: Armageddon)
If you don't like really, really weird plot-twists that changes everything that you know about my characters completely, or 1 chapter that involve the AQ/DF/MQ Universe imploding (re-merging) or even more unexpected mind-blowing paradoxes... I have 'a thing' for people with bicoloured eyes, Count D and Lucia (Venus VS Virus) Bitter-sweet romance and mind blowing action... Or concept of reincarnation, spiritual complexity or even the theme of memories, merging of weapons and second chances (reminds me of my fave anime NGE) or philosophy. - Don't read any further. If you do... ooh. You really want to? Slayer Seraphine and older Tetris return for the final time, and necromancer Trinenna and Duke Whirlwind...! (from my earlier fanfic if you must know)...
I find that symbolism is crucial to who understands the myths/legends surrounding water - water is of dual nature: it can be calming and flowing in rivers yet rushing and chaotic to those caught up in floods, it can give both life or death to those who wish so, depending on circumstances. Primordial life often arises from which water is found and it is an aspect of our existence which signifies cleansing and other cultural/religious aspects. I found it quite important, I'm quite a sucker for symbols. :D The hardest part was... Writing the hymns! AAARRRHH! The agony! Aiu! Alert: Prepare for a major headache trying to figure out the ending...! Everything does make sense... Eventually. I'll leave you guys to think over this ending for awhile.
(This is NOT FINISHED yet. wait a while, listening to Tsubasa OVA ending 'Last Fruit' and Utawaremo opening ^^)
The reset world has dragons, Mechas AND cool technology... As well as the return of a few familiar faces from Soluna and Battleon... And who's that new face amongst the crowd?! (evil laugh) But first, to Blade100: You rawk! Keep going. To Satoshi-chan: Thanks for the 'Sweet' review. To Eyelovefantasy: Cool! I'm glad you liked most of it. I love writing! Squeeee! To XenoLord: Keep readin' this, there are a few cool new twists in this story yet!
Important Note: It would be best if you listen to Dido's 'Thank You' while reading this chapter, this song suits the mood of the chapter. :D Or even the opening theme to Revolutionary Girl Utena. ;) The second part would be 'Carry on Dancing' by Savage Garden.
And now, for anger management from my outraged characters (Beckons to MQ and DF characters)
Vixen: (After reading epilogue) I think I'm going to sue you for this ending, SEVEN TIMES OVER! I might have to contact Warlic bout this. (dials Warlic's no. on phone) What did you think, Dean Warlic?! This sucks. Need to contact Psychic hot line
Devi: (reads fast and throws in waste paper bin) WACE?! That's most mind-blowing piece of firkin' (deleted for rude language) No wonder I don't like this conclusion! I truly, truly think this WRETCHED piece of information (deeet!) YOU OWE ME MY DEAR PASCHA! REALLY WANT MY SISTER BACK! (mumbles) Weird author. And resurrect Vixen too. I don't like my serious 'ttude, I want to be joking 'gain. Emo much?
Misako: (look at pages unemotionally) Tell me when you stop writing insufferable chapters for me to go through...
Electrocuted by Miss Jinitro, betrayed by Rosia, what next? How much more can I handle...? No wonder I'm emotional.
Larosin (Dragonfable): YOU JUST HAD TO SPOIL IT, DIDN'T YOU! There goes my dragons-slaying career! (dumb fourth Reset) Why you ruin everything for us! (shakes the author) A good mind to send you to the Shadowscythe. (evil laugh)
Olapen (Dragonfable): Wait... I still don't get this ending. Still don't. (wow, Diaglo going out with us?) Why didn't Archmage Warlic make me his apprentice any more. (reads chapter 18) Why you made me so cruel?! (teary) nuuu... I'm sorry Koko.
Rayne (Dragonfable): WHY (musical) did you intend this fate for us...?! YAY! We got my blades back!
(Everyone looks suicidally at Author with a scary look in their eyes)
Author: Artix's design notes (quotes) Between AQ and AQW, an epic battle where Hero and Galanoth faced Dragon of Time -which ended... most unfavorably. Heroes were there... Even if they don't know, three time lines fused together... now a single true reality. I think I'll teleport away so you can't hurt meeee... (teleports)
"Slayer Seraphine! Help us! I'm slipping!" screamed a mature Tetris as he strained against the rocky walls pushing with all his might. He wasn't as young as he was then, the vampire Lord felt nausea as waves of time-warping came at him. Time-Dragon bellowed, multi coloured scales glinting wickedly as it came. Chroton smiled with greed. Eyeing the mage, it roared with revenge, seeking calamity as it travelled upwards as a gecko. Its short tongue flickered as Galanoth swung the Axe.
PRICE MUST BE PAID, THE TIME-LINES MUST BE ADJOINED AND FOR THAT... I REQUIRE FRESH LIFE to be renewed once more. Chroton announced, SOLUNIANS DONE IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE TO THE ETERNAL PASSAGE OF TIME. Tetris looked panicked, glimpsing the cliff-edges, he yelped cowardly as the Dragon looked reptilian..
"Stop!" howled Seraphine loudly, revealing her Lycan form, "I command you!" Chroton paused in his task, whip lashing Galanoth in the process, who dropped his Axe and froze in place, like a statue. "Galanoth!" screamed Seraphine in despair, "Why did you freeze him, you hell-raiser?!" she accused the beast as it floated on its Pillar of Thanriu, roaring in delight...
The landscape - if it could even be called one- rose to dizzying and terrifying height, with mile-high rocks floating overhead a wracked swirling atmosphere. Occasionally a stray rock would
WHO ARE YOU TO QUESTION THE AVATAR OF TIME? TIME IS UNRELENTING, UNCEASING. UNSTOPPABLE... CAN YOU CONTROL THE STRANDS OF TIME, IMMORTAL HOPE? CAN YOU TELL TIME TO GO BACKWARDS AND RETREAT BACK TO ITS ORIGINS? NAY, FOR EVEN THAT ISN'T UNDER YOUR JURISDICTION. Chroton hissed. BECAUSE OF THE PROPHECY ULDOR HAD SPOKEN, ALL HAD CAME TRUE. BUT TIME IS A MANY-STRANDED WEB, UNRAVEL ONE TIMELINE AND THE REST SHALL UNRAVEL. I TELL YOU SLAYER, GO BACK WHENCE YOU CAME FROM.
"Not so fast." spoke up Seraphine, "As the Avatar of Hope, I could willingly terminate my own life just to save Battleon and the rest of the fractured universe, but Chroton, what about the rest of our civilisation and Time line? And the Heroes that fought despite the ravages of time? Surely they could be spared from your wrath. All I'm saying is choose your words wisely.
It seems a waste to disrupt time and sever all life along with it." Tetris looked startled, the Slayer doing all this?
Chroton laughed long and hard at this, his rainbow sides heaving with glee. He glared at them with interest, over looking them from its domain. Galanoth struggled to speak through clenched teeth, grunting with torture at every attempt.
ALL OF YOUR HEROES LONG BEEN VANQUISHED BY MY CLAWS, EXTINGUISHED LIKE A CANDLE. THEY ALREADY LIVED OVER MANY GENERATIONS. WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT I SHALL OBLIGE BY YOUR RULES?! snorted the large creature as the tail looped itself around a large uprooted tree. As Tetris watched from his somewhat awkward position, the large tree immediately withered away, its bark becoming papery and flakey. It took only a few seconds...
With that Seraphine pounced from a high place, charging hard as she humanely could. Snarling, the Lycan girl unsheathed her fangs as something moved... "Chroton! You destroyed reality, viciously slayed hundreds and sent everyone to the Netherworld! And for that, I weep." The Slayer announced after managing to dodge the spiked tail. Shattering suspended rocks in all directions, Chroton continue snarling statements as he searched for the speck. His third eye shifted.
SO- YOU THOUGHT I'M LESS SUPERIOR TO YOU, THAT I'M ONLY A MERE INSTRUMENT THAT ERODES LIFE. I'LL PROVE YOU INCORRECT. TIME IS NOT ONLY FUTILE, BUT FLEETING. HOWEVER DUE TO MY INNATE ARROGANCE... Moving quickly Seraphine precariously dangled over a wide chasm, swinging her body upwards in an effort. Tetris slid further down the rock, his fingers digging deep grooves in the rough callous surface. Already he was in a state of terror, frantically glancing at the Slayer. "Hurry up, Seraphine! What are you, a slowpoke? I can't hold on much longer!" The mage's bat wings beat franticly.
Change took place, Chroton seemed to loom larger and more vicious, a fat slimy tongue over its lips. It spoke:
I SHALL RESTORE EVERYTHING... BY CREATING CHAOS, LET'S SAY, TO PROVE I AM INDEED BETTER THAN YOU. FOR TIME CAN CREATE. AN ORIGINAL UNIVERSE COMPRISED OF LOGIC - DEFYING THE VERY LAWS OF PHYSICS. Seraphine looked put out.
"Bite my slayin' yellow Dualight...!" she roared in a voice amidst her howls. Chroton sniffed. "I may not know what time does to an Avatar, but what I do know is limited!" confessed Seraphine, pulling her blood-soaked arrows. "This ends now! No decrees, no pleasing..." She stood to aim and fire at Chroton, who just snickered deeply. Waves licked at her very being...
SO BE IT, BUT I HAVE GODLY REFLEXES, EVEN FASTER THAN YOURS. BEHOLD. Her half-formed paws shook in pure terror.
She aimed to fire the arrow straight into the central torso.
Just then, at a rather unfortunate moment: "SERAPHINE! We've arrived to help the Avatar of Hope!" yelled Paladin Juan, teleporting in with some of Battleon's citizens. Poor Juan after all those years (almost 5 years) still had a cocky grin and he looked like battering and freshhh bruises everywhere on his face. His face looked a bit scruffy, with a slight roughened look and he wielded a broken silver mace. His build was a lot thicker. Seraphine's jaw nearly dropped to the ground at this.
As she watched, the slayin' arrow bounced off the cave wall and fell into the mists. Never seen again.
"OH MY GAWD!" screeched Seraphine, as she realised her opportunity was lost. "Of all times you interrupt my slayin'?! I thought Dagiteon roasted you on Ridgeback Mountain." Juan's face fell. "Did he get you?" Paladin Juan nodded then exposed his burnt back which smelt distinctly like roast Chicken-Cow. His flamin' hair was almost scorched to the roots... He had a sinister smile which showed missing teeth. "That's right, Seraphine." he said almost softly, "The Dragon of Chaos got me."
"Zerjicon!" remarked the Duke Whirlwind as he removed his mask, "That one giant Chroton!" Lilac eyes glinted with absolute sorrow. The Duke remembered all those years ago, he was having so much fun with his ancestor and himself was so naive about life. Now, it was as if he saw things for first time, time had a habit of passing quicker. Was the world about to end?
The Duke shuddered at this thought, pushing it aside. As he think, he pushed his greying hair backwards. Chroton's ability had an awful effect and the Duke was the first victim to succumb. Now he could never regain his good-looks.
"Crush Chroton's skull, show him no mercy. For my dekashir youth!"
Trinenna snorted after hearing that, unlike him she was still young, but she STILL hated Chroton with a passion. What for? Other than the fact that Chroton controlled time. Oh yeah, and he stole her book of forbidden knowledge. Now that was what she couldn't forgive him for. The red Werepyre flapped her wings once before settling down on a rock. She held out her bracelet: "See that Chroton?!" she yelled defiantly, "It was given to me from my Soluna ancestor. She couldn't read it but I could! Do you know what it says? Do YOU?" she challenged Chroton. No reply. "It says, Time waits for ONE only. Idiot."
Chroton's eyes blazed. AFFIRMED. TRULY DISAPPOINTED IN YOUR KIND. BATTLEON HAD NO REDEMPTION. AS FOR THE SLAYER, YOU LOST YOUR LAST CHANCE FOR THEIR BEHALF... DO YOU WANT AN APPEAL? IF NOT, I WILL RAGE AND DESTROY. YOU SHOULD SLAY ME WHEN YOU AUGHT. TOO BAD. Loud laughter. IF IT WASN'T FOR THEM, YOU WOULD WIN. MERGING THE UNIVERSE FROM SCRATCH. Seraphine wept, and so did Tetris in his anger.
A heart-breaking sight and a rare one. One this timeline would never see again.
Undead Juan held Trinenna with equally worried eyes as Artix screamed: "I told you DOOM was upon us all!"
"SHUT YOUR BIG YAP UP!" yelled Juan, furious, "Is that all you say?! Last words: We prevailed with Wasabi sauce!"
"I thought it was slay the undead and destroy all Necromancers. MY song." Artix responded.
"... Whatever. We're gonna crash and burn. Want to sing Celine Dion." Juan seethed. No replies.
"I lost," Seraphine whispered, losing confidence. "I have brought dishonour." She longed for Tetris's touch. But...
Glimmers of radiation poured from Chroton's mouth as its eyes gleamed with hell-fire. Vampire-Lord Tetris felt the vertigo of falling, endless falling through space. "For Lore." he yelled, "For this universe. SERAPHINE! SERAPHHIIIINNNEE!"
Uldor was wrong, he realised. He never find true love, and he would never be slayed by Seraphine (Hopefully). Ever again.
A searing wave as the impact of Chroton's attack exploded with the force of three nova suns.
Light, fire, earth, water and ice - all the elements - clashed as one.
The last thing anyone saw before their time line collapsed was confusion and chaos descending upon a destroyed LORE.
And it was a rather painful experience, let me tell you that.
Year: 8013 After Lore. Location: near the Swordhaven castle
While this was happening, the new ruler of Swordhaven groaned as he looked upon the town. King Alteon turned to Seraphine. "I don't know how this happened."
They were in a foyer reproduced with both new and ancient technology, it gleamed with shinyness. Wires stuck out.
The Slayer shook her head wearily, she and all the Battleon people survived the merge. Including Tetris, Duke Whirlwind and Trinenna. But Juan... Did not survive. She had never seen Soluna people before, but loss of her half-cousin - pained her.
Glaring, the human girl turned against Trinenna. "It's your fault! If you never insulted Chroton then we won!"
"I blame your Paladin cousin for singing Celine Dion," Snarling, Seraphine lunged at the necromancer...
"Take that back you indecent Werepyre!" The Lycan girl yelled, clawing at the other's face in an attempt to wound.
"No, technically it was the Duke's fault!" Robina added, slinging her arrows of misfortune. the Duke yelled at this.
"Hasbro! DON'T BLAME ME for something I didn't do!" the Duke added, back to his former young self.
"Will you guys get a grip!" screamed Tetris, "It was all our fault." For once, Tetris made sense. The two squabbling girls looked very angry at each other, panting after their fierce argument. Seraphine was enraged, more than ever. Then she took one glance at what Juan left her: Part of his ancient mace. The immortal Slayer just sat on her haunches, just weeping.
"That's the... First weapon my decent half-brother was given by Artrix... I never expected him to survive that 500 feet fall in that deadly volcano, much less even become Undead. Irony, I was so sure Dagiteon had vaporised him. How can we live like this?" she questioned. "I never got to tell him anything before Chroton arrived. This so-called immortality has become a curse: why I am Forsaken." No one had a say to that long speech. King Alteon paused before returning to the window.
"Life is but a walking shadow, and all this world's a stage." quoted Mithlos, arriving in his new garbs, he was carrying a paper scroll. He paused, looking at new people in Swordhaven, "Huh?! I never expected company." Mithlos winked.
"Aren't you from... Soluna?" asked Tetris, putting a large hand around the Alvenos. "I've seen you before." He paled.
"I don't understand," stuttered Mithlos uncertainly, "Were you strangers round from here?" Alteon nodded at them.
"We were perceived," replied Seraphine, dusting off her cloak, "Hence everyone was connected through time,"
Mithlos handed the monarch the letter. The Slayer looked at the group which had stuck together during hardships. She owed them everything, they had supported her through every aspect of each region, she had ventured through the depths of magic arcane. Experienced and yet unchallenged, the bringer of change. And yet she knew that her presence had wrought destruction of every kind, historical, societal and civil. All because of a forbidden love, lust that should never be rekindled. To top it off, Juan killed by Chroton. Maybe it was time to leave for good.
"I must leave," She got up to exit the foyer, but Tetris snatched her hand and held it.
The mage looked pitiful and simple. How she missed that, now a lord was reduced to tears at the sight...
"Don't leave, Seraphine." Tetris begged, "You're innocent, he's practically undead anyway." The Lord mused at her Lycan form.
"I just need to think, mull things over. I need time. To contemplate, things I regretted, a forbidden affair. Farewell, in due time." She took one last look at everyone, Vampire-lord stepped aside in due respect to the Slayer.
It was final, last image anyone saw of Seraphine was of her Lycan form near the woods. It took only a blink of an eye, it seemed as if she was dashing into the woods. People would talk of the woods. 'The fresh wind' would whisper of one who Slayed but never showed her face. A guardian of Willow Creek and a legend. Still others said that she was exploring, but rumours were rumours. All anyone knew was that she had left, a heroine amongst Swordhaven.
Months passed by, things continued on as normal. The sound of fighting and triumphed screams filled the air as more people from past time lines arrived, it was a routine which everyone was used to. Gradually, it seemed it was always that way, shops soon appeared and the civilisation grew larger, into a community of bustling explorers, eager to see the world and its boundaries. It seemed as there was no limit to the wonders of the world's creation.
Suddenly out of nowhere, they appeared. Some of the former citizens of Soluna. And they were confused. Majorly confused! "What the freaking Kelf happened!" yelled a random Soluna person, running through the cobbled streets and staring. A white dragon landed on the mecha and started gnawing it like a bone "That's gonna cost you 3000 credits!"
"MY eyes, my hell-filled eyes! The light, the bright green light!" yelled Sally Coffronze, in a warrior's uniform.
"Dragons! I see extinct dragons!" yelled Mithlos in a skirt during the Seventh Sense hologram, "AAAHHH!"
"Don't tell me those... whatever, invaded new towns." Baron's eye twitched as thousands of Mechas arrived in full platoon...
"Aw," spoke up Quentin, seeing something cute and hugging it, "Who's a good monster." The Deery instantly morphed and Quentin backed away as a freaky skeleton deer stared her in the eye. "Uhhhh... Dean Warlic, RUN!"
Everyone was... Horrified and amazed at this: One minute, staring at their desks and fighting sneevils, a second later, they were in the middle of a strange town with dragons, weird weapons and deadly machines at their heels... Awful.
Solunians ran around with their mechas and shooting everything in sight, warriors were confused as monsters they never saw before attacked them. the end-result was total chaos for three weeks. Of course, everyone had to adapt. And learn the changes in their now surreal lives. Life was chaotic, but it was a lively chaotic, they were lulled into a false sense of security...
That was until one life-changing event challenged everything.
"Where the heck are you Alvenos doing in my smithery?!" yelled Diaglo as four Adventurers stormed through the town - right in the middle of the night. They shot him a dark look, snickering with mischief. Clearly up to something. SMASH! A pair of copper tongs were tossed aside. One of them drunkenly upended a battle-axe, it fell and nearly broke to pieces. "Oh firking damnation! Damn you adventurers! Resuti Solunians were WAY more disaplined than you lot!" Diaglo swore as they vandalised the entire store. At once, a swooping rough hand grasped him by the neck and wrung it. The alien gasped as the hand revealed itself - to belong to a graceful slender male elf.
Winged soldier of white and Moglin-head person grinned in the faltering moonlight. As Stryker stepped through the ivory door, Diaglo scowled. Not him again, was this some PAYBACK for Soluna incident? But that Arkento was exactly 'Lorithia-knows how long ago, over 5000 years.' Stryker seemed eager to rub even more insults into Diaglo's face. After all, he waited five millenniums for this to occur, way too long for his liking. This was the PERFECT opportunity for his revenge, and with the police 'out of the picture' as well as that Wolfblade Oeyken being long deceased, he was unstoppable! Muhahaha, Diaglo will pay, he thought maniacally, wishes he had never stepped in this hovel!
"Yeah? And wace EXACTLY are you going to do, fool?" asked the leader, prying Diaglo's arms apart with the iron wrench. The young blacksmith fell to the stone ground where the Elf punted him. "Buldrut Keep, don't play hardcore with any firk Earth Thief Skulls." Stryker continued, Diaglo just groaned in shock. The Alvenos laughed, mocking him. "What's the poor Alvenos baby's gonna do? Eh? Eh? Run back to black Marsh cesspit? Like a featherless Cow-chicken. Daggy Diaglo, I don't forget anything - Especially AFTER seeming 5000 years of stuck. In. A. Neverending. KELF-HOLE!" The enraged Alvenos screamed, "We have a score to settle! Now." His shadow was long and menacing as he slammed a hand on the counter.
"I am fairly certain you fools are after the Necrominon book. Correct Kyratistu?" The elf nodded, clearly understanding. "Just like old times, eh Diaglo? Just you, me... and a huge blade the size of your firkin' head." Tail wrapping around Stryker's heel, Diaglo jerked it and the Alvenos fell.
The blade spun as they gasped. SLASH! Diaglo rolled as the sword thudded, narrowly missing his chest. Stryker swore loudly, grasping his head, "That went too far, you Rateyui! Seize him!" he bellowed at his henchmen, "You blind as well as mute?! We have to report to our base, Swordfall!"
The henchmen hurriedly obeyed him, dashing through the forest as they swept through bushes with their huge silver scythes.
The twin moons in the sky gave just enough light to see his destination, a desolate temple. Zard-men roared in confusion, tails shaking the ground as Diaglo attempted to outrun his captors. Near impossible as the light gave no protection from the pursuit.
"You can't run forever, Kadomitri!" The Moglin-head warrior squeaked, "This is OVERKELF!" In a fleeting moment, Diaglo fell forwards. His backpack burst open, revealing the very item he vowed to prevent harm to. "OH SHIIKASE!" he groaned as he saw events unfold.
Stryker led the charge with his Water-Draconian sword, whose cold burning light swept through the undergrowth. The Alvenos blacksmith had to duck as the animate watery blade sliced through a thick tree with liquid ease. The tree branch toppled forwards, missing Diaglo by a couple of inches. Curling tail once more around splintered wood the Alvenos hesitated, tossing the object at Kyratistu as one might throw javelins. Then he ran in fear, Stryker's arm... had fused with the very weapon he held, aloft with the slightest touch. How in Kaesyra did this happen? Diaglo thought apprehensively, what kind of dark Force created this fusion?! Stryker's eyes glowed with a tint of mauve, form becoming distinctly blurred. Smoke steamed from the evil Alvenos's nose, as Diaglo realised... realised that the disturbed forest was a dead-end.
"It ends now, Diaglo." Stryker said in monotone, lurching forwards with an eager grin. "Now, hand me that item - so precious and vital to sustain our empire we are building - our anarchy shall rule supreme. First thing in order: Removing that firking tail of yours." Pushing a lock of chestnut hair aside, clear sweat glistening in the pallour of the moon, the blue rippling sword crackling with a light never seen since Soluna. The priestess coming out of Greenguard temple paled with anxiety when she saw the very sight, biting her knuckles until it drew blood.
"No," the Blacksmith yelled raggedly as the four moved closer, "NO! Faluken shall avenge me!" Diaglo inched back with suspicion, the unbalanced Alvenos mirroring his very movements. Pressing the vorpal blade against pale flesh, Stryker prepared to move in for the kill. Drawing back the serrated sword to aim... "Chaaarrge!" he screamed. The words echoed around the forest, filled with a silent rage, ever rising in violent crescendo. Unknownst to both of them, an unnatural occurrence was about to happen in that instant. And happen, it did.
In those skies above an otherworldly glowing comet lit up the heavens, streaking towards its destination and threw a white brilliance. The light was enough to distract the male from his task, shielding himself against the sparkling rays. Every other adventurers to the vicinity looked upwards in amazement. It instantly flared up and suddenly headed towards the ground, throwing fine cosmic dust within two-metre radius. Luckily enough they weren't SO close to the comet to cause instant incineration. That would be nasty.
"Hurg-hur, fir-king phe-nomena!" Stryker coughed violently as he inhale soil and smoke that fumed up. He was gagging so hard that not even Diaglo noticed subtle signs occurring around them. Which was too bad, as the blacksmith nearly passed out during the whole event. It was too much even for him to wonder at. The two looked strangely at the surface, impossible. Then one soon crashed to the ground, overwhelmed.
As he looked through blurred eyes, Diaglo felt someone rummage around his pockets with rough hands. Yawa Moglin-head! He shoved the Alvenos aside. Instantly the Priestess screamed, the sunken lady falling to her knees. It was though she sensed something the others couldn't. And they were right in a way, too accurate. Alas, none could feel the pulse illuminating from the very core of Swordhaven. An event that send shock waves throughout the renewed time line. If the Priestess could put her actions into words, she would describe the disturbance of the elements, ever-shifting and contorting. She saw unexplainable flashes of nightmarish bony dragons, flames of blood-red and... that reigned over all.
They felt the ground heat up, feeling it radiate through their feet, slightly warming. The smooth rock beneath pulsated, shaking the Moglin-warrior prised the item with trembling hands. The Moglin-head laughed with merciless sounds echoing everywhere. "The night is ours!" boomed Monetri with malice, "We have the vessel! Swordfall's victory is ENSURED! Hear me! ENSURED!" He taunted constantly. "It's all thanks to you, Watnos blacksmith."
"Wace, about his tail, it's like a third hand to him." Monetri turned to Stryker. His grin widened, "No use. Might as well be space-loot. Finish the Alvenos!" Stryker roared. Draconian sword was raised higher, glinting and ready to plunge. Diaglo waited for the inconceivable, waited for the strike that would send him... Waited. He felt the dryness well up in his throat. But the blow never came, he was so puzzled. Surely?
"Unhand that sword! Thou render your blades above yet another life!" Another voice yelled, familiar and yet so different... How? Wace? WACE?! Stryker's very face paled at the sound, looked as though he lost strength to even move, "How CAN THAT BE?! What are you?" he responded faintly. Diaglo turned around slowly to face the speaker and confirm who was talking. It wasn't anything he expected, seeing a tall figure standing there, aura blazing around the area like wildfire. The person was wearing a Gargoyle mask which hid facial features. But that alone wasn't the only thing. This was impossible, noticing the colour of the eyes for a first time. One pupil was aquamarine like the depths of the ocean, the other was a bright silver. Silver. This presence was familiar. Too familiar. The blacksmith raised his hand towards the figure in vain.
"If you prize your blade above life, then you shouldn't be asking that question," responded the wraith "Life transcends beyond what others see."
Stryker winced at this, levelling the sword at the person. "If you have truly seen beyond, then I care not." he scowled, "Lest our swords clash then burn with rolling thunders of the Valkyries." His eyes burned with an insatiable anger. They charged towards the figure with a fury.
They wasted no time as such was their hatred. All three henchmen raised their weapons as one. "Dance of the Dexterous Falcon" Stryker hissed, running straight at the figure, he didn't care any more about Diaglo. All he wanted was to defeat the masked person right in front of him. The one that prevented him taking the vessel. That was all he could see. Diaglo watched as he saw the battle as if distanced from the action, the storm was growing nearer. "Platinum Whirlwind." ordered Kyratisu, the elf was too excited from the adrenaline of battle, not thinking before he shouted out the command, it was too late. The attack was unleashed from the elf's hand and Stryker screamed as something awful and final had happened. He heard a terrible ripping sound as the fused blade was ripped from his flesh. The Alvenos let go of a hand that was no longer there, he glanced at his phantom hand in horror. The pieces of his merged hand lay metres away, covered in congealed blood and trickling. No longer could he slay Diaglo, or tie on armour. "Kyratsu you jerk!" he screamed until his deep voice was raw. "Look what you've firking done!" They were distracted by everything, so they never saw it coming. Never noticed the final command their opponent gave out.
"Melancholy Tome's Fang." With widened eyes, Diaglo watched as the contents of thieves bag pack bulged then split open at the seams. Loot poured out endlessly, piling onto the soil. Too scared to move a finger towards their assaulter, who smiled quietly. Goblets, bronze jewellery, helms, velvet clothes of upper class and finally, the glinting vessel of Swordhaven. "Go back to Swordfall, Stryker. Tell your Dakittu master that I returned... For vengeance." Without a word and much shaken, Stryker nursed his arm and ordered his henchmen back. They vanished into the darkness, running for their lives. Once they were gone, Diaglo's lips quivered, this person had just rescued him from the Alvenos... But who was? No, it was impossible, nothing made sense... As his head ached with those thoughts, the figure slipped back into the shadows. "Be safe."
"But, are you?" asked Diaglo, "I thought you vanished years ago?" Silence answered as Diaglo collapsed, seeing stars.
"I'm telling you," Diaglo took a deep breath and sighed amidst the laughter of the crowd, "I haven't gone insane, look- anyone believe me don't you?!" he yelled at Trinenna pleadingly as she polished her weaponry. Valencia cocked her head in surprise. "I was not the only witness! Ask the Priestess of the forest!" His silvery Snake tail was writing rapidly everything he knew about these events. Blank faces.
"So you're expecting us to believe all that gloom?" questioned Trinenna sceptically, 'First I lost my Necro powers - now you're saying the same comet we saw last night hit the Forest at the very moment three thieves from your era stole your vessel which is sacred?! How did you manage to survive such an event without getting seriously hurt by the impact? Plus, as all seemed lost for poor Diablo, a 'masked' figure came along with two-coloured eyes and saved you? From those three Alvo- whatis?" She shook her head, doubting the Solunian blacksmith's sanity.
"Yeah, I don't get it myself, the events don't add up right." admitted Diaglo, "But why were they connected? The vessel and the stranger?" He heard their loud laughs. Everyone was joking, but didn't they understand? Didn't anyone knew? Plus, who in the Reset had bicoloured eyes? At least every Swordhaven citizen had their valuables returned with not so much as a scuffle. Most of them thanked him profusely in gratitude, fawning on their items deemed lost forever. People of Swordhaven had no idea how close they came to losing everything, even the glorious vessel of Swordhaven. Peasants and warriors asked too often how Diaglo retrieved the items from thieves with a lean physique such as his, but the poor simple Blacksmith had no reply. As they looked in confusion, Diaglo winked at them, a slight sparkle in his eyes as his silvery tail twirled.
"Actually," began Artix, "I did see something. Or someone." Everyone looked up. Artix nodded slightly, before pulling out something from his armour. A thick book with a symbol of a grey tentacled eye on it. It was padlocked securely. Diaglo stared with shock until everyone thought his eyes would drop out. No one could believe it, there it was. And this forsaken item was the only unique one found... For now.
"The Lore Grimoire, book of Lore which contains Chaos Realm?! Upon which the one who looks into this realm shall fall to depths of gloom and insanity?" Trinenna whispered, looking at Artix with renewed interest and respect. "How did you manage to obtain this?" Artix just smiled, putting a finger to his lips with quivering fear. Tetris kept away from the Grimoire as though he was scared of its mere conception, the pages started to smoke. "I found this blasted artefact in the Forest, right in the comet's core." The Paladin explained coolly. "It might explain everything since Swordhaven, but I daren't not risk my sanity by opening it." The others backed away from the Lore Grimoire inching away from it in fear.
"But..." began Diaglo, "Will it explain anything worth knowing to the user? Answer any questions?" Trinenna shook her head.
"Do not be tempted by such notions of grandeur, lest others become devoured by its brilliance and intensity of omnipotence. It's doom to those who resist this and not heed." Trinenna spoke calmly, "I was such a one to open a book such as this in days of my youth and it consumed me so. Reduced my very soul to cinders, it did." Diaglo nodded, but his eyes were dewy with tears as he blinked them back.
'Unless already thou accepted this descent, how can you accept defeat? Mortality's own shortcomings bound you and still others to those nether-regions.' indicated a disembodied rattling voice, chasitating someone who remained shackled to those misty surroundings. Dense and opulent smoke drifted lazily. It swirled amongst eerie surroundings of the two figures, one of which seemed indescribable to mortal eyes alone. The only thing apparent to those eyes were intensities of throbbing darkened lights, which faded in and out with startling regularity. The glittering throne which seated the figure was immense, ghastly symbols carved into the marble-like surface. Dark objects clanged as they rose up of their own accord, the 'person' questioned seemed to struggle. lifting eyes of desperation as those others protested. "SILENCE YE!" commanded the terrifying One which interrogated. At once, there was a cracking noise and all those other weeping voices in the dismal background fell silent.
'Tell me, brave one, those boundaries which fullness of those lifespans required, is there anything more sacrificial demanded of them?' More silence, but there was denial. 'I thought so, mortals are yet to comprehend true inner nature of that which bounds them to those damned regions. It is those own failures that prevent ascension, but those are different matters.' The One 'crouched down' on its short forelegs towards the spirit, 'And yet you still mourn.' it added gently. As wafts of plumed smoke drifted, the fallen person wiped tears from her eyes. The look was pleading and the One turned away, a grimace on its strange face. It still listened to those begging whispers sounding out though, its ears twisting forwards.
"It was only failures to prevent the ones I loved from a web of deceit that anguishes me so, and determinism. And so to escape those invaders of Soluna, I decided on the best course of action. Why do you ask me?" Those chains of darkened light tightened and the spirit winced with inhibited pain. The One spoke with a fierce voice of rushing thunder.
'One of those hourglasses was smashed. Your life cut all too short, a spark of brilliance that faded, others must been confused at this event, I heard their cries as the war ended. Because it is known that you somehow reappeared in the realms of the Reset. In a recreated form. Yet still bound to this elemental dimension, so you had to return.' pressed on the One. She paled and waited, the chains felt heavy upon her form. The creature stretched out its inhumanly hard claws, 'I can see the determined look in your eyes, only ones with unnaturally strong will returns to that world of solids. You have lived but three aeons in this realm. I feel your task in that lifespan was left unfulfilled. As it was my duty, an option to return to a life glimpsed, but not as you knew it.' Her eyes widened with joy.
'You were one of many heroines, I heard those cries and answered with justice. However-' the voice lowered...
'In order to exist in the Reset, someone else must volunteer to discard their remnants. It's only natural,' he replied to the spirit's shocked reaction, 'Willpower alone does not stabilise the trip back, also mana is required even if it belongs to another. This is the decree that ordains the galaxy.' The One finished its speech and many voices wailed louder in response. No one else wanted to volunteer and the one enchained felt disheartened. Suddenly there was a wisp of smoke entered from nowhere as it appeared and reformed. The One stepped back as another answered the question on everyone's lips:
'You saved my life, and so I felt indebted to return the favour.' the other whispered, 'I do not regret my decision, for my time was well earned with Alex the Dragonlord.' Silver eyes glanced out as the other spirit with blue cloak helped the fallen one up. 'My conscience told me otherwise, but I wanted to perform this. Even if I myself wouldn't exist without mana, would literally fade away due to this process, I will lend then transfer my strength to you. We mages call it 'transmutation', the highest order of arcane magic there is.' A wry smile. 'That's my way of thanking you.'
The chains of shining light encircled the darkened spirit flickered once then dissolved, evaporated into thin smoke. The One nodded almost in approval. 'So, how long have you been here for?' asked the now-unchained spirit, gratitude at finally being released from the bounds... The other seemed to blink momentarily, startled by those unrequited questions the spirit now sought. She turned away as if reminiscing past events, the pained expression etched was rendered demure. It was as though secretly ashamed at this, running a hand through those rippling colours. Then there was a reply after some endless time.
'A few years or so, I kinda lost count after a while... It seems as though it was just yesterday, but I did not expect that the misfortune would take entirely a moment... I should have practised more sleet of hand and advanced alchemy with Archmage Warlic. Time seems to run way slower in this realm, like the passing hours don't really exist.' replied the other gratefully, reaching out to her.
The One snorted in contempt at this, eye unfurling as it stared at the two vespers in utter disbelief at the scene:
'Over two years,' it growled beastly, claw over spiked foreleg, as it glanced at shattered remainders of those Lorian Avatars.
'Really, I swear it seemed to be longer. Time is deceptive here. Thus I digress.' she muttered to herself, before facing Misako, 'Are you certain you want to proceed?' the other spirit's glassy-blue eyes started watering in sadness at this statement.
'But if we proceed with this, you'll not exist any more in this realm or anywhere else, that's too much... Isn't that too big a sacrifice to make? All I wanted was to assist my remaining friends, to return to them once again and prevail against the incoming Dakittu of Swordfall. I could see Diaglo's pained expression as Stryker saw me, as if he recognised the form I took, life is still worth protecting at least to me, and it should also matter to you... I'm pretty sure they all missed me so, Sally, Diaglo, Quentin and the other Alvenos, don't know if they still do, or still remember. If they truly changed over the years and the state the world is now in since I last came across them...' Misako trailed off.
The other smiled rather sadly and nonchalantly at this, 'Nothing really fazes or surprises me any more, not when I'm literally being around for over 5,020 years. Well, I've had a lot of time to think about this, that's all.' she responded to Misako's rather surprised reaction. '... what's with the surprised look?' she asked sceptically as she was adjusting her cloak.
'... Nothing.' Misako said, avoiding the look Olapen gave her, 'You've changed a lot over those years, if now unexpected opportunities arose from such circumstances, I'm sad to say... Full of regret that I didn't live to see the Reset.'
'There's nothing more important than protecting your friends, the fact that you pursue this is admirable.' Olapen replied, 'I have no doubt that you achieve your final mission in due time, no matter how long it takes.'
'This realm is considered to be the most chaotic - 'Era of the last of Heroes', the Fourth age and the darkest hours that all Lorians have ever seen. Reclaim thou dignity in next realm and thou remember thus: this is thou last lifespan, Misako Irwa. Once you're committed to the ideologies of this realm, there's no return to the past that you have ventured through destiny. The outer realm had changed immensely, and thou shall start anew like a flower in blossom... Thou must seek thou own path, which intertwines with others yet unseen.' the One explained, glancing at the two, 'Though despair and hardships fade away, the last of heroes still remains to fight for unbridled justice. Will you be that Heroine?' Misako hesitated, wiping back sweat which threatened to spill. Finally, she nodded with somewhat timid movement. 'Your slate shall be wiped clean. Then accept thou destiny and arise as a dawn star.'
Olapen also blinked back tears which filmed over her silvery eyes. 'I'm really glad our paths crossed that day,' Misako was at loss at what to say, glancing at the hooded figure. Foreboding light seemed to stream through both their forms, casting a mood of overwhelming nostalgia that seemed to fill the otherworldly realm. Silence reigned as the One watched over all.
'You're not afraid?' Misako asked quietly in both awe and veiled intrigue at the lightning mage. Olapen flinched at this as she stood.
'Scared of what?' The other stated inanely, deliberately avoiding the undeniable question that Misako sought, but still restrained with undercurrents of dark emotion... 'Okay, you caught me. Of course, you think I'm immune to being anxious half the time?' She stood at the metal altar which arched, solemnly gazing at the distant fire-stars which glittered amongst the swirling mists. They seemed to twinkle with loneliness. 'You have no idea what I've been through...' she stated melancholy, eyes staring off into the distance. The other's expression was purely unreadable and bitter.
'... I'm sorry, I apologise Miss Jinitro.' Misako bowed towards the mage. 'I can understand if I hurt your feelings. You don't have to go through with this.' The Oeyken offered her hand in friendship and the mage accepted the gesture. The bronze-and-topaz stone altar had a sheen of its own, the metal reflected through the mists... The vision of the lone jewelled altar was reflected in their eyes.
'My last name's Jintas. But the name still sounds familiar, was that what I was called in a former life before the Reset?' Misako nods as the other looked a bit confused, trying to remember what happened before the Reset. 'I don't want to be hurt by people's actions any more...' Olapen replied in a lost voice, it was unnerving the mage to be filled with so much angst. It sounded hollow.
'Jinitro...' Misako stretched her flickering hand out, 'I may not be able to help, but.. you can still depend on your friends. I'm here for you, I'll always remember you as you were.' The green-haired Oeyken knelt, still clutching the slender hand of the weeping lady.
'Maybe then I could attain peace that way, knowing that in this way I'll be free.' The mage commented softly before commencing.
A molten dark blue glow filled the altar draining whatever darkness was hidden within the murky mists. The beam of the source concentrated before slowing down into a flickering spherical shape which glowed with applied inner energy. Misako caught the spherical shaped 'object' before it seemed to give a rapid spark and flowed into the transparent hand. 'feel so cold and weakened... Thank you, I appreciate being listened to. Think as it as my gift for you, Koko... the gift of your redemption.' A final smile.
'Please, don't leave...' Koko tried to catch the falling mage. The prone form dispersed into glowing crystalline stars which flickered away as soon as Misako touched them. The hooded robes fluttered downwards and was caught on something, it laid on the altar of Topaz lone and devoid of its previous owner. '... Jintas!' Misako said raggedly, noticing her hands still glowing. The One still watched.
'Are you ready for your respawn?' the One asked coldly. Even now as she felt renewed, she lifted up her shaking hand in gratitude.
'Yes I am ready, I'll complete my mission.' Misako said in single resolution, muscling some of her bravery. Closing her eyes, she wished with all her might-
The fisherman cast his rod as he looked over the horizon of the overflowing river. He enjoyed catching those monstrous Flying Fish and reeling them out of rushing white froths. Ever since the huge storm last night, everyone had reported seeing strange flashes of light. Ah well, they must have been fireflies or something. He swatted a huge pesky mozzie away from his face as he spotted another bluish light 'respawn' near shores of the tiny river. But this respawn was in the wrong place, who in their right mind-? His heart almost stopped when he saw the impossible. There was really was a strange lady emerging from flowing depths, clothes intact but soaked. The fisherman dropped his rod in amazement, bucket of fish splashing as it rolled into the river. He didn't pick it up.
"Eh?" he breathed roughly as the lass ignored him. She looked like a river spirit, lank hair dripping salt water.
"What in hell? Where did she come from?" yelled an adventurer. Other warriors just gaped, before offering to help.
"That is impossible? Where you going, young lady?" said a scientific warrior, despite seeing it in front of his eyes. They gasped as she raised her head, showing her eye colours for the second time. Silver and aquamarine, they fell silent. Dark hair seemed to shimmer as it flowed past her shoulders. She seemed unaware of their reaction at first. Their eyes tracked her as she limped tiredly towards the Inn which Yuglar used to forge new equipment, footprints imprinted on the soft gritty sand...
"They said a strange girl washed ashore," replied Robina, her hand upon the tablecloth. "The fishers can't really describe her. I don't know what to make of this news." Yuglar had just finished for the day, so there weren't many customers at the reopened inn. Leaving some rooms vacant for available visitors. Everyone was either away or thwacking skeletons on the head this steamy afternoon. So no visitor noticed the new visitor request for a vacant room. Puzzled by the visitor's appearance, Yuglar nevertheless gave her the bronze key to a resided room.
"You look sorta familiar, gal." he told the lady as she exited to the locked room to 'undress'.
Night fell as Sally Coffronze stumbled into the Inn rather inebriated after partying all day with Swordhaven's citizens. With her sword clanging against her side, she found the door padlocked to her utter dismay. "Hey! Yuglar why da firkin' hell is da hotel door locked?" Sally demanded as she swayed. "Whomsoever in there, I thus demand mooora room service! And a daiquiri for tabs!" She kicked the door, "JUST let Salsa in, DAMMIT!" The Soluna warrior swore with a hollering whoop. She crashed into the door, with a loud shatter, Yuglar just wished Sally would have more common-sense and use the windows for a change.
"Use the window, doofus!" Yuglar bellowed, "These doors aren't automatic as Soluna! And it is rude to interrupt early guests."
"Wace, guest is in there without my permission and ya lent damn keys when I wasn't there!" Sally roared.
"You're so melodramatic about everything?!" Yuglar yelled at Sally, "Listen you, come back in the morning. Nice and early!"
"Da morning?! Firking, damning constellation!" Sally glared with blood-shot eyes before carving a giant hole in the door, "Wanna sleep, don't even care about etiquette." She muttered as she saw armour and clothes strewn messily on the floor. "... Damn." Sally's eyes widened at the mess. "Don't tell me I have to clean up after them." As she was about to pick up those clothes, she noticed the guest snoozing under the quilt on the unmade bed. The lady's silken hair reached past shoulder-length, such a tinted pastel emerald colour it was almost dark... decorated by ribbons and worn in a rather simple style. Sally stared at the colours, stroking the flowing strands of curls in curiousity. It was then she saw it, a slash of red upon one closed eye. The warrior would recognise the scar anywhere, it was like a slap in the face. But could it be really-?
"Ah... Impossible," she murmured in utter amazement, "Misako? Is thus an illusion come to haunt me?" the warrior added softly in disbelief, "Mourning for you so much during the Solunian war, but returning when our hopes were finally lost after Dagiteon arrived?" Sally wished she was still reporting as in her youth, but as Sally left the room she informed Yuglar and the others. It was so silent you could hear a pin drop. But there were several cries of 'WHAT?' and 'Wace?!' outside the room as they realised the truth.
"... Melkior?" asked Landon meekly, still in incredulity after several weeks. "You're still my sister, sort of." He said with a rather confused gaze, "But when did you insist on wearing black leather jackets? That weird... Elaborate stave you purchased from 'Murray'? Having this Moglin as your pet? Thought you disliked those Soluna robot-Moglins. You would jump off my Starship than admit liking it. Yelled at me to shoo away the scamp I loosed in your suite on Mogloween. You hated that day," Landon grinned at memories. His eyes had dark circles underneath and his tinged hands were grey. "Furious back then, young as we were. Running round until I finally pranced on it. Tears running down that adorable lil' face, such a cry-baby, more-so a loud whiner. More than I thought possible, alas people change." Melkior sighed a bit at this, tracing the leather fabric innocuously as Chilebé chirped eagerly. She heard Landon's musings but just commented that she 'had an affinity for black' though she didn't know why.
"I thought you'll go drinking, always leaving me at the Uni while you flunked epically," Melkior answered as Landon looked very sober.
"Dean Warlic told me off for procrastination. After news of your disappearance, I stopped." Landon replied gruffly, "Just wasn't the same, without you looking disapprovingly-" Melkior just looked concerned, "Yeah, just like that. You still miss Vixen by any chance?" She tiny Frostvale moglin meeped on the table as Landon saw the other items laid out that his sister purchased. Most of them were costumes he never imagined wearing. "Don't worry, I'll still love you no matter what," he sighed, spotting an Lolosia pirate suit amongst the weapons. "Even if Kior herself refuses to admit it. After all, I had to deal with heart-rendering-"
Tetris trooped into the room, seeing the commotion. Landon greeted the dumb vampire mage. Before noticing Diaglo, Sally, Kayo, Kaede, Quentin, Alexander Drufus and Mithlos. Trinenna was thankfully not present, away fighting with Alex the Dragonlord instead. "Got any business with Kior-sama?" he added roughly to either party. Tetris just flapped to the rafter and slept on it. Mithlos peeked shyly at Melkior's new body while Diaglo just nodded curtly. Quentin fainted, Kayo and Kaede looked weird for a moment, trying to process what the heck happened. Alexander Drufus just said, "Did you do something with the Potara Earrings?" Kri, kree, kiki, Chiii ba, kree, Kriiiii! Chilebé spoke happily.
"Misako! We all missed you soooo," Kaede launched herself at Melkior, tackling her in the process. "You have no idea how long we'vebeenwaitingforyou to return!" she sounded just like Twilly at Frostvale. Melkior blinked at this, surprised at Kaede's action as Tetris snickered. "Sorry about that. It has been aeons since we saw you." The cyborg apologised, letting her hands rest on the table. "It truly has been. You have no idea how long we've been waiting" she sobbed, "Until the stars fell." A tear streaking down her metallic face, rust had spread further on her body, glinting like copper. Both the rain and passing years had not been kind to the two anachronistic Cyborgs. Melkior's expression softened. The years had been harsh on both cyborgs and they aged a fair bit. The technology they had now outdated. And yet Melkior noticed their weary appearance.
"You didn't have to be dramatic, Kaede." responded Melkior, "Just a simple 'hi' would suffice or a wave, but I do know it has been forever. I missed you all, plus the Alvenos... Why else did you think I would've returned from the other realm?" Diaglo motioned to her as Sally had no answer to that. Landon glared at the blacksmith, rather protective of his sister. "It's alright, Diaglo's an acquaintance of mine." she replied.
"Riiiiight. Just don't do anything weird," Landon told Diaglo sternly with a drawl, "After all, Kior's my duty for now. Going out to battle Zards... As usual, same ol' stuff I've been practising for months." No guarantee Landon got any better at training Zardmen though. The older Alvenos whistled as he left them to their own devices, an enhanced Light-sabre spinning. Mithlos, Sally and the rest sent their regards, seeing as the two former Stulos wanted to be left in private for now... The rushing wind flowed through the Inn window, rustling their hair.
"Want to go for a stroll outside, Espirto?" Diaglo offered gently.
"So how much remembrance?" It was much later in the afternoon as Diaglo trooped through sweet fragrances of spring, the flowers blooming near Willow Creek, with his friend following behind. They came across a cobblestone path leading to several wooden Farmer cottages.
"Flashes of the past," intoned Melkior, "it feels nice to feel the fresh air, I'd forgotten what it felt like," she embraced the wind as it flowed through her skin-bare clothes, she was trying a new style. "It seems as though this realm altered significantly, though I don't know how." Diaglo's expression darkened slightly, whisking away a strand of pale jade hair as Melkior questioningly gazed at him. He took a long breath.
"That's what I'm afraid of, Fathyi, change. You've changed since your new-formed experiences of life, no longer the old Misako I knew. How would we know if truly our friend staring back?" he challenged gently, "Who stuck through us during hardships, through those duties? Didn't want to lose you permanently in this life as well. We all needed help during last stages of the Soluna invasion, but none applied for this die-hard job." His ruby eyes pierced her, "Except you, Oeyken... Always with duty to protect people precious to you. Sys-Zero objected to the insane mission, but we were worried. Especially Devi and Sally." He looked away, unable to meet Melkior's crestfallen eyes. "Gintanei, we just wanted you to stay as in the past. That was your promise gave before the... event: Walking between Dakittu, give my duty for those who supported." For a few minutes nothing was said, except the faint hoots of a Leather-wing. Diaglo rested underneath shade of Treant trees which swayed in motion... His tears fell, soaking the moist soil. "I was afraid we'd lose you. It was if you've just walked here and suddenly a hero or someone untouchable."
The lady wiped away his falling tears. "... Diaglo," Melkior answered, "Do I act or appear any different? Look at me, can't you know I'm so glad to see you?" Diaglo swept away his hair which fell upon his face as the young lady looked on the Alvenos blacksmith, tracing broad tanned arms as he held her, tail on her arms. There was silence as they stayed in this position for several minutes in the cooling breeze. It was a strange sight that was somewhat bearable. Closing eyes Melkior leant back against the blacksmith, she ran the back of her hand against the Alvenos's cheek gently. Diaglo blushed a little at this, her eyes reminded him of jewels. Two mismatched jewels. He smiled at the irony as she subconsciously drew closer. Diaglo's skin felt all clammy and icy, as though stiff. His lips themselves a bluish tinge. Melkior looked worried about this fact, shouldn't he at least be of warmth?
"You're so warm," he murmured as though freezing, "so warm. Unlike I." This was weird enough.
"Diaglo, I just wanted to know-" As she was about to question him, something interrupted her thoughts:
"Apart from your hair and form? Maybe," deduced a slow voice from behind them. It was Cysero, a rubber ducky in his hand, "Who is this Sys-Zero you were telling this lass about?" he asked the Alvenos. Diaglo being startled, just shrugged knowingly.
"A friend of ours," Melkior added, referencing Sys-Zero, but Cysero clearly didn't get the hint, but then he winked at her as though he knew.
"Cysero, why have you come here?" asked Diaglo, "Can't you see you're interrupting us?" The blacksmith wouldn't come without good reason, spending most of his spare time in the bathtub these days. In other words, he better have a plausible explanation!
The eccentric blacksmith laughed, a large hand on Diaglo good-heartedly and rubbing the hair affectionately. "That'll do, Alvenos, that'll do. Anyway, King Alteon received a letter, correct? Sent by the renter's due, and these bacon elementals." He pushed a parchment into Melkior's hands roughly. "Good ol' Moglins suggest checking it twice, ya never know when Sneevils been at it!" It was the letter Mithlos sent. "Go ahead, open it." Cysero added at Melkior's puzzled expression. Well, it couldn't hurt just to inspect it. The three read it.
King Alteon, I'm surrounding your gates near Swordhaven NOON. I won't hesitate to use force against your citizens, my DOOOOM BLADE and Dakittu master commands it be so! I shall reconsider this if any heroes approach us this week or tomorrow. BUT I guess my nephew is too busy fighting pathetic monsters to consider. The following paragraph was scribbled then crossed out with hasty slanted handwriting and replaced with... ALTEON, I AM COMING FOR YOU! MUHAHAHAHA, with the little DOOM BLADE TOO! COMING FOR YOU...! To finish everything! Swordhaven has NO HOPE, most of your heroes have fallen prey to their weaknesses...! Incompetence, fools. Your castle is defenceless. I AM DARKNESS, I have a 'little' surprise in store. But Heroes make their choice, or join the Dakittu! The letter suddenly ended with the initials, L.S.D.K. There was a PS: Omnipagon foresees all, commune at the Citadel tomorrow under dear wishes of our influential Inquisitor. Or else.
"What does that nonsense mean? Sepulchre is insane." Cysero said, confused at this ranting. And that coming from him was something... Something about that last note brought a familiar chill. "Selpuchure wants us to come to a place called... The Citadel? He has nephew called Alex, as I can recall. For his own twisted reasons?" Melkior stated, glancing at the blacksmith's frozen expression of instantaneous recognition. "What is the Inquisitor?" she asked Cysero.
"The Inquisitor... We aren't talk. He's a Kehoraet totally paranoid about magic in his presence. Fortnights ago, he ordered fourteen of the Citadel guards to fire huge catapult-arrows at Bloodtooth - Swordhaven's local dragon. Bring down Bloodtooth, he ordered with flair. The plan almost succeeded. Crashing after just six arrows embedded in its side, the poor creature. Didn't even get to the bacon factory. Luckily it resorted to hiding in mountains! Person's even crazier than I. Now intent on hunting down magic users, doesn't matter who. He's desperate I tells you." Cysero emphasised. Greg the cricket chirped merrily at this. Complementing dual colours met brown eyes in silence, musing over his words.
"That's... disturbing," Melkior answered, . "" "But I need everyone's help on this plan I formulated..."
Bluish moonlight streams behind the deacon's curving hair, catching it briefly as those members murmured softly in contrasting sharp melodic tones. Unreal stained glass seemed to catch dazzling light of fractured glass, sending scattered lunar energy everywhere. The moons curved in their silent epinonch reached its zenith and struck the domed skylight in all its glory. At this, the one ordaining the service raised her voice in a harmonious and yet sensual tremor as the choir sang the second-last hymn. Heavy sulphuric incense seeps through the intoxicating air, arousing few dedicated (yet tired) citizens who attended. All trying their best to display 'interest'. Gold glinted everywhere, on the pews, near the elegant soaring arches of belfries and even on slightly open doors of the Citadel. Inviting all to come in as they wished (or as they dared) pleased... Gained by the Inquisitor's dealings with the uptight Paladins, sparing no expenses on AC, the currency introduced of late.
At displays of non-conformity, the choir looked very annoyed, but still continued their enthusiasm. As the incense burnt and flared higher, it seemed to have an effect of drowsiness upon those who listened. The priestess seemed to step up to the platform, touching the white shrine, singing a low-pitched throaty aria. 'Though endless perfection and onwards we strive, we thirst evermore for science to thrive.' Lengthy service continued as the citizens struggled to mouth the complex words, Stryker and Doodler amongst these near the pews. It was torturous.
"Oh geez, if the security near this here area couldn't get tight enough!" Tetris complained, swooping through the encroaching Dakittu. Unknown to all, a humanoid figure flapped its wings once. It descended. Dislodging several passengers on its back who quickly leapt off and stepped onto the broad marble roof. Incredibly, none of the four hundred Citadels guards paid attention. Crouching on the roof of the Citadel, no one inside noticed the ruckus created as six others perched near the stained glass, glimpsing the service from afar. "This is your best idea?!" Mithlos frowned, "Next time, think of better plans Kior! This is worst than your disguises, way worse!" Kayo gave a distinct laugh at this.
As he spoke, Mithlos's legs wobbles slightly as if unable to maintain weight, "WOAAH! Firking... I can't STAND this humiliation much longer," the Alvenos whines, noticing that he stood directly above the skylight. Revealing... Let's not consider. Melkior gazed at this, this proved very interesting to watch. Well, it's time for the service to end. And then we shall discover unknown obscurities of hidden truths. The Vampire lord gave a thumbs up at Melkior and Sally as three others struggled to balance precariously. Chilebé was a constant companion now, so it scampered over to them cheerfully. It peeked over Melkior's shoulder as she adjusted her glinting stave. Melkior smiled at this display of affection, nuzzling its fuzzy warmth of fur. The staff seemed to be familiar to her hands, tingling. Twilight-tinged rays glowed warmly as the silent instrument gave out sparks, reminiscent of a weapon... In fact formerly the Jing staff, but 'enhanced' with Murray's ancient magic. It also had a slight change to its structure, becoming more angular and unwieldy. To rescue everyone from their impending fates, I must go straight to the source. She readied herself for combat, meditating on how innocent lives were cruelly taken by those with power.
"Glad I could be of use," he chuckled as Quentin nearly fell off the roof, "Don't worry! I haff got you, virgin!" The blond Oeyken quivered at this, failing her arms around in attempt to shield her vision from the sight, the Barber acrophobia. She clutched to Tetris's arm until the vampire thought his arm would be torn off. It took six agonising minutes for Tetris to prise a frozen-stiff barber off, but the two wasted a lot of time.
'Inflamed with passion, we ignite by burnt gears, arouse our awe for those Mecha feared.' Diaglo gripped the window plane, using his tail he flit the windows open.
"Virgin? Don't you male Vampires have any shame?" Quentin spluttered, Tetris danced with joy, he wasn't used to attention from girls.
"Naw, I shalt thunk that Slayer Seraphine removed dignity one-score ago," he snarled loudly, scaring Mithlos even more. The messenger back-flipped at the sound. "Ii! That hurt!" CRICK! A lengthening line slowly appeared in the skylight as Mithlos froze for a second. He looked down in black humour. "If this plan of yours hasn't been firking unbelievable, I would be laughing, I tells you!" he swore. Just then Mithlos whimpered as Melkior also made a grab, helping him up as fragile glass continued to shatter, it sank into his leg halfway down. Law of gravity did NOT help at all. He screamed in pain. "AAAH! NO... ! Irony of this torture! If you pull me up, it'll only get worse." he continued as Melkior looked anguished.
'Avenger who cometh, hear our pleas for ultimate change. Gloria, gloria, allelujah.' The crowd inside walked out of the Citadel into their city gates once the service had finished. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, but even that quickly shattered...
"HEY! Who's the 'ell up there?!" yelled one of the guards, seeing their shadows against the night. The guard pointed their spears at the figures, but just then Kayo distracted them. He leapt from the belfries, onto them. SLIIISH! FWAP! Ssccch! Slashing whirls of metallic clawed-arms braced the air as the terrified guards backed in terror at his face. With a schling, they watched as Kayo's arm suddenly ruptured into a copper corkscrew formation. Its revolving point wickedly glinting inches away from nearest guard's sweaty face. 345th guard gulps as he crawled away with a ghastly expression etched. "Let's just say I learnt some tricks of the techno-trade," Kayo stated coolly. There was silence as Inquisitorial guards processed what monstrosity appeared... Then their minds snapped- mentally. "AUUUUGH! A Mecha! Activate the mana-negation barriers! Fall back. Quickly!" the Inquisitor's 214th guard urged in a panic. They hurriedly tried to fight off Kayo's advances as he stormed up to them.
"Don't even think about laying one spear on us," Kayo affirmed, snapping a spear from the 318th guard... From behind. A near impossible feat. "Otherwise, you'll have me to deal with. 'Cause this Alvenos's a pretty good slice of the ol' iron." The cyborg couldn't resist a smile at this. Within the next thirty seconds, Kayo circles round the soldiers while applying swift roundhouse kicks, arm twists... And hard punting, they were surprised at the regularity at which this happened. "YAAAAAH! Take that, anachronic army of 400!" The remainer of guards flew left and right as they 'soared' over the mountain horizon and landed in a battered heap. Some of them even attempted to flee, but Kayo adjusted his night vision as his arms morphed again with alarming speed.
"Stop in the name of- What da heck-?"With a shriek, they were scooped up by Kayo's lengthening arms. All they could see was the hardware connecting them to him, feeling of levitation. As he tossed them over his shoulder, they managed to scream. "Mecha, may the firking Inquisitor stop- gaaahh!" They slammed into the ground minutes later, forming a tiny 'crater' where they impacted, this was not pretty. All you could see was splotches of distinct armour and dented helmets after the dust cleared. "Heh, I would like to see those guards manage that." Kayo smiled grimly as he dusted his iron knuckles. A job well done. Not bad for an outdated cyborg. He still had a few years in him yet. He stroked stubble as eye zoomed in on the damage caused.
"What in hell?! I can't fly further!" Tetris realises as he smashes through the skylight, bringing both Melkior and Mithlos down with a resounding clash. Diving steeply, the goofy Vampire-Lord catches Mithlos deftly as his form dispersed in time, back to his regular mage form. As he crouched on the wooden-beam supporting the Citadel's overhead roof, the glass rained down like falling icicles. "It's a magic-neutralising zone," he mutters at them, "Shoulda known the guards play dirty like that!" The deacon looks up as if expecting the arrival, but she didn't seem to notice the shadow of a bat descending. She's only looking for the source of the sound, she can't sense us. Looking in the wrong direction. Melkior realises, feeling the air rush sharply past her. Melkior landed squarely on the altar, the cold icy light streaming behind her through stained-glass windows, giving a sort of surrealistic halo effect to the entire scenario. Managing a sharp backflip in mid-air, she corrects her position. The blue Moglin squeaks on her shoulder, its excited cries echoing through the hollow Citadel.
" sent me on a mission to fulfil," Melkior states, looking at the Priestess with a expression of uttermost duty. "" The cloak she wore folded around her like a stream of dark velvet, concealing something beneath her pirate outfit. "Do you know what time it is?" The Deacon didn't respond, silent as a statue she paused. Without any regard to the figure the lady turned away, facing the fractured window in disdain. "It's the eve of Friday the thirteenth, the futile day when chaos finally reigns and deconstruction of order is imminent..." The priestess didn't reply but just glanced with a stern expression.
"It was also the week... where Kingadent Slugwrath finally challenged various Solunians holding back the Shadowscythe invasion - soon afterwards planetary empires also fell. Incidents which embodies disarray and Dakittu - an event which commemorates total descruction... In short, this requiem was promised during the events which preceded my disapperance. However this requiem referred to everyone, not just one person. I didn't understand back then, no one could either. How could anyone predict where evil strikes? Rosia always subtle about these issues. Now I have returned to protect... For Swordhaven's sake! In the name of Vixen, I shall vanquish desolation!"
"... Your unusual request... have been heard." replied the Priestess slowly, striding towards the one who spoke, "Of course, I can't let you go through with these proceedings. It would ruin everything in the plan stated. Plus, you're interfering with our requiem... And your friends should know." They shivered.
"I was summoned by Inquisitor of Aucharlon, Coeiré Legiéno, to serve of the Queen months ago. They were vicious, oh yes but I gained the gift of foresight from the main Inquisitor... I could sense both timelines and learnt the exact location and hour the Hero of Swordhaven arrives here." the blind priestess replied, fingering the pointed medallion on her chest, "There I found my true calling, channelling and siphoning mana from other worthless individuals in order to awaken the Queen. I learnt that magic is a dangerous art, witchcraft must be squished beneath the heavy fist of science and technology. I knew the future thus I am also known as Omnipagon." She turned to Melkior and pointed at her, the huge amber ring glinting on her slender fingers.
"Last of all, Inquisitor Legiéno gave me precise instructions: If any Hero with mana comes walking in curiously around this day or hour, I'll summon the Queen with the knowledge to eradicate them! Isn't that right... Misako nee Irwa? You used to be good friend of my ill-informed brother, I'm quite surprised you would be still alive after so long. Or sucha length of time. By all calculations, you should have been dead." A pause in the tense air. How could the priestess even see her? The fact of this simplicity chilled Melkior as the Citadel's priestess strode towards her, grasping the scattered pews around her. The Priestess was blind, no doubt about that. But that still raised more questions than answers...
"I am no hero, far from it. But I do believe in discovering the truth." muttered Melkior at this proclamation. She inched away from the trained Priestess, but just then the Priestess's hands lifted the veil away from those blinded eyes... PASCHA?! The surprises never stopped, Melkior could certainly testify to that. Still, she had to ask. "... How did you sense?" Pascha smiled with an eerie whisper, thoroughly reminiscent of Larosin's speech:
"Do you think I could be fooled by your changed voice? Do you think I couldn't sense elemental signatures you exerted?! Didn't you STOP to think where I vanished to those years ago?" Omnipagon said calmly, "why no one searched for signs of existence, sweet Devlin didn't even bother to search my location. For all HE cared, I fainted or fallen down a Westion mine-shaft or worse!" she scoffed, "Some brother he was, last time I ever trust him. How is he now?" the Priestess said in sickly sweet tones.
"But I doubt any of you can defy destiny. Appointed by the Inquistor to fulfil this task, and I oblige to him only. Because he gave me Sight of the future, thus ordained by him. I deem it as a reason... Only true 'vision' is of the future, rumoured to drive others to depths of insanity..." Pascha continued, as if there was no pause. "I plunged into realms of unknown Chaos. I saw what I daren't speak of. Plagued by those obscure uncertainties, visions drove me to complete this task I was assigned - to be free is what I long for. But bonded to his will, no-one could escape. No one can. Fate constantly intertwines with others - a tangled loop of interlocking timelines, once joined and now frayed by a single event, the end of Time. Someone interfered with cosmic powers, but we were all trapped in a cycle. Of reincarnation, it never ends. We all fought our battles. But that is easily rectified," Pascha adds, "Anyone?" A pause. "Unless someone came who deems themselves worthy of this honour. To break this chain that bound us all. That day has come upon us."
Tetris had no answer for that as he perched on an overhead beam, suddenly Pascha turned to him. Eyes blazing. "Vampires in the Citadel!" she thrilled loudly, "Sacrilegious! A blot of blasphemy upon the sacred notes of the Inquisitor. You shall all, taste our wrath." she spoke slowly, "I shall ensure you all perish slowly, like all those wizards or mages tortured. They hardly could scream as the flames licked." Sally was horrified at the thought of such violence the Inquisitor dealt out daily. It was fanaticism in Pascha's eyes, her eyes seemed to gleam dully. "Are you aware... That the random Hero who defeats this ghastly summoned entity... Will have the power to modify this world as they so desire?" she added.
"Powers beyond imagine, to choose the ultimate fate of every individual on this planet, to do anything that is deemed near impossible in this dimension: To revolutionise and rewrite magical history beyond time! That is what the Inquisitor wants, and that in which almost everyone desires to have. That is the true test of finality, it depends on both choice and fate..." Silence filled the Citadel, it seemed to stretch longer due to tension. Then the air exploded with shouts.
"Firking Kelf and damnation! You shall do no such thing, Omnipagon!" Mithlos shouted, shouting behind Tetris and Melkior, shaking his fist, "Who are the true monsters that haunt Swordhaven? You only need look..." His voice faded at the rest of the speech Pascha made, but he quivered behind the pew with unspeakable fright, clutching his leg. "That-that sounds insane." he adds shakily. Pascha smiled with occultism as she tinkled her golden incense burner, "This is different from the Belrot monster evoked months earlier. No, this is much worse..." Melkior looked inquisitive at this statement.
"Watch," Pascha added softly, "I call upon the Queen... of Monsters, to come at Legiéno's beckoning. Evoke the ebil Citadel to obtain... The sacred Holomuniator containing unstoppable wrath of... Dire-fang, Xenemyuet!" The ground started trembling as Melkior noticed the vibrations and back-flipped quickly, edging near the pews as Mithlos stood in terrified awe at the trembling ground. "It purges the town of its suffering, sanctifying mana as fuel." Pascha continued above the noise, "Look upon ye mighty and gaze upon voiceless depths. The Queen now performs CLEANSING upon Swordhaven's subjects! Bear witness to its wrath and fury." Pascha pragmatically screamed. (Lariat, commented Quentin, Giving all of us a headache with all that talking).
"Wace is this doing?" Mithlos asked uncertainly, at this he was able to limp again. As though the injury had never existed, but still the liquid pooled down and soaked the carpet. That was very strange in itself, but Melkior had no time to question this. "Surely such a beast couldn't exist!" He continued trembling as a widening smile crept onto the seer's face. It crept everyone out, but most of all Sally. The Priestess took out a large compass and proceeded to dra spiral, radiating from the centre of Citadel - complete with the symbol everyone knew: the Octagon. Anyhow, a vastly different magical ritual. everyone could tell. Pascha withdrew an object, it glinted. This was different from standard Holomunitators - yet it had the same crested emblem as in Falconreach. Released steam seared around smoking edges of the circle as the item responded in kind, glowing subtly. The dusty device Pascha forced onto the spiral glimmered with a lustre of ivory. As it started to glow rapidly, it spun faster and faster.
They could almost see its gears turning quicker, until it was purely a blur of whitish colour. It shifted fluidly as it formed into a vague bookish shape, as it hovered far above the spectators. Until it reached the ceiling almost touching the shattered sky-dome. The yellowed pages flipped in a fast blur as the weird device continued its auto-programming, until it reached the correct page. Suddenly, it stopped on a page depicting two words: Sommeil Impérissable. The moonlight started sparkling as a jagged claw violently thrust its way out of the object. They could hear the penetrating snap of its joints which eased the route. As nauseating silences accompanying its arrival grew, time stood still once more. A scaled wrist blurred its way through boundaries which separated the creature from reality. YES, the tender voice crooned with savage ferocity, as commands issued from its wretched form. Absolute horror dawned on everyone's face at once. I'M FREE, UNLEASHED! AVERT YE GAZE AND DESPAIR!
"Down!" Quentin ordered as immediately something exploded above the group. "Oh my Lorithia!" yelled Mithlos, "If this beast turns out a total disaster, we are SO screwed! We're so screwed for a second time in a row! The mayhem before was bad enough, but this is WORSE than death itself!" Worse than death?! Melkior would have pointed out those ironies. They had no idea of the experience she had with the One, if they knew... Something took shape as the Queen's twisted and convoluted form rippled with eager glee. Sighing with ironic satisfaction all the while. Dazzling light seeped out of it, leaking as the partially revealed... Monstrosity continued to heave its way out. As the monster continued, the group continued to talk despite their fears.
"That's understatement! Inquisitorial council will just reanimate us anyway." yelled Sally, until she saw Melkior staring at her. "It's not as you think. They have THAT kind of power, just trust us. You have no idea what they're capable of!" she explained rather hastily as the sky seemed to shatter. With disconcerting silence, it rasped and breathed threats against all. Its empty eye-sockets swivelled around, looking for someone worthy of its recognition. It stared at Pascha and it smiled at this dedication. At the act, the deacon just gazed straight at the Queen. "GO, cleanse this renewed world for your cause! Punish their guilt!" she ordered as the Queen nodded. The thing... roared and all the stained windows erupted. So much for costs. KSSSH! Glass blew out as the Queen exhaled. Everyone was forced to huddle closer as debris rained down harder over the pews. Even Tetris was shocked.
"Child of an ebil Lich!" Quentin muttered, but the Queen took no notice and headed straight for the Citadel doors. Throwing open the citadel doors, the Queen flowed straight down the mountains with the speed of a freight train... Straight for Swordhaven!
"Did I tell you how doomed we are?!" Tetris called in imitation of Artix. Everyone yelled at Tetris for that comment. "TETRIS!"
"So, is anyone going to celebrate our dance party at Skull Punch Island, we thought so! I dedicate this song to everyone who's unlucky enough to board a sinking ship. I can see all of you Shadowfall have come to participate, but most of Swordhaven people suspiciously absent. Good hang you've come! I hardly wait to get to the bones of this concert! We are in search... For the fabled Guitar of Eternity! You there - carry my deadly pluck!" yelled the smooth deep-toned voice of Voltaire accompanied by several gypsies as he clutched the microphone close to his mouth. He stroked his moustached chin as two skeletons aboard the ship chuckled maniacally. There were accompanied cheering and whistles from the motley audience. Doodler was awed at the pluck he was given. "Now! LET'S GET READY TO PAR-TAY!" the top-hat musician yelled out amidst the cheers.
Back in Swordhaven, time stopped for most citizens. "WAAH?!" yelled everyone in entire Swordhaven town as a sudden darkness blotted the moons momentarily. Voltaire's displayed clock struck midnight at that moment, it rang through as the mists spread towards the town. Gleaming grey eyes came out of the Dakittu as the Queen struck quickly and deliberately, something wet and glistening seemed to soar through the air as shocked citizens watched. It seemed to shine with a dull light. "What the heck is going on? I so (yawn) tired, gravely tired. Wha-" Landon cried, before falling onto a tree stump, apparently 'asleep'. If you could call it that. As he was slumped like that, something emerged from the bushes. Unnoticeable against the night shadows a veined root black with hatred slowly wrapped around him, before it shuddered slightly. Ever so carefully the root soon sprouted... Thorns to ensnare its victim. The sturdy foundations of the root rippled fluidly and seemed to tighten its hold. As the citizens struggled to understand what was happening, they realised that something was deadly wrong.
Silence rang out as the second victim to succumb to the event fell unconscious of the Queen's own accord. The confused onlookers expressed . "Sarah! Lilith and even Quebetus!" The terrified Artix counted on his fingers, afraid as the tally rose higher, "Fayle, Hathur Silbane! ... No! This can't be! At this rate... We'll be the only ones left, excluding those somewhat unaffected by the whatever..." He told Yuglar, Twilly and Robina. The bold Paladin could do nothing but wail helplessly, falling to his knees as the numbers of victims rose higher. The Queen continued to look on. Cleric Dawn assisted the weeping villagers, some of them had fallen where they were standing.
"Lorithia, what have we done to deserve such a fate!" Then Artix had a rare brainwave, "This has got to be the work of... The ebil twisted Chaos-Lord Escherion! The Eye-mancer!" His eyes blazed with an insipid fury, he looked infuriated at the destruction seen all around him, he clutched his double-axe as he growled: "Let's get dangerous with this jiggy Chaos-Lord!" Just then, a long wet tentacle-arm zoomed, landing next to him as six huge glistening eyes gleamed in the sky. Luminous ragged wings cleaved through the sky. "WANT TO BET?" The Queen offered as Artix cowered at the sight of its gaunt face. The Queen roared again, its rows of daggered fangs showing as it continued to target other victims. Its root arms curved around another hapless gentleman and he fell unconscious.
"MORE... MORE... DAKITTU!" It screamed in blood-lust, "SLEEP IS THE GREAT LEVELLER, IT DOESN'T DISTINGUISH BETWEEN FOES OR ALLIES. ALL ARE ALIKE IN ENDLESS SLEEP! KINGS, PEASANT, KNIGHT! ALL SHALL SUCCUMB TO ME! A FEAST TO BEHOLD MY SENSES." Impossibly, the Queen seemed more organic than ever before, its skeleton arms replaced quickly into fleshy thick tendrils. Its eyeless sockets seemed to balloon until they formed green globules of shifting eye-goo. The last thing to sprout was its beastly claws forming out of the arm-tendrils and the Queen was completed. "YESSS! THIS IS MORE LIKE IT!" The monster Queen turned to Artix, its jaws widened in a sneer. "YOU'RE NEXT, VON KRIEGER." The paladin gulped softly. "mummy." Artix sobbed as he ran for his life. The Queen laughed at its joke, the sound was grating. "HEHEHEHEH!" it screeched in a pathetic imitation of an evil laugh. Due to everyone's terror, none dared to laugh along with the Queen.
"Melkior?!" Mithlos yelled. For the third time, this Alvenos was scared. He couldn't even bring himself to say the words. "Now, what do we do?! That... Queen is a firking... A firking-. I don't even have any appropiate words for this Chaos-infested creature!"
"Wace? No use standing around and doing nothing while Swordhaven 'burns'. We take the fight to her, that's what we'll do!" said Quentin, she gripped her sword. "FOR SWORDHAVEN AND THE ENTIRE CONTINENT OF LORE!" she yelled, "No badass Master tells us around! Time for us to split up!" The Queen's head swung around at each of them, trying to determine which of the people was talking, seeing the group break apart severely disorientated the monstrous being. At this
"Where am I?" Melkior wondered, "If this is real?"
"A DIMENSION WHICH IS SEPARATE FROM YOUR FABRIC OF REALITY, THUS THIS IS MULTIDIMENSIONAL PLANE WHERE EVERY SOUL IS CONNECTED TO A LIFE-SOURCE. THIS... IS THE REALM OF THE CHAOS. FROM THIS MOMENT, YOU ARE CONNECTED TO EVERY EVENT THAT EVER WAS. EVERY THREAD OF CHAOS, STRINGS OF FATE. AS I AM." The Queen replied, "it's a kind of united consciousness of everyone's souls, excluding yours of course." Melkior's expression was weirded out.
"Oh sheez, I never wanted to see everyone unconscious in space with their chained bodies," Melkior commented, averting her gaze from them, "If this is a kind of weird judgement from Neon Genesis, I'm out of here! Wace, can you speak in plain Lorian for once," The Queen chuckled at this, its horrific jaws widening from the information given out.
"NO, THIS ISN'T TRUE. THIS IS EVERY TIMELINE THAT EXISTED, AND THE POWER TO ALTER YOUR WORLD IS NOW WITHIN YOUR GRASP. ISN'T THAT YOUR DESIRE ALL ALONG? TO BRING ALL YOUR FRIENDS BACK, TO BE RESTORED?"
"... Oh, my theory is correct." sighed Melkior, wondering if Vixen had access to this power. Maybe she right here with Devi and the others. "... What?!" she could scarcely believe what she was hearing, "Why?" The Queen stood corrected, it scoffed at the lady.
"DO YOU KNOW NOT OF 'THE RESET'? BEING ACCOUNTABLE FOR EVERY ACTION THEY'VE COMMITTED, THEY WERE PUNISHED FOR THEIR INNER TRANSGRESSIONS AS STATED IN ETERNITIES PAST, DARKNESS HAD CONSUMED THEM ALL. NONE WOULD ATONE FOR THE HIDDEN DARK SECRETS EACH HELD WITHIN THEMSELVES. SO I HAD INITIATED THAT EVENT AS A PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE FOR YOUR SOCIETY TO LEARN THE TRUE MEANING OF REPENTANCE. Everything had gone as I've foreseen, perfectly re-enacted for eternity. You're handed the 'key' to release them? And so it will be! The cave of ignorance covers all, where as the philosopher sees through the walls." Melkior's eyes widened, she looked around and saw...
Cascading sweat. It still smelt fresh, even in the shadowy cockpit in which its pilot sat, ready for commands issued from frantic Sys-Zero and dark matriarch, Odessa Pureheart. Wearily, the golden mecha called Astern staggers to its feet, remnants of its structure left standing after the fierce battle. It was fragmented beyond repair, it was a miracle how the combatant came back for more... Defending the city in which occupying residents were ignorant of threats that awaited them. Inside, the pilot stoically saw rubble that surrounded the White Castle and bowed her head in dismay.
Reluctantly she heeded the duty to keep on stalling. As long as she had to. For everyone's sake, other units cut down earlier by these opponents. She seemed half-catatonic, as if the destruction couldn't penetrate. The gigantic figure of the opponent loomed closer towards its target, Kingadent Slugwrath wheeling around in a half-turn. Its shadow cast a huge outline over the reddening horizon of the slumbering city as Astern's minor frame shudders once more, crude oil gushing from its side. "Challenge is nil. For too long aliens have stood in our triumphant route to conquer beyond galaxies. Why does Soluna resist the inevitable?" Slugwrath Senior broadcasting to her onto a hologram, his moustache bristling. "For once, accept our Shadowscythe overlords, commander. I've heard many tales about your exploits. They called you chalice of Trisula, Celestial Aurelius... Imagine my disbelief when I saw that this defence commander is an ordinary... Stubborn pilot!" With a swipe, he disconnected her Holomunitator panel and communication to Sys-Zero fizzled out. The pilot looked horrified, so much for trial of synchronisation years earlier. To think that her life already took a downwards turn after outbreak of skirmishes around Soluna. The lights gave out, with a loud crash, the visor still clear. She glanced at a grainy faded photo of three blurred faces, obscured by the murky light. 'Don't want the world to view me. Closest I've ever felt to love.' She remembered their faces, it seemed far-away since that fateful day she left the Police-department. She had no choice in the matter.
"You broke Soluna's truce at all costs! Wace happened to that promise! Who gave you the information to penetrate those defences?!" the pilot yelled out as Slugwrath gave a boastful laugh at the pilot's expense, jeering at her confusion. She already guessed. "Don't tell me it's who I think it is... Please!"
"War is not philosophy, Mako. It's as a game of chess. The citizens merely pawns in universal game for reputation and Odessa is the defender. Only she sent out all pawns gained for granted, losing allies. But how can you forget the noble knight serving a King well?" Slugwrath said, trying to get to the point. Rosia had told Slugwrath everything and corrupted him too. Even after all this pain endured. The pilot's face drained of all colour, Vixen had taught her chess well, but... was this a final revenge? "With your defeat, Soluna is left with no defence. In fact, I've even thought of a name for this city in commemoration of me. city of Shadow, Fall of all hope... Shadowfall!" he said, sharpening his Katana, "Those who live by the sword of justice not know of atonement? Foolishness. The last they will hear of you. Goodnight doomed victor!" The pilot realising her time was up frantically pressed the eject button... But it failed. Tears streamed from her eyes. Doomed to loneliness, without her friends. "A plague shall befall-" Suddenly the line cut out and was no more. Slugwrath looked across the lake, which shifted. A row of large bubbles rose to the surface and quickly dissipated. Iron was heavier than water.
As a familiar lady watched this scene with a distanced look. So it all went according to plan, that should please her Master greatly. A vain face framed by the hidden shadows of the White castle. Long auburn hair brushed against her shoulders as she grinned. Well, that should teach her! Loud raucous laughter echoed from the corridors as the sound continued. As the lady fled back into the darkness, she glimpsed a shaft of light from the castle's skylight grew dimmer. Stealthily until it faded completely. At this, the lady's pupil became twin slits as she realised. "... The Reset." It howled dismally.
"I don't listen to you at all, you're just trying to trick me as others used on me." yelled Melkior, remembering what happened, "Don't you know that absolute power corrupts?!" The Queen heard her comments as the creature looked startled at this revelation. It didn't expect this response from the mortal yet impressionable person in front.
"BUT YOU WILL BE INVINCIBLE, COULD RULED CHAOS! WITH ME! WE WOULD WIPE AWAY ALL MAGI-" the monster continued, it seemed to stutter. As regal as it seemed at first, simple objection seemed to confuse the beast. It couldn't take 'no' for an answer, but it fell silent in self-denial. It was doubting itself, questioning its own authority. Now that Melkior was confusing the Queen, its resolve seemed to crumble in such a confrontation. The Queen snarled.
"BECAUSE OF THE GUILT FELT OVER CAUSING THE RESET, YOU SUPPRESSED EMOTIONS. Huh? YOU ARE SO TINY. HOW COULD YOU NOT RESIST THE POWER? Larosin but a puppet for me to issue queries, relatively easy to influence. But her thoughts were her own, she chose to be the instrument to which the end justifies the means."
"Maybe so, but all the power in this world won't bring ANY of my old friends back! I have a feeling you're not as others believe you are. There's a simple reason I sought you out: You're Larosin's master. And manipulating events behind the scenes. You think that after lifetime of people betraying me, I wouldn't learn? You and the Inquisitor made a mockery of my Soluna friends, reanimating them even after their lives were over. Everyone's sacrificed in some cosmic game of power and corruption. Is this one big joke for you all? If I could change one thing of the past, I will do it now. Before you can interfere any further. Because I believe I know your weakness and can use it." Melkior said, distracting the Queen from thinking about destruction of Swordhaven.
"NO you can't!" The Queen bellowed, "It'll CHANGE THE OUTCOME I'VE PLANNED SINCE THE RESET." The huge monstrous Queen writhe and squirm in agony. In disbelief at how things had turned out.
"No defeat penetrated me, no eternal enemy changed what I absolve, I owe to my friends my duty. Nothing will swerve me from the route of JUSTICE! Contra Felicem vix deus vires habet!" Melkior's bluish eye flashed a startling orange as she roared: "I determine my own destiny! No one else!" At this, the Queen wailed helplessly as the greyness of the background began to wash away, replaced by fabric of space-time being ripped apart from the inside out. Glowed around the lady an aura of night was unleashed, thick and gelatinous as strong black tar. The intoxicating aura seemed to crawl up the lady's leg, it seared with power. At this, Melkior yelled as she altered the events of past. Nothing seemed to happen at first. Except a disembodied eerie male voice called from the darkness: Unlocked Evolution Mode 1. "CAN'T YOU FEEL THE POWER COURSING THROUGH YOU?! THAT'S HOW SATISFYING IT FEELS. SEIZE THE DAKITTU, EMBRACE IT AS YOUR OWN." The Queen chuckled to itself, it looked worried, "ROSIA MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE, SHE DID NOT OBJECT. Don't worry, your friends are just as helpless, but they're here. Concealed and sealed by the Dragons of eons ago, SHADOW HAS DOMINATED!" The Queen bellowed loudly. Everyone winced in their endless sleep.
At this Melkior returned to 'reality' she gasped, her eye colour winking out. "They're here?! Devi! Vixen! I've been waiting!" she yelled excitedly, forgetting what she intended to do. Just then, the same eerie voice called: Vixen evolved... Into Metallica-Vixen.
"I hope that isn't what I think it is." muttered Melkior to herself, noticing that the timeline was being changed as she spoke, she held out the Jing-Staff and admired it for a minute. In an instant, it twinkled out and a luminous glow surrounded the item. It seemed to hum lowly, spinning in mid-air. A second later, it slowly covered with a familiar molten ore material. It gleamed softly. Melkior thought of Vixen, she thought of Master Wasabi, Devi and all the friends she had gained through the years, was ultimate power worth losing everything meant to her? No, it wasn't. Power was an illusion. Just like everything else. The destiny spoken of was to break the illusion that surrounded the realm, releasing everyone from their bounds. No one would trapped in the doomed cycle of the Reset. But who knows what will come of this?
"This is for everyone, who ever unjustified by the Queen of Chaos." the lady spoke softly, a tear trickling down her cheek. "Kyuuuuuuu-bi!" Just then a high-pitched cry echoed as Melkior looked around, confused her eyes settled on something in front of her. The voice seemed gentle, soothing and full of hurt. She could scarcely believe her eyes, it was incredible. The... The- What was it? It looked almost formed as a small animal mecha, but whole creature over half her height. It was largish silver chrome robotic fox, with glowing green eyes. It yipped in recognition, its sharp muzzle pulling on her clothes in discretion. She patted the creature in wonder as it nudged her insistently. The touch felt cold and hard as she ran the palm to the base of its sleek spine.
The fox eager to wait for her to come to common sense, it continued yapping as its eyes gleamed. Its eyes gazed soulfully until Melkior's eyes rested on the crested head of the creature. Hair brushed against her, reddish and vivid. No way... It couldn't be.
"Vixen?" Melkior asked, "Is that you in there? Is this a projected image you chose to take as a spirit? Can you be released?" The robotic Vixen nodded then it nudged joyfully again, eyes twinkling with sorrow. Glad to be reunited again! It looked friendly.
"Is Devi here? Let's talk about this later!" Melkior sighed. Things used to be easier when both of them could communicate! Wace? Vixen pawed her in eagerness, gasping at the Queen of Monsters. The Queen was about to grab the robot in its claws, trying to grip it. Alas Vixen seemed to trot round and motioned to her friend, cold steel beckoning to her invitingly. It seemed to plead with her.
"Wha? You want me... To ride on your back? You sure?" Vixen made sounds of recommendation. This was like a charade. "I've missed you two sorely," Melkior told the female-fox 'android', the creature crooned and closed its eyes in pleasure. At this, the Queen noticed the two talking. The monster's eyes narrowed in anger as it screeched, "I WON'T LET YOU TWO WIN THIS ROUND! A WORLD WITHOUT MAGIC IS WITHIN GRASP! SWORDHAVEN IS DOOOOMED!" Silence.
"Not if I had anything to do with this." Melkior yelled, "Enough of this doom! Let's change our outcome!" Sitting astride Vixen, it felt cold as ice as the two friends launched through the air with the force of a speeding bullet. Just then another thunderstorm rained down on the Queen as the robot Vixen roared and time stood eerily still. Gripping the staff tightly. Nothing for them seemed to halt, it was terrifying to look down and see absolute nothingness - only a seeping chaos-wracked atmosphere. Time slowed down but enough for the descent to lengthen dramatically. In a split second, Melkior wondered whether she was going to survive this. Another close laser blasted out from Vixen, searing and sizzling. "Vixen!Use Fiery Incinerating Vortex!" The fox's audible voice pierced as the robot's eyes flashed rapidly. It smiled. A blast rippled out from the robot's central-core as suddenly discs of blue-flame solidified. Vividly spun through the air, the flames collided with the monster as it braced the attack. However the sudden attack rippled with inertia, seeping into the abomination. "Mea Culpa!" screamed the lady, determined to see the complete re-sealing of the Queen.
Another thunder struck the dome of the sky, it seemed to split the realm apart as everything seemed to fall to pieces. Just then the Jing staff caught the Queen unaware, it struck the Queen as it winced in disgrace. "FOOLISH! NOTHING CAN SEAL ME AWAY! I DESPISE EVERY LAST HEROIC LORIAN! NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF BLOODY FOOLS," Snarled in anger, soaring and lengthening thorny roots towards them, it chuckled evilly, "I shall make sure you corrupt-" Halfway, chaotic Queen paused in its task. It seemed to snarl curses at them.
Melkior smiled briefly, "Not even this Jing staff enhanced with... Crystallised Dragon's Breath? From one of the Dragon's cave?"
A moment or two passed. Withdrew tendrils in confusion as the creature considered the outcome. Then the Queen screamed in shock and fury at this realisation. Its left arm seemed to blur. Then its right twisted as the monstrosity flared brighter than flames itself. Its six eyes widened as its talons slashed at the remaining of interlocking tendrils. Desperate to get away from whatever was enveloping it away. Its 'arms' disintegrates suddenly from contact with the item, leaving it helpless as the crystal continued its fundamental job. Each time, an attempt to lash out against Vixen and her occupant. But the movements were rendered immovable as Vixen stuns the monster in mid-air. "AAARRRR!" The Queen of Chaos screeched with horrendous vibrations, "AAAAAHHHH! I DIDN'T INTEND THIS! CURSES! SEEEAALLED AGAIN! BY SOMEONE WORTHLESS!" A vortex seemed to form immediately to the left, as entire monstrous figure of the abomination seemed to warp, distort then twist on itself. Before imploding and vanishing into another dimension it couldn't escape from. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" A key appeared in place.
"Kyuuuuu!" Vixen yelled excitedly as they landed on the other side. Panting slightly, Melkior almost collapsed from the intense activity she had to activate. But Vixen grabbed her with metal fangs.
"Thanks Vixen, I knew I could count on you!" Melkior congratulated Vixen. But the fox looked sad, it pawed the key at the ground in nostalgia. "Huh? I wonder what firking Kelf this is?" The fox robot panted. Running a finger through looping holes of the embossed key, she glanced. The Oeyken was waiting patiently as the friend ran through her open legs, gripping the key with both paws. It playfully butted her. As it did, Melkior noticed a tiny keyhole where there normally would be none. It was then Melkior understood. Without a word, the lady ran a hand over the robot Fox, the exterior felt smooth and curvy as she inserted the key and gave it a sharp twist. Vixen winced, before the changes began. Metal became warm flesh, slender paws slowly transitioned into grasping tender hands, the crested red hair brushed against firm shoulders. It was then that the two could look at each other in the eyes. The two hugged each other in disbelief at everything that happened, it was unbelievable what passed.
"Vixen?" Melkior stuttered, "You're back. That... unexpected. What happened back there? How did you morph into that?!" Vixen blushed.
"Finally, I was so tired of yelling 'Kyuuu!' all the time! Misako? Is that you?!" Vixen yelled, realising the dramatic change her friend had made. Melkior's eyes glistened, "I reincarnated. That's all." Stunned silence. "Can you explain? That was confusing, Vincor."
"Well, explain why you're wearing those clothes and looking like a bat out of hell? And what's with that nifty staff?" Vixen said.
"Long story, long-long-long story Vincor. Unless you want the long version." Melkior sighed, not bothering with any details.
"Just joking. I wasn't expecting such attitude from you." Vixen smiled, "Anyway, you were asking about Devi. He's quite happy where he is, so are the others. I saw them just in the other... realm. Understandably. And yes, he also is well..." She winked quietly, "But I'm not going to tell you what he became. You'll just have to figure it out for yourself."
"As for me. I was in the realm of the Time-Lords, a Celestia deity as an ironic joke sought to transform me into a mecha fox that said 'Kyuu' all the time. Not funny. Falerin said the only way I could morph back is if Chaos was dispelled and sealed again in its rightful place. I don't like him! AT ALL!" The foxy human growls at this statement.
"WACE? Really?" Melkior explained. Vixen just grinned secretly, "... Funny. I've been searching all time cause we're friends."
"Yeah, we're friends till end of time - literally? I get it. But do me one favour." Vixen begged, "Time to give up and let go of your insecurities, ok? I don't want to see you as this. Taking such extreme measures to be reunited. I understand, but its too long."
"... I'll try. But it's just as Matos Tsuba said: Every journey has one path, we just have to choose to take it." Melkior said. Vixen gave a awkward thumbs up, before blinking (she was unused to having hands), "Go ahead with that philosophy." Vixen said sincerely, clasping hands with Melkior. "But I'm afraid you can't take me back, Misako dear. I now exist out of time's limited boundaries..." she ran a hand through her crimson hair thoroughly. "Yet my Force abilities are directly connected to... The Time Dragon." It took some time to sink in.
"... Wace? That's... Not possible." Melkior said, eyes widening. "What?"
"That means," Vixen said clearly, "My very existence maintains the time-line for some unknown reason... Queen of Monsters sent Larosin to... Rupture our timeline, I guess - I didn't know Rosia's full motives. If I continued to live, then that very power... would eventually destabilise our Solunian world, cause time to be destroyed. It was never to be. More explanation? That same Force could theoretically..."
"Cause Swordhaven or our entire world to finally collapse... under the laws of... Logic?" Vixen's eyes lowered. So it was true.
"...WHA?!" exclaimed Melkior, realising the implication Vixen had stated, "But... That means the Queen planned everything from the very beginning! That can't be... Tsuba said that the Force was each selected... By the most gifted stulos... of all?! Firkin-" She swore loudly.
"That's right. My Force wasn't chance or randomized. Neither were your power, Olapen's or Devi's. Our powers were all decided by... The Queen and The One. We could each choose our alignment and how we used them, but the rest of this was... Random but still connected."
"... That's got to be the weirdest explanation in the entire galaxy." commented Melkior, "And weirdest experience of all time."
"Not to mention, most understated and inexplicable theory," sighed Vixen aside, "That does scratch the surface of everything unanswered. But it does explain why our lives were so... ugh, I can't even say it... Implausible. That's enough soul-searching for now. The point is: Now you have a choice!" she said cheerfully. Melkior was so confused by this sudden switch of tone that she ended up staring.
"I, uh, Vixen. You don't need to push decision-making onto me so soon." blinked Melkior, apologizing for the statement. Vixen just looked away, almost complementing her friend's tone. The girl looked pleadingly desperate.
"... Alright. This shouldn't be so hard - not as I expected." Vixen breathed slowly, "Melkior or Misako... If you decide to return back to Swordhaven, just expect things to be... not as they seem. If you don't want to return... Well, it's up to your choice now. After all, what are friends for? But I won't forget your choice then. Not ever. Nor will I forget our friendship and the willingness you stood up for me."
"Vixen," began Melkior slowly, "What are you saying? Why are you acting like this?" Vixen just cast her gaze away, but she hugged her.
"Don't regret your decision, because I care about you. Rejecting fate or not, it's all the same to me..." Vixen whispered. "I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you too Vixen, parting hurts doesn't it?" Tears stung both their eyes, it began to fall down like rain, "This seems like Deja vu."
"Cause I'll firking miss your caring attitude. Every smile during our kelf, shigu of every fantasy. But it's time to let go of me now, amigo." Vixen sobbed. It seemed like ages for them to let go. "So what's the fate of Swordhaven gonna be? I'll leave that up to you... Friend. There's no need for any words, silence is just enough to last a lifetime," The chains of people began to break around them, before shattering. They were free of their restraints, free of their never-ending cycle of foretold doom.
"Vixen?" spoke Melkior timidly, there was a soft glow surrounding Vixen's form. This glowiness formed an aura of bright light as it began to arc, until it seemed as though the entire place glowing. It grew overwhelmingly brighter until it seemed to engulf the Chaos realm itself.
"Hmm?" said Vixen in a heavenly tone, almost as if she was satisfied with the results. Her form seemed to flash a softer inner-blue.
"I'll miss your foxy and gentle attitude, can't believe... You're now an angelic... It suits you. Totally!" smiled Melkior, in total awe.
"Entertaining a reality-warper unaware," beamed Vixen, "and that makes all the firking difference." Everything faded to black.
Pascha screamed at the revelation that things did not turn out as planned. She fell back, feeling the intense heat that the precious ring dominated. She could almost feel the accessory 'shrieking' with pain, even as she agonizingly rubbed the Ring of Intent, calling it 'precious' over and over as a sort of consolation. "The Queen... should have completed the Requiem, is it not so? Is it as you wish?" she breathed threats against her imaginary opponent. She was alone in the cathedral, with only her thoughts. Something at the front of her hand seemed to force her clutch the pew for support. Blind she might be, but the ring clarified her wayward thoughts. She visualised the day the Inquisitor 'summoned' her, from distant reaches of Soluna city. Just like he did for some of the Soluna population months afterward. The dead he could revive, but they were at his mercy. He recruited some as his faithful guards, the rest he left them as they were. Lost, alone, terrified of punishment in this new world. Calling for Devi, who never came when desperately needed. Somehow managed to gain the trust of the alien Inquistor... Pleased with her somehow, but something made him angered. Pain? This theory called 'Magic'? She asked him once innocently. Biggest mistake. Glaring at her, his guards struck her directly. Out of pity, the Inquisitor later offered her a visible means of Sight through one object... The Ring of Intent. The ring... was everything, and showed her secrets of an unseen world.
Few had seen reality - as it was and lived. But somehow she survived. The item she wore - a link to the present which demonstrated omniscience, showing her the Chaos realm... And the Queen of Monsters in its true grotesque glory. The Queen beckoned to her, just like countless others before. Who could forget that ultimate ghastly Queen? Pascha remembered that day she awakened to a new 'reality', this Force allowed her to visualise the Future- with unforeseeable intensity. "SO YOU STUMBLED ACROSS ME - REPLACE YOUR DAKITTU WITH VISIONS OF THE GLORIOUS? SURELY THIS CAN BE ARRANGED..." Untouchable yet subtle, she craved knowledge thus it consumed her competely. Those binding visions astonished her and blew away all doubt. All we are is dust on the breeze, illusions through time itself. Gathered more knowledge, retaining a frail veil of the shifting future. Deterioration? Everything was ashes. Vaporous futile wishes of the restless. Soulless remnants stared back at her, unaware of their gormless fate, they reached out to her, crooked smiles horribly distort on their hallowed 'face': Faaaatee, yoouu can noot... Resssssiissstsss... Fate. They called for her. Through those lone confines.
Flashes of rapid-shifting colours pierced her Sight, confused she shrunk back at her pervaded Sight. Visions weren't supposed... to be like this. The Sight was a blessing, not like this! She tried in vain to shield her eyes to no avail. Blood-red though amorphous as mutated amoebas, blindly... Groping for her... Replaced by growing static. Even as she now felt the Queen's will ebb away, Pascha felt the former time lines being looped back to their proper chronological place. At this, the amber-Ring the Inquistor gave her shimmered once and shattered into a million pieces. Leading her back into permanence of darkness, crashing back to her true 'reality'. She could no longer sense or see anything around her environment - dependence on the Sight ruined her. "Nooo! Anything but that!" As she felt hoarse screams left her lips, she was reminded of the Oeyken she once was. The memory was of her assuring the brother she protected as they smiled upon each other. Sad but concise, in Soluna City. "Brother... I have failed you." she whispered, shattered by the revelation. Reaching out a hand, Pascha fingered her incense. Its smooth curved edges comforted her slightly, now she was but a hollow shell.
Instinctively, she wiped a 'stain' off her hand, "Out, firking blot of indignity..." she sighed as she never felt the ground underneath her.
Dawn rose once again in Swordhaven, upon the unconscious bodies of several citizens. Some of them twitched in response to stimulii. Upon this, many citizens seemed to wake up, dazed and confused. They muttered about strange events that took place weeks ago. Mithlos, Sally and Diaglo stirred from their sleep. "I... can't believe the Queen took away her!" sobbed Sally shortly after she woke up, "After all we did to prevent Kelf from happening!" Mithos just threw himself at Artix, bawling at this revelation. "We did our best... BUT IT WASN'T enough! Even those crazy events, history repeats itself! YAWA it all! I don't wanna cry no more!" Mithlos wailed melodramatically, "I wanna go jump in the stulos's-" Tetris cut him off, angrily shouting. "Nato! Walque! Nato!" Mithlos continued, pounding his knuckles into the solid ground and wincing at each pounding. It was then that Tetris licked him on the knuckles, eagerly he stuck out little tongue and pressed his lips to the wound. The vampire would have gone further with this act - but his companion was not impressed and threw him over the horizon. "YAWA!" Slightly miffed, the Alvenos sulked and just stared at where Chilebre sniffled softly. "AW! Don't cry little Mogwai!" Chilebre looked morose, sniffling his button nose and just circling around pointlessly.
"Chilebre... Wace's the matter?" asked Diaglo gently, talking to it as if it was a baby. The Moglin just meeped, before crying loudly, Sally picked up the crying Moglin, carrying it on her shoulder. It scampered around and cheeped, but Sally just looked glassly at it. "Well, if you'll excuse me," Quentin spoke up glumly, "I'll be going back to the... Inn. For some tasks that Yuglar set me," The tone was supposedly cheery, but it sounded very false and disheartening in the circumstances. Robina looked listless as she yawned briefly and stretched. "Kriiiii! Cree! Chiiibeee!" Diaglo carried the Moglin back to the shed behind the inn, he needed to think for awhile.
'Can't I rescue just one from this pitiless fate? If all you've really seen, was truly dreams within a dream?' Diaglo's eye's watered at this as he read the faded letter, he looked towards the Vessel which he had set aside for Misako. For her alone. For so long, for what seemed like forever. For eternity. Uncharacteristic anger welled up inside him, but it quickly died down as he noted... the familiar writing... was Olapen's slanted writing from around three years ago. She disappeared back then, quite sudden. It was a mystery unsolved, which shall never be solved. Tears dotted his eyes as he remembered the ache in his soul... When he realised that everyone he knew was gone. Everyone. Even the mechas from Soluna City, the Police station... All gone, vanished into history's past. For a moment, he hoped as he encounter Melkior again after Soluna. And then the Queen vanquished her for whatever firkin' reason it felt like.
Now that nato - that chance was taken away. A terrible cry tore his throat as he howled in sorrow, "Misako. Or Melkior! Please come baaaack," He gritted his teeth as the lone blacksmith sobbed, hot tears sorely racked his back, "... I've stuck by you for too long to know that... You won't-take-the-Hihythir-way out. You're too... Shimei, too vigilant to acknowledge..." He glanced towards the Vessel in pathos. Now was a good time as any. With a flick, he shook the Vessel open, upturning it in a hurry. Once the Vessel had slid open, he thumbed the compartment clumsily. He kept that Vessel which withstood the test of the Reset.
Diaglo had a feeling that his friend would've used it and Matos Tsuba handed it to him alone for safe-keeping. Now was time to test its capabilities. He felt the steel of the hilt, it felt smooth, although slick with his sweat. Humming faded sometimes, its blade glimmered softly in faint bursts of random static. It was a powerful weapon, now but a shadow. He glanced at it before laid it on the wooden floor. He couldn't bear to look at it. It was a reminder of all the terrible and wonderful experiences of Soluna, of the adventures they had.
"If I step on it, I shall erase... I can't," he muttered, "what am I doing, am I a emotionless Khayeir?" Better get it done with, get this over with. But something stopped him, if Valencia was scolding him for ruining such a priceless artifact. But he needed to move o... He slipped and fell on his tail, pain struck him and he cursed in Aublonian. He was prepared, but something... No! Instinctively, he paused in the middle of his action. The note he threw on the floor... more words were appearing!
The paper was inserted with new words. He immediately scrabbled for the paper: What if? Wace? Was it trying to tell him something? He mouthed the words as the the note glowed softly. 'But when all our dreams were over, only then you realized... That soon the truth is often. In front of your very eyes, Daichi.' Wace. 'All you have to do... Is await the call, before rapid sounds... of the unlocked door.' Unanswered, but for the first time since a few minutes, Diaglo had hope. A slim hope, but hope nonetheless. He glanced at the note.
"Diaglo! Please open the door!" begged Quentin and Robina, desperately hammering it down, "Open the door for your sake. Open!"
What for? Everyone he knew had gone, even Devi - he couldn't see anything more pointless. It was time to await fate. Plonking himself down on a sturdy stool, he glanced at the clock: 2:27 pm. If nothing happened within the next ten minutes... He'll see.
Five minutes later, he was still waiting. Diaglo was usually patient if pleasant-minded but this-was-just-pushing-it. Sighing, he shambled to his feet. This was no joke. The poor alien knew he was acting just like Devi did before, but he didn't care.
Seven minutes passed, ticking onwards. Bored, bored, bored. Unknowingly to Diaglo, a rift opened in Swordhaven - and someone exited the portal, she glanced towards the place, and her eyes softened, "Diaglo." She clutched the amulet at her neck and her eyes glowed through her shade, "Teleportation!" Eleven minutes - This was firking! No more waiting! It ends now, the feuilt dream. He literally leaps to his feet, using his tail to prop himself. struggling to maintain balance. He almost crashed to the floor and tears sprung in his eyes. Suddenly, a hand caught him through the wall... Correction: through a HOLE in the wall, the wall blasted apart, with smoke steaming from the sheer impact. she was finally there.
Diaglo dropped to his forelegs, refusing to look at who prevented this. He buried his face in his arms. "So ashamed, yoltair." he stated quietly, "I'm seeing Shigu of this scene being a nightmare. Leave me alone in my misery." He blinked at the sunlight streaming through the dust. His slitted eyes adjusted then widened. "... You're here, Jacint?" He responded at the sight, Melkior looked over him with the shades she sported, "Kamui?" she also blinked with shock at his response, "You... don't recognise me?" Diaglo picked up the sword on the floor, before handing it to her.
"It is yours, is it not?" he stated softly, his eyes glistening. He finally looked at peace with everything. "I've kept it for you, in case..." Before he could finish, Melkior looked overjoyed, nuzzling him constantly. "Thankyouthankyou, Daichi!" she squealed happily, "You've remembered for me!"
"... Yah, I guess I did," Diaglo laughed, slightly embarrassed, "You can stop doing that now!" he smiled a bit. But his smile froze when he saw that she... was limping. So that's why she didn't bother to walk all that way to him, the Queen must have done something.
"I must be your Knight in shining armour, huh." Melkior seemed subdued, Diaglo just blinked once shyly, amused at her response. "Just joking, cause I always had to rescue you from -"
"Nope, you're more like a warrior... In Daekaryn armour..." the Alvenos replied, before she could finish her sentence. "I'm just happy." he complemented as he spun her around briefly, "Just contented to see you, Karuyis." He smiled at her face.
For the first time in eons, Diaglo felt... inexplicably warm. It was a remarkably safe feeling. And yet it shouldn't be. Mustn't be, couldn't be. The warmth spread through their body, and Diaglo nearly dropped her in utter shock. It... was intense. Almost scalding, but suddenly their temperatures seemed to adjust back to the correct degrees.
"It's as if I've had the old Misako back all along. You've always been the same Koko." he grinned.
"We're all alive..." Diaglo's hands trembled at the realisation of this implication, he looked at Melkior in amazement. "Fairuit! The time line's adjusted! You did this for us Solunians? Our friends, I'm so touched. WOOHOO! I'm soooo happy, Jathrin!" The snake-tailed Blacksmith announced to a stunned population of Swordhaven citizens. Quentin at first awed, leapt for joy at this as Diaglo ran back into the room and laughed with delight, scooping up the Oeyken in his arms and hugging her so tightly. Just then, Landon walked into the room, dusting his uniform and dragging his Starsword along. His mouth dropped open, he seemed to stutter, unable to speak as he doubted his vision. Melkior... and Diaglo, together?
"Gah... gah... DIAAAAAGLO!" The brother yelled in surprise, Diaglo seemed apologetic and unaware of impact it had on Landon. "YAWA! GET OUT NOW!" Diaglo stood back from Melkior and they both laughed awkwardly at Landon's fumed look. Things were almost back to 'normal', almost. "Sheesh, Kior," Landon muttered, ruffling his hair and smiling sheepishly, "Just like back in the SPD police force, with all the mecha. Sorry about that, overreaction." he muttered to both of them through his covered eyes. "Lesee, oh yeah, I remember that group you had back then, there was Devi and Vixen." Melkior looked confused and her eyes widened, "Aren't you forgetting someone?" she asked Landon, he looked bewirled.
"Nah, it looks like those the only people that bothered to do the mission with ya." He smiled, Diaglo nodded his head.
"I'm sure you didn't miss anyone you Donjatir." said Diaglo, cheekily noogling Landon's head as the other begged him to stop... Melkior thought things over... It surprised her they couldn't remember Rosia after all this time! Could it be... The change Vixen promised? As Chilebre scampered over to her, Melkior tugged on Diaglo's arm and he stopped.
"If you two would just listen to me, I've a duty to do." Melkior informed them, "If you need me, you'll know where to look." The two Alvenos grinned and courtesily allowed her to exit the room, but then they glared at each other. Rivalry?
The lonesome cemetery was barren today, not a thing moved except for the rustling trees and the bare yellowing skeletons that dug themselves up (possibly the dancing undead). As Melkior trod through the long discarded grass of yesteryears, she remembered how times had changed... And it looked like it was for the worse. Just then, she turned around at a slight noise. It was an 'elderly' man, with a full length snowy beard, crouched on a perched stone, his bamboo cane tapping on the solid concrete. It reminded her of Matos Tsuba and his wise lectures, but he gave her a stern glare. Tap-tap-ratta-tap. At each thud the stone seemed to yield to the repeated pressure, grinding a little at each noise.
"May I... help you?" Melkior inquired, but the male chuckled, "Wace, what are you doing here?" He laughed some more.
"Shimei." said the man, "It doesn't do that just for anyone, does it? Nay, not even Maza Rella and poor ol' Duncan!"
She shivered in the breeze as a tingle ran up her. "Nayu, not even for da Solunian University! Da poor ol' Warlic! Da Shadowscythe gets DEM ALL!" There was something familiar about his creaky old voice, the way he sounded cheery and optimistic despite his 'age'. He looked overjoyed and happy to see a familiar face, "Wah, if it isn't ol' Koko-sama!"
"Dan't recognise mah?" The Alvenos chuckled, clasping her hands, "It's Rayne Davies!" She froze at this. No way... "Why dan't ya just sit by mah and talk bout old time's yah?" He grinned, showing the poor lady his blackened teeth. "I needz da company! Da compannnnies!" She responded by backing away and running through the trees, as the 'old' man grinned. He seemed to chuckle hauntingly after her. "HEHHEHEEH!" As she vanished over the hill, the man froze and retained his straight posture. Rayne removed 'fake beard' and false teeth, revealing his smooth older skin and pearly whites still intact.
"WOOT! I knew I could scare Koko!" he smiled belatedly, jumping up in joy at his prank. Just then he heard a sharp CRICK! "Getting old for firking jokes," Rayne muttered ironically, rubbing his back, "Scaring aliens aren't fun."
Stumbling, Melkior stumbled to the nearest gravestone sobbing at Rayne's prank. It wasn't that funny to her. But she dried her tears, Vixen wouldn't want her to cry. After all, she promised. She had to be strong and determined, just like back in those days. When she could defeat the Queen, then nothing else could top that! Dusting off the mildewy crumbling letters of the tombstone, she saw the words etched upon it: Vixen Sangreal Foxtrot, a true and foxy companion. At this tears threatened to sting her eyes again, making things blurry as she placed a flower next to it, magnolia... Vixen's favourite. Tears dripped and trickled down her face, spilling over... She promised, but that alone was hard to keep.
The ache in her scar made things worse. She moved to the next one: Devlin Whirl, the commemorated Constable. The next was worst, but she dreaded it: Olapen Jinitro, the Lighting Mage who respected every minute of life. It was hard to let go... of the placed the Jing staff on the smoothed out grave, and it seemed to glimmer softly as it sank down into the dirt, pulled by the Force... The next... The final stone. This would confirm whether Vixen truly fixed the timeline. Chilebre chirped curiously as Melkior gasped slightly at the sight of the gleaming surface of the final chiselled stone, the pale blue moonlight glinting off the marble... Rosia's... Rosia's name should be... Should be there... But it wasn't?! She sank down, feeling the full impact of this startling revelation. Larosin's name... Gone. As though nothing was there. It was surprising and unexpected that that of all things - It was firking terrible and she felt the guilt and burden weigh on her.
Wace - what should she do. How could she make up for that? But everything was finite, but Rosia... was still a person, she had a life and made things difficult for most of them. Regardless of consequences. Regardless of her fate, as an emotional tool of rage. Others had used Larosin for their own means... But maybe - just maybe Larosin wanted that release from eternal fury ongoing through the centuries, maybe that was the cause of her Dakittu. Melkior reasoned, as the truth hit her. This rage was a debt that was wrought through ages, which only the Reset could fix. It was time to pay back the debt.
With shaking hands, Melkior grasped her Malachi armour, it concealed something. Taking out her stone-heavy backpack, she flipped through the items stored in there until she came across the final item. It was temporary, but still solid. It felt warm against her hands, as a sealed tight porcelain jar exited, sliding out heavily with a CLUNK. "This item belongs to you Rosia, doesn't it?" The jar seemed to thud in her hands as she placed it onto the dirt. The jar throbbed on its own as she left it there. It was as though a huge burden had been lifted off her, it had been forever since she... felt that relaxed.
Dawn spilled across the sky, two hours later, as Melkior watched the sun rise, the rosy light rolled across the shadowy stones, creating a spectacular display of orange and red hues against the glistening surfaces. It was a sight she missed since Soluna fell, ever since Devi and Misako watched the sun rose, and how she sorely missed that sight. She smiled in complementation, it was truly a beautiful sight to behold, she felt the sun warm the chilled frosty air, basking in the light of the refreshing dawn. If only life itself was as beautiful, untouched and pure as nature. As she waited, she felt a hand squeeze. It was Diaglo and Robina, watching the sun rise with her. Melkior felt for the first time that she wasn't truly alone.
"Beautiful sight, ain't it, the rise of a new sun," mused Robin as she tickled Chilibre. The Moglin purred in delight. Melkior blushed at that comment. Glancing towards Rosia's stone, the jar... vanished. Diaglo seemed to be enjoying the event.
"I'm ready to move on now," Melkior smiled genuinely at Robina, "after all, I've got a whole life ahead of me."
"Koir, you're so sweet when you phrase things that way," Diaglo responded gently, "So what's next on our list? Any more missions from the Police, any more clues? Slueth Inn?" It was as if the old Misako was staring back at them, amused. She hugged them one at a time before they strolled off into the distance, laughing as old friends, dawn behind their backs. It took a while for Melkior to respond to Diaglo's final question, before they left.
"Not now, I've had enough. How about we all get some peppermint ice cream at the inn?" Melkior responded, before whispering a soft 'yatta'. A gentle yet laugh echoed as the trio exited, leaving their troubling pasts behind them. As they left, you could hear the lonely wind whistle through the Cemetery, a distant shadow of its former glory...
"Open it, now." ordered a firm yet subtle voice of soft-spoken Gravelyn, as she commanded. A skeleton grinned at his mistress's coy attitude at this. Admist the dismal sight of spiracle architectures and gothic exterior, red banners waved once again in its former glory, gold highlights contrasting merrily as the wind fluttered. A slight breeze picked up, sending a haunting call down corridors of the castle.
"Aruueeww! (Yes, my ebil mistress)" agreed the Skeleton, chuckling menacingly. Gravelyn gave him/it a strange look, before patting it on the head. Emperess of the Shadowsycthe was curious about the capsule her minions had discovered whilst busily extracting more weapons from the underground castle. This was clearly an unusual sight, she decided innocuously as she walked within the ruins of the crumbling castle, admiring its ruminated decor at large. Since Selpuchure had left her a large inheritance, she had the right to spend it how she wished... But this could be a priceless treasure discovered! The delectable thought of golden AC coins and silver Credits raining down amongst her minions pleased her greatly. Just then, a dark thought entered her mind: Open it, and you will find GLORY! HAHAHA.
Your multifold wishes shall be desired! She dismissed the thought. The thought seethed before it said: Remember? The Marquis's brother hidden something in these ruins, he requested for you to find it. YES, you alone! I know many shigu of things to come. Interesting.
"Shall we investigate?" asked an insincere minion of Shadowfall, bowing lowly until his lips touched the floor. Gravelyn nodded, ignoring a stray lonely howl of the wind as it gust through the castle wall-holes. "Thespians," she muttered, "acting without benefit." The apprentice look confused. She waved him away, as though disgusted at his fawning. "Go. To my throne chamber." she hissed gently.
"My ebil mistress... We have notified you of our absence. But while we were gone, we found... Nullified machine-operated chamber. Of indiscernible origin, my lordliness." The Empress's voice was hardened, it sent shivers down flexed spines- sweet shivers.
"Did you not hear me?! OPEN THE CHAMBER!" she yelled out at the thought, "I specifically request, hurry or doom upon all of-." The soldiers hurriedly dashed across the castle, wrenching the lock-safety feature out. They did it so quickly, the dimmed lights in the chamber gave out. "FOOLS! FIRKING idiots!" Gravelyn roared at the two. They winced as they adjusted the lights on.
The vision cleared. It was a little petite girl, merely no more than fifteen years of age. It was merely a guess, it was hard to tell amongst all the attached wires used to keep her alive within the frozen capsule. She looked almost innocent, newborn-like. Almost. There was something familiar about her look, something dignified and proud as her predecessor. Faint wisps of smoke surrounded her as she opened her luminous eyes of falseness. Light flaxen hair of gold streams around her like a running fountain as she shrunk back at the harsh lights. Upon her smallish body there were signs of atrophy, disuse of limbs enfolded across her spindly thin figure. Ribs showing through vapid thin flesh enshrouding the unnamed. It breathed shallowly, in a feeble attempt to live. There were signs of tampering, signs of innocence being restrained, for where her back was bared... sprouted scarlet stubs. Iron 'stubs', slick with oily sweat as her hands still clenched. Imprefect copy, but she would have to do. Gravelyn inspected the faint girl with incurious surprise. The minions looked uncertain at the Oeyken, embarrassed at such 'purity' displayed. The empress was 'shocked' in a squeamish way, but then again Selpuchure did tell her of an agent working amongst the Shadowscythe's kind. "Look at her, she wouldn't hurt... a fly?" scoffed a minion, before backing away from the lady.
"Wace, what is... She?" exclaimed the minion as Gravelyn stroked the lady's chin in endearment. The lady winced in utter pain as she glimpsed them both, the saviours who had rescued the replica from concealment, it would have been buried under rubble for eternity.
"A sign," replied Gravelyn, "A definite shigu of things to come. this created being's unleashed upon an innocent world, which needs more bloodshed... But she still has much to learn. Come, I'll take you under my darken crimson wing, just as my father did for me. Rosia paid her services for the Queen." The Emperess reached out for her, but in frightened almost palatable instinct it cowered, its shimmering yellow hair covering its face. Almost instantly, the Emperess felt the wind breeze past. In its fright, it managed to crouch forwards as its bare back was revealed. The bounds holding it seemed to snap, frayed ropes twanged and whip-lashed across the chamber.
"Firking! OWUCH! Hold on, this 'whatever' loose!" One of the ropes hit one of the minions and he yells. It cries out in agony at the amount of pressure it exerted just to snap them. Clear blood smeared around the chaffed wrists dripped constantly. Almost in defence, Gravelyn found herself looking at the blades (no longer stubs of steel) extended as they curved out directly. Almost in shock, the replica withdrew its twin blades, curious at the reaction of its observers. They just stood there. They didn't seem afraid. Were they her 'friends'?
"Hm, impressive." observes the minion at Gravelyn, "Is it sapient? Can this abhorrent replica understand us? It's a mockery."
It was nowhere as spirited as its predecessor, nor as spiteful. But yet, through its experience it knew of fear... And it knew...
"No," Gravelyn defends the confused replica, pressing a firm hand against it, "This... replica certainly understands us, it's a quick learner," she chuckles, "I can tell from its behaviour. If it could talk, that'll be even better." the Shadowscythe empress continues, "the voice in my head told me so, she has a name. It's Garnet Admete," She wraps her arms around the replica and the minion's jaws dropped to the floor.
"Garnet?!" They exclaimed, "That's just so DAMNED and FIRKING BIZARRE!" they managed to bellow, echoing each other. "... Wace."
Yet the replica didn't resist, Garnet's instincts told it to run, but it didn't. It stayed put, safe in its new motherly Mistress's arms as shadowy Gravelyn coaxed it thoroughly... "Garna-shana." the Emperess muttered softly. Nickname of endearment reminded Garnet of its creator and how he used to treat. Not as an object, but as an 'individual' per see. An image came to its muddled thoughts, clear as day: Blurred behind the doorway, peeking at it - as an expression came onto the face and the sound of running... That was long ago. It took only moments, but it now knew of expression the someone displayed: Fear... Fulfilled hate of its creation. Knowledge of being...
"..." Garnet couldn't help sobbing in Gravelyn's arms as tears ran down its fair face, golden mop of hair trails down in vapid realisation.
Gravelyn held the replica. Unsure of how to react. It reminded her of how she regarded Selpuchure and his death. "Garnet, wace's wrong?" she told it sternly, "There's a way out of your predicament." Staring, Garnet's eyes met the Emperess in desperate wonder.
"You see... The Reset had already paved the way, just as your predecessor did. And now due to the element of Chaos restoring the Dakittu of the Shadowscythe's reign, we need to focus on glorious victory of our armies. We need back-up. We need more power," Gravelyn's eyes gleamed, "We need... Someone to lead, someone to direct our hatred towards those who are misguided. Would you accept? To do so, need to destroy main pillars so the second Chaos Lord doesn't appear due to Drakath's orders. Destroy the goodness of purity?"
Garnet didn't know what the Kelf the Emperess was going on about, but those magnificent words... Were big. It felt humbled at those words... As it started to speak, Garnet instinctively felt like it was part of the bigger picture. It was a part of a huge decision that would change the course of Shadowfall forever... And it only took one sentence. As she spoke, the replica was aware of its accent, timid and awkward due to years of misuse. A vision befell it and Garnet saw her opponent as in a dream, the cloaked figure with eyes of two hues.
"You dare challenge me?" spoke the cloaked figure, its scarred face surprised at Garnet's appearance. Time seemed to stop for it.
"No, Empress of the Shadowscythe, I will not oblige." Garnet whispered, before the Replica closed its eyes against the dying light of its throes of her weeping breath which thinned against Gravelyn's shoulder and saw no more of its choice in the faint path of destiny...
A shadowy light shone and faded. A tortured soul was freed from its boundaries. The replica's decision became a faint whisper...
But the world moves on.