“Hot… Cold… Hot… Cold” Latio mused, repeatedly snapping his fingers, resulting in a small wisp of fire each time, and each only lasting a few seconds. He’d been left behind by the rest of the group, though he could still hear them from where he was.
A sudden metal slam emanated from the direction the others were walking towards, and the fox ran towards it, reaching the others in a few minutes. Strange, it’s a lot warmer in here. Abnormally warm, like there was a f-
“’Bout time you showed up.” The angel with the mechanical body, the same that brought all of them here, said. “Listen, we need you to get through this door, and then the room beyond it.”
“Why’d you wait for me? I would’ve caught up.” Latio responded.
“Because the door’s too hot for any of us to touch, and it’s sealed, anyhow. You’re the Chosen of Fire, you’ll be able to open it.” So the foxfolk stepped up to the door, his steps echoing in the large entrance room. He placed his hands on the large, scarlet double-doors, and gave them a heave, feeling no heat, or any resistance which would indicate a seal.
They flew open, revealing the corridor beyond: a pool of magma, contained by smooth, dark red walls. The corridor was three meters across, ten long. Jutting out of the super-hot fluid were about three dozen small posts, each about nine inches high, and only big enough to fit a single foot at a time. There were small, turret-like ornaments sticking out from the walls and ceiling, which Latio immediately suspected to be part of this test. After locating all the posts, he started leaping. The platform he originally stood on sunk immediately, and he could feel the post crumbling under his weight. The ornaments took notice and started to shoot streams of fire at seemingly random points and angles, though effectively making almost half of the posts obsolete. Less than a second later, they started rotating their beams of flame, some instead moving up and down, or side to side.
The quick fox jumped from the remaining centimetre or so of the post, moving swiftly between three or four rows of fire, and balancing on the next with his hands. He pushed off, landed feet first against the right wall, tore up one of the turrets, and leaped to another post, this one large enough to stand on. He was half-way down the corridor. I guess this is where I get ton stop and th- His thoughts were cut off by the shaking of the platform he stood on. It started sinking. Well, scratch that idea. The condensed flamethrowers almost cremated him on the next leap, if they were any wider, but the grey fox landed on the next post safely. A couple more to go, then I’m done. He darted to the roof, taking out another turret, and shot back down upon another stake. Out of excitement he leapt to the final platform without thinking, and felt a blade of heat slicing at him from the left. Crap, I’m dead. The fire pillar struck his side, burnt through him, and dipped back into the lava.
Or, that’s what he imagined. In reality, it phased right through him, leaving no marks at all. The Chosen of Fire landed on a platform about a meter in circumference, and accidentally fell on a raised tile, obviously a switch. Luckily, it cooled the magma, allowing the other seven to cross. Another set of double doors appeared at the end.
I have so many new friends, Kawaii thought as she skipped alongside her pale companion, I’m the luckiest girl in the world.
Naturally, as the doll was busy having a good time being around people, the people she was around were busy getting further ahead. At the end of the corridor, there stood yet another barrier to the progress. Like the seals before it, this door was protected by one of the elements, one that was different than before. With Fire and Ice already passed, the door of Earth now stood in their way.
In similar fashion to previous actions, the angel that had originally brought the seven to this odd castle discerned the element that would allow them to move forward. Taking no more than a few seconds to find that it was indeed Earth, he turned to his followers. Looking amongst their faces, he found that the Chosen who would open the way ahead was not with them, but below them.
Fixing Kawaii in his gaze, he began to approach the oblivious little girl. When she saw him coming, she added on to what was already a brimming smile, knowing that he was going to talk to her. “Hello there little girl,” the angel said, “I need you to do us a favor.”
“What kind of a favor?” she asked, even though it was in her nature to help regardless of the task.
“As the Chosen of Earth, you’re the only one who can open that door. So, we need you to open it for us.”
“Okay.” And with that, she darted past the angel and approached the door.
Had an ordinary spectator been standing nearby, they would have found the current scene quite humorous. A little girl dressed in pink, standing before a mighty gate of steel heavier than the strongest man could budge. But not daunted, or even, to her merit, very aware, with the size of the door, Kawaii put both her hands to the door’s surface and gave it a solid push.
However, unlike the previous seals, this one did not easily give way to her effort. Even with her exceptional strength behind the push, the door had not moved an inch from its original position. But not one to let a little resistance stop her from performing a favor, she adjusted her footing, straightened out her back, and forced herself forward with all her might.
As she pushed, the tremendous door slowly began to open. From beyond, the sound of cracking stone could be heard getting louder as the opening became wider. In a moment, the source became evident. Weather it was through the ever present pull of gravity, or intentional design, the door had been sunken into the floor, preventing anyone from opening it.
But despite the extra resistance she was pitted against, Kawaii was still able to open the door enough to let the rest of the group get by. After their passage was wide enough for someone to walk through, the half metal angel approached the doll to put and end to her strain. “You opened it far enough,” he said, tapping his metal hand against the door to get her attention, “You can stop pushing now.”
“Okay,” she replied, giving a polite bow, “You’re welcome.”
With that, she returned to the side of her favorite new friend. “Did you see me?” she asked excitedly, “I opened the door. The weird angel said no one else could do it, and I did it. Did you see me Ahavalin?”
“Yes, I saw you,” he replied peacefully, “Good job.”
On that note, they followed the rest of the group into the next room, where the next door was waiting.
OoC: I'm happy.
Signature, Avatar, and Character Buttons made by Lady Knives.
OoC: Sorry if I get your character wrong librairian.
Is this what he was like…?
He felt alone…I…feel…
A vampire stood beside a small girl, her hand over her eyes, attempting to shield out the white light radiating from the shining ball of fire in the sky. Her other hand lay sprawled across her small pink dress, the picture of innocence captured perfectly.
“Is it okay if we be friends?”
Ahavalin blinked meticulously down at the infant, puzzlement dotted all over his weathered face. All trace of his surprise at the arrival had vanished; that feeling had been replaced by a mixture of confusion and suspicion.
“Yes…we can be…friends.”
The youth beamed, filling Ahavalin with a childish joy. She around on the spot, apparently quite content with the way her dress flopped to and fro with her movements. She grabbed his hand and pulled on it, a signal for him to follow her. The vampire followed obediently, wondering why he was letting himself be pulled around by little more than a child. He let go of his thoughts when a blinding flash of light flared into his vision, causing him to recoil, hissing, into a corner. Kawaii stumbled over to his semi-prone figure and waved her hands in front of his eyes, attempting to make him better.
“Ahavalin! What’s wrong?!”
The vampire pushed himself to his feet, closing his eyes completely. “I…don’t know. The light isn’t natural...”
Kawaii turned to look at the source of the light and noticed where it came from. Her eyes widened, and then she turned back to the nosferatu behind her.
“It’s coming from the door…”
Ahavalin groaned, swaying slightly on the spot. Kawaii grabbed his hand, muttering something to herself. The people around them stared curiously at the unlikely duo, watching as a dark green light flowed from Kawaii to Ahavalin.
“Here…see through my eyes…”
The searing pain was no more. Ahavalin’s eyes fluttered open, though what he took in wasn’t from the same view. His eyesight seemed worse than it was before- his acute senses had been replaced by Kawaii’s human ones. The youngster squeezed his hand tighter, looking up at the man beside her.
“It’s because you’re the chosen of the body, isn’t it Ahavalin?”
The vampire nodded uncertainly and turned to Kawaii, rolling up the sleeve of his jacket with his free hand. “So what do I have to do with this door? Do you know?”
The doll pointed to Valion, note noticing the android angel narrowing his eyes on her pretentiously. “That creepy man might know Ahavalin.”
The nosferatu turned around unexpectedly, causing the group of onlookers to halt from their dull chatter. The vampire swung his cloak out from his body, showing his array of leather pieces that made his suit to the onlooking audience. His eyes darted to each of them in turn; though they stopped on one person.
The knight scowled and folded her arms, looking at Ahavalin with distaste. “Salutations, Ahavalin…I don’t mean to be rude, but don’t you think you should get to opening this door?”
Ahavalin ignored the inquiry, attempting to spark up new conversation with the woman. “How long has it been since the...incident in the forest? It seems like an age.”
Tanith smiled slightly, letting her arms fall to her sides and rest on her hips. “Indeed…Though I suppose the time would not mean much to you? I am unsure of how…your age-“
Ahavalin held a hand to signal silence, and she trailed off reluctantly. “Friends should always be together, don’t you think?”
Kawaii grinned, skipping over to Ahavalin and taking hold of his hand once again. “I think so, ‘Havalin.”
The luminae smiled down at her, not noticing his fondness for her being observed by everyone present. When he looked up, however, he was greeted by an assortment of impatient faces. The vampire cleared his throat before turning around to face the strange, bronze door before him.
“Oh yes…The door…”
With one hand firmly resting on the door and one still being clutched by Kawaii, the Vampire stepped forward and pushed the door. The bronze gate swung open quickly, slamming on the walls of the inside chamber. A metallic clang resonated through the ears of the chosen, causing a few to clasp their hands over their ears and clench their teeth together. After a few short moments the maddening ringing dimmed and the cybernetic angel he had observed before stepped forward, a smirk apparent over his features.
“You figured it out, though I suppose it was simple. Very well then, we’ll move on…”
And with that, the heavenly messenger stepped through the gateway, not waiting for the others to follow. Ahavalin turned to Kawaii and smiled happily. The child did the same to him before looking through the entrance to the new room.
“It’s because you were the body person wasn’t it? And you were with someone else?”
Ahavalin nodded absently, his keen vision returning and the ancient magic that kept them together fading back into the walls of where it came. “I think it was, Kawaii.”
And with that, the unlikely two grasped hands firmly and walked through the stone archway together.
Karaza walked slowly around through the hallways of varying colors, watching as the other members of the group performed tasks to open their doors. He looked on, bored, as a man and his tiny companion opened another gateway. This is pointless. Why can I just break through the walls? Although he knew that it obviously wasn’t meant to be done this way, it sure did seem tempting.
As the door opened, the group advanced into the next room. It was another short hallway. The walls were made of a stone, light purple in color, and had odd designs which seemed to emit a bright purple light. He sighed, and continued walking silently behind the rest of the group. This was getting extremely repetitive. They walked for another minute or so, and came to an opening.
Karaza looked around the new room and subconsciously realized that it was his turn. He didn’t know how, but this just seemed to call to him. They had stepped out of the hallway onto a small balcony, hung over an unimaginably deep pit. The bottom could not be seen, despite the purple glow which continued throughout the room.
From each of the walls, there were lots of openings, and from each opening came an incredibly powerful gust of wind. The wind! That was what made this feel so familiar to Karaza, but why? Despite this realization, he continued peering around the room, looking for the objective of his task. The strings of wind which came from each duct were amazingly compacted jets, and didn’t spread at all. So much so, that it was as if you could see the air bending, like you would just above a fire.
Karaza turned to the angel named Valion, who was already staring directly at him. Everyone else was still analyzing the room. There was an intense silence between the two as all the others mumbled amongst themselves. Something about this man seriously irritated Karaza, and made his stomach leap, but what could possibly be causing it?
He waited for Valion to explain to him that this was his presented task, or something else like that, but even after everyone else had quieted and turned to look at the two men, he said nothing. “Well?” Karaza asked him. “Shouldn’t I get an explanation about how I need to open the path, or something?
Valion’s grip on his voicelessness remained vigilant. Karaza took another look around. The balcony ended only four feet from the exit of the tunnel, and the other side of the room was at least twenty feet away. He looked up and instantly understood the task. He needed to get everyone to the next sealed door, which was at least eight storeys up. He was sure that with a little help, reaching the door would be no problem for the group, but the challenge then appeared to him.
“Alright. If you won’t answer me, then I’ll figure it out for myself,” said Karaza coldly to the angel. He pushed past him and made his way for the edge of the balcony. By now, everyone had focused their attention on him, and when he hopped over the railing and simply fell into blackness, several gasps were heard. Though perhaps not relieved, the group was surprised to see him spiraling upwards out of the black abyss.
Normally, with his flying abilities, Karaza would have no problem reaching such a height, but he noticed only a few feet above the balcony that there was a strong downward thrust coming from above. He pushed harder, but with his attention to detail faltering, he flew into a jet of air. Before he could realize his mistake, he was thrown violently into a wall by the gale. He hit his head upon impact, and temporarily lost flight, but managed to stop his fall.
“Damn it.” This was going to be harder than he had assumed. The air ducts were placed so that a safe flight was impossible, and it seemed that he couldn’t block the air with telekinesis. It was almost as if it passed right through his mental barriers. Though, the task seemed to require he block the hole with something. “But what?”
His question was answered, perhaps, though, not in the way he expected, when he heard a whizzing coming from above. He looked up as rapidly as he could manage, and just barely managed to avoid the falling block of stone. Everyone on the balcony below was forced to dive out of the way in order to avoid it. It crashed with a loud boom and stirred up some dust.
Karaza understood the task now. He flew down towards the balcony and used telekinesis to grasp the large block, and brought it with him on his ascent. As he neared the opening that had sent him into a wall, he placed the slab of stone into it, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it fit perfectly. The wind from that duct ceased.
Now he needed to do that with every jet of wind blocking the way. He waited, though, and found that no more blocks came. What had he done to trigger it? He flew to the same place, but whatever mechanism that had caused it was no longer there. So what had made the block fall? Perhaps it had been the entering of his body into a stream.
To test this, he flew another few feet to reach a slightly smaller patch of coursing wind. Again, however, he was thrown mercilessly into a wall. He had been correct, though, for another stone block quickly fell. This time, it was aimed for the dark pit, and Karaza couldn’t afford to lose it. As it passed him, he took hold of it with his mental force. It was very heavy, though, and strained on his mind. He managed to place it in the slot, and again, the wind stopped.
This carried on multiple more times until finally Karaza had but one block left. It fell, and due to it’s enormousness, it fell with great velocity. Karaza did manage to catch it, though, and used the last of his psychic force to place it into its resting place.
That was all he could give, though, and he then began a dreadful downward plummet. Closing his eyes, he readied to accept the dark abyss. Imagine his surprise, then, when he was caught by someone. He opened his eyes to see who had been gracious enough to catch him, and found the angel, Mesfido. He smiled and bowed his head gratefully to him.
In the end, Mesfido carried Karaza to the ledge which he had made accessible. Karaza understood that Valion had carried the others who could not fly.
Karaza looked at his final challenge. The mighty door stood in front of him, and basked them all in a beautiful purple light. In the center, level with Karaza’s head, there was a small hole. Karaza laughed and walked weakly over to it. Leaning in close, he blew faintly into the hole, and collapsed. Mesfido caught him, but he was too weak and needed rest. It was ironic to him that he could withstand so much pain, but then faint after having to give one breath.
He couldn’t keep his eyes open long enough to watch the opening of a door which made no sound other than the rustling of the wind.
OoC - Karaza got pwned! O_o
Anyway, I'm not sure if everyone has completed a task, but if not, someone have him wake up after everyone has.
OoC: Many, many apologies for the excessively long wait. =(
IC: It came with the brush of air that opened Karaza's door, a sense that something was terribly wrong.
Amaranth was burning.
Breathless and gradual, a tongue of flame swept wildly through Amaranthine's veins, picking notes upon her flesh as though she were a lute, handled by the roughest of minstrels. She gasped, clapping a hand to her chest, where fingers gripped just below her throat—fire was swelling into the crevices of her bones, filling her brain with vague and heated fumes.
Somewhere, iron lurked in this room.
Amaranth swung her hunted glance across the lightless path—the room Karaza had only now given them access to was plunged in shade. She could see nothing, as her eyes had not yet adjusted.
“He’s unconscious,” said Mesfido, suddenly.
Voices rippled through Amaranthine’s conscious and the mellow gloom; mild and singular, Mesfido’s comment spiraled into the lightless vaults of oblivion, faded into the famished maw of silence and was lost. Amaranth turned to where the voice had issued from in a watery daze; where a band of light from the last room painted the doorway, recoiling from the threshold of this room as though from something poison, she saw only silhouettes, molded in shadow against the feeble light.
“He’ll be all right?” Tanith asked. Her murky outline leant forward, as though she squinted into the general direction of everyone’s address. Karaza, wherever he was in his insensibility, was concealed.
Or perhaps Amaranth’s swimming vision had lost the ability to focus and she was going blind…
“He should be,” someone rejoined.
“Let’s go, everyone.” Valion, from some yards up ahead. The specters that were the warriors began to move; they streamed past Amaranth and she stood there, clutching her heart.
“Hey, come on.”
Someone had addressed her, had flowed by her…
With a violent jerk, Amaranth wrenched her mind back to the present.
It’s this damned temple, she thought violently—it was only the steel that paved its doorways and ceilings that she now sensed. This surely was the road on which the hapless soul wound his way to perdition, where steel door bared the archways, hiding behind their cancerous bulks the only path forward! Amaranth gritted her teeth. She harboured no generosity in her soul: she would not reconcile herself to the presence of iron, would not acquiesce to its ubiquity and from there concentrate solely upon the matter at the warriors’ hand. What issue could she affix her attention to, but that which caused her the most pain? Amaranth's mind passed from the reality of the situation, was rocked with sudden irritation. No comfort could be found without, where resided the steel—there was only herself to garner solace from, solace in her misery. And Amaranthine's self, with the pitiless and narrow fervour of a fairy, had found only one sentiment to cling to.
Hatred began to kindle, and she would hate this temple—as well as those who had brought her here.
The room had become a physical pain. Amaranth could feel her temperature rising beneath her cloak; blink and grumble though she did, her companions had burned themselves into her vision: she could not expunge their ghosts from the black haunts of her eyelids. Her staff was growing hot within the confines of her palm—she shifted it, from one hand to the other, and the heat grew. Confusion played where fury did not. She was starting to feel ill, her vision to waver.
A delicate tap brought her gasping from the depths of iron, into white heat, a sightless reality. Her senses returned to her in increments, came only with the thaw of bright heat into endless waves of pain. It was a mild pain that settled throughout her limbs and ringed her torso.
If Amaranth concentrated hard enough, she could see him approach through shrouds of colour and patterns of dark. There was Tanith at her right side, looking at her oddly, and the rest several yards away, all staring at her, and there was Valion, cleaving a path through their midst in her direction. Amaranth’s feet had drawn her to a halt long before she had caught up with the remainder of the group. Neither would move a pace forward. She was feeling quite dizzy.
“What d’ye want?” she called, belligerently. She took a step back and perhaps it was farther than she had intended; her knees nearly gave way, and she staggered sideways. Irritation rounded in leaps and bounds from every atom of her being, snapping in virulent tones as she stumbled about. Valion looked unfazed.
“Amaranth, it’s your turn,” said Tanith, gesturing at the group ahead. “Around the bend. Your trial…”
“I don’t wish tae take it!” Amaranth attempted a glance at the speaker but found her eyes wouldn’t focus. Her brain was spinning. She staggered backward several steps more.
The hem of her cloak felt heavy, her boots no longer dully knocking the ground, but splashing. She shook her head, tried to focus her gaze yet again. But it was useless and she was beyond all caring. She collapsed where she stood and water folded about her.
The burning grew in increments, and her clouded brain thirsted for sleep.
Amaranth caught the image of Valion just as she was about to lie down, and she forced her head back, her eyes to find him in the arching darkness above. She could not make out his face, but realized he had handed her something; she took it and in the next moment was upright, reeling, her hand caught in his iron grasp.
She protested mutely.
The heat was growing stronger as he was dragged her forward. Perhaps there was a cauldron of boiling water and Valion would push her in and she would be scorched—but she was so hot already—Amaranth’s lips moved, and she endeavoured to speak. The words would not come—though perhaps they did and it was just their sounds that would not come and if she tried too hard to articulate her objections, she would throttle herself—just without the hands but with her own tongue and that would hurt just as much…
Valion had pulled her to the environs of the group and she began to fight him weakly. It was growing too hot, too murderously hot—
“There,” he said. The Red Sea of warriors had parted and they left her but one thing to gape at.
A wall of iron. Pure, unadulterated, unsullied iron.
Amaranth began to scream.
“Dear gods, no, no, no!”
Valion had loosened his grip and she twisted away, breaking past him—but he was too fast for her, catching her before she could run, guiding her back toward the wall. She shrieked again and flung her fists about—if the opportunity presented itself, she would bite him—but there were no opportunities and the wall drew only closer and closer and the heat was sharper now and it careened through her like nails plunged into her veins and bloodstream and she could no longer think. Fire had filled her brain and ears, liquid fire, molten iron, melting her, searing her. She tried screaming again but the fire had turned her larynx against her and she gagged on its parched form—
“Just go in,” said Valion from someplace distant, “and I’ll follow. Go in…”
“Go in—go in—go in where—?”
“Into the maze. Just go. Just go…”
Perhaps her terror had been for nothing—she could breathe again—she stared at Valion, gasping—stared at him and then her eyes slid beyond him—her heart contracted.
The flickering ghost of her father stood at Valion’s shoulder, holding his iron candlestick, and he clutched in his massive hands a key. His eyes flickered from her to the door and he shook the key; Amaranth began to shake her head. “Ye wouldna dare,” she whispered. “Ye wouldna dare—”
But he had done it more times in her childhood than she could count, locking her up in some gloomy chamber if she took too restive a turn—incarcerating her until she had settled down and even then he might forget to let her out and she would remain under lock and key where no light fell for hours on end. Ah! And she had thought she had escaped his indomitable key when she fled his mausoleum, only to discover he lurked and lingered in all places and was no less hesitant to imprison her now than he had been before…
“Find the lever that will let everyone into the next room.”
Her gaze fell from her father and back upon Valion; he kept sliding from view and she saw a locked door instead—with a shudder, Amaranth turned.
She began her slow, wooden way toward the maze of iron.
The ingress was a towering arch that wound off to the right; she took this path, feet dragging through the pool of water. It wandered several feet, turned left, split after a yard. The burning had returned. The stink of iron drenched her nostrils.
Amaranth chose the right path, took it some yards. Now left, then left again—her legs were quaking, her vision starting to slide. Her head had moved beyond pain, and was now numb, sweltering.
Right. The lane was growing broader. Left. Broader still. Right—her paling eyesight saw another split, and she turned left—
But there was no split; her eyes had deceived. She slammed into a wall—crimson blossomed across her eyes—Amaranth staggered back with a violent hiss of pain, and cringed aside.
Iron walls bottled her in; she lurched back around, stumbled from whence she had come. She could not recall if she had gone left or right or how far she had come down the corridor—she turned at the first opening that presented itself. Her aura was collared in iron; like the tightening of a fetter, she felt suddenly compressed, unable to breath. She flailed with what strength remained to her, tried to spin around and tear her way out. She encountered something in the advance, something grim and solid. It was not iron, and compared to that murderous substance, the something was blessedly human. Her tear ducts had dried in the heat and still she managed to sob; her body, lurched this way and that by her cries, pulled her further into the asphyxiating maze. She retreated like a monster struck by light, drawing further back with head bent, eyes half shut.
She was beginning to lose cognizance.
Full sentience lay shattered as though callous hands had fingered its fragile sides—and yet, there remained amid the broken pieces some form of reverted awareness—something animal, primal, as she had lost the cognition of man. She turned right again, and the trail grew broader. It was disorienting, for though her pain was dimly assuaged, it felt terribly wrong. Amaranthine retraced her steps mechanically. Subconscious impulses prodded her forward, having abandoned all else—she was a shell, a lifeless shell, drifting upon the waters, without form, without perception—and still she burned…
Amaranth could no longer see.
The world had retreated into blinding white—she was left with nothing but this ivory, this heat, and this stifling closet of iron. But to die! To leave this misery behind and sleep in the cold, frozen comforts of Paradise… Her hands rose mechanically as she turned—she no longer marked her direction, for direction was useless, here amid the flames of purgatory. They stumbled over a scorching rod of iron, flickered away as her face, almost insensate, twisted with new pain.
But that was it. The lever. She had found the lever.
What was left of Amaranth’s conscious paused over the object of her aim, stricken with animal terror, held with a human’s sense of fulfillment. The lever was chest high, heavy, even. Her hand stretched forth blindly, traced in flashes the iron-lined gap through which the lever should be drawn. She trembled—a sickening, remorseless flood was beginning to rise in her—dear gods, she couldn’t touch this, her hands would burn and the blaze would pass through her palms and into her body and she would burn from the inside—but it came in a burst of memory—
Daddy will lock me up and it’s so dark he’ll lock me up again and he’ll forget to let me out dear gods, not that, not that again—
Sightless, voiceless, thoughtless: Amaranthine reached up and grabbed the lever.
It came gliding down with fairy ease, with laughable, fairy ease, too quickly for her perception, or what was left of it. She came plummeting with the lever, her feet slipping futilely through the pond, crashing against the iron wall, vibrant with pain. She took a sudden breath, as an inferno seared her hands—the walls of the maze had collapsed, sunk into the water with a roar. The others were coming up behind her—there were voices, someone hoisting her upright, a sweet breath of cool ventilation from the next room, however it had opened, wherever that opening lay. For a moment, Amaranth could see again; she glanced down at her throbbing hands and saw they were livid, discoloured and burned beyond all recognition. Pain, however, had stripped her of all emotion.
She was staring at her hands, at their bruises, and then her hands skidded from sight, leaving only the lifeless waters, the phantoms, the blooming visions that could not be there—
Amaranth relinquished all pretension, and gave herself to insensibility.
OoC: Another character knocked out! This post turned into a bad stream of conscious halfway through, so apologies for a loss of punctuation, a surfeit of “ands” and run-on sentences, and general post length. O_o
OOC: Sorry about the long delay, but Mr.Man has had WAY too long to post his trial. Instead, I’m going to post a slightly passive version of it. Mr.Man may still post his trial, and like Chozo’s dream post, and if we can be bothered to do so, we will move it up.
For seven locks are seven keys. Six are opened, and one remains. I shall be freed of Vallaris soon enough, and I will have a new vessel from which to exact my revenge. I await you, Valion.
“Take her, Tanith. We have one more trial left before the end, and now is not the time to delay.” Tanith slowly made her way over to the fallen form of Amaranth, and picked up the diminutive figure, carrying her with relative ease. Valion lead the group past the opened door. They had only to walk for a minute before their progress was impeded by another door. This one, unlike the others, was not made of stone or iron. It was made of a black, opaque glass.
“I’m guessing that this is my trial.” Mesfido spoke from the side of Valion.
“Yes, and then nothing stands between us and the goal. Try not to show off,” Valion joked. A humorous smile crossed Mesfido's lips, and he set down his unconscious comrade. He took three strides forward, stopping before the glass, and laid a palm against it.
“What am I supposed to do, just-” Mesfido started, but his sentence abruptly ended when the glass pulled him forward. Instead of smashing against the surface, he passed straight through and out of sight. Valion darted forward, his fist crashing into the surface of the mirror in an attempt to follow. But it was solid, not even a crack appearing from the blow.
“I’m guessing that this is for the angel to do alone,” Ahavalin said from behind Valion. A sigh escaped the mechanical angel's lips, and he took a step back.
“We wait then.”
Minutes passed as the group waited. Some talked, others stood and watched the glass panel that blocked them from their comrade. Tanith had laid Amaranth down against the wall, and was speaking to her softly, trying to waken her.
Did you know the fairy had a severe allergy to iron?
It was stated in the Sacred Book. Doubtless the monks who built this place prepared for such a creature.
Turning back to look at the fairy's unconscious form, his eyes lingered over the burns on her pale hands.
She’ll be okay. A dose of magic should fix her up.
It was inevitable that someone should be hurt in this place, but nonetheless, Valion felt a twinge of guilt for bringing such pain on his companion. Before his thoughts could concentrate on how he was going to make up for it, the glass barrier cracked straight down the center. Numerous cracks branched off from it, giving the impression of veins. Suddenly, the whole barrier collapsed in an ear splitting crash. Valion, not caring about his own safety, darted forward in search of Mesfido. It took him less than a moment to scope out the fallen form at the other end of the hall. Upon reaching it, he found that Mesfido unconscious. There wasn’t a single mark upon him.
What happened here?
Negative energy traces, extremely faint, litter the room. They seem to reside within the mirrors.
Valion glanced around, and found that the room's walls were blanketed with mirrors, all different shapes and sizes. Realization hit him, and he looked forward. A barrier of solid white glass, not unlike the first one, filled the space in front of them. Fortunately, this one had a human sized hole in it.
“That’s three we’ve lost so far,” Tanith muttered from the angelic beings side, Amaranth once again slung across her shoulders. The words failed to penetrate Valion’s mind. His attention was focused on what lay beyond the white glass. Another door, similar in design to the very first one but much bigger in size, awaited them.
“Someone carry Karaza and Mesfido. We’ve nearly finished.”
Stepping over the fallen angel, Valion calmly walked forward, making his way through the hole and up to the door. The others filed through, carrying their fallen friends.
“What are they?” Latio asked, pointing at several statues placed at points along the door.
“The very first saints and sinners. The ones who chose you to proceed after they departed.” Making the sign of the cross, Valion bowed low, paying his respects to his superiors.
“Karaza and Latio must go to the far left, Amaranth and Mesfido to the far right. Ahavalin and Kawaii, stand next to the statues on my left and right.” As each name was spoken, each person moved according to where they belonged. The unconscious ones were laid down next to the statues.
“What about me?” Tanith asked.
“You’re to stand with me, in the center.” Moving forward, Valion pressed his palm against the hard, cold stone of the door. Tanith took a stance next to him, and did likewise.
“Now what?!” Latio shouted. The angel didn’t reply, his eyes closed and muttering words so fast that they were unintelligible.
“Raphael, Archangel of Truth and Wind. Gabriel, Archangel of the Right Order and Fire. Chamuel, Archangel of Obedience and Ice. Michael, Archangel of Prosperity and Body. Adabiel, Archangel of Wisdom and Earth. Haniel, Archangel of Health and Lightning. Zaphiel, Archangel of Immortality and Water. Remiel, Angel of Death. We have assembled. Open the door.” Almost instantly, the entire temple began to shake. Loose stone fell from the walls. Suddenly, the statues began to glow, each emitting their own brightly colored light. They drew in the person nearest, until the angel could no longer see them. Tanith herself was enveloped in a pale blue light. This didn’t matter to the angel. His own fate was growing clear. The door itself was beginning to open. As it separated, light shone from the other side. The doors slid away fully, revealing what was on the other side.
An orb, roughly the size of a human’s torso, hung in the air before Valion. It yielded an ever-changing complexion, its surface moving between various shades of crimson, emerald green, sky blue, and incandcsent white. The small chamber in which it was held was constantly changing from black to white, giving a reason to the changing nature of the temple itself.
So… the time has come. Damnation ends, and the armageddon begins.
Floating forward, the orb lazily circled Valion, as if inspecting him.
Not too shabby. He trained you well, I guess. In the life I led, I have never seen such a… peculiar servant.
The words rapped against the angelic being's skull, and he stumbled backwards.
I didn’t come here to work for you. I came here to fulfill my duty, to destroy you.
At this, the spirit ball laughed shrilly, making him shiver.
Do you really think it is that easy? If it had been, do you not think that the Seven would have done it? I cannot be destroyed, son of Remiel. I am a being of pure Aetherion, a substance which made the universe. You cannot stop me from taking what I want.
I was never one to give up without a fight, Virtus. I think you’ll find possession of my body won’t be as easy as you think.
Don’t be so cocky, you fool. Sharing bloodlines makes my intrusion so much easier.
Something like vomit crawling up his throat made Valion double over, dryly retching as the nausea continued.
Oh, this is too good to be true. Remiel never told you, did he?
At the mention of his father, Valion let his gaze rise to the spirit, his face contorted in pain and resentment.
You and I are alike in so many ways. The way we quest for power, for something we can’t have. The way we were punished for crimes that weren’t our fault. You will make a fitting vessel to carry me into this new age, my grandson.
And with that, the spirit shot forward into Valion's skull, the sudden movement sending the angel crashing backwards. Sparks fluttered from his wings. His eyes flashed crimson before switching to aqua blue, emerald green, and other such colors. Inside, the souls of many battled for control, desperate to become the dominant spirit in Valion's body.
And, with a flash of pure energy that scorched the stone floor, the angel disappeared from the temple's cavernous clutches.
~One Week Later~
Elemental prowess beyond imagination with this weapon, R.V. I have control of it now. He is nothing more than an annoyance, like Hadriel.
And he shall remain that way until the end arises.
Scratching his chin absentmindedly, Valion hung his coat and pendant upon their respective stand. Falling heavily onto his bed, the angel kicked off his boots and laid back.
You may have control for now, boy, but it will not last. I know this for sure. I-
Can you be quiet! Even I tire of you when you go on your rants about this crap!
Ah, Hadriel, it’s nice to hear you siding with me for once.
Don’t think it’s permanent, Valion. I loathe both you and Virtus equally, and I won’t think twice about obliterating you from this body once I gain control.
Now who’s going on a rant?
Laughing inwardly, Valion pulled the covers up around his form and closed his eyes. It was good to be dominant.
OOC: Thanks for participating, hope you had a good time. I sure did. ^^
Dense, the atmosphere was dense. There was a feeling that hung so heavily in the air; it felt as if it were tangible. Not so much a bad feeling, but a strong feeling. It was that last moment in time before something important happened. Everything around seemed saturated by finality. It was almost like the incarnation of the end was waiting ahead. For all the journey was worth, the end of the road looked to be greater than the sum of its parts. This was what the finality was like. That at the conclusion, there would be something larger than the path allowed to be seen.
All of the chosen might as well have felt this way. After each door was opened, the path was that much shorter. With Mesfido on the other side of the final gate, it was only a matter of time before it was open, and they were finished. They tried keeping the feeling away with conversation, but it still remained. None of them could shake the uneasy sensation. It poked at their minds like a fishbone pokes at the back of the throat. But fate had given each of them a strong will, or at least strong enough to bear the feeling.
In that respect, Kawaii was lucky. Her attention had all but drifted away from the relevance of their situation. She, unlike most of the other depressed souls around her, gave off plenty of energy. As her vampiritic friend watched, she jumped from her feet onto her hands, trying to perform a handstand. With a little strength and a little balance, she held herself upside down for a few moments before falling over. Picking herself up, she tried a second time, but fell onto her back just as before.
Ahavalin was smiling at her. Even with the dense air, his spirit was lifted by the lively little doll. After watching her fall a third time, he thought he would give her a little help. “Here,” he said, helping her back up, “You stand on your hands, and I’ll help with your feet.”
“Okay,” she replied cheerfully, flipping herself back off her feet, “Like this?”
“Just like that.”
Careful not to scratch her, he put a hand over each of her heels. Before he could say anything, he noticed one of the others was sending a strange look in his direction. Though it may have been the normal look on his face, he could have sworn the fox was looking at him funny. Ignoring the odd glare, he picked up where he left off. “Just spread your legs a little more,” he said, “And then move over a little.” Letting her go, he took a step backwards. “There, see? You’re standing all by yourself.”
A couple seconds, and she fell once more. “I can’t do it,” she complained as she picked herself up, “Can you show me how to do one Ahavalin?”
“A hand stand?” he replied, “Sure I’ll show you…” But he was cut off before he could finish his sentence. A loud snap sounded from the path ahead, almost instantly grabbing the attention of everyone there. The barrier that Mesfido had passed through now had a crack running down its center. In a few seconds, the surface was near covered in fractures. Another moment and the entire wall of glass shattered into a million pieces. The way was now open. “Maybe later Kawaii.”
Wasting no time, the group continued down the hall, Ahavalin and Kawaii going hand in hand. A short walk and they were at the end, the final chamber before the room that contained the unknown. Finality was no longer a feeling, it was a reality. “What are they?” someone asked, gesturing toward the statues that were placed at points on the door ahead. “The very first Saints and Sinners,” the half-metal angel answered, giving a low bow to the statues, “The ones who chose you to proceed after they departed.”
Rising back to his feet, he began calling out directions to his followers. “Karaza and Latio must go to the far left, Amaranth and Mesfido to the far right. Ahavalin and Kawaii, stand next to the statues on my left and right.” Just as he issued each command, each one of them moved to the spot where they belonged. The three who were unconscious were laid before their statues. At her spot, the little doll looked toward her friend. She was unaware that they were about to be separated.
With each person in their place, the angel began muttering to himself from his own. His chant was all anyone could hear, but at the same time, no one could understand him. Then, for a second, it was silent. His words were finished and the result of their hard work was about to become manifest. Immediately, the temple began shaking, causing loose stone and dust to fall from the ceiling. From each of the statues, a bright light appeared and began to expand. Kawaii was under a green light, which swallowed her up, leaving her last image one of her friend, Ahavalin.
Kawaii was dreaming. In her dream, a gray mist, which seemed to go on forever, carpeted the land before her, hiding any sign of what lay beneath. It was a strange field of mist, in that its expanse was broken neither by hill nor valley. All around there was nothing, nothing but the ground, the moon, and the stars that were so familiar. To her, they seemed close enough to reach out and touch. It was a sensation she had felt before, in another dream. Expecting to see her friends, she looked in every direction, but found nothing. This made her sad. She wanted to go back, but did not even know where she had come from.
“Aww, cheer up!”
From out of the black of night, an angel appeared before her. He was a short being with the appearance of a spry youth. His skin was no darker than the white wings on his back, and his clothes were like that of the Romans. His bright green hair, short and messy in style, framed a smooth face that could almost rival Kawaii’s own in cuteness. A light looking sword and sheath at his side, and halo overhead, he floated there above the mist, looking as if he had been waiting for her the whole time he had been there. He was Adabiel, Archangel of Wisdom and Earth, the doll’s personal angel.
“You did a really good job,” he said, his voice pure and mirthful, “You should be happy.”
“I don’t feel that happy,” she replied, “Ahavalin was gonna show me how to do a handstand, and now he isn’t here.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that. Michael wouldn’t choose someone dishonest to be the Chosen of Body. If your friend promised you something, he’ll come through for you.”
Hearing such joyful news, Kawaii let out a shout of cheer. Where she stood, she began spinning around in circles, celebrating her new happiness. The angel smiled at her, content with the choice he made. The Chosen of Earth, Kawaii. Such a nice title. It was with that thought he began spinning as well. Though he danced for a different reason, he moved along with her, sharing in her happiness. Out of that, they danced throughout the heavens, stirring up the ether below and the stars above. For many hours they moved alongside eachother, until the little doll almost forgot why she was so happy in the first place.
“Look Kawaii,” Adabiel said as he motioned toward the distant horizon at the end of a dance step, “The sun is coming up. It’s time to return you to solid ground.”
“But why?” she replied, cutting her move short, “I’m having fun.”
“A wise man once said that a parting need not last forever. Here.” Reaching behind his back, he pulled out an ornament in the shape of a pair of petite angel wings. Hovering closer to her, he reached around and attached the wings to the back of her dress. Now she looked like a little angel herself. “Just as you can inspire happiness in the most jaded of hearts, these wings will bring fertility to the most depleted soil. If you ever need light, they will glow enough for you to see through the darkness. They’re a reward for a job well done. Think of me when you use them, and you’ll never be far from the friends you met on the mountain.”
Suddenly, Kawaii awoke. This time, she wasn’t on a mountain, beneath the waves, or even in the sky. As her eyes slowly opened, she found herself right where she had first fallen asleep. She stood below a palm, watching the wind blow through its wide leaves. Through the cracks in the green, she saw no more than a single cloud in the sky. It reminded her of the dream she just had. For a moment, her thoughts turned to the nice man she had imagined, making her wish he were real. Turning to walk inland, a few shoots of grass grew in her footstep.
OoC: Thanks for such a fun time everyone. And Angel, thanks for inviting me, I really appreciate it.
Signature, Avatar, and Character Buttons made by Lady Knives.
Morning spread her net of gold across the horizon; it glinted like silver, burned with sunlight; Amaranth, lying with head against stone, watched the coruscating rays, a figure sluggish with repose, watching morn from a cradle of reverie.
The faery gazed for a moment, then sighed, stirring, her legs stretching forth, a wakening breath roused deep in her lungs. She suddenly came awake. Crumpled against her granite pillow, Amaranth stared into the vista before her: brilliance so vivid that its threads of gold were like phantoms, visible until she lent them her attention, flitting away, shy creatures, at vision's subtle touch. The faery smiled. How brilliantly did dreams fill her mind! such that she watched them as she lay asleep, such that they greeted her when she awoke.
Too fatigued to move, Amaranthine remained.
The incandescence waned; she was soon gazing into lather—film—opacity—a pale screen of white in which her recumbent form was mirrored. A moment passed, and she stared past herself into the depths beyond the screen, a fathomless river, banks clustered with trees, the lee shore, like a long, creamy strand that rose from the ocean…
And then her gaze was caught nearer home. A pair of silver-blue pupils watched her, dimpled with smiles; she stared into them, smiled back.
"You gave done well," said the angel. The screen waxed clearer, stood now a barrier of mist and light between Amaranth and her angel. Even before she saw the mammoth build, the tunic and buskins, the quarterstaff, the massive, spiraling movement of the wings, Amaranth was fully aware of her angel.
"Thank ye kindly," she replied.
She felt no need to stir; even considering the hardness behind her head, it was a blessing to lie thus undisturbed. The angel made no requirements upon her strength, only sat and watched her, smiling. The faery reveled in this moment of purest of tranquility; it was like a dream, and for a moment, she wondered where she was, in relation to reality.
“How did I come tae be haer?” she asked.
“You were drawn into stone, like water into a sponge. How are your hands?"
She'd forgotten about them; she lifted them to her face at the angel's mention. "Fine, I suppose," she sighed, showing them to him, no longer grimacing at their black, crimson-beared scars. "At least, they do'na hurt anymore, in this place. Maybe I can stay here. I doubt I shall ever feel pain again."
She laughed weakly.
The angel inclined its head, bending forward, stretching forth a hand. It touched her palms and she smiled gratefully.
"Have ye healed them?"
"Thank ye again."
She had not wished for a reply, not wished for anything but to lie forever in this bliss. But that, she knew, would be impossible, for unless her very conscious was suspended, her migrant tendencies would catch up with her, would oblige her to move, to return to mundane earth. It sickened her to even contemplate the suspension of her reason, an imprisonment that would tear her limb from limb. But this bliss, this tranquility, this transport—neither could she leave this behind, for the sole purpose of taking up where she had left off.
"Angel?" she asked.
"May I have yaer wings?"
A smile, spun of light and warmth and purity.
"Is that what you wish?"
"Och, yes, very much."
"Then you may have them."
The smile glanced upon her and Amaranth returned it; still slumped, she watched the light unfold and encompass her angel, spiriting it into a cloud of blazing mist.
"That, and the ability to change your limbs into those of animals—a step closer to that world from which your mother hailed."
Whispered as the light blinked from sight.
Amaranth closed her eyes, and slept.
She awoke one morning to an aria, trilled by a lark in the branches of a tree high above her head. She blinked, sat up, and found her sides damp with dew. It took her a little while to recall where she was, and from what she had wakened.
She smiled when she had.
Amaranthine rose, brushing off leaves from her clothes, turning her eyes toward the network of twisted, misshapen branches above her head.
“Have ye given me yaer wings, angel?” she murmured. “Thank you.”
She did not doubt he had.
She closed her eyes for a moment, gave way to the parade of her companions upon their long, hard journey—to what purpose had she thus embarked, she couldn’t be entirely sure, but she was happy, grateful to have been a part of it. It would impart some lesson to her, someday, and it had given its immediate rewards, its mortal treasures: people to remember, deeds to recall—the phantom scorch iron through her palms.
She had done something, something of merit, appreciable.
She turned her smile toward heaven.
OoC: My final post! This has been a great deal of fun to participate in, as well as conclude—thanks for letting me be a part, Angel; I’m truly honoured to have contributed to such imagination and witnessed such organization as you’ve displayed. ^^ Cheers!
As unwilling as he was to awake, all it took was the gentle push of the breeze and a stray leaf to break him from his sleep. The sun was high in the sky and shining down on him with a blinding fury, but for some reason he wasn’t warm. The midday’s warmth seemed to have disappeared. Once more the breeze caressed him and he understood that the wind was cooling the bustling city down.
Karaza hopped to his feet and looked around. He remembered going to sleep and dreaming of angels and adventures. He admitted to himself that he had, of all the people he knew, the most vivid dream he’d ever heard of.
To rejuvenate himself and eliminate the stiffness in his neck he stretched for a moment and then moved to the side of the building. He placed his foot on the short guardrail and peered over the edge. Karaza was pleased to see that, similar to the wallet resting cozily in the pocket of his jeans, the streets were empty.
Only a few possible individuals were wandering aimlessly on the sidewalk, admiring the objects within windows or perhaps just clearing their heads, and he thus jumped off of the building, making no sound as he went. He landed as silently as he’d fallen. He smiled and nodded to himself when he saw that no one was gaping or shouting warnings of white-skinned beasts come to collect the souls of the human race.
“Where am I going to go now?” Karaza asked himself, looking around at the different signs hung in windows and on doors. He’d gotten lucky and missed noon, which meant he had pretty much been left alone with only parked cars as company.
It was then that Karaza noticed something odd. With his white skin, one wouldn’t imagine such a man to be the type to judge, but when he saw the light purple hair he couldn’t help it. It was the most ridiculous hair colour he’d ever seen. And to make it even more amusing, it ran well down the man’s back in a ponytail.
Karaza’s thoughts froze immediately after he made the startling realization. Filled with nostalgic thoughts of a dream he’d forgotten, he started running after the stranger in the distance, keeping slow to not frighten the select few who had decided to go wandering during the slow hours of the afternoon.
“Hey, wait up!” he shouted after the man, who was walking surprisingly quickly for someone with their hands in their pockets. Of all the people standing somewhere in that general direction the purple-haired man was the only one to not turn around. Some went immediately back to their dawdling while others took a moment to stare at Karaza, who was, for the most part, indifferent to their glances of contempt.
The man turned a corner of the sidewalk and Karaza cursed. Ever second he spent thinking about those purple strands of hair caused his memory to fade and then reappear with more force than ever.
Karaza too turned the corner and saw, greatly to his dismay, that the man was no longer in sight. He looked around at all the doors, but all of them were ridiculously far away. He knew the man couldn’t have gone so far so quickly. And he thus kept running. It was just as he passed by an alleyway that he noticed the hint of light purple out of the corner of his eye.
He came to an abrupt halt and turned into the alley. He now had a perfect picture of the man in his mind. For some reason, though, white, ethereal wings kept pervading their way into the image, making it seem like the man was some sort of celestial being.
Nearly crashing into a garbage can as he skidded around the corner, Karaza saw that the man was standing still with his body turned toward him. The two stood there for several minutes until the man broke the silence, “Hey, Karaza. Nice to see you again.”
Karaza was taken slightly aback by this. “‘Again?’ Have we met before? Who are you?” The man smiled but Karaza did not, still waiting for an answer.
“I’m kind of disappointed that you don’t remember who I am. But you followed me, so you must have some idea.” He paused for a moment and finally said, “My name is Raphael. I blessed you with the gentle guidance of the wind. I am an Archangel.”
The barrier in Karaza’s mind keeping him from remembering snapped and he recalled everything. He could see Valion, Mesfido, and all the others. He remembered the dream that he had had, and he was able to place Raphael as the angel he had seen doing combat. Although the doubt in his mind was gone, he asked, “You don’t look like an angel.”
And he truly didn’t. He was dressed in a plain black t-shirt and an old pair of jeans. He had a gold cross hanging from his neck and a pair of tiny earphones leading into one of his pockets. But he still had an innocent, carefree grin on his face and Karaza could picture him garbed as an angel, wielding a mighty blade forged of the gale itself.
“Heh, I suppose I don’t,” he returned, also jokingly, “but I’d look pretty funny if I went around wearing the apparel of angels.
“By now,” he said, changing the subject, “I imagine that you know that what you experienced not long ago was not a dream. You succeeded in the completion of your task, just as I knew you would. You were nothing short of what I hoped for.”
Karaza nodded and, with a smirk, said, “Glad to be of help. So, do I get into Heaven now?”
Raphael laughed and responded with his light voice, “Only if you so choose that as your final resting place. But that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here because I owe you a reward for your help. What do you desire?”
With no response to give Raphael, Karaza just stood there. He noticed how still the air was. The alley seemed filled by the light of the sun and the sweltering heat was once more existent. Raphael continued to wait with a soft smile embedded in his face. “There’s really nothing I need. But knowing that I have a guardian angel is a pleasing thought.”
Raphael’s expression changed from laidback and cocky to a more loving smile. “There is no request that would be easier for me to fulfill. Know that, as the winds carries your dreams, I too will be with you, guiding you through the air.”
With those final words, two giant, white forms grew from Raphael’s back and threatened to engulf what Karaza imagined to be the entire world. They closed around him, leaving Karaza with the vision of his reassuring smiled, and exploded in a blast of feathery bliss.
Karaza stood still, his entire body feeling somehow lighter than before. And then he felt his hair pick up in the wind.
OoC - Well, that's that for me. It's been a blast, everyone. ^^
Obeying, Tanith knelt to the floor beside Valion and rested her hand against the cold stone. Her cheeks flushed slightly. It was certainly an honor to stand in the middle with an angel even though she wasn’t really sure what was going on. Perhaps I have a chance at retribution after all, she mused, the thought only cheering her up slightly. Keeping silent, she listened as the cyber-angel beseeched the names of the angel’s they were representing. That was when the entirety of the temple began to shake. The knight resisted the urge to stand up and move to a safer place, Surely he wouldn’t lead us to our deaths in this chamber while calling the holy angels. An iridescent light began to fill the room. “Valion-” she started to ask but was cut off as the brightness filled the entire room and engulfed them all.
Am I dreaming again? she queried silently. Tanith was once again engulfed in the floating sensation that her dream had brought before the events at the temple had happened. Was all that just a dream? another question came. It wasn’t beyond reason though the woman believed her imagination wasn’t vivid enough to create something like that. Whirling herself up straight, she saw that her settings weren’t much different from the angel battle dream. The demon hunter was still floating in the sky albeit this one was during the day. The sky was covered in off-white clouds, a sign that snow would begin to fall. Below her, plains spread out in every direction. The grass was crisp and yellow while all the trees that weren’t evergreens had lost their leave in preparation for winter. Looking back up at the clouds that hung right over her head, she slipped at hand into them. When she pulled it out, her gauntlet was covered with a light frost and several wisps dangled around it. The knight smiled slightly, it was definitely interesting to touch at cloud even if it was just a dream.
“Entertaining yourself?” a strong, male voice asked from behind. Taking by surprise, Tanith let out a small breath as she turned around. The icy angel from her dream, Chamuel, was floating in front of her.
“Ah... ah... forgive me,” Tanith yelped out and made a bow. She also scolded herself silently for saying the first thing that came to her head and not actually thinking of a response. Then again, this was probably the best thing she could have though of.
The Angel of Obedience chuckled, “You need not ask for my forgiveness for I am not an angel that deals in retribution and damnation.” Peering upward, she saw the being’s graceful form make its own bow, “In fact, I would like to thank you for representing me as you have.” The lady opened her mouth to say something, couldn’t even think of one word, and then closed it again. However, her silence didn’t stop her cheeks from flushing to a bright red color. Chamuel smiled at her uneasiness, “For your service, I will grant a request of yours.”
“A... request?” she asked. She looked down from the angel in thought, What could I ask of him? It didn’t exactly feel right asking for something from such a divine being despite that he offered it freely. The knight also had a bit of trouble thinking of what could be asked of him. Of course her life wasn’t perfect but there were few things that she would actually seek out the help of angel for. Tanith glanced at her sword and then looked up at Chamuel, “Please, would there be anything you could do to help me with this?”
The angel closed his eyes in meditation, “Ah, Mangeur D'âme, an evil sword forged by even darker beings. It’s power is hard to rival.” That sentence almost dashed the knight’s hopes of ever being released from the blade. If it could hold against an angel’s power, what hope did she have against it? He let out a thoughtful sigh and opened his eyes, “But I do believe I can help you. Hold out that weapon.” Looking up with surprise and hope, the lady unsheathed Soul Eater and held it out sideways on both hands. Holding out his own left hand, a light appeared. Faintly, Tanith could see a crystal shard in the center of the light. It was barely longer than her thumb and not even the width of her pinky finger but the light was powerful. The crystal shard floated from Chamuel’s hand and hovered a few seconds above Soul Eater before sinking into it. “There, I have giving you a piece of my soul,” he announced.
“Your soul?” she queried and examined Mangeur D'âme. The dark sword quivered slightly as she heard its black soul cry out in rage.
“Indeed. While it is only a minute piece, it should be enough to strengthen you while weakening the dominance of the sword’s soul,” the Angel of Obedience explained. Then he made the sign of the cross over his chest, “Now, Tanith Lorword, I’ll also grant you peace for this night.” With that statement, the knight floated away from him as darkness encompassed her vision.
The vampire hunter wasn’t sure how long she slept but morning sunlight rays flooded through a window. Conscience coming swiftly, she remember that she had been sleeping in an inn before being snatched up by Valion to embark on that quest. To make sure it hadn’t all been a blissful dream, she reached out and partially unsheathed Soul Eater. The sword still quivered as it tried to become compatible with the holiness that had just entered it. Smiling deeply, the knight re-sheathed the weapon and uttered a prayer of thanks before setting out again.
OoC: Yay, fun stuff. It was grand, guys.
[Draculla's Magic] Wake up, lose your hesitation. Wake up, it's time for us to realize. Wake up, show appreciation. Wake up, it's time for us to realize. [Avy by Azure Guardian. Sigs by various awesome people.]
A breeze fluttered through the open window. The cool air felt refreshing against Mr.Man's sweat-lined brow. He had been working for hours and hours without rest, breaking only to let nature take her course but finally he was finished. A smile broke across the young teen's face, he could feel the powerful CJs flowing back into his veins.
Mr.Man is back.
Mesfido placed his huge hand against the cool surface of the mirror. It felt smooth against his skin, smooth and thin.
“So, what I am supposed to do? Just-” Mesfido’s body was wrenched forward, thrust into the mirror itself.
Clouds of icy wind swept by as his angelic body was dragged through the surface. He felt as though he had just plunged into the depths of the River Styx. All round him was a dense, bone chilling fog, deeper than any he had seen before. There was a low, freezing wail coming from every direction, surrounding the fallen angel. It seemed to come from the fog itself, almost as it was in fact some long forgotten spectre or spirit, tormented by its lonely confines.
Mesfido’s keen blue eyes searched out the room about him. There was nothing but that swirling, stark white fog. He knew sight would be no help to him here. Slowly, the silent warrior shut his eyes, feeling a warmth fall across his eyes, blocking out the suffocating blank of frost. He sent his mind out about him, searching for the elements that he was know becoming so familiar with. Just like in the world of the Encorna, his master and teacher, the vibrant colours began to form in his minds eye. Emerald, violet, crimson, ultramarine - every colour of the rainbow and then some. The room seemed to be alive with the elements.
The fallen angel stood still, taking account of his rainbow surroundings. His eyes still closed, but his vision clearer than ever. The swirls of colour began to take shape, each its own unique form. The emerald, a brighter, more brilliant shade than Mesfido had ever seen became an owl, flapping its magnificent wings. Crimson, awash with vivid oranges and yellows turned to flame, only quickly to burst into the form of a phoenix, not unlike the one Mesfido encounter in the past. Raw sienna leaked onto the ground, slimming across the cold floor. The oily liquid sprung to life in the form of a serpent. A pale blue wrapped itself about the snake, uncoiling into a water snake, interlocked with the first. Finally, black and white seeped into being, forming a two entities, two humans.
The human figures and animals moved towards Mesfido, slowly surrounding him. The humans eyes pierced his mind, two sets of deep spherical orbs of intense knowledge and wisdom. The angel found himself locked in an unbreakable stare, his mind against this strange figures’. He felt shackles wrapping themselves about his arms and legs. Thick cords of muscle and sinew. He couldn’t look away from the humans’ spectral stares, but he knew the pythons were wrapping themselves about him, anchoring him down. Behind the two humans he saw the owl and phoenix raising, lifting themselves effortlessly with their magnificent wings. The phoenix burst into flames once more and the owl into a breath of wind. The two rushed forward and wrapped themselves about the angel’s torso. Unable to move Mesfido lay waiting.
The black and white figures came towards him, still maintaining their deathly stares. The dark one spoke, the words formed themselves in Mesfido’s mind. They torn at the centre of his soul, chilling his very essence.
“You should never have entered this temple. We - the elements - are the last task to face. You will not leave here alive.”
The black and white beings dissolved into a mass of shadow and light, engulfing Mesfido’s mind, blocking out all colour and life. The fallen angel could feel his body coming apart at its seems. The elements threatened to rip him into billions of tiny invisible atoms.
A sudden flash of bright yellow sped across his mind’s eye. The black and white coating flickered. Again the yellow light struck at dark and light.
“Stop! I command you all, stop!” The purple flashes united, a small lithe fox to shape in Mesfido’s elemental vision. “You threaten to kill the one being that could save you all!”
Somewhere in the angel’s mind a memory awaked. He was in his dream again, high above the world, nothing but a shimmering ghost. Mesfido saw it all again, the lightning wielding angel battling fiercely against the greater numbers. The kindness of the angel was evident even in battle, his trust and forgiveness the stuff of legends -The legend of the Seven. Mesfido finally knew who the angel was, Haniel, Archangel of Health and Lightning. It was that very element, Lightning, that had come to his aid now in his time of most dire need.
Yet another bright flash tore Mesfido from his dreamlike state. In his mind he saw Lightning battling fiercely against all the other elements, outnumbered but still fighting. The owl, which the angel took to be Wind, and the phoenix, Fire, had been forced back into their solid states. The fighting was coming to a swift end, both sides realizing it was pointless to fight among themselves. The fox spoke again.
“Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, Light and Dark, can you not see what you are doing?” The fox’s golden eyes looked around the other elements, a sense of disapproval and disbelief embedded deep within them. “This fallen angel is the one spoken of in the shadows and in the skies. The Grand Restorer, the Bringer of Balance, all these and more are him. Is it not clear to you? Or has eons of imprisonment clouded your minds? Just look at the markings he bears. Look at the weapon he carries. There is no doubt, this is him.”
Darkness challenged the fox, his rage was clear. “Do you really belief in such fairytales Lightning? I thought you wiser than that. This… this fallen angel is nothing special. He is weak and frail. His mind crumbled beneath our weakest attacks.”
“Darkness, you’re ignorant as always. I was hoping perhaps this time would be different.” Lightning paced around Darkness, his golden lies never leaving the dark element. “You have fallen deep in love with the shadows of this temple, I should have guessed you wouldn’t want to leave, but you know as well as I that it is our duty.”
The fallen angel made to speak, Lightning cast him a glance. It’s meaning was clear - Don’t.
The shrill shriek of Wind’s voice pierced the room. “I have no desire to return to the confines of that damned iron cell.”
“Would you rather rot here than my comrades? Wasting away for all eternity.”
Earth spoke, slow and deeply. “I agree with Lightning, we are doing no good here. We were brought here to imprison the secrets of this temple, not be imprisoned ourselves. I myself long to feel the mountains beneath me once more.”
Water gave a nod of approval, ever silent.
Fire blazed into life, “I was used in the crafting of the very threads of that cursed item, I know more about the horrid secrets that lie hidden in that than any but the Two. I, like Darkness and Wind, have no mind to return.”
Only one element was yet the speak. It was as it always was, the wisest of all, Light, would be last to voice her mind. Her words sang about the icy room.
“A life of confinement and imprisonment, or a life under a new master whom we ourselves have chosen? Above all else in this world, it’s the light of day for which I long.”
Lightning turned to Mesfido, his golden eyes filled with hope. “Guardian of the Pact, you have heard our thoughts, you have seen our council. So, the decision lies with you.”
Confusion took over the angel, he hadn’t the slightest idea what the fox was talking about. “What… what decision?”
Lightning turned to Dark, a smirk spread across his face, “Maybe you’re right. He seems a bit slow. Light, you were there when it began, you should be the one to shine light upon this one’s blissful ignorance.”
Light’s voice sang out once more, spinning a tale and painting a landscape…
* * * *
In the beginning there were no sides, no good, no evil, no heaven, no hell. The world knew none of the consequences of its actions. There were two beings that roamed the world, the two educated forms that could see the darkness and light within the world.
One became obsessed with evil, wanting to cause destruction and spread sin over the land. The other saw the beauty of good, wanting to share it with the other, uneducated beings of the world, blessing them with its light. The two beings were magical, imbued with the powers of the alignment they had chosen. Both had more strength than all the other forms that walked the world.
The two forms wanted to spread their passion, empowering the others with it but neither could, none of the others would see good or evil. The two reached an agreement. They would show the others the two sides - the black and white. They formed a magical pact. A single word was created, the Word of the Pact. This word contained such power that all the others began to see the dark and light, each choosing their side. Wrong and right, sin and virtue, all the pieces of good and evil had entered the minds of the others. Chaos began to overtake the world as the new, educated, beings turned on each other, wanting to rid the world of their opposite.
The Two watched as the world was transformed by the word. The one that had chosen light was filled with sorrow as he saw even his own side, goodness, fighting for power, fuelled by a zealous passion to purge the world of evil. The one that had chosen darkness was filled with anger. He was outraged as he saw his own side, evil, falling pitiful to the hands of goodness; every defeat dealt a blow to his pride. The Two both regretted the creation of the word. They began to think of a way to seal away its power in an attempt to return the world to how it had been.
Using their nails each of the two cut a piece of their skin, a sacrifice. Then both infused their essence, good and evil, with the flesh. The second, the one that had chosen darkness, created fire, gigantic flames rose up from the land melting into the rock. The first, the one that had chosen light, placed the word upon the fire then covered it in the flesh. Using his bare hands, the first worked the flesh above the hot flames, molding into a strong metal blade, sealing the word within its edges. Smoke rose from the first’s hands as they the white-hot flames scorched his skin. The smoke rose high into the sky, slowly forming into thick, white clouds. The blade was left to cool.
As the blade cooled the first and the second began work with the three essences of being. The first essence was formed into a crimson gem, the second was formed into a sapphire jewel and the third into a black crystal. Placing the blade over the fires once again, the first went back to work as the second continued to feed the flames. The three essences of being where set in the blade giving it life. The most powerful essence was set in the handle, giving it access to the world. Once again the blade was left to cool.
As the blade cooled, the two called upon the world’s elements. Trapping the seven elements, the first and the second began to form them into separate cords. The Two wove the elements about the blade’s handle, sealing the joint between the two pieces of flesh and locking the word beneath their surface. The Word of the Pact had been sealed; the Sword of the Pact had been created.
Still the world did not return to how it had been. The others were no longer empowered by the sides but had maintained their knowledge of them. The vicious war that had raged the land dissipated but still a sour rivalry existed.
The Two, grieved by the innocence they had drowned and the blood-dim tide they had loosened, retreated from the world. The first retreated to the white clouds, watching from above the world. The second retreated into the flames he had created, worming his way beneath the earth.
The Sword of the Pact lay forgotten, dust falling over its surface. It waited for its master.
* * * *
Forged on the flames of hell,
Shaped by the heaven’s hand,
Fused with being,
Bound by the seven,
And left to rot.
The word sleeps.”
Light’s tale came to its dark end, her song voice trailing softly out of the room. Mesfido longed to hear more, to learn more. He knew more now than ever before. Finally it seemed, he may find the truth of the Sword of the Pact. Earth’s voice brought him back to the present, the here and now.
“We are the Seven Elements. Bound and Trapped we were, but you were not the first to find that blade.”
“Millennia ago monks found that blade, much around the time of your legend of the Seven Archangels.” Wind took over the story. “They worked and worked with it, trying to uncover its hidden secrets. They could but scrap the surface. They succeed in releasing us seven, but they could do know more. They were not its master. Seeing our strength they decided to put it to their own use. They trapped us here, bound to this temple, the final guardians of its most horrible secret.”
“We are bound, yet we are not.” Mesfido’s mindsight twisted to see Fire speaking, his wonderful fiery plumage blazing strongly. “Our master, our true master, he can release use but in doing so we will be forced to return to our true, original bond.”
“That, angel, is where you come in.” Lightning spoke again. “That is your decision, free us of this confined temple and entrap us in your blade, or leave us here and turn away.”
For Mesfido the decision couldn’t have been simpler. Turn back and return empty handed to his friends, or help them as they had him, also gaining the knowledge and protection of the elements that were rightfully his.
“We should warn you that in releasing us your body, mind and spirit will be our vessel, along with that weapon you wield. It will be a painful existence, sharing all that with seven other entities. Do you think you’re capable of it?” It was Water that had spoke.
Darkness added, “You should listen to Water. This is the first I have heard him speak since we were brought here. His words are always to be listened to. They are as deep as his waves swim.”
Sharing everything these beings… I already have to contain one too many in my mind. Mesfido shook away his indecision, he would do it, not for himself, but so that does that waited behind that giant mirror could pass where he had been brought alone. He knew it was the only way to gain right of passage for the others. It was the only way to break the final seal.
“Seven Elements - I, Mesfido, the fallen angel command you - return to you’re rightful home!”
“As you wish.” The elements spoke as one, united once more. In a blinding flash of colour, the elements leapt into Mesfido’s being, searching out his mind, body and spirit, taking their rightful place within the essence of the weapon that was so much a piece of him.
Mesfido collapsed. He heard the mirror behind him shatter and felt the fog dissipate. He had done what he had to. Time to rest.