Disbelief – roaring, tingling disbelief swept through Terrin’s arms and chest, rooting him to the spot as he stared down at Amy’s body. Already he could see the blood spilling from her throat and onto the rocks. The horror of this sight was matched only by the rage that had welled within him when Tokumaru had threatened both his homeland, and the alliance. But even that could not stem the anxiety now flowering within him. She cannot die… Blitz has suffered ENOUGH!
But even then, he knew he could not leave the battlefield to help her. Tokumaru had to be killed quickly so they could save Amy. But his mind was blank as to what they could do to quickly take out the Demonflame.
“Damn it!” yelled the elf angrily. He stepped back, trying to ignore the spiked adrenaline that coursed through him like an icy wind because of his ascended form… and he tried as hard as his rage riddled mind could allow, to contact his wife mentally.
It took a few seconds before he heard Courtney’s blessed voice, although clouded with worry. Terrin! Are you alright? I can sense your heart beat is abnormal…
Tokumaru has been possessed and the Wielder of the Sword and I are combating him… but that’s beside the point. Courtney… the demon inside Tokumaru cut Amy Keir’s throat, and left her to die. We need to do something, and fast!
Shall I send someone from HQ? she said at once, and Terrin was relieved that she wasn’t asking questions.
No, there’s no way any of you could get out here fast enough, nor could you compete… the Demonflame is out of control with fury. He’ll kill anything without a second glance.
So what do I do?
Terrin could hear that she was just as stressed out as he was, and she wasn’t at the peak of her elemental prowess. With an uncomfortable movement, he said with the air of someone trying to keep calm under the worst circumstances: Nothing. Wait for me back at HQ, Blitz and I will bring Amy there, but the rest will be up to you.
I will do what I can… please, be careful.
Have no fear, I’ll be there.
The elf severed the connection abruptly, knowing he had already wasted enough time talking. Every second, Amy came closer to death… and meanwhile, above the shining blasts that excreted massive explosions of fire, Terra clutched at the flaming bars of her cage, gazing down with tear-filled eyes at her dying mother. The mere sight drove Terrin into a frenzy of rage.
“DIE!” he screamed over the roaring of the connecting blades, and he shot off the ground with a burst of Posative Wind, bound for the heart of the fight.
BiC:The faltering wind rushed slowly against the Celestial and Caster, as they wrought the Demonflame Samurai into a bloody pulp, blood gushing in every direction. The ash that was once grass around them turned into a dark red mud as Tokumaru’s blood mixed with Amy’s, who died slowly on the sidelines. Blitz’ anger, now fully concentrated into a sane form of the most powerful force in existence threatened to rip Tokumaru apart; at the same time, the infinite fires of the Caster incinerated any hope the Samurai had of winning, while his former friend threatened to take his life. But suddenly… Blitz stopped.
Tokumaru was unable to move, so Terrin was free to stop as well to take a look. Blitz’ eyes were fixed on the edge of the ruins, where he saw a tall, 14 year old blond boy. Wings cam from his back too, as a tri-spiked—on the hilt—sword lay glowing in his hand.
“God almighty…” the Celestial said, sighing in disdain, “You… have returned.”
The boy, who stood strong, gritted his teeth in anger.
“Again!” he screamed, “You come to rid my father from this world!”
Blitz looked down firmly.
“Alex,” he said sternly, “go home. NOW.”
“I WON’T!” Alex yelled in defiance, looking desperately at Terrin. “Terrin, you tell Blitz! You’re dad’s best friend, talk some sense into Blitz and make him stop hurting my father!”
“I…” the elf said slowly, “I can’t do that, Alex.”
“Why the **** not?!”
Suddenly, an idea struck Blitz’ mind. An underhanded one at best, but one good enough to end the battle. Sending a quick mental picture of it to Terrin, the Celestial looked to Alex.
“Alex…” Blitz said, “Your father has become something absolutely horrible. If you think you can stop him from completely becoming evil, talk to him. Go to your father.”
Alex paused, but did not hesitate too much as he rushed to his father’s side. Blitz nodded to Terrin, who then aligned himself with the Celestial as they prepared a most-powerful attack. Tokumaru, who could barely lift a finger, turned to see his son. A black tear washed down his face, and the demon within him began to fester insanely.
“Alex…” Tokumaru whimpered, in a tone never heard from him before, “please… Go home.”
Alex began to tear.
“I can’t, father!” he yelled desperately, “I sensed your aura failing, and came here as soon as I can! I won’t let you die!”
Tokumaru gritted his teeth.
“NO,” the samurai commanded. “I am too dangerous for you to be around! The demon within me is from Naoru, and nothing in this world can stop him but—”
“BUT THIS!” Alex screamed, reaching into his pocket. He then pulled out a small green stone-fragment, which began to glow intensely. Tokumaru’s body then writhed crazily, as the voice of the demon reached out into the world.
“The boy has a—”
“A shard…” Tokumaru quivered, “of the Aliyuras…”
Powerful auras began to pour from Alex’s hands into Tokumaru’s body, weakening the demon very much.
“Go dad!” Alex yelled, “Escape the Demon’s clutches!”
“He’s killing me! Stop him now!”
Tokumaru stood up, holding his sword shakily as tears began to wave across his face.
“I… I CAN’T!” he screamed, “I can’t kill my own son!”
Alex’s hands clenched tightly over the Aliyuras Shard.
“C’mon Dad! You can do break free!”
“STOP HIM! With me, you can live long enough to give him a good home… to save the world and live as an Angel forever!”
Tokumaru clenched the Hinotama in a strong Aggressive Forward stance, quivering.
“Alex…” he said, eyes bulging, “Stop… we must save this Demon. He has the power to… to create Angels. If we master his power, we can become infinitely powerful… and save countless lives.”
Alex’s eyes widened.
“Dad, no! He’s too dangerous, and he’s going to make Blitz and Terrin kill you! He must die!”
At that moment, the power from the Aliyuras seeped out insanely, causing the Demon within Tokumaru to die incredibly fast.
Flames shot out everywhere from Tokumaru’s blade as his eyes turned red, glaring at his son as the Aliyuras shot out a dark plume of green fire at Tokumaru’s demon. But at that instant, the samurai snapped.
“Stop. I NEED THAT DEMON!”
And at that moment, blood shot everywhere as the heated steel of the Hinotama was forced through the Aliyuras, and into the chest of Tokumaru's 14 year old son. As the blood plunged into the ground, Blitz screamed from afar:
“There are two types of statistics in the world: Lies, and damn lies.” ~Mark Twain Simply kickass sig by uǝzoɹɟ. UPA Chief. Have a puppy, too.
“Again you come to rid my father from this world!”
His eyes saw the boy, but his mind was some distance away. Blitz lowered his head and sank into a trance, emitting an empathic call so intense and heartfelt that it was almost verbal... Say something, please…
Please…please don’t die…
A fragile consciousness returned with a labored sigh. Hold me…
Every nerve, every artery in his body commanded him to obey. He wanted more than anything to hold her safely in his arms and speed her away for medical attention. Something held him back. So long as Tokumaru remained here in this demonic state, rescuing Amy would prove fatal for both the fire innate and his beloved. Hold on, love… Just a little longer, and then we’ll get you somewhere safe…
The trembling of her unspoken words tore at him like a dagger seeking to wound before the kill. Tears formed behind his eyes at the knowledge that she was in such suffering; that at any moment she could die. Judgement would have to be swift. There’s only…one thing left to do.
No verbal response, but he could sense her acknowledgement and approval.
Returning to reality, Blitz immediately spoke: “Alex, your father has become something absolutely horrible. If you think you can stop him from completely becoming evil, go talk to him. Go to your father.” Not waiting to see the boy’s reaction, he shot Terrin a look and a mental image. Confusion and understanding crossed the elf’s expression, but the two of them bolted from the fray as Alex conversed with his father.
Mental communication proved so much simpler than speech. You know what to do, he said to Terrin. Just follow my lead. Without a moment’s hesitation, Blitz began to focus his will as a Celestial upon the world around him. The elvish caster followed suit, and both immediately entered a silent trance. Nothing beyond the two and their minds existed now. Even Amy slipped briefly from the Keir’s memory. In that instant, physicality flickered.
It’s working! both cried in unison. Blitz spoke through the shifting void then. Terrin, can you sense it? That world beyond this one? You need to reshape it, change the way it works. Watch… Sparing no concentration, the Celestial caused the ground beneath them to ripple, its surface turning fluid, yet remaining solid enough to stand on. Help me.
Now understanding, the Caster focused his will on the world around them, and that rippling increased. In fact, the colors of grass and dry dirt vanished altogether, and what remained beneath their feet was a pool of almost violet, not-quite-blue nothing.
That’s it! “Terrin, now!”
The two of them extended their wills, their awareness, and suddenly reality slipped away. Supernova, he wondered to himself, for the first time in history… T'lemenheim was gone, and the nothingness beneath their feet had expanded to encompass everything. With this void, this astral plane of their conjuring, any feat was possible. This malleable world was at their every command; they were gods here. Now, my love…it is done. Soon, it will be over, and then you’ll be safe.
Hurry… I can’t…hold on much longer…
Those words sent a jolt down the innate’s spine, but he tore away from the link and focused on the enemy. What he saw shocked him. Alex lay at Tokumaru’s feet, a sizzling corpse in a pool of its own blood.
Terrin lifted a finger and aimed it at the distant ground below them. The spot he pointed at broke into a steady ripple, as if suddenly turned liquid... and the elf's face snapped into a small smile of satisfaction. He could use this newfound power called Supernova to end Tokumaru's reign once and for all! And save Amy...
Sorrow engulfed him, along with his anger that, for a brief second, he had forgotten in light of this new and amazing new array of abilities at his finger tips... literally. Glaring with absolute hatred at Tokumaru, who floated above Alex's dead, charred and bloody body.
He killed his own son... that bastard! HE WILL PAY FOR THIS!
Instead of moving forward for the kill, Terrin exchanged a quick mental idea with Blitz. There was no need for anything fancy... Tokumaru was dangerous, and they needed to stop him at that very moment, before any more evil could be done. Already, there was a death, and another one on the way if the duo didn't hurry and slay the Demonflame. Raising his hands, Terrin gathered together this new and very foreign power, letting it seep into his limbs, veins and blood. He was reassured by it, as one might be comforted by a parent as a small child. It filled him with warmth... he trusted Blitz.
The swordsman was floating ten feet away in a similar position, his hands above his head. Tokumaru eyed them suspiciously, not having caught hold of the massive power wave that Terrin was sure should be sweeping from them... but he seemed oblivious to what was happening to the two. Odd...
Then it seemed that recognition struck the Demonflame. His eyes opened up to their full extent, surprise lining his corrupted face, and he shot forward to stop the attack... but it was too late. He was stopped in midflight when Blitz and Terrin compressed the gravity around him, halting him so fast that not even his clothes were ruffled. Grimacing slightly, Tokumaru struggled to break free, but to no avail.
Terrin felt Blitz' voice race through his head like the waves of an ocean... tear him apart!
Disregarding the fact that this was the darkest sentence he had ever heard Blitz speak, Terrin clenched his fists in unison with his ally... and shifted Tokumaru's molecules and atoms simultaneously. The Demonflame grunted with surprise, his pupils whizzing down to gaze in puzzlement at his chest. Terrin was sure that what was happening couldn't be comfortable... he was being torn in half... not an ordinary attack one sees... even ones like Blitz, Terrin and Tokumaru.
But even as Terrin and Blitz pulled at Tokumaru's molecules and atoms... there was a strange resiliance in the posessed samurai... something that held them at bay. They were causing him pain, yes, but he was not dying. Any normal man or woman would be in half --- and dead --- by now. Growling in frustration, Terrin released hold of Supernova. Glancing over at Blitz and telling him mentally to continue the unseen onslaught, Terrin bolted down to Tokumaru and lifted Yuthian to strike through his former friends chest, to end this terrible fight once and for all... for the Stars, for the Tears...
And he hesitated. Unbelievably, inconcievably, his arm muscles spasmed as he lifted back his sword to deliver the final blow... he knew not what halted him... perhaps it was a small dreg of strength that came from the trapped Demonflame that delayed his actions for that split second, for Terrin truly did want to kill the Demonflame... but it did not matter now. Tokumaru's fist came in full force, an odd energy gathered around it. Somehow, it had broken free of the gravity trap. Terrin felt pain blossom from the bridge of his nose... heard a horrible cracking noise... felt warm blood squirt across his face... and everything went dark.
Laughing. Sinister laughing, the likes of which Tokumaru knew to be only accompanied by Drago or Naoru. Even as the samurai knelt there, covered in blood, his mind was conscious. It was returning to the state it had been when he was revived by the Grievance of Rage, the first gift that Khayoro gave unto him. It was a pretty light, coming through the portal of the Ether and into the real world from Hell. Tokumaru enjoyed it, but it was at the cost of his sanity. The demon hadn’t arisen there because of the cataclysmic events with the Angelfire, it had always been there. For 11 years, since the battle alongside the Dragonic Overlord against the Great Demon, it had been there, festering, waiting for weakness. It achieved temporary power with the Grievance of Rage, and now again, with the murder of the Angelic Phoenling.
Can you go back? whispered Drago’s voice in the samurai’s head. Will you, mortal? Have you transferred unto the light, or are you simply allowing this to happen?
Did you do this for yourself? whispered in Hanshin’s voice, cold and dark, Did you turn from the Leader of Men that I knew to the fiery rings of Hell? Did you put yourself in that position for a reason?
There are forces… came Hephæstus’ voice, a flashback to what he had said to Tokumaru the day the samurai swore himself to the God, …Forces the likes of which you’ll stand in awe at, coming toward you. Your life is near its departure to the Gates of the River Styx. Will you allow Hermes to take you across it? Or will you fight? Will you stand in my name… fight for my cause… or allow the darkness to consume you?
“I will fight,” Tokumaru had said that day. “I will fight in the name of Hephæstus, God of Fire and Forge.”
* * *
Tokumaru sat there, the sky disappearing into a white fluffiness, looking in horror at his son’s body. He had killed himself for this boy, the boy’s mother had killed himself for the boy… and to return it, Tokumaru killed the boy when the boy tried to save his father’s life. Blood was everywhere, as the very fabrics of space and time around him were being bent.
“What have I…” he stuttered, looking down at his son’s dead body, “What have I… done…?”
You have made the final transition… unto my body. Your consciousness is now completely one with mine, and with your rage and anger at my disposal, I shall lay waste to the Wielder of the Sword and the Caster.
“You’re going to use my power?” Tokumaru asked, his body being flailed to the wind. The Pain didn’t matter.
Yes. You are mine now… to do with whatever I please. Your inner darkness has consumed you. The longing to be with your father, to bond with him… the longing to sit beside Hephæstus… all locked within you… have given me a portal to rise for all.
Suddenly, Tokumaru’s arms pulled in opposite directions, as did his legs, and his body began to pull apart. His tissues bled through his skin as his vision quickly faded, and all he knew began to depart.
“You…” he said to himself, “You… control me? I am you? You are me?”
But in Tokumaru’s mind, the world… shook violently as the Gates of Olympus shattered open, revealing the most powerful flames in the world.
You… a mighty voice boomed, Are only half right. You may control Tokumaru’s body… but it is I who controls his power!
“H…Heph…” Tokumaru said, a ray of light shining on him, “Hephæstus?”
Indeed, Tokumaru. You may be evil right now… but it is not only you who is bound to my Blood Contract. I am as well; bound to protect you whenever you are in trouble.
What do you mean, you foolish God of Athenian Myth?
I can only hope you do well with this… Tokumaru… for it is what you have wanted since we met. The shining Gates of Olympus… are now open to you. With them, you can alter matter and use the strength of my Hammer in your Sword. I can only hope… that your power… leads to the betterment of all these people here.
The laughing started again.
Insolent cur! Do you realize what you’re about to do? HAHAHA! You’re more of an idiot than Lord Naoru made you out to be. No WONDER he was able to steal that potion from you so easily!
Please… Tokumaru… Use this well…
And suddenly… the whiteness of the sky changed. In front of him, Tokumaru could see Terrin running very unnaturally slow at him. The sky became a dark haze of black clouds, and the ground turned to fire. Everything was ignited in a blaze of white flames as Tokumaru’s body became different. His dark fire became white, his eyes, hair, and sword as well. The Samurai’s long black wings suddenly shone with a bright white glow, and the air around them turned into light. Everything transpired as a holy rain shone upon him, lighting the world.
Terrin was slow, not being on this plain of reality, this… Ether… hence, Tokumaru lifted his fist, and punched hard with deadly accuracy. A shower of blood came from the contact, and suddenly Terrin went flying. Simultaneously to this, Terrin’s speed caught up as reality refabricated itself into normal. Blitz stood in awe at the new power resonating from the Samurai, who then disappeared from his spot coolly, saying no words, and reappearing above Terrin. His hands were clasped tightly around his foe’s neck.
Terrin, eyes red with pressure, looked up to the newborn Angel.
“What… have you become?” he asked fearfully, his vision turning blurry as blood vessels in his eyes suddenly began to pop.
Tokumaru’s eyes kept a blank expression, a few strands of white hair billowing in front of his face. He was one with the Ether now… and therefore, nothing frightened him.
“I have become an Ethereal being…” Tokumaru said, voice calm, wounds healed. “By ridding the world of my son, I have allowed you all to unleash your full strength against me. I would have died… had Hephæstus not allowed it. He has granted me the very fires of his Hearth… the very flames that can destroy worlds and create life. I am more powerful than anything you will ever witness… and this day… you shall die, Terrin Tankira.”
Tokumaru then hurled Terrin thousands of feet above the now-fiery ground, and held a hand up to the blip that represented him in the sky.
“Cruentus Redemptis des Ignis,” he said, and a massive ball of flame then launched into the sky towards Terrin. As it devoured the elf, it suddenly rocketed back down to Earth, just as Tokumaru turned to Blitz. The Wielder of the Sword stared darkly at the samurai, realizing that his Celestiality, even at full sanity, had been equaled once again. Tokumaru entered hasso stance, gaining a dark scowl.
“Blitz Keir…” he said, “You and I… have unfinished business.”
And then… all Hell was let loose upon the Planet Earth.
“There are two types of statistics in the world: Lies, and damn lies.” ~Mark Twain Simply kickass sig by uǝzoɹɟ. UPA Chief. Have a puppy, too.
The words sent a bolt through the Celestial swordsman’s body. "Terrin, no!" he cried in dread. The body of his ally lay limp, floating on the intangible river's surface. Gritting his teeth in rage at the sight, he returned his gaze to his enemy. The Blazing Ether firmly in his grasp shuddered in want for flesh, but he let it rest meekly at his side. His eyes narrowed to hateful slits as he watched the ethereal Demonflame’s cold expression. “Yes, we do.”
Hold on, love… It won’t be long now, I promise.
No response; only a flicker of worried acknowledgement.
The astral plane shifted at the samurai’s command, rippling around his luminous, white frame.
How is it possible? wondered Blitz briefly to himself. How can he control the Supernova, even with the aid of that Grecian deity? Refusing to believe that Celestiality could be matched, he summoned up his godlike strength and caused reality to constrict around his enemy. Tokumaru’s lips contorted in a snarl, but the invisible bonds were immediately broken.
“Fine, then!” shouted the deific human as his body became engulfed in a sea-green blaze. “You’ll have your death wish, devil!” Those radiant flames expanded as Blitz tensed his muscles for the impending conflict.
It was instantaneous. Fierce as a bolt of lightning, true as an arrow, their wills each swept forth, colliding dead-on. Blitz grunted with the effort, locking himself in place to avoid distraction and struggling to overpower his enemy’s will. Tokumaru did the same, eyes twisting with a vile hatred. In this clash of wills, this omnipotent war, it would take only one false move for either of them to become transdimensional jam.
The unexpected words of his beloved empowered Blitz, giving him an added burst of mental fortitude, and he poured every ounce of it into his struggle against the Demonflame. The Celestial’s influence slowly inched forward, gaining ground bit by bit as it overcame the opposing mental power. “You…won’t come away from this…with your life,” he gasped out, sparing no effort in his mental attack.
Sour disgust crossed Tokumaru’s face, yet even his blood-soaked clothing remained flawlessly still. “Don’t you realize…with whom you speak? I am God!” Thar echoing cry afforded the crazed demigod a greater power and, like Blitz, he forced it all into his onslaught. “You cannot defeat me… It is impossible! Don’t you understand?!”
Blitz gasped inwardly, shocked at the power his foe now wielded. No! I will protect her! The clash of wills ceased in an instant as the fully-ascended fire innate broke away, sinking into the void and reappearing behind Tokumaru. The Blazing Ether was far beyond a blur as it reached to taste demonic flesh, but bit only more of Supernova’s void.
Tokumaru had vanished as well, but Blitz knew precisely how to move as he whipped around, bringing his ethereal blade to bear against the argent Hinotama. The two divine blades met, emitting a white-hot, blinding flash that could be seen for dozens of miles. Had there been earth in this place, it would be no longer. White and sea-green flames beat against one another furiously, dancing far too quickly for any eye to track. Each clash emanated another dazzling explosion, yet the combatants’ eyes remained sightlessly locked together. Spears of light appeared from all angles, summoned by their respective masters, and hurtled into the fray hoping to pierce a heart, but were unable to match these impossible speeds.
Though sight and sound had long since abandoned her, Amy could not stop worrying as she floated dozily in the void, far from the deadly battle. Blood and wakeness still seeped from her mortal wound. She would die soon, as she was well aware, and Terra would have to watch in morbid dread from her cage above. The only thing keeping the cleric conscious now was the empathic link with her lover, and even that was slowly slipping away. Oblivion beckoned from just around the corner…
The white folds of the Supernova rippled unevenly as Tokumaru centered his eyes on his human opponent. It was odd to him, now that he was able to call Blitz’ by the name “mortal” or “human”, for Tokumaru was no longer either of these. His body was already deteriorating, although being kept sustained by the Heavenflames that were literally destroying it. The demon that had purged his body was now no more, nor was the good Tokumaru that once resided there. A fusion of the two, neutral on all sides, fought Blitz with a gallant sword. The Heavenflame’s only goal now was to end this battle as quickly as possibly and disappear unto the Ether for all eternity.
Slipping downward, a ripple of his body following him, the Samurai held his sword out in a simple thrust. Blitz returned it with a parry, slamming his blade against Tokumaru’s in a defiant sea of white lightning. The Gods themselves could be matched by the strength of the two fighters, and any and every friendship bond they had once had was now completely gone, severed forever. Tokumaru, keeping a blank face, rammed Blitz against the white ground with a purge of white flames.
“Why, Tokumaru…?” Blitz asked, jumping back up as he held a defensive stance. “Why did you defy everything we stood for? You were one of us! You were my friend, and ally. And yet… you go behind my back and do this?!”
Tokumaru touched the area around him softly, the air rippling around his hands in reaction.
“There is no…” the samurai said, “There is no… no good. No evil. There is only silence. I am not here, you must know. Like your transcention unto the Otherworld, I am one with the mighty Ether now, the force that binds all beings into one. Its powers have lent me the Heavenflames of Hephćstus’ Forge, the very ability that can turn any substance into a fiery abyss.”
“Then why haven’t you done that to me, then?” he asked angrily.
Tokumaru held a hand to the Celestial, an orb of white flame resonating from it.
“There is no possibility…” the Heavenflame said, “that I could turn you into Heavenflames. The powers and forces are just too great within you, for you see… I have equaled, and only equaled, your Celestiality. That does not mean, however, that I am unable to defeat you.”
Blitz rushed in at the Angel, quickly thrusting his sword at Tokumaru’s body multiple times, all being dodged or parried.
“We shall see,” Blitz said, “who shall die here today!”
But then, Tokumaru stopped his defense. Keeping his blank face, the air around him formed a solid wall of flames, which then rocketed outwards towards Blitz. Sent far off, Blitz was eagerly chased by Tokumaru, flames shooting out in every direction. The Celestial was completely surprised by the immediate onslaught… however… Tokumaru knew better.
This is getting risky… Blitz’ power… is increasing.
OOC: Woo for shortness.
“There are two types of statistics in the world: Lies, and damn lies.” ~Mark Twain Simply kickass sig by uǝzoɹɟ. UPA Chief. Have a puppy, too.
Enough of words… Halting his descent with an aerial back flip, Blitz immediately thrust himself toward the approaching Heavenflame with a mighty cry. Each time their blades met, the results were more intense and destructive. The sea-green flames around the Celestial grew with his indignation each passing moment, reaching out to lick the divine Hinotama. Bolts of red and white lightning crackled around them on each contact, seeking to consume the supreme, dancing swordsmen.
Both were like blurs of light as they lashed at one another furiously. With added force, Blitz slammed the Hinotama away with his own ethereal edge, and used the split-instant break in Tokumaru’s defenses to pour a jet stream of fiery ether directly into the samurai’s torso. Matched though they were, the focused force of the stream sent the Heavenflame reeling deeper into oblivion.
Genesis… His supreme will extended, and beneath the ethereal angel appeared ground. No, not ground—a planet, created by the Celestial himself, and it was rapidly undergoing a magnificent genesis. Sparing none of his limitless power, Blitz loosed a dozen more streams of otherworldly, sea-green flames toward his enemy. They arced through the still-forming atmosphere gracefully, colliding with the demonic angel, and thrusting him deep into the planet’s surface. The crust shattered and broke away on impact, and the Heavenflame was gone from vision, buried within.
Now that I have a target…
Thrusting his sword into the emptiness above him, Blitz influenced the Supernova to create massive caches of fire element all around him. Then he called upon those very flames, and an unimaginable collection of power began to flow through his body. “You brought this on yourself, Tokumaru! Now, witness the wrath of a god: Hades’ Bomb!” Even as the booming words left his lips, the flames manifested themselves high above the palm of his hand in the form of a sunbomb which grew remarkably fast. In mere moments, its circumference was immeasurable. Countless miniature sunbombs orbited its surface, diving into the massive fireball and reemerging rapidly.
Flames emerged from the planet’s surface then, but not concentrated; rather, they were spread in all directions, enveloping wherever Supernova’s ends must lie and flowing like a river. The nothingness was filled completely by this ocean of rushing fire, but Blitz was too intent on his creation of mass destruction to give them a second thought. Somewhere deep within that still-forming world, Tokumaru lay buried under planetary debris. And in a few moments, he would be no more.
…Wait. The ocean undulated fiercely, seeming to focus on Blitz. It was now a column confining him to a limited radius above the planet’s surface, but was more than spacious enough not to hinder even ranged combat. Still, the Celestial’s enflamed eyes widened at the implications. He’s…taking control of it? No! A sense of dire urgency filled him as he enacted his will over Hades’ Bomb, and the gargantuan orb started to descend earthward.
“I remember a time, Tokumaru,” said Khayoro, leaning back in his chair, “when you were still Kyronei. You didn’t think about having children, saving the world, or anything. You merely wanted to be you. It was so pleasant, to be able to be the Angelic Phoenix, but at the same time have your son not idolize you. That’s what I did with the former Angelic Phoenix, André. Sure, I became a full Angel, but it was at the cost of my sanity and love for all things.”
“What is your point, father?” asked the samurai, standing in a pillar of light.
“My point is,” he said, “your lust for Angelicness led to the death of your son, and your sane mind. But now that Hephæstus has granted you the power of Ethereal Inferno, the demons within you no longer have control. Nor does the God of Fire and Forge, or myself. You’ve been up here three times before, and like last time, this time regards Alex.”
“I don’t seem to understand,” Tokumaru said.
“Alex’s death was a necessity, my son,” Khayoro said sternly, closing his eyes. “He, after undergoing training, will become the next Angelic Phoenix. As for me, I am departing from this plain of reality. All the Gods and powers that alter this Universe will not affect me in this alternate one.”
Tokumaru’s eyes perked up.
“Where are you going?” he asked neutrally.
“To a far, far away land,” Khayoro answered, and large gap of light appeared beneath his chair. “The land where the language that Isukumi spoke came from. I am going to the land of Nervia, to become a mortal mage and sword smith. There is much danger in Nervia at this time… but I think I’ll be able to handle it.”
Tokumaru paused, and his father began to drift into nothingness. As the Angelic Phoenix faded away, his voice spoke for one final time.
“I will never see you again, Tokumaru. Just remember, that through our entire time together, I’ve loved you. You are my son, and that will never change. The demons within you can’t change it either, for now that Ethereal Inferno has been reached, your only goal should be becoming one with the Ether. They cannot alter that.”
“How, father? How do I become one with the Ether?”
“Life…” Khayoro’s voice trailed away, “Death… Love… Hatred… don’t let your mind be blinded. You’ve started something. Finish it, and move on. Farewell… Kyronei.”
And suddenly, light shot from every direction, and Tokumaru found himself incased in a large mass of rock and planetary crust. Heat like no other was straining on him, but for some reason… he didn’t feel it. His neutral face turned into one of fiery determination, and in an instant… the Supernova was his.
“I have started something…” he yelled to the wind, a mass coagulation of fire appearing around the Hinotama, “And I will most surely finish it! The demons are gone, and all that remains is the ETHEREAL INFERNO!”
The planet around him imploded unto itself, and in the blink of an eye, the whiteness of the Supernova bent around the Hinotama, turning it into a massive cannon of Heavenflames. And then… against the powers of Physics and the Universe itself, Tokumaru combated the Hadés’ Bomb. In a small breath, the Samurai said…
Come to me… Hephæstus’ HAMMER!
And it was then that Blitz saw the fiery blade speed through the Hadés’ Bomb, towards his chest… carrying his death along with it.
“There are two types of statistics in the world: Lies, and damn lies.” ~Mark Twain Simply kickass sig by uǝzoɹɟ. UPA Chief. Have a puppy, too.
It was a wet sound, sickening and profound. The roaring sound of Supernova and Hades’ Bomb, which descended toward the destroyed planet, became a quiet ring in his ears. There was no pain at all, but rather an emptiness; a detached impulse to look down. The Hinotama gleamed in the firelight emanating from its blade, which disappeared into Blitz’ chest only a few inches from the hilt. An odd sensation passed through the swordsman as he laid eyes upon the Heavenflame’s divine edge, a sort of unsurpassed peace that left his eyelids feeling heavy.
A sharp cry of terror rang in his ears: “Daddy!” In that instant, the peace was replaced by a flood of powerless dread, and the drowsiness became unbearable fatigue. He weakly looked up to see Terra suspended in the fiery cage, desperately stretching one arm out to him, tears flooding her wide, blue eyes. From his peripheral, he could see an unconscious Terrin as well. If he had glanced in that direction, he would have noticed one eye fluttering dizzily open.
Tokumaru was standing in front of him now with a lifeless look on his face. Not a sound reached Blitz’ ears as the Heavenflame grasped the hilt of his katana. With a start, the swordsman saw over his enemy’s shoulder. Amy floated on the verge of death as blood continued to seep from her wound, drifting mournfully through the void.
Filled with an uncontrollable need to touch her, Blitz raised one hand, grasping for his distant beloved. A grieving lament left his lips unbidden. “Forgive me…”
With a sick noise, the Hinotama broke free from Blitz’ heart. He had but a moment to glance down at his illuminated hand before it disintegrated and fluttered away. In a few moments, the Wielder of the Sword turned to ash, and then to nothing.
Terrin opened an eye, and instantly, pain shot through every inch of it. The hits he had only minutes ago taken had left their marks on him, and he wasn't about to ignore them. If he even twitched a finger, his arm would go numb. Damn it to hell, I need to...
And then he saw the blurred outline of a sword... flying in a wreath of flames... jetting forward at incomprehensible speeds... impaling Blitz in the chest.
In his heart.
No... Terrin thought blindly. He refused to accept what he was seeing. Perhaps it was just some illusion brought on by the pain racking his system... perhaps he was only imagining the look of sheer terror spreading across Terra's face high above... the pain and dread encasing the Wielder of the Sword... the sudden stillness of the wind around them as the last remnants of Supernova dispersed around them, leaving nothing but the barren, dry landscape, completely uncontrollable... beyond a doubt, this had to be Terrin's most vivid imagination yet.
And then he heard it... Blitz' voice, riddled with pain, and oddly restrained, as though struggling to work around the metal stuck in his heart... "forgive me..."
And Terrin watched, icy, incomprehensible horror spreading through his limbs, far outclassing the pain, as Blitz Keir, his friend, ally, and life-saver, disintegrate into ash before his very eyes... watched Tokumaru floating high above with a blank stare on his face, looking up at the cage where Terra sat, slightly hunched, tears streaming from her eyes. She was crying at the top of her lungs...
And something awoke within the Caster. As the Supernova sword, no longer ascended into a different form, struck the ground beside him point first and stuck, quivering, into the earth, Terrin felt an odd sensation course through his veins. It was no longer pain. It was rage. Pure, unbelievable, insane rage, shooting through him like a phalanx of knives, sitting him up off the ground and removing all thoughts of pain from his head. Such anger he had never before felt... he could not form coherent words to match what thoughts he desired to utter. Blitz Keir, his most trusted friend, was dead. Gone. Never to return to this world. Terrin would never see him again.
Fire blasted everywhere, shearing through the rocks upon which the elf sat. All the embers originated from Terrin himself. He did not register what was happening to him. All his focus was on the figure above, glaring with pure hatred down at him. He had finally realized that he was awake.
Terrin grabbed hold of Yuthian, and the instant that his fingers made contact with the hilt, the blade burst into a white-hot pillar of raging inferno... it was as if he was wielding the sun. In a sense, that was what he was doing. The elf could feel the cool steel on his hand as he raised the sword up to his chest, but he did not really understand what he was doing. He could not stop staring blankly at Tokumaru, who stared back at him with the same exact stony expression etched in the lines of his face.
Then, slowly, the rage built inside the Caster. It had flared before, though now, it was rising quickly to a fever pitch. He knew it had happened... Blitz was dead... but he hadn't really believed it.
Now he did. And his emotions were out of control. Terrin had peaked the height of his power. He was a god of Posative Force... and he was going to use it.
"You..." whispered Terrin, his voice emanating across the remaining bricks left behind from T'lemenheim, "you... bastard."
Tokumaru gripped the Hinotama with relaxed fingers. To Terrin, he seemed to look a little tired... as if the Hades Bomb he had just used to slaughter Blitz had exhausted him. No matter.
"Have you something to say?" Tokumaru called down.
And the fury exploded again. Molten waves of heat and tongues of flame shot from three feet around the elf as he rose to his feet. The grass and ground beneath him melted to a round pool of nothing. "YOU BASTARD! ON YOUR KNEES, YOU WILL BEG FOR MY MERCY!"
A jet of flames spewed from Terrin's free hand, shooting downward and striking what remained of the earth beneath him. The force propelled him high into the air, faster than he had ever flown before. The elf swung his mighty flame-wreathed sword with the force, and struck a slice deep into Tokumaru's side, almost cutting halfway through him. Blood shot everywhere, splattering Terrin in the warm, sticky liquid. Taking not a second to confirm what had just happened, the Caster seized hold of the Heavenflames collar, turned, and flung him straight down, into the white-hot hole that he had created from his final ascention.
From the sides of the hole shot lines of yellow fire, impaling Tokumaru in several places, but purposefully not striking a single vital organ. His diaphragm was torn open, as were parts of his stomach. Both shoulders were pierced, but the Heavenflame could not scream. Something held his mouth shut, though his eyes were wide and red with the excruciating pain.
Terrin aimed a palm down at the tortured samurai who had once been his companion... but was now someone he hated as much as Samlea himself... and used a coalesced ball of Posative Wind to shoot the Heavenflame back up to eye level. The elf threw a punch into Tokumaru's nose so powerful, that had he hit him straight on, the bone would have shattered, shot back into his head, and pierced his brain. But the Caster hit him from the side, tearing through the skin and cracking the bone anyways. Bright red blood squirted out of Tokumaru's face, and this time, he did scream. Loudly, in fact. The pain was more than he could ever have imagined.
The elf twisted his palm around and brought it up point blank with Tokumaru's torso, which had numerous bloody holes in it. Bright white fire leapt from the hand and spread up and down the Heavenflame, consuming him entirely. The remaining skin that was not bruised and battered, turned black with the trauma of the heat... and as soon as this happened, Terrin released the fire, spun, and roundhouse kicked Tokumaru in the chest, shooting him down once more to the ruins of T'lemenheim. Rocks flew everywhere on contact...
At once, Terrin appeared on top of the samurai's broken and bent body... blood caked the rocks all around him. The putrid liquid leaked everywhere. A small gasp exited Tokumaru's lips... and he glared fiercely at his adversary, who knelt on top of him.
With all the power he could muster from his infinite new majestic form, Terrin drew back the fiery pillar that was Yuthian, shouted with all his might, "FOR BLITZ!" and slammed the sword straight through the Heavenflame's heart, while the embers around the two licked and spit at the parched air.
“Now, my transformation is complete. The sight is clear to me now. The Ether and I… have become… one singularity.”
* * *
A veil of haze emitted from the corners of his eyes as the Yuthian was pulled out. The world around him was all different now… it was as if the Sôryûsen itself had folded outwards to the mortal world; everything was like the ether-being, Sôryûsen: Transparent and green. It was quite the odd sight, especially to see Terrin in such a fashion, for Tokumaru's mind had not yet adjusted to the newfound clarity of reality. He was not dead, nor was he dying. He was merely… being translated.
Terrin’s scowl then turned into something different. The proud elf, exhausted in all his newfound might, fell to his knees then, his power falling back along with it. His shiny, long black hair drifted hazily in the wind as his garbs, stained with the blood of the samurai, rustled unmercifully. The elf grasped a tuft of grass, now restored with Tokumaru’s final transition, between his fingers, and began to slowly smile. Tokumaru smiled too, for he knew what the elf did: The whole ordeal was finally over.
Terrin then stood from his crouch, looking down on Tokumaru without the smile, or any emotion whatsoever. Tokumaru returned this with a slight grin, the blood pouring from his chest profusely. With a distraught breath, he was able to speak.
“It has been…” the samurai said, “quite… some time since I’ve entered the holiness of the second world.”
“I hope…” the elf said coolly, sheathing his bloodied blade, “That for you and Blitz’ sake alike, that you stay there.”
Tokumaru chuckled, falling onto his knees, and shortly after laying softly on his back.
“I don’t…” he said smoothly, looking to the crisp, warm skies, “…not exactly. Now that I have become one with the Ether, my connection with Hephæstus is forever stronger. There is only one final step, and it is taking place this very moment. It’s… it’s time to depart for the Golden Gates of Olympus.”
Terrin’s brow furrowed.
“…What are you saying?” he asked, “Did you not just kill the Wielder of the Sword in the name of Naoru Aurashino?”
Tokumaru laughed heartily, sending a large amass of blood into the air along with it. Smiling, he said,
“Of course not. From the moment Hephæstus blessed me with Ethereal Inferno, the demons were dispelled. I had to kill Blitz… because not only had I started something I could not leave behind, I also needed you to be so angry that you’d be able to do this with such power. However, it’s only now that I have truly returned to the light…”
Terrin’s eyes widened.
“…Tokumaru?” he asked, shocked, “Is… is that you?”
Tokumaru closed his eyes.
“I am not Tokumaru…” he said smoothly, “Nor am I Kyronei. I am not demon, nor angel, nor human. I am... the Ethereal Heavenflame that now governs the world of Fire alongside Hephæstus. My darknesses have been completely expelled, and my mortal body shall soon go as well. With that shall depart my mortal personality, leaving behind only that of one devoted entirely to his job.
“I have faced the greatest powers in this world, Terrin Tankira. I have met death in the eyes with Drago, burned forever with Blitz, become a demon and back with Naoru, and learned my humility as a warrior with you… my greatest friend in all the universe.”
Terrin maintained a stern face as Tokumaru continued, a circulation of red clouds appearing above them.
“All the things I’ve done in this world,” Tokumaru explained, “are now only miniscule texts in the scroll of life. And if you can hear me… Shan… my love… take heed, for the Gods have summoned me. My time on this Earth is over, and it is time for me to enter the realm of the Ether. I promise you, it is escapable, and I will find a way to be within it and within your presence here at the same time.”
The clouds above then shot a soft red light around Tokumaru’s body, causing Terrin’s stern face to relax in awe, just a bit. With a weak smile, Tokumaru uttered his last words.
“My life has been full of things… but now, my destiny must be fulfilled. I wish to always be your friend… Terrin Tankira, Caster of the Stars.”
…And with that, the Heavenflame Samurai, Tokumaru Kyô, disappeared unto the plain of reality known as the Ether.
“There are two types of statistics in the world: Lies, and damn lies.” ~Mark Twain Simply kickass sig by uǝzoɹɟ. UPA Chief. Have a puppy, too.
Terrin saw the light leave his friends eyes. He saw his body stop breathing… he watched him die with a blank look on his face. This look he maintained for a long moment, before he turned and strode away from the body wordlessly.
He stepped over the smoking bricks of T’lemenheim, pausing only to sweep his hands over the ashen, craggy stones that had been lucky enough to survive the massive heat waves intensifying throughout the fiery clash. He felt blackened soot caking his hand as he did this, so he withdrew his hand.
Terrin walked a few more feet, clambering silently over the bigger boulders, and stepping quietly over the smaller ones. He could not think… things had intensified so suddenly… and his mind had not yet accepted what had just occurred. He rubbed his arms together to stay the goose bumps rapidly rising on them, though the air was quite warm. He could not keep himself from shaking…
And then he reached what he had been looking for. There, in solitude, its surface gleaming spectacularly, although its wielder was far from it, was the Supernova sword, stuck point first into the ground, the hilt high in the air. It was a majestic sight… and Terrin looked upon it for a few seconds, soaking it in. The wind blew across the desolate landscape for miles. Most of the grass in the area had gone… it looked like a parched desert to the onlooker. Smoke broiled up from the castle’s ruins… and as the elf beheld all this, standing rooted to the spot… he did something he had done only once before in his entire life.
He fell to his knees, and cried. In fact, he hit the ground so hard that the tops of his legs buckled alarmingly and he swayed, falling forward onto the blackened grass, tears streaming from his eyes. He let out a mournful scream to the unforgiving fog around him… he could feel himself trembling like a leaf. Tears were splashing hard and fast from his bright green eyes, landing on his blood stained mantle and soaking it even more than it already was. The Caster tried to grope for something to hold onto… something to lend him comfort… but there was nothing to be found but the unforgiving bricks that lay scattered around him. Terrin withdrew his arms slowly, still shaking like mad, and pulled them up to his eyes, as if to cover the fact that he was having a nervous breakdown, though nobody was there to observe him. He cried like a baby… he cried like he had never done in his life. My life… what has become of me? All my friends must be torn from me to leave what? A cold, harsh, unforgivable world that snatches lives like the flame of a candle in darkness! What must I have done better? I am no use to anyone!
Then a sudden burst of warmth radiated from above. Terrin withdrew his hands quickly from his red, burning eyes, every fiber of him praying that by some miracle, Blitz had returned… from the dead…
But no… Terra’s body was falling hard and fast toward the ground as the last remnants of the fiery cage that had trapped her dissipated into the fog, leaving not a single trace of its existence behind. Terrin knew why that had happened… because its creator was dead.
He bolted forward, ignoring the terrible stabbing emotional pain that his body sent him, and rushed to catch the young girl. He made it just in time, scraping his legs and arms a few times in the process, but successfully catching the distraught child in his arms. He set her down, forcibly wiping his tears away in a vain attempt to hide the fact that he had been crying, and looked her straight in the face.
Blitz’ eyes… The elf fought off another strong fit of emotion… and Amy’s hair…
Suddenly, without even expecting it, a thrill of fear shot through the Caster. He remembered… the whole reason the fight had turned to such an intense level… Amy was a few feet away, dying. Her minutes had been numbered the second Tokumaru had cut her throat and he was standing here, wasting the precious moments that he still had to help.
Terrin carried Terra over to Amy’s body, and set her down, warning her quietly to stay where she was. The elf clambered over the rocks, and gently lifted Blitz’ wife into his arms, although he trembled with the thought that he might be too late. He immediately hovered a hand over the ugly slice on her neck, and it sealed itself at his command, yet the tissue remained red and slightly ripped. He was no expert at Posative healing… which was why they were still far from home in this fight. Terrin could see the fresh blood staining Amy’s neck and her collar…
I won’t fail you, the Caster whispered to her, although he knew she could not hear him. She was long unconscious, and he could do nothing to fix that. She is the last contact… she must live. For reason, for justice.
He stared into her compassionate, loving face for a moment, before turning, and shouting to Terra “don’t fight what is about to happen, it’s the only way to save your mother!”
He could think of nothing else to say at the moment. His words seemed to catch in his throat before he could get out his true thoughts. The emotions swirling around in his head had to be stifled for just a little longer… he had to save Amy. He had to.
So Terrin summoned up a blast of Posative Wind, more than he had ever conjured at one time. It picked up him and Terra, and rocketed them off into the distance in mere seconds. Terra let out a scream of fright at first, but having flown a lot with Drake, it did not take her long to adapt to it.
Gods, help me… make this a short run, Terrin thought desperately, more tears leaking from his eyes as they shot stunningly quickly over the landscapes, flashing past mountains and soaring over plains, ravines and forests. As they did, he gazed down at Amy. She was now involuntarily twitching uncomfortably. She has lost too much blood… Indeed, her skin was deathly white… with shaking fingers, Terrin grasped her hand, as if to reassure her that they were on their way to salvation.
As he did this, he suddenly became aware that a fourth entity was flying with them. He glanced backward, past Terra, and saw the Supernova sword flying along with them at breakneck speeds. Attempting and failing to smile, Terrin turned back, and saw in the distance, a growing platform of steel set deep within a mountain range that they were now flying through. Yes… just hold on a few more minutes, Amy. We’ll save you.
A few seconds later, Terrin eased up on the Posative Wind, and he and Terra landed softly next to the round steel platform, Terra shivering slightly with the coldness of the wind that the mountains caused. Still holding Amy, Terrin sprinted onto the platform, and performed a complex movement with his right hand, weaving a pattern of Posative spells that would command the platform to open up and admit him into the Headquarters of the Stars. Terra watched fearfully, at his side.
It only took about ten seconds, before he completed the infusion. On command, a hole opened up in the very center of the circular platform, and a small elevator rose up out of the ground with a soft humming noise. Terrin stepped inside hurriedly, pulling Terra in with as little force as he could, yet enough to make her realize that they had to hurry. Amy’s life could now only be measured in seconds. She was trembling just as much as the elf was.
The Caster seized a red lever to his right, and yanked it back as hard as he could. The elevator shot downward with such force, that Terra left the floor for a few seconds. Luckily, she had been holding onto a metal handle at her side. Terrin had to plant his feet so he wouldn’t shoot up into the ceiling. The gentle humming turned into a slightly strained fever pitch as they rocketed downward through the alliances HQ. Terrin knew where his wife would be… he had to get to her, no matter what the cost. He would break this elevator apart to get there fast enough.
A series of numbers that were rapidly clicking lower and lower ticked to level twenty one, and Terrin stopped the elevator abruptly, jabbing frantically at a green button on the wall. The doors shot open fast enough for Terrin’s satisfaction, and he hurried down the steel corridor in front of them, past the many doors on both sides. Terra followed at a run behind him, holding back her own anxious questions, knowing that they would just be a hindrance to the elf.
Terrin skidded to a halt in front of room 207 on the left, and opened the door to Courtney, who was sitting on their bed, wringing her hands fitfully. Their room was average sized, like all the others, and there was not much in it aside from a bed, cabinets full of random clothing, and pictures of their friends hanging on the walls.
Courtney leapt to her feet, her eyes sparkling with a mixture of relief and joy… then a split second later, her face fell as she beheld Amy in Terrin’s arms.
“Come in,” Terrin whispered to Terra, and she obeyed without question, hurrying inside and standing off to the side, her eyes never leaving her mother.
“I need you to heal her,” whispered the Caster to his wife, in the shakiest voice he had ever heard himself speak with. Courtney nodded, and walked with her husband as he set Amy down on a table near their bedside, next to a stack of papers, which the Healer elf swept impatiently onto the floor.
“What happened?” muttered Courtney, pulling her gloves on to help her concentrate the Posative she was about to unleash. Terrin explained in a quick summary exactly how Amy had been hurt, and the symptoms she had been showing, and the ones she still was. Her trembling had been replaced with pallid and rapid kicks, and small muscle spasms in her arms, which caused her fingers to twitch. She occasionally would groan past her lips, pitifully quietly.
“Stand back,” advised Courtney. Terrin stepped to the side, and Terra ran to him, the better to see her mother. Terrin put his arms around her to comfort her, for even he didn’t know if Amy could be saved, truth be told. All either of the two could do was pray that Courtney could help like Terrin hoped she could.
The Posative Healer hovered her hand over Amy’s reddened neck, and muttered something indistinct past her barely parted lips. A red flash erupted from her hands, and sudden color blossomed from her neck, spreading through her face, and down past her arms and legs.
“Her blood is normal,” assured Courtney, rubbing her hands together and settling them back over Amy’s chest, which was barely rising and falling, “but the real damage is yet to be fixed. I have to mend the tissue that was torn apart on the inside, not the outside. Although that helped, what you did,” she added to Terrin.
After a few quick breaths, Courtney set her hands on Amy’s forehead, let her breath pass out of her mouth, and let loose the most intense blast of Healing energy she had ever performed. The force was such that it rattled the room, and knocked Terra off her feet, though luckily the Caster was there to catch her.
A few agonizing seconds passed…
And then Amy surged forward chest first, sucking in air loudly, and coughing fit to burst. Her eyes opened, and Terrin, Courtney and Terra were able to see that they were bloodshot, but focused. She pulled in shaking breaths one by one… and then she let out a trembling sob.
“Mommy!” shouted Terra, leaping away from Terrin and rushing forward to jump onto the table and embrace her mother. Amy wasted not a second before she pulled her daughter into a tight hug… and the Caster reflected morosely in his mind that they were all they still had, besides the other Tears.
* * *
Hours and hours later, Terrin emerged out onto the platform of the Stars’ underground base. The night was quiet and windless, save for the occasional gust that would swirl the elf’s long black strands of hair about like wildfire. The mountains were unmoving… not even a single drift of snow moved. It was as if it was built especially for Terrin.
For hours, the elf sat, alone and in solitude, by himself on the ground, next to the Supernova sword, which was again stuck point up in the ground, like a monolith to the loss of its owner. The Caster took a look over at it after a while…
And fell onto his back, hands over his eyes, crying louder than he ever had in his life. Tears spilled down his face, and he shook with the emotions shooting through him. My friends… you are spent…
Terrin did not know how long he laid there and cried his eyes out… all he knew was that at some point, the tears stopped for an inexplicable reason, and he rose up to his feet, eyes bright red, and his face wet. He reached over, grasped the Supernova sword’s handle, and pulled it resolutely from the ground. He held it in both hands, stroking its shining surface, before turning his gaze to the red sky. Dawn was approaching.
Blitz… your life is ended… but I will not stop. I will not fail you like I have failed the Stars… like I have failed the Tears. I promise you… wherever you are, my friend, that I will set things right, one way or another. I will find you, my brother. And we will rebuild what we have lost… together.
And as Terrin stood there, gazing up at the sky, he finally felt ultimate peace encompass him, it’s warmth spreading through his limbs like a comforting hand… and he knew that somewhere, Tokumaru saw him as clearly as he saw himself now. He knew, once and for all, that the fighting was over, and that he would see his friends again, no matter what the cost. This pledge he sealed eternally in his mind, and he turned his eyes from the stars and the heavens, as they disappeared into the red sunrise.
Dawn. A light breeze floated from the rising sun and flicked over the now barren remains of T’lemenheim, ignorant of the previous day’s atrocities. The ruined castle, once suspended in the sky as a testament to an ancient race, had been a battlefield for countless rivals. Here, the Tears, the Stars and the Heavens themselves had come to end it once and for all. T’lemenheim had seen its final war, received its last burn, and now would rest forever undisturbed, caressed by gentle winds. Someday the grass would return, and the destroyed castle would be covered in thick foliage to become a marvel greater even than on the day of its completion.
But there was something different about this wind. Today, it felt sadly majestic, cool to the skin, almost as though the soft current hailed from the far north. In fact, something was floating on the winds themselves, teetering on the edge of existence. A shimmering, hazy, blue image shifted along with the air currents as if to take a solid shape. Had such a sight been perceivable by the naked eye, an unbeliever might be driven mad. For as the disfigured geometry mingled, its similarity could not be denied.
Amy! His eyes shot open, and he immediately darted forward, searching frantically for any sign of his wife. Amy, where are you? he cried out, not quite hearing his own voice. Suddenly, he stopped. T’lemenheim glittered around him with an almost angelic appeal. Something terrible had happened here. Tokumaru… he whispered emotionlessly. At that moment, he realized that he could not hear his voice. Looking down at himself then, a morbid dread filled him. His skin was no longer its usual slightly tanned peach; but now a soft, wavy blue. He stared at his hands in horror.
Crying out the name of his beloved again, he shot forward, knowing not what lay ahead; only that he couldn’t remain here. He shouted her name over and over again, hoping beyond hope that she might call back. By the time he stopped, the sun was high overhead. It was impossible for her to have survived, and he knew that. Terrin was gone, destroyed by Tokumaru. No one could have saved Amy. Oh, God, Terra… He sobbed though there were no tears left in his eyes. His daughter had most certainly perished as well, for the Demonflame would spare a child no mercy. I…I failed them…all of them… Oh, Amy… He collapsed on the grass, holding his head in his hands, and wept. All sense of time was gone; he could have cried for days, but not a single tear was shed.
He had let down his friends and family for the last time, and for his failure he would pay a price worse than death. He would remain anchored to this world, stripped of everything he had ever known and completely isolated from any faintest hope of happiness, eternally longing for final release: the lonely spirit.