Inevitability: Year One



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Toghenma

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Inevitability is a small pet project I've been putting together for a while now. It's never been fully a cohesive story until now, made up mostly of little fragments I've been writing out over the course of a couple years. In essence what I'm posting here is a rough draft, as I would love some feed back from you all as I put this together. This story will have similarities to classic KH, but it is a completely different universe from that of Sora and his friends. I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it. My updates for this may be a bit inconsistent, and if I go a while without updating, please feel free to bug me about it. Knowing people want to read this inspires me to write more frequently. That being said, here is the first part of the prologue to the story, and once again thanks for joining me in this project.

Enjoy~

KINGDOM HEARTS: INEVITABILITY

Prologue - Part One

WORLD: LUMENGRAD

People rarely ever see it coming when events approach that will change their lives in a big way. No one leaves their house one morning and expects to be hit by a car, or stuck by lightning, but it happens all the time. Every life is subject to a number of potential catastrophes so astounding that it’s a wonder anyone can maintain their cool on a daily basis. But humanity is very good a staying in perpetual denial of the truth of things. I’m not an exception to this. I mean for most of my life I lived like all of the other kids my age. I went to school, I skipped the occasional class, and I procrastinated from my homework. You don’t expect everything you know to disappear in a single day, especially not on a sunny one just a week away from the summer recess. Looking back at it now, I really wish I hadn’t taken those times for granted. It’s been three years since then, and I’ve already forgotten what certain shops were called, or what my neighbors looked like. I just remember fragments, like a picture book with a bunch of pages ripped out. Admittedly, the average Joe doesn’t come through the trauma I’ve endured completely put together, or alive even. But I’m not what one would call normal. I mean, I swing a giant key at monsters. That should tell you something about my life right there. But hell, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’ve been told that writing this might jog some memories in my head, and keep me...well, human. So I’m going to take this back three years to the start of all this and see if this doesn’t give me some kind of epiphany. Forgive me if this account is a little jumpy. As my above simile aptly said, I am a screwed up picture book. You will have to bear with me through my own frustrations as I struggle to piece together my own past. This is already my fifth attempt to start this, and it was only on this most recent attempt that I felt like I remembered enough to make this a coherent narrative. With all that said, let’s get to this.

The day my life changed started like any other. The skies were blue, the wind was sweet and the people were happy. Then again, Lumengrad was rarely any other way. It was a world that was bathed in light, both during the day and at night. I lived in a small town named Freyvallow. To a lot of the city folk of Lumengrad, I suppose that we would have been considered rather provincial. We had a community center, a school, a few shops, you know. We had monthly festivals where we cooked out, played field games, rode horses, a bunch of fun stuff. Only a few hundred people made their homes there, and most everyone knew everyone else, either personally or by association. Everyone was really tightly knit, and they didn’t take it lying down when someone threatened or bullied one of their own. Everyone in that town had a strong heart, and a good soul.

It was midday. My friends and I liked to spend our time in this smallish storage room within the town’s only chapel. It was quiet, dark and out of the way. We’d brought pillows, blankets and other cushy things to make the place into a comfortable hideout. Few people knew we went up there, and Priest Rogo tolerated our presence as long as we helped clean up the place after services.

Though our group fluctuated in size now and then, there were three people who served as the core group. There was Everask Dalis, the son of a wealthy banker in Lumengrad’s largest city, Helieta. Ev had been the one to start our little group of miscreants and he was in many ways, our leader. There was me of course. I served as the group’s go to guy for anything that required rough labor. I guess you could say I was the thug of the gang. I was the fastest, strongest, and most willing to get my hands dirty. Then again, working on a farm will teach you that a little dirt is never a bad thing. Other than Ev and myself there was Avani Coihren, the mayor’s daughter and the brains behind the outfit. When Ev and I were small boys, we balked at the idea of having a girl in our group, and it took Avani handing our asses to us in a few contests of wits to make us see that she was the missing puzzle piece for our team. We were all really close, and we went everywhere together. We were family. That being said, they were also terrible gossips.

“So Knoton,” Avani said, turning her stunningly grey eyes over to me. Her black hair was glossy, gently tousled and hung down to her shoulders. “Who are you going to take to the Kingsday festival?”

“Take? W-what? Take how?” I replied suavely. As you can see, I had a way with words.

“Don’t play dumb Knots!” Everask said, examining his perfectly manicured fingers. He was dressed sharply in a pair of black, hand tailored trousers, a violet vest and white dress shirt. His pampered behind sat in an impromptu throne of cushions, his legs neatly crossed. “We know you’ve been spending a lot private time with Mindy Marsters.” Ev waggled his eyebrows for effect. I, of course, went red as a beet and began to flail slightly.

“N-no! It’s not like that! She’s just helping me out with my homework is all.” Both of my friends threw me skeptical glances.

“You see her every after noon.” Avani said, quirking one eyebrow and smiling.

“With no time off on weekends.” Ev said, his own smile positively wicked at this point. In order to preserve my composure I attempted to divert the topic to safer waters.

“Well, I, uh, I’m excited to see the royal guard!” I said with perhaps a bit too much enthusiasm. Avani and Ev clearly wanted to pursue the subject of my alleged romantic encounters, but they decided to spare me the embarrassment for the time being. Everask, folded his arms, and harrumphed.

“I could care less if I see them or not. They take jobs away from local knights. Just because they have Holy Blades doesn’t make them better than anyone else.” Ev then proceeded to pick up a nearby book, a thick tome with various symbols on the front that I didn’t understand. “I don’t need some fancy tool like that to mend a broken bone, or stop someone from bleeding. I do that all on my own.”

“You’re not just jealous, Ev?” Avani said slyly. Ev narrowed his eyes at her and pulled a pair of spectacles from his breast pocket, sticking them on his nose. He then pointedly turned his attention to the book he held. I just shook my head at the exchange and didn’t get involved. It really wasn't my style to poke at sensitive issues. Avani did it all the time, and more than once she took it too far. This was start to look like one of those times. Everask’s older brother was a Knight of Vinculum, an order of powerful people who all wielded Holy Blades. They provided aid to worlds across the InterSphere that extends from defense to agriculture to performance art. It was like a cross between a college fraternity and an international relief organization, but with space ships and magic. Though Everask never said it out loud, I think he was hoping that he would be the one chosen by the order and not his brother. Indeed, Everask's whole family thought it would turn out that day. After all, being part of Vinculum was one of the prestigious, and sought after honors that one could achieve. Some people would give an arm and a leg to join. Unfortunately the process of entry isn't that easy to pin down, and the criteria for each blade is unique. It was like hoping to win a lottery honestly. You have to hope that there is a blade out there that believed you were the best choice for it somehow. I’ve heard it compared to finding your soulmate more than once. Sometimes it just happens right away, other times it never happens at all. If only they knew what it really meant to get one of those blades. Then they might not be so keen to get one.

Then again, I won’t lie and say that I didn’t feel the allure of owning one of those blades myself. After all, just holding one made you faster and stronger, among other things. Imagine how much better at farm work I would be with one of those babies juicing me up. Yep, that was the extent of my ambition back then; thinking of ways to improve my productivity at home.

We hung around up there for another hour before we heard a knocking at the trap door that lead down to the hallway below, and by extension to the main area of worship. The door opened and Priest Rogo popped his head in, giving all of us one of his trademark, fatherly smiles. Rogo was on the younger side for a Priest of the Seven Orders. His hair was still completely brown and his face wasn’t home to many wrinkles. To the casual outsider he would look like he was in his mid to late twenties, though we all knew that he was about a decade older than that. Rogo was and still is, one of the wisest people I have had the good fortune to encounter.

“Kids, you’ll miss the start of the festivities if you remain up here for much longer. I think the town would miss you.” Before either of my colleagues could say anything, I stood up and said,

“We’ll be right down.” Father Rogo gave us a smile, and then descended the ladder again. When the trap door closed, Ev gave a sigh and closed his book. He folded up his glasses and put them back in his pocket.

“I guess we should get going then.” He stood up, smoothed out his vest and stowed his book away inside of his backpack. Though he face was passive, his body language was tense. He began to walk briskly towards the trapdoor, but I placed a hand gently but firmly on his shoulder and stopped him.

“We really don’t have to go. It’s not like anyone would notice in all the ruckus. People would just assume we were there but never saw us.” Avani stopped on Ev’s other side and nodded at my words looking apologetic.

“Yeah Ev, you and Knots can stay here. After dad gives his speeches, I’ll shake some hands and come right back here. They won’t care about me after that. We can ride out the festival up here. I can even sneak us in some food.” Everask looked between Avani and me. He took a few moments to think about it, but he ended up shaking his head.

“No, it’s okay. It wouldn’t be right to miss the seeing the King. Besides, it is a healer’s duty to be able to perform in the face of difficult situations. This is no different.” He placed and hand on each of our shoulders and smiled. “However, thank you. It means a great deal that you’d be willing to do this for me. Especially you Knots. I know this is your favorite time of the year.” He then moved past us and began to climb down to the hallway below. "See you guys outside." Everask passed out of sight. Avani gave me a look, shook her head and shrugged before following after Everask. I was about to follow when some instinct convinced me to turn around a look behind me.

There was someone standing there.

They stood in the darkest corner of the room, in a spot none of our dim lights seemed to touch. I remember thinking that something about this person seemed off. You know how when a person stands still they tend to fidget a little, moving around in place to stay comfortable? This person did none of that. It was like looking at a dark statue. I tried to make out their face, but the shadows in the room seemed to be thicker around this person’s body, obscuring all but their silhouette. They wore a long coat of some kind, but that was pretty much all I could make out. Oh, and something told me that this person was looking right at me.

“I wanted to see it myself.” They said in a voice that was modulated so heavily that I couldn’t make out age or gender. It made me think of the sound of metal scrapping on concrete in the form of a whisper. It made my skin crawl and I felt cold sweat drip down my back. I began to back towards the exit.

“See what?” I asked in spite of my fear.

“The beginning of the end.” They responded extending a hand forward. A shaft of light from a partially obscured lamp revealed a hand that was not entirely human. Their fingers were too long, the skin purple and black as if bruised, their nails the color of dried blood. I couldn’t help it, I screamed out. I reached for a nearby lamp and tossed it at the dark figure with all of my might. It ended up hitting the corner where the shadow had once stood, the spot now clear of any presence as its light shone on the stone of the wall there. My breath was coming out in gasps, and I was pretty sure my heart was beating faster than a hummingbird's wings.

By this point I was scared shitless, so when Avani called up the ladder saying,

“Hey Knots, come on!” I just about jumped clear across the room. My eyes kept flitting back to the corner making sure it was still empty. I tried to convince myself that I’d just been seeing things, but a part of me knew that was just wishful thinking.

“Hurry up Knots! We’re going to be late for the opening ceremonies!” Avani called again. I scrambled to my feet and taking one last long look behind me, I climbed down the ladder after my friends.
 

KingdomKey

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You've got me hooked in deep. I'm loving the descriptions of this world and how it works. Including the different personalities of the tightly knit group of Knots, Ev, and Avani. I love how stubborn Ev is about healing himself the good old fashion way instead of with a Holy Blade. Whereas Knots is my favorite of the three, because of his enthusiasm and embarrassment about being caught spending too much time with a lucky girl. I really like all three of them to be honest. I'm curious if the priest will become more important in the story and what the ceremony will be like. And I'm eager to know more about the festival and the king. I'm dying to know if Knots wasn't just seeing things and ended up gaining something from that mysterious person or thing. So yeah, I'll totally bug you for updates, cause I want to read more and loving this already. <3
 

Toghenma

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Joined
Apr 27, 2016
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Alright here's another piece of the prologue. I'm slowly building up to...something. *laughs* Oh and a little fun fact, Knoton means wind (or something like that), Avani means earth(or something like that) and Dalis (Everask's last name) means...something to do with water. I forget. Anywho, it's just a little nod to tradition. Anywho, Enjoy!! Also Thanks Kitkat, for being my first poster! I'm glad you're liking it so far~!

Prologue - Part Two


WORLD: LUMENGRAD

The Kingsday Festival happened every year at around the same time, and it had been going on for centuries. Every year the King would make this sort of religious pilgrimage from his fortress in the Wayward Mountains to his castle in the northern most region of Bramia. When the tradition originally began, according to legends, the King travelled on foot the whole way on his own. The King lived among the people and took this time to reflect on his place in the world. The whole ordeal was supposed to grant the king some measure of humility and connection to his people. But as usual, time and the advent of transportation technology changed this from a major ritual of moral education to something little more than a corporate holiday. Nowadays the king traveled in a car with a bunch of guards, taking the time to stop at each town for a few hours or a day before heading off to the next location on his checklist. Meanwhile the king could kiss babies, make a small speech or two, and sign a few autographs. In some towns they had merchandise commemorating the occasion.

Many of the older folks in Freyvallow felt that this was an irreverent break from tradition, and I can’t say I blame them. I mean the current King, King Havar, went as far as to hire Vinculum agents as protection for a pilgrimage turned road trip that lasted no more than a couple weeks. These agents could have been sent to places that mattered, turned to causes that actually needed them. If people had known just how extravagant this gesture was they’d probably have tossed produce at him. Hell, I’d have probably thrown a few rocks myself if I knew then what I knew now. Still, back then I was as drawn into the excitement of the event as much as anyone. So when the King’s black sports car rolled into town flagged by the gliders of Vinculum agents I looked on with dewy eyed amazement and cheered along with everybody else. Or at least, I would have any other year.

On both sides of the street people stood and waited for the King to exit his car and show himself. Some parents lifted their small children up onto their shoulders to give them a better view. There was a great deal of energy in their air. I however, was somber. A fact that did not escape my two companions.

“Hey Knots, what’s wrong?” Ev said into my ear. I turned to him and put a smile one my face.

“Huh, I’m fine. Just tired.” I said.

“Are you sure? You’ve been looking like someone just kicked your cat ever since we left the nook.” Avani said. I wanted to tell them what was wrong, but who in their right mind would believe me when I said I’d seem some dark apparition in our favorite hangout spot? How did I tell them that I had a bad feeling about something, but didn’t know what it was? I loved my friends, but I wasn’t sure how they would take this news. So I went with the safe option.
“Sorry guys, my stomach’s just treating me badly is all. I’ll be fine once I drink some water and get settled down somewhere.” Both Avani and Everask seemed to relax and Ev game me an amused smile.

“I told you not to go overboard on those chocolate truffles I brought over.” Ev shook his head and jokingly said, “No wonder the nook smelled so bad.” I bushed a furious red again and wished briefly that I had chosen a less humiliating ailment. I have to admit that despite being the one who regularly dealt with the droppings of animals and other equally unsavory tasks, I was by far the most squeamish when it came to foul and naughty subject matter. Blame it on a relatively sheltered childhood, but I just found doing something like that much less embarrassing than talking about it. Meanwhile, there were times where Avani talked worse than a sailor about any improper subject you could think of. She could become a veritable library of profanity when the mood struck her, and don’t even get me started on her detailed assessments of all the boys she liked in town.

I opened my mouth to defend myself from Ev’s crass accusations when a hush fell over the crowd. All three of us turned back to the street right away waiting for what was going to come next. In the air we could hear the faintly mechanical humming of Vinculum agent’s gliders, large malleable vehicles that formed from their Blades. Looking up I saw them coasting slowly over the heads of the crowd, each one sporting a unique design that was in line with whatever their blades must’ve looked like. The Vinculum agents themselves were awe inspiring. My hidden fears were briefly put aside as my fanboy spirit kicked into overdrive. They wore assorted types of armors that covered them from head to toe. The Vinculum armors were smooth and seemed to be made all in one piece instead of from a number of combined segments. They were all pristine, immaculately polished and seemed almost to give off their own light.

I don’t think I have to tell you how close I was to squealing. If one of them had looked at me I might have swooned. My reverence was enough that I didn’t even notice Everask giving me mildly disgusted looks as he tried to look everywhere but at the armored figures who now waved to members of the crowd. Avani seemed to be scanning the crowd and then waved as she spotted someone and smiled.

“Guys, I’ll be back in a bit. Mayor Dad wants me to join him with the welcoming committee.” She paused and then smiled a little more evilly. “Why don’t you come too Knots? You might get to talk to one of the Knights.” I gasped and was about to give my automatic affirmation that yes I would love to come and that it would be a dream come true when I noticed Everask’s mopey expression. My response kind of collapsed somewhere in the process of being born so I ended up just sort of gulping and standing there looking like an imbecile with my mouth open. Everask couldn’t help but chuckle at my display and seemed to draw himself out of his gloom somewhat. Hearing him laugh made me smile and lifted some of my own guilt at wanting to go with Avani.

“Go on. Meet me in a couple hours at the church. I for my own part am going to go get sick on festival food.” Everask said looking in the direction of the various vendors that lined the street. “Let me know how it goes will you.” He paused once, let out a breath and then said, “Oh and say hi to my brother for me.” He gave both of us a brief smile and then began to traverse the crowd away from us. I was momentarily shocked. I hadn’t know that he brother was meant to be here. Avani and I looked after him and I turned to her once Everask was out of sight.

“You could at least try to be a little more sensitive.” I said a bit reproachfully. “You know how he feels about all this.” Avani grimaced and shrugged.

“I’m don’t like walking on eggshells if someone doesn’t want to talk about something. If you want to deal with something you face it head on. It’s the best way. Besides you heard him, he wants to work through tough situations. I’m just giving him a chance to do that.” I made a displeased face and tried to think of something to say to that. In the end I just sighed and nodded reluctantly. She was right, but I still didn’t like it.

“I just wish I could do something for him though. I hate seeing him like this. It makes me feel all...weird, like my chest is all tight. I hate it.” I ended up looking through the crowd in the direction that Everask had walked. I guess I spent just a few moments too long looking after him because Avani said,

“Have you told him yet?” I looked over at her in mild confusion, snapping out of my contemplation.

“Told him what?” I asked. Avani seemed to give me an exceptionally penetrating gaze, and I looked away my cheeks coloring. I was about to respond when the sound of trumpet blared out, cutting through the commotion of the crowd. Avani gasped,

“Come one we have to hurry!” She grabbed my wrist and began pulling me through the crowd, then across the street and into a group of well-dressed townspeople. I stood out like a sore thumb in that crowd. All I had on was a pair of tattered jeans, an old t-shirt and some roughed up boots. Avani was wearing a nice blue dress, her father was in a well-tailored suit and everyone else looked dressed for some big fancy dinner. I tried to ignore my own shabbiness and the looks that the welcoming committee gave me as I stood awkwardly next to Avani. Avani’s father seemed like he was about to say something but the black car stopped in front of us and everyone instantly forgot about me. Everyone did some variation of straightening their ties or flattering their dresses, and I just kind of tried to brush off any dirt that might have been on me.

One of the doors to the back of the sleek car opened and a man stepped out. He was rather short, round and balding. He wore a black suit that seemed to have a gloss to it, and he wore a number of jeweled rings. The man held a rod or cane thing in their hand that seemed to shine extraordinarily bright when the sun hit it. It was made of gold, and had a stone on the top of it that was clear and seemed to have light swirling inside of it. I felt my eyes drawn to it and form a moment I heard a voice saying my name as I recognized what it was.

“Knots!” Avani whispered harshly behind me. I snapped out of it and then realized that I had begun to walk towards the staff and by extension the King Then I realized that everyone in the crowd was looking at me, including the King. I gasped and sank into a hasty bow.

“M-my apologies sire, I didn’t mean to...uh, I mean I’m sorry for...” The king tittered and waved for me to stand.
“Don’t worry my boy, don’t worry. I see that you have taken an interest in this!” He held up the scepter in one theatrically reverent hand. I looked down at my feet.

“I was wondering how the light inside was made.” I said, too embarrassed at this point to feel much concern for saying something foolish. The King just smiled a somewhat patronizing smile and patted me on the back. “Why of course my dear lad, how could you not wonder! It is a grand marvel!” The King held up the rod and it let out a vibrant golden and white light. The crowd gasped and my eyes were dazzled by it.

“This my boy is one of Lumengrad’s most sacred treasures. The Dowel of the Cornerstone! Its light is one of the great forces that protects our humble world from harm. It has been passed down each generation to the next, since our kingdom began to ensure that it’s people are safe for all time.” His voice seemed strangely amplified, as if he were speaking through a megaphone. The people ate it up and good number even cheered and clapped for him. I however, just kept my eyes affixed to the rod. Don’t think I didn’t notice how my question was never answered. The man sounded like he was reciting a line of memorized text, a couple of bullet points from a brochure. I had already known of the Cornerstone from my history classes, but I had never been this close to it before. None of the texts had ever mentioned the pulses of sensation it seemed to emanate from it like a heartbeat. Just by being near it in that moment it felt like I was standing next to some massive force, and this man hardly seemed to notice.

He waved the Dowel around with some gusto, but ultimately I found myself reminded more or a stage magician than a king, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if this man leaned or sat on the thing in private. One of the armored Vinculum agents walked up to the king and whispered something in his ear. For the briefest moment the king looked irritated, but his composure restored itself quickly and he lowered the scepter. Once that was done, Avani’s father stepped past me, blocking me from sight. He began to exchange pleasantries with the king and proceeded to welcome him into our town and to wish him a pleasant stay. I just stood there somewhat confused by what had happened. It seemed like it was starting to become a trend in my life. It wasn’t until Avani got my attention that I realized I was just standing there...again. Looking back, I really wasn’t having a good day.

“What was that?” Avani asked as the crowd began to gravitate towards the king and the Mayor.

“I don’t know. I’m sorry Avani I think I need to head home. I’m not feeling right today.”

“What your upset stomach?” Avani asked.

“No, I - Well I can’t explain it. I just feel off. It’s been a weird day for me.” I hooked my thumbs into my belt loops and shrugged. Avani looked concerned a said,

“Why don’t I walk you home Knots. I don’t want you passing out on the street or anything.”

“It’s not like that.” I sighed. “Look just keep Ev company for a while until I get my head back on straight. I’ll meet back up with you both in the nook in a couple hours, okay?” I could sense her trying to scrutinize me, to get a better sense of what was wrong. Avani still looked worried but then she rolled her eyes and let out a mildly exasperated breath,

“What is it with you two today? It’s all doom and gloom with you people!” She threw her hands up and let them fall. I grinned.

“Thanks Avani.” She put her arms behind her back and gave me a wry smile.

“Fine, I’ll go keep sad sack company, but you owe me. Now go take an antacid or something and feel better.” I rolled my eyes, and she giggled to herself as she ran off to follow the crowd. “Oh and you'd cheer up too okay!” Then she passed out of sight.

So there I was. Alone again, and thinking to myself that I could use a nice two ours of alone time when I notice a shadow pass over me. For a second I think it’s my nameless demon apparition and I tensed. But to my utter astonishment, it was actually one of the Vinculum agents walking towards me. My reaction to this turn of events played out in four simple steps. First, I went rigidly still. Next, I lost control of my arms, so they began to kind of do their own aimless dance. Third, my mouth opened about as wide as it could possibly go, and four, I made some kind of high pitched noise of some kind that was reminiscent of a low-key scream. This armored bastion of justice and strength stood there with their helmet on, seeming all implacable, and next to them was me, the ogling farm boy. It was not one of my proudest moments.

The armored figure began to chuckle, then they laughed a full belly laugh. It should tell you something about my mindset that I felt a sense of pride for making this person laugh, even at the expense of my dignity. They continued to snicker disconnectedly, and with a gesture the helmet on the agent’s head seemed to dissipate into motes of light. This time, when I gasped it was because I recognized the person underneath that helmet. After all, I saw a slightly varied version of his features nearly every day. It was Everask’s brother Marsheux Dalis. Eldest son of the Dalis family.
“Hey, Knots. Long time no see.” He said, finally getting a hold of himself. “I didn’t know you missed me that much.” Marsheux was about four inches taller than I was, and he had short, messy hair that was so light that it was almost white, just like Everask’s was. He was only two years older than I was, and I hadn’t seen him in about as long.

“Marsh! Ev said you’d be back in town.” I quickly attempted to make myself look a little less unkempt. Marsh reached out and pulled a piece of straw out of my hair, which was cut into something like a Mohawk back then if I remember right. My cheeks colored.

“Yeah, I’m helping to guard King Havar obviously.” He folded his arms and the plates of his armor kinked against each other. “Not that they really need me. I think the scariest thing we’ve dealt with out here is a swarm of bee.” He said shaking his head and smiling. “Can’t say that I’m not happy to be back though, I missed this place.” He paused and looked me over. I’d been thirteen and he’d been fifteen when we last spent time together and I was sort of an admirer of his. He’d been part of our group on and off for a while, and I always enjoyed spending time with him, and he seemed to like having me around. I was glum for a while after he’d left. I hadn’t realized how much I missed him until he’d come back. We shared a look for a moment and he gave me a private sort of smile.

“You look good Knots. You’ve gotten taller,” I think you could’ve knocked me over with a pin at that point. He then moved up and mussed up my hair playfully. “And I like the hair. It suits you.” His gloved hand lingered a moment on my head and brushed down to my cheek before he pulled back and grinned. I felt a pleasant shiver at his touch, even if it was through an armored glove.

“Oh, uh th-thanks! You l-look good too. The armor suits you.” I said, having more than a little trouble getting the words out. He looked down at himself and got into a dramatic pose.

“You think? It’s pretty comfortable, and it doesn’t weigh as much as it looks. I’ve only been able to wear it for about two months now. They said I could go out on missions until I could make it appear and disappear. Glad you like it.” He said returning to a casual stance.

“I wish I could work as an agent. It seems like an amazing job!” I said, more than a little impressed.

“It’s definitely got its perks. But It’s tougher than you think considering all of the...” But he was cut off by an authoritative voice.

“Agent Dalis, attend!” Both of us turned to see another armored figure calling out to Marsh. “Reconstitute your helmet and join the others, now.” Then the agent began to walk away towards where the King and the crowd was gathered.
“Duty calls. Huh?” I said, amused.

“When doesn’t it.” Marsh said, starting towards the crowd. Before he summon his helmet again, he winked at me and said, “It was good to see you. We should catch up later, maybe tonight?”

“I-I’d like that.” I managed to say.

Then his face was obscured again by the helmet which seemed to form in the same way it had vanished, from tiny motes of light. I watched him as he ran off, and felt my heart pounding.
 

KingdomKey

The Traveler
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Marsh and Knots seem to have an interesting history together. I may be reading into things, but gosh, you got my heart racing with these two. Knots drawing attention to himself when he approached the king's scepter makes me think something big is going to happen. Maybe he'll be used to take it by some unseen force? I still feel bad for Ev being left alone to his own devices, except it's good that Avani will be with him soon. Again, this was an awesome chapter. And something about the king rubs me the wrong way with the way he flourishes the Cornerstone. Hope for more. xD
 

Toghenma

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Apr 27, 2016
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  • Rising Star
Alright, here is the third part of the prologue. I think it’s going to four to six parts based on what I have planned and how the chapters pan out. I have outlines, but nothing written so sometimes things change or get cut. Once again, I hope you’re all enjoying the story so far! Also, Everask’s part in this story is one of the most important in the long run, so forgive me if his character has relatively little page time at the moment. The same goes for Avani to the same degree. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see in future chapters!

Finally, I will be putting this chapter in a Spoiler box as there are some elements towards the end that are, while really not all that explicit, steamy enough that I feel it might merit the spoiler box. Thou hast been warned if thou art prudish! Lol


Prologue - Part Three

WORLD: LUMENGRAD

Spoiler Spoiler Show
 
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KingdomKey

The Traveler
Joined
Sep 25, 2010
Messages
6,260
  • Retired Staff
  • Graceful Assassin
  • The Gambler of Fate
  • Beauty Within
  • Cloaked Schemer
  • Whirlwind Lancer
Why?! I don't want Knots to have to suffer the loss of Marsh! Please tell me you didn't kill Marsh off! And I guess Knots is in for a lot of trouble now, what with the mysterious figure taking him into the fold. I want to see what Knots will do, because I felt like it was implied he has a power within him. I definitely don't want this to be the end of Marsh, because I'd like for him to come back. And I'd like to know why the Cornerstone of light isn't doing its job to protect the world they're on. I loved this chapter. I definitely want to read more! :)
 

Toghenma

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  • Rising Star
Here is the fourth part of the prologue, and for this part this part at the beginning I will admit I do have a mental video made to this using Simple and Clean. And the ending would be accompanied by Destati/Fragments of Sorrow.

Prologue - Part Four - Dive into the Heart

WORLD: REALM OF DREAMS
WORLD: LUMENGRAD

I felt encased, as if I was being used to make a plastic mold. I was neither able nor did I want to breathe. I barely even felt anything, as if all of my nerves were shut down, but I was still able to perceive. I was most certainly awake, or something like it. I floated in some compressing void and I just existed there for what seemed an eternity. Whether my eyes were closed or not it made no difference as to what I could see. I hated the darkness and the silence. Late at night, I always found it miraculous that anyone could sleep in a silent, unlit room. It always felt oppressive, and maybe even a little scary. This was like that, but a hundred times worse.

Then, as if responding to my desire to see and to hear, images began to appear before my eyes in flashes. They were scenes of someone walking through the halls of the chapel in Freyvallow. I was looking out of their eyes, and they were being followed by more of the dark creatures I’d seen outside. Occasionally the image would turn to static, and then return to focus in a different place or perhaps a different time. The person on the screen was now standing in front of a stone door carved with many odd symbols. I’d never seen it before, but I recognized the stone from which it was made. It was the same stone as the chapel, and somehow I could identify the carvings in the stone as Rogo’s handiwork.

Then the images just stopped as the figure ripped open one of the one of the carved doors with what looked like a clawed, soot blackened hand. Around the fingertips of that hand were tendrils of blackness that seemed to move of their own volition with a sickening sentience. Following the cessation of the images I began to feel the sensation of moving through space, slowly at first, but then with increasing velocity. I was falling through darkness and I could only wonder where I where I was going to land. The darkness began to give way to an endless twilight sky. The clouds above were colored in a multitude of different shades by a foreign sun. The sky was the same, fading between shades of violet, pink, orange and red. Below me, I could make out a surface of some kind, and I knew that if I hit it at the speed I was traveling that what remained of me would be splatted indecorously all over it.

As I grew closer, I could see that the ground below me was made up of thick crystal. There were jagged formations of the stuff that jutted out like colossal knives from its surface. For a minute there, it really did look I was going to go splat on the giant crystal geodes. However, when I got within about fifty feet from the ground I began to slow and even began to right myself in the air. I landed gently on my feet and found that my movement was now unrestricted and my lungs were now taking in air. I looked around and found myself awed momentarily by the sheer size of the crystalline stalagmites next to me. They were as big as houses, and portions of them were perfectly reflective, as clear as high quality mirror glass. I walked up to one of them and looked at myself to see if anything was off. I looked like me, no alterations, nothing missing.

I felt slightly more relaxed, which was remarkable considering I had no idea where I was, or how I’d gotten there. I remembered being swallowed up, feeling suffocated and... I remembered Marsh falling into a sea of dark creatures and running people. It was impossible for me to know whether he’d survived or not, but knowing that someone had hurt him filled me with a rage so strong that was almost a palpable aura. I began to look around more furtively and I saw movement in the crystals around me. As I passed by some of the formations I could see images of Everask and Avani running to destinations unknown, both seemingly in a panic. I saw my parents, Avani’s parents, Everasks’ parents all cowering in fear or fighting against unseen forces. I saw people I’d known for years in the town being accosted by some hidden enemy and then disappearing. The crystals in which people disappeared would soon after go ominously dark and I shuddered at the implications.

My gaze moved to the path ahead of me and I could see a figure standing there maybe fifty yards away. Hoping to get some answers I began to make my way that direction, knowing full well that I might be walking to my death. For better or for worse, at least I might be able to find a way out of this place.

As I walked, I began to notice small details about the environment. For example, the crystal underneath me, while very thick, was actually hollow, a fact that came to me partially out of instinct than anything else. I also felt like there was something beneath that crystal and that it was moving. In fact, when I looked down I thought I could see the rhythmic motion of some incalculably large creature breathing in an out underneath its gemstone prison. I tried not to think about it as I moved inexorably towards that distant figure. Eventually I got close enough to make out specifics. Light hair, rugged features, it was...

“Marsh?” As the words escape my lips an earsplitting thunder filled the air. I felt the ground shake and I turned to see that the crystal spikes jutting out from the ground were beginning to shatter one by one, sending deadly shards of gemstone in all directions. Meanwhile, the crystalline ground itself began to develop fractures from which dark matter oozed like noxious smoke. It crept along the ground toward me as if drawn to me. I was already running for my life towards Marsh, my legs carrying me forward faster than they ever had before.

Around me the world broke apart. I could see spots where there seemed to be nothing below but that blackness. Fearful, frustrated tears fell from my eyes as I tried to make it to Marsh. Somehow, I knew that if I made it to him, everything would be alright and that I would be able to go home. I must have been ten feet away, then five. Beneath me, all that was left was a platform of cut stone and the bit of crystal left between me and Marsh. We reached out towards one another and I felt the stone beneath my feet begin to give. I leapt forward with all of my strength and tried to grasp Marsh’s hand as he held it out to me, but all I managed to grab hold of was air. I plummeted into the darkness below.

As I fell, panels and shards of crystal followed me, and on them were more visions of the horrors that I suspected were happening back home. I saw Everask calling out words I couldn’t hear, his face contorted with rage, his fingers giving off a magical glow. I saw Avani wielding a strange gun I’d never seen before, her father standing next to her with one of his own. On and on they passed me, images of events happening right now. Then things began to get stranger as I passed by these falling shards more and more quickly. I saw people and places I’d never met, never seen. I saw myself, older, my hair an unnatural shade of white, my eyes empty and dark. I saw scars that people had yet to receive, joys people had yet to experience. It was all filling up my head to fast that I lost track of it all. I flailed trying to knock away the phantasmagorias of the future. Then suddenly, I felt someone catch me by the wrist. Their grip was tight and I dangled over what looked like a dark ocean in storm. I looked up hopefully for a moment, expecting to see Marsh’s face, but instead I saw the shadow figure gripping my wrist, his eyes now like hellfire embers boring into me. Terror gripped me and I let out a whimper. I struggled to disengage the being’s grip, but it was like trying to break the grip of a mountain.

The red claws of the shadow being’s hand began to sink slowly into the flesh of my left arm and I felt a pain greater than any I’d experienced in my young life. I yelled out, I kicked and struggled but it seemed to have no effect on the creature who held me. The skin of my arm began to blacken as if dying, and I noticed that the bone and muscle beneath began to writhe and shift agonizingly beneath the flesh. I could see my fingers elongating slightly, my nails there gaining that same red color as the being that held me. My scream shifted into a furious growl. Somewhere deep inside I felt a powerful and imperious rage at this creature daring to change me. I don’t know where it came from, but I knew that it felt right. The being’s eyes narrowed and then without warning, he dropped me, letting me fall down into the evil sea. The rage fled me, once again replaced by hysteric fear. I hit the water a few moment later with a rather forceful impact.

I sank, dragged down as if I had a great weight strapped to me. I feared I would suffocate, only to find that I could breathe, and when I looked around I could see without the murky quality one got from opening their eyes underwater. Dark, wraith-like entities seemed to flow around me like predators scenting their prey. Unlike myself, they seemed to traverse the murky depths without resistance, and I could tell they would soon be on me. My darkened arm seemed to respond to them, giving me an odd sensation whenever they would draw close.

I continued to sink quickly for a time until some unseen force intervened once again and I began to slow. Whatever it was, righted my trajectory and allowed me to land on my feet. I came to rest on some dark platform as the wraith-like monstrosities in the dark around me closed in. I found myself able to move freely once again and I began to take a few steps in hopes of finding a way out of this dark place. Then, a blinding light shone from beneath me as gold winged birds manifested from the dark patches of the platform under my feet, leaving bits of bright material in the spaces they once occupied. Their pure glow seemed to banish the shadows and the dark beings who pursued me cowered at the sight of them and fled of into the darkness around me. I watched the now massive flock of birds fly off into the distance in a circle, granting me some measure of relief. They hovered some distance away, a barrier of sorts against dark intrusion.

The surface I now stood on gave off a warm multicolored glow, and I looked down to see that my feet rested on a floor made entirely out stained glass. For a moment I thought it was just aimlessly colorful, but I quickly revised my opinion as I began to make out the design. It looked like Everask. He was dressed in his favorite outfit of a jacketless casual suit, and he held that book of his in one hand. Ev’s eyes were closed and his right hand was extended out as if to cast a spell. There were other designs as well, and images of other people I knew around him in circular framed segments of the glass floor. It was more than a little strange to see so many of the people close to me depicted in this bizarre dream art and I wondered to myself what the point of it all was. I recall walking over to the edge of the platform to see an endless abyss below. I let out a resigned breath. There was nowhere to go.

THERE IS LITTLE TIME. “ Said a strange disembodied voice. Or perhaps to call it a voice at all was inaccurate. It was more like an impression of words that came from everywhere, yet nowhere. Like the idea of a sentence. I jumped and looked around wildly, expecting more of those dark creatures, or worse, that thing that was commanding them, but no such presence was there.

DON’T’ BE ALARMED. WALK FORWARD.” Though I wasn’t actually hearing the voice, I could tell there was something truncated about it, like a weak radio signal. I could almost sense a sort of background static in the overlaid with the communication. I wasn’t too keen on doing anything this voice said. There were no indicators that this wasn’t just some trick by the shadow being that had mutilated my arm. At the same time, I didn’t really have much of a choice. Though the glowing birds that formed a ring around the platform drove away the darkness, I could tell they were growing dimmer, and one or two of the birds had simply disappeared. I ended up reluctantly obeying the voice, and I stepped forward into a part of the glass floor that glowed with a slightly stronger luminance.

Before me, three alters emerged from the floor of the platform, made of carved marble. One was black, one white and the last of some indescribably shifting hue. Floating in the air above them were glowing orbs that shared a color with the altars beneath them. Upon closer examination, I saw that they were identical to the cornerstone itself, though in vastly different color schemes. The black Cornerstone contained a violent, amethyst light. I could sense a righteous malice from it and a desire to exact it on those who it deemed wicked. The white cornerstone had an enveloping presence, like the feeling of a mother’s arms when you are very young. It made me feel safe, like I wasn’t alone. The last one was in a clear sphere whose light seemed to shift between every hue, and it gave a sense of wonder, of discovery, of untapped knowledge, yet also of greed and ambition.

WITHIN YOU IS A TERRIBLE POWER UNSHAPED.” The voice said. “IT IS UP TO YOU TO DECIDE WHAT FORM IT TAKES.” The ground shook, and I sensed the presences of those dark wraith-like creatures closing in on the platform again. At this point a little more than half of the birds remained. The slight sense of safety I felt before was beginning to fade.

THEY COME, YOU MUST CHOOSE AND QUICKLY. “ Said the voice. I didn’t know what to do, so I simply placed a hand on each orb in turn. The moment my fingers brushed the black orb, I became aware of a set of words, almost as if I’d always known them,

The Power of the Warrior. Invincible courage. A force of terrible destruction. Is this the path you choose?

I removed my hand and quickly made my way over to the sphere in the middle, the sphere of many colors. Upon touching it I once again knew a set of words,

The Power of the Mystic. Inner strength. An art of wonder and ruin. Is this the path you choose?

I removed my hand from this orb and turned my attention to the last one, the white orb. I place a hand upon its warm surface. From behind me, I could hear murderous whispers in the darkness beyond the platform and perhaps it was just my imagination, but I thought the light of the platform itself seemed dimmed. Less than a fourth of the birds remained. My darkened arm twitched involuntarily, as if in anticipation of the arrival of creatures of its own like. Also, the darkness that had taken my arm had crept upwards like an infection, changing its make-up as it grew. Before it had extended only to my elbow, now it was well on its way to my shoulder. As I touched the white orb, I knew the last set of words.

The Power of the Guardian. Kindness to aid friends. A shield to repel all. Is this the path you choose?

I knew very quickly which of the three I would choose. I didn’t want destructive might, or magical prowess. Others could take those paths.

“I just want to power to protect the people I love.” I said, taking the white cornerstone sphere off of its pedestal. It burst into small stars in my hand and then began to take shape. The light condensed into a thin blade of silvery metal. It was largely unadorned and didn’t even have any wrapping around its handle. The whole thing seemed like it was made in one piece with the blade smoothly transitioning into the handle. There was an energy to the blade, a vitality. It seemed to glow slightly.

YOUR PATH IS SET.” Said the voice. I held on to the blade tightly, and felt suddenly energized and filled with renewed purpose. The arm that had gone dark from the touch of the shadow figure above seemed to twinge in response to the blade I held in my right hand, but did nothing else. It was as if the presence of the blade calmed it somehow.

BEHIND YOU!

I spun around to see smoke and tar rise up from the ground and form into a small moving shape. It was sort of like bug, with a round head and a thin, vaguely humanoid body. It had large, round, gold eyes and small antennae on its head. The creature seemed to sniff about for me, prowling nearby as if waiting for an opportunity to strike. It had tiny arms tipped with razor sharp claws. The little monster leapt up and began to flail its small clawed arms at me. I side stepped out of the way with relative ease, letting it pass through the spot which I’d just vacated. I put both hands on my new weapon and swung at the creature with all my might. The blade seemed to meet resistance for a moment before it simply caused the creature to dissipate into smoke again.

Four more of these creatures manifested from the ground surrounding me from all sides. They lunged at me, and I jumped between two of them with a strong push of my legs. I was surprised when my leap took me nearly eight feet away. I stumbled to a halt, not used to the momentum borne from the extra powerful jump. The creatures followed, and as they did, more of them dredged themselves up from whatever source they originated from. A small army of these little shadows seemed to be gathering around me.

“Shit.” I said, holding the blade out in front of me. I stopped three more attacking shadows with a couple deft swings, causing them to turn to smoke just like the first one, but it was quickly dawning on me that while one of these things were no real problem, hundreds of them would most certainly kill me. They all took quick fidgeting steps towards me and I found myself suddenly along the edge of the massive platform.

THE DOOR...QUICKLY!” the voice called out urgently. I turned around and saw a set of ornate double doors carved out of some kind of metal or stone. They slowly parted letting in a blinding light that repelled the creatures behind me and gave me a moment of respite. My salvation lie just a few feet away from the edge of the platform, and I didn’t have much room for a running jump. Luckily, the new enhanced power of my leaps carried me up and through the doorway. I found myself flailing for a few moments, before my feet touched another glass surface. I tucked and rolled, nearly losing grip on the sword as I did. I skidded to a stop and knelt there for a moment getting my bearings.

Looking up at the door I’d just emerged from, I could see countless golden eyes on the other side of it, writhing and pressing in for a chance to squeeze through the narrow opening after me. Running as quickly as possible, I shoved my shoulder into doors to shut them. They resisted me, and I was astonished at the sheer weight of them. I don’t think that I would have been able to actually close them without the assistance of the blade’s power, but soon they were sealed, and a resounding click rang out once it did.

Gasping for breath, and I feel backwards into a sitting position to give me some time to compose myself. Despite all of the things that had happened, I still had no answers to my questions. I still didn’t know what was going on. Sure the sword was nice, but it didn’t really do much to stack the odds in my favor when the sheer number of those things alone was enough to overwhelm me. I got to me feet and looked down. Another stained glass platform rested below me, this time representing Avani. She wore a pair of black paints, a gun belt, and a belly shirt with a black leather jacket over it. Held in her hands was a long gun, the same one I’d seen in an earlier vision. She stood as if she were aiming it at something.

“Hey you!” I called out, looking up into darkness. “Where am I? What are those things? What’s going on?” I practically yelled that last question as the frustration building in me reached the breaking point.

YOU ARE BEING HUNTED.” Said the voice. I was actually kind of surprised it had responded.

“By what?”

HEARTLESS CREATURES WHO’S ONLY MISSION IS TO CONSUME. THEY TEAR AT THE WALLS OF YOUR SOUL TO TAKE YOUR HEART.” I rubbed my temples in frustration.

“But why?” I said, my voice biting.

THERE IS NO TIME. THEY ARE BEING HELD AT BAY, BUT ONLY JUST. THERE ARE STILL TASKS TO PERFORM BEFORE THIS DAY IS DONE.” I opened my mouth to argue, but the voice or impression or whatever, rang out.

IF YOU DO NOT COMPLY, ALL THOSE YOU HOLD DEAR WILL DIE. THIS IS NOT A THREAT, BUT A CERTAINTY. YOU MUST SEE THIS THROUGH OR ELSE ALL WILL BE LOST. AGAIN, IT IS YOUR CHOICE.” I gritted my teeth and nodded. As if there was any real choice at all.

VERY WELL, THEN LET US COMMENCE.” At those words I felt a stirring in the air, and then I noticed another glowing cathedral glass platform appear in the distance, and on it there was a pillar of glowing light. From the edge of my current platform, panels of the same stained glass appeared from motes of light and created a path to the other platform.

WALK INTO THE LIGHT. IT WILL LOOK INTO YOU, AND HOW YOU EMERGE WILL DEPEND ON WHAT IT SEES.” I didn’t like the way that sounded. What would happen if it didn’t like what it saw? Would I just be cast away, thrown back like an unwanted fish? The uncertainty of what my future would bring (or whether it would continue at all for that matter) was eating me up inside. That being said, I think I was handling the situation rather well. The worst thing that happened to me before this (physically anyways) was that I’d broken my right leg while doing something stupid on the farm. The weirdest thing that had happened to me was having Everask cast a spell on me anthat turned me green for a few days. Everything that was happening to me now was at least a couple dozen of leagues up from those situations.

I began to make my way to the bridge leading to what I hoped was the final platform in this place. My steps seemed to echo despite the unending openness of the space. As I placed my foot onto the first panel of the walk way to test it, another voice rang out, cutting through the silence like a hot knife. It was a harsh guttural voice that made my stomach churn.

I HAVE FOUND YOU, BOY!”

The door I’d come from before began to part slowly and inexorably. My eyes went wide, and I began to run. Moments later it flew open, the doors falling off their hinges, and a stream of dark creatures poured out of it like a fountain of black ink. They flooded over the other platform, and it immediately darkened, beginning to break apart before falling away into nothingness. I was moving so fast away from the darkness that I was practically leaping. My legs burned, as did my lungs. There was a knife sharp stitch in my side, and I was beginning to slow down. The vicious stream of enemies began to consume the glass tiled platforms behind me as I ran. Then, faster than I thought possible, a massive tendril of dark matter slammed down into the tiles in front of me and sent them tumbling out of sight. I leapt over the space and tendril alike and landed on the next set of tiles gracelessly, nearly tumbling into the depths below myself. The couple seconds it took me to get up nearly killed me, as the dark creatures continued to move as one massive blob of eyes, limbs and sharp claws towards me.

The amorphous conglomeration of dark monsters came together to form a massive arm that must have been large enough to crush a good portion of my house back in Freyvallow. It came down with earth shattering force and I leapt out of the way just in time as it took out the last of the glass walkway panels and a chunk of the cathedral platform with it. The image on this last platform was of me. My image self stood in the middle of the circular design with spiked black chains around my left arm. In the picture, my arm was blackened and semi-monstrous, just like my real arm now was. On the other side of me was the holy blade held up high. Over my left shoulder were images of my friends and family, as if they were looking after me.

I tried to run for the light but tripped and sprawled onto the ground, the blade flying out of my hands. I tried to grab it, but a dark tendril brushed it away and off the side of the platform. I felt its power leave me, and I suddenly felt drained. The dark creatures grew more and more numerous and they began to combine to form a colossal shape. A hideous face began to manifest from the many shadows and its eyes were the same hellfire pits that the dark man had. Hell, probably was him considering I’d never actually seen his face. Maybe he was always this ugly. Two more arms formed to either side of the face, and the remainder of the shadows swirled and spiraled around the platform like a smoky cyclone. Their movement was creating a powerful wind and I felt like I was truly in the eye of a storm.

THE LIGHT KNOTON! GO TO THE LIGHT!” The original voice said, clearly distressed despite not actually sounding like anything. They sounded so faint now, like they were speaking from a great distance.

YOUR FUTURE IS DARKNESS. ACCEPT ITS EMBRACE. HELP US USHER IN THIS NEW AGE! Said the hideous face, the ring of dark wind closing in. As it did, it eroded away the parts of the platform it touched, turning it to dust. I stood up and sprinted for the light, dodging dark creatures and shifting tendrils alike. When I reached it, the voice called out,

RAISE UP YOUR HAND!” I did so, and the light began to intensify even as the darkness tried to engulf me. The cyclone was no more than three or four feet away from me. The pillar of light began to solidify and suddenly the holy blade reappeared to my hand. Within moments it began to change. A guard began to form in the shape of a heart. It was white and had a black double helix pattern running along it, almost like Marsh’s necklace. The handle was wrapped in black leather, and like the guard it had a double helix design as part of the grip, though this time in white. The blade transformed as well. It grew and turned into something like an ornate wing made of white and gold metal. Veins of golden and white light ran along the blade, all of which emerged from a white gem at the hilt which was more or less identical to the white cornerstone I’d chosen before. Finally, a keychain grew from the bottom of the guard and handle. The links were like golden triangles and they lead to a smaller version of the original cornerstone. Inside of the clear orb however, was Marsh’s heart necklace surrounded by rings of light.

YOU WILL NOT ESCAPE! Said the dark being as every bit of dark matter at his disposal attempted to pour down on me at once. With this new blade however, this Keyblade, my strength felt not only enhanced but unstoppable, and the light within me had never been stronger. With a round sweep of my new blade, light burst forth in a ring from my body, keeping the darkness at bay. I felt myself beginning to rise off of the ground, and a great doorway of white light opened up above me. I knew that this was my way out. I must have done what I needed to do. However, the darkness wasn’t ready to give up on me yet. I felt my progress upward stop as twists of dark energy coiled around my leg and began making their way up my body.

DON’T BE AFRAID.

I held the keyblade up high and light began to gather there. I could hear screeches of anger and vehemence from the darkness below in response to the light. Within moments, it was as if I was holding a key shaped sun in my hands. I could feel the energy gathered there thrumming in my fingers.

BECAUSE YOU HOLD THE MIGHTIEST WEAPON OF ALL.

“This is for my friends.” The words came out neither loudly, nor angrily but with an almost calm reverence. Then I pointed the tip of the blade right in the evil face of that dark body, and a thin beam of golden sunfire and quicksilver light flew from the tip of my blade and right through that monstrous visage. A shriek of pain rang out so powerfully, that my vision blurred and I think I blacked out for a moment. The dark coils holding me faded and I rose once more.

BUT NEVER FORGET:

The darkness below me disappeared and my word began to shine. The void of smoke and blackness was being slowly enveloped in light. I began to fade out again. I just hoped then when I woke again, that I would be home.

YOU WILL BE THE ONE TO UNITE US ALL.

My world went blank.
 
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KingdomKey

The Traveler
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Damn, this was mind blowing. Will Knots right arm remain that way btw? Honestly, I'm amazed at what Knots had to go through before making his way to the station of awakening. I am curious if Marsh is actually alive, because it seemed implied from the way Knots tried to reach him. But seriously, you blew me away, because I loved every thought out detail that went into this; especially the birds being a cameo from the first KH game blows me away. And Knots, impresses me so much with what skills he has for fighting off the heartless. Although, I imagine Ev and Avani will be with him as he goes across worlds. And talk about that ending! It gave me chills. <3 I can't wait for the next chapter. I'm dying to know what that means!
 

BlackOsprey

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WHOOAAAAAAAA

Damn, that was GOOD. Intense, descriptive, a nice dive into the darker side of KH. I really hope that you're planning to see this story all the way through, because I'm hooked already.
 

Toghenma

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Thank you so much, both of you! I'm so happy you like it? I'm going to take a small break from this for the next few days to write up something I've been playing with for the Writing Contest, but I'm still cooking up Part Five.

@KitKat, and as for your questions, I will say, wait and see~ :)
Spoiler Spoiler Show
 

Toghenma

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Hello everyone! Sorry for the delay in this release, Finals and job stuff took up most of my time. Also this is by far my longest chapter and I had to take it in small increments. I had actually started this chapter a couple weeks ago, but I scrapped it and started over. I have a plan to include segments called Absent Perspectives, written from the perspective of characters that aren’t Knoton, that fill in some blanks that people might want filled in the future. If there are any past or present events that you would have liked to see from Avani, Everask’s or even some other side character’s perspective in current or later parts of the story, let me know and I will try to make an Absent Perspectives Chapter for it when I have the chance.

Anywho, Enjoy!

Prologue - Part Five

WORLD: LUMENGRAD

I don’t know how long I was out. To be honest, I had kind of given up on maintaining any sense of time with all of these infinite voids I’d been through in the past...who knew how long. I think I drifted eventually into run of the mill unconsciousness eventually, and found myself being roused by someone screaming and shaking me. I will admit my reaction to being touched at all after nearly being consumed by the Shadow Man in cathedral hell was rather violent. I did some flailing, and I think I tried to bite someone. I didn’t really come back into focus until a firm but steady hand smacked me right on the side of the face with enough force to make me bite my cheek. I tasted blood, and scowled. I looked up at the person who’d slapped me and to my surprise Avani was standing there. She was wearing the same outfit I had seen her image wear on the platform in my dream, black leather that looked like it was made for both fashion and function. My attention moved to her face, and more specifically to her eyes, and I was taken aback. There was fear there. Genuine terror, and it wasn’t just at the situation. It was directed at me.

“Are you back?” Avani said, her body tense, as if ready to spring forward in an instant. I noticed a slight movement of her hands, and I realized she had her fingers on the trigger of one of the three guns she had on her person. Two of them were handguns. They were silver and I would have said they were revolvers except that they had no bullet chambers. In their place they had some kind of glowing mechanism I’d never seen before. The third gun was a long rifle with a similar contraption in place of the bullet cartridge. I tried to make myself seem as harmless as possible so as not to end up on the wrong side of those weapons.

“I’m back. What’s going on, last thing I remember is...Marsh!” I tried to get up, but I felt some unknown force restricting me...again. I struggled against it, but it was as if I was chained to the floor, I couldn’t fight through it. I looked down and saw that there were translucent filaments of energy around my arms and legs binding me to the floor. A flash of irritation struck me. I went from being stuck in some abyssal prison to waking up in magic chains. I just couldn’t seem to catch a break.

My head tracked around the room and saw that there were several people around me in varying states of disarray. Everask stood nearby, his hand outstretched and sweat dripping from his brow, his digits surrounded by glittering, blue light. He looked like he’d taken some serious blows, and there was already a huge bruise visible on the side of his face. The magical binding was likely his. Nearby was Priest Rogo, who was slumped against one wall. Blood stained the shoulder of his robes and he looked like he was unconscious or maybe sleeping. Rogo’s wound was quickly wrapped, but blood was seeping through and staining whatever cloth they had used crimson. At the rate that he was losing blood, I knew that he needed a healer and fast. Next to him on the floor lay a pair of inert bodies in battered and broken armor. One was a woman with dark brown hair, and strong features. Her face heavily marked by scars both faded and new, making her look weather-beaten and stern, even when knocked out. When my eyes passed over the second armored form I gasped. The other figure was Marsh, his armor so severely damaged it was practically falling off of him. I panicked for a moment as I watched him, before I felt a great tension leave my shoulders at seeing his chest rise and fall with his faint breathing. I still worried for him, but he was alive. That would have to do for now. I wasn’t sure how bad the blow the Shadow Man had dealt him had been, but it hadn’t t been as fatal as he’d expected. I felt somewhat smug about that.

“You weren’t yourself.” Everask said, still maintaining the binding. “Something had gotten ahold of you. We had no choice but bind you so you couldn’t hurt anyone else.” I stopped moving and looked over again at the injured people in the room in a new light. Had some of that been me? How? I felt momentarily sick, as if I’d just spun around too quickly for too long. I needed answers, but first, I needed to get up. The longer I was captive, the angrier I was getting. I tried to keep my voice steady as I asked,

“Can you let me up, please? I’m really fine now, and I’ve had enough of being tied down. Seriously.” I pulled against my confines pointedly. Both Avani and Everask shared a look of skepticism and I had to wonder just how bad I had been. Guilt tempered my frustration as being bound, and yet my face as to be just a couple steps shy of scowl. To my surprise, a weak voice sounded out from the group of wounded, and I saw that Rogo had opened his eyes and was looking at me with a surprisingly lucid expression, as if he was searching me for something. After a moment of him just staring at me, he sighed and said,

“Let him free, Everask. He is with us now.” Everask looked over to Rogo and Avani quickly moved over to the priest’s side.

“Are you sure, Father?” Everask said, worried.

“Yes. Trust me in this, I can tell. Something significant had happened. I don’t think we need fear a relapse.“ Rogo shakily rose to his feet, and Avani looked at him, distressed.

“Father Rogo, please, don’t strain yourself.” Rogo gave a pained laugh at this and shook his head.

“I’m afraid it’s a bit too late for that young lady. Besides, we’re short on time. The old protections here will not be able to hold out the forces outside for long.” Rogo began to walk slowly toward me, his injured arm hanging limply, and his other applying pressure to the bandaged wound. “We need to come up with a game plan, and we will most certainly need Knoton’s new power by the end of this. Now release him, please.” Everask sighed and nodded. With a motion that looked like the release of a heavy object, Everask lowered his hands to his sides and grunted with the sudden lack of effort he was exerting. In the same instance, the magical bonds on my vanished and I got to my feet. I stretched and kneaded some muscles that were complaining after my body had been through...whatever it had been through. Before anyone could say or do anything, I walked over to a nearby mirror and looked at myself clinically.

As I feared, my left arm was still monstrous. I felt an alien power there that I dared not rouse, though I could tell that it was eager for me to do so. I had no clue as to the nature of this affliction and whether it would pose any major problems for me in the future if I just left it alone. When I turned my attention to my right hand however, I felt a different power. Extending that hand outward in the same fashion I’d seen Marsh do earlier I sent my will into that source of bright power and commanded it to take shape with an effort of will. With a burst of white and gold light, the Keyblade I’d wielded in the dream world came to my hand letting off dancing motes of radiance. It looked just the same as it had when I’d first called it to myself, and I felt its strength flood me like a stimulant. The pains of my body seemed more distant. Negative feelings felt more manageable. I almost managed to convince myself I was in a good mood. I tossed the blade up into the air impulsively and tried to catch it. I fumbled it and tried to make up for my lack of practice by catching it with my other hand. Instead of catching it however, my dark arm grabbed it and threw it away from me, as if guided by someone else’s will. I cried out as the blade spun and embedded itself thickly into the stone wall. Suddenly my friends were up in arms again, hands on weapons, or books in Everask’s case. I hastily put my hands up and tried to assure them everything was alright.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.” I looked at my dark arm and looked to Rogo. “What happened to my arm? Do you know?” Rogo nodded hesitantly.

“The being that guides the Heartless outside attempted to use you as an agent to steal the Dowel of the Cornerstone. I was charged with the stone’s keeping, so I was awake making sure the defenses I’d set in place were as tight as they could be. However, my defenses were not made to prevent the entry of people of good intent, and good heart. The dark being that took hold of you awoke darkness deep within you, but prevented it from corrupting your heart. In doing so, he was able to fool my defenses and use you to get through the most powerful of my wards and then he used the darkness to shatter the rest.” Rogo gestured to a pile of rubble that was once a heavy and rune covered stone door. My mind was drawn back to my visions in the dream world as I floated in the void.

“I used what knowledge I had of magic to hold the darkness off, but you overpowered me, and moved past me too the cornerstone. That’s when they got here, and fought you to a standstill.” Rogo said gesturing to everyone else.

“That still doesn’t answer my question.” I said, flexing my dark arm, once again under my control. I made a fist, then wiggled my fingers experimentally.

“When we tried to keep you down, we were losing badly.” Avani said, standing arms akimbo, her weight on one leg. “But at one point you touched the cornerstone and after that you got a lot slower, kind of jerky. We took advantage of it, and took you down.” She slammed a fist into her palm with some amusement, though her face looked mildly apologetic.

“After we got you pinned down, something weird started happening to Cornerstone. It floated over to you and then just sort of burst into little stars around you. After it did, you started turning back to normal. Before that you looked...well you looked seriously evil, Knots.” Everask said, looking more than a little uncomfortable as the last words left his mouth. “The light of the Cornerstone turned most of you back to normal, but it didn’t work on your arm for some reason.” Everask said, seeming to grow increasingly confident that I was indeed myself as he looked at me.

“It would seem your Holy Blade subsumed the cornerstone, gaining some of its properties.” Rogo said. I summoned the blade and looked at the small glowing stones set into the hilt and keychain. “I’m not certain what that means. As far as I am aware this is not typical function of a Keyblade. I’m sure the Masters of Vinculum will wish to hear about this.” At those words, a small expression of jealousy crossed Everask’s face, though it was quickly replaced by concern for my condition, and contemplation of how the hell we were supposed to get out of this situation.

“How bad are things outside?” I asked, really hoping the answer wasn’t as bad as I suspected it would be. Rogo’s expression became grim and I felt myself tense.

“I don’t know how bad things are everywhere else, but I do have reports that the heartless are appearing in great numbers across all of Lumengrad. Freyvallow is being hit harder than most places but other than that, I know rather little. Of the four Keyblade Wielders that came to guard the King, two are incapacitated, one is presumed dead, and the last went to collect what town’s people they could and planned to take refuge in the community center with hopes of evacuating as many as possible through a Light Gate.” Rogo looked in the direction of the shattered door and I followed his gaze. Shifting, squirming, dark shapes seemed to prowl just beyond the threshold of the room and I suddenly didn’t feel so secure in our position.

“Wait, the Light Gates. Could we just make one and get out of here? I mean, Knots has a Keyblade now right?” Avani said. Rogo shook his head.

“Learning how to make one is very difficult I hear. I doubt all of the King’s protective entourage can even make one, let alone Knoton who has no training at all.” I had expected as much. “Besides that, Light Gates need to draw in ambient light to function. If we opened one in here, we would be vulnerable, and whatever lurks beyond the defenses would waltz in and kill us all.” I noticed Rogo was getting unsteady on his feet, so I got an arm under his shoulder and propped him up against me. The priest gave me a grateful look and I helped to get him onto a nearby ledge to sit down. I looked over to Everask and said,

“You have the power to heal, right? Why don’t you just fix everyone up?” Everask sighed and gave me a suffering look.

“Knots, mana doesn’t just replenish itself if you walk around. I’d need to rest, to eat and maybe take a nice hot shower. I could heal Rogo so he doesn’t bleed out and bring someone back to consciousness, but then I would be all but spent and whoever I woke up would only just be functional.” Everask looked over the bodies of the wounded. “Honestly, keeping you pinned down was damn near close to rendering me unconscious.”

“Well we can’t just sit here.” Avani said, taking out each of her guns in turn and inspecting them with a careful eye. “As I see it, our only option is to fight our way out of here and if we’re being honest, having Rogo and a wounded Keyblade Wielder is more useful than a tired, novice sorcerer right now.” The comment was said with Avani’s usual brusqueness and Everask’s face threatened to turn into a scowl for a moment before he sighed, pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Of course you’re right, like always.” Ev said with evident sarcasm, taking out his spellbook and flipping through pages intently. Avani had a few smart responses ready, but wisely went with silence as Everask reached the page he sought, and began to chant words under his breath. Rogo’s wound was uncovered and I had to look away from the sheer savagery of it. A gout of flesh had literally been ripped away by a forceful hand, and I felt my dark arm twitch as if in fond remembrance. With sweeping gestures of his right hand, Everask passed it over Rogo’s injury which slowly began to knit itself closed. It was not masterwork by any means. The flesh didn’t heal ideally and it was clear that there would be a great deal of permanent scarring. However, the wound was no longer bleeding, and soon there were just angry red lines of tender pink flesh in place of the wound.

Everask put a hand out against the wall and spent several moments gasping for breath as if he’d just run an obstacle course. Sweat dripped heavily off of his brow and for a moment he looked like he might fall to his knees. To his credit however, Everask returned to an upright position and walked over to the fallen Vinculum agents.

“Which one should we wake up?” Avani said, looking between myself, Ev and Rogo. I would have said that Marsh was a no brainer here, but looking back I’ve got to hand it to Ev for remaining impartial in this scenario. There was a chance that the other agent had skills that were more useful to us. Rogo shrugged gingerly, trying not to agitate the newly healed flesh of his shoulder which must still have been very tender.

“From what I’ve been told, both of them are of the same rank, but that doesn’t necessarily tell us anything about their overall capabilities and usefulness in this situation. I’m afraid it’s up to you to decide.” Everask sighed and with the look of a man who was about to do something really unpleasant, he stepped over to Marsh’s body. Once again he extended his hands outward and began to chant. Soft green light began to emit from Ev’s finger tips and then from Marsh’s body. After about thirty seconds Marsh began to stir and I found myself leaning forward to see whether he was okay. Marsh’s eyes opened and he sat bolt upright, looking around frantically for potential threats. I walked over to him and placed my non-murderous hand on his shoulder. Everask nearly collapsed, but Avani moved quickly over to him and guided him gently to the floor, giving him time to rest.

“Marsh, Marsh! It’s okay! You’re okay.” Marsh looked at me, his eyes tracing over me, assessing whether I was hurt or not and then he relaxed, pulling himself up to a sitting position and resting his back against one wall. We all sat in relative silence for a moment, the only sound in the room being Everask’s gasping breaths.

“I thought you were dead Knots.” Marsh said, our eyes meeting. We shared a moment where the only thing that mattered in the room was each other. I moved my normal hand from his shoulder and grabbed his hand. I gave his fingers a squeeze and smiled.

“Likewise. Good to see you can take a punch.” I said, not realizing that I had started to get a little teary eyed. I leaned in and hugged him, planting a kiss on his lips as I moved back. Marsh smiled and said,

“Well I could get used to waking up to you next to me.” He said in an amused tone. I blushed and I could practically sense Avani giving me a knowing glance behind me. Everask was still catching his breath on the floor, though I could tell he was making a concerted effort not to look in our direction. Rogo cleared his throat pointedly and said,

“We need to come up with a plan to get to safety. We have at our disposal two keyblade wielders at present, and Avani’s weaponry is quite effective against the Heartless.” Marsh looked momentarily confused and was about to speak when Rogo cut him off. “Knoton has acquired a Keyblade.” Marsh’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head and he uttered a noise that blurred the lines somewhere between a gasping and gagging.

“What?! A Keyblade? A Fully formed blade? How?!” Marsh said, looking at me with an expression made upon of mingled shock and various other emotions that passed by too quickly to parse. Rogo, beginning to look impatient, ignored Marsh’s astonished questions and barreled on ahead like a man on a mission.

“With the two of you and Mrs. Coihren here, we should be able to cut a swath through the crowd of Heartless if we move quickly. We should try and get to the community center and offer support to the people there. If we make it there, then we can make an attempt at a Light Gate to evacuate those we can. At the very least, we can add one warrior to our number.” Rogo looked over to Everask. “If you can, it would be best if you and I attempt to carry our unconscious companion while the others guard us.” Everask didn’t seem pleased to be relegated to the role of human stretcher, but he nodded regardless.

“Father, how the hell am I supposed to be of any help? I’ve had this Keyblade for the better part of five seconds. I did some pretty cool stuff with it in dream land, but I have no clue how I did it.” I said, summoning the blade and looking it over. Marsh stared at it with something approaching awe. I didn’t really understand why at the time. After all, he had a keyblade himself, it’s not like what I was doing was anything strange. After a few seconds, he snapped out of his astonishment and smiled widely.

“Don’t worry about that Knots. The Blade wants you to learn, and it’ll teach you the basics. Just let it guide you and you’ll do fine.” I gave Marsh a skeptical look, but I knew I didn’t have time to really train in using the thing before we started fighting our way out. So, for the first, but certainly not the last time, I decided to put my life and future into the..well not hands, handle I guess, of my Keyblade. I swear it never gets easy.

We began to talk about what we might face on the outside, and came up with a solid battle plan. I felt a little bit like being in a sports team huddle, coming up with plans for routes and tactics to deal with large groups of opponents. Of course the stakes were a lot higher in this case, and the knowledge that the lives of the people I’d known my whole life hung in the balance gave me massive resolve to succeed, regardless of the cost to my own personal wellbeing.
After psyching ourselves up for what was to come, we all collected at the shattered doorway, beyond which dark forces awaited our exposure to try and kill us in all manner of brutal and creative ways. Also, though no one had actually mentioned it, the Shadow Man was out there somewhere, and if he directed his attention personally towards us at any time, we would be in a great deal of trouble. It didn’t help that I’d probably pissed him off to an outstanding degree by refusing to give in and be his little Knoton sock puppet. I would just have to hope that my keyblade would be able to deter him again should the issue arise.

“So gents, how’s about we make a little wager?” Avani said, a gun in each hand, her smile practically wolfish. Heartless pressed against Rogo’s unseen runic barrier in anticipation of the fight to come. I summoned my blade, and a moment later, Marsh summoned his own. Rogo and Everask took the unconscious, scarred, Vinculum agent by the arms and legs and prepared to transport her.

“What did you have in mind?” Marsh asked, sky blue light beginning to come from his blade.

“I think that whoever kills the most Heartless gets to claim the title of the official group Badass. That way we know who the best fighter is among the three of us.” Marsh let out a small laugh.

“Bragging rights, huh? Well, considering that we Keyblade wielders are all-powerful engines of destruction, I think I’ve got this one in the bag.” Marsh said, gesturing at his blade with a smug smile.

“I suppose you should both consider yourselves quite fortunate that I’m out of mana, or else I fear you’d all be conceding the title of number one badass to me.” Everask said, acting more like himself than he had since earlier that morning. I grinned and gripping my own blade in two hands, I felt strength flood my limbs and energy suffuse my thoughts.

“Well then, it seems like we have a wager then.” Avani said as the machines on the ends of her two revolvers began to glow and revolve of their own accord. I really had to ask her where she’d gotten those things.

“On the count of three, I will lower the shield. Remember, don’t hesitate, and don’t stop moving until we reach the community center.” At more or less the same time, everyone else in the room said,

“Right!” And Rogo began to count up. On three, I immediately felt it when the barrier came down and Heartless began to emerge from every shadow within milliseconds. Some of them were the small antennaed creatures that had very quickly overwhelmed me in the dream world. Others however, had more complex shapes. One of the other breeds of these dark creatures looked like small humanoids wearing somewhat misshapen helmets, like ones worn by common knights. They had sharp claws just like their smaller counter parts, and moved with sort of swift, clumsy and rather spastic motions.

One of them jumped high up into the air and swept one of their clawed hands at me. I let the blade guide my movements and I swung it at the Heartless. The blade sheered the creature’s head from its shoulder and then it burst into a cloud of black smoke. Also from fading smoke came an orb of golden red light that seemed to fly up into the air for a moment before disappearing. Three more of the small armored figures leapt at me, and with movements that would have most certainly been beyond my capabilities that morning, I sliced the three of them into bits in midair, freeing more orbs of light into the increasingly dark night sky.

Meanwhile, Avani was disposing of the creatures with startling efficiency. Her unique guns seemed to send not physical bullets, but small bolts of violet light at the Heartless with blinding speed. Each bullet fired killed or incapacitated an enemy, and already her count had to be well above ten. Marsh too was disposing of the creatures with alacrity, and I could already see what it truly meant to be a practiced keyblade wielder. His swings seemed to be charged with energies that I didn’t know how to summon, and he was also able to generate large x-shaped projectiles that took out many of the creatures at once. In short, I was already falling behind, and it was becoming clear to both our group and the heartless where the weakest part of our protective ring was.

When it came to our progress towards the Community center, we were moving slower than we wanted and our speed only decreased as we were forced to expend what precious little energy and stamina we had to stave off the seemingly endless horde. The number of heartless in the church itself was immense, with every pew and hallway practically at standing room only. It may not have been so bad if the Heartless had to obey the same physical rules that we did, but they were able to move through each other, and become like shadows themselves in some cases, making it hard to kill them, and making it even harder to avoid getting hit by the barrage of enemy limbs and claws attempting to rend, shred and otherwise obliterate us.

The heartless began to focus on me, which was only natural as my kill count was clearly deficient. Though the speed and grace granted by the blade prevented me from sustaining grievous bodily harm, I was not skating by unscathed. Every few seconds the tip of a claw would graze me, or a blow would threaten to knock me off my feet. It was all I could do to keep them from simply skipping past me to Everask, Rogo and the unconscious Vinculum agent. I almost killed us all when I heard Avani cry out in pain and made to turn to her, but Rogo screamed out,

“She’s fine, hold the ring!” I ignored Avani’s pained cries and continued to cut into heartless. We were perhaps half way to the community center when the heartless began to subside. It wasn’t entirely obvious at first, but suddenly I found myself swinging at empty space, and I could see gaps in their ranks. As if someone had slowly turned off a faucet, the heartless faded to a trickle and then to nothing. When we finally found ourselves alone in the middle of town, Marsh, Avani and I all practically collapsed. I leaned hard on my blade, Marsh took to one knee. Avani seemed by far the most exhausted, with sweat drenching her shirt and her skin looking pale. She was somewhat unsteady on her feet and it looked like she was maintaining her stance out of sheer stubbornness at this point. Something about those glowing gun machines had something to do with it I was sure. After all, when it came to sheer physical exertion she’d had to do the least, as her weapon didn’t require swinging or thrusting.

Rogo and Everask didn’t let their guard down. Indeed, Rogo spoke to us in a manic and furious hiss.

“We don’t have time to rest here! Get up, now! We’re almost there!” The three of us looked at each other and managed to compose ourselves, though it took some doing. Marsh looked like he was beginning to feel what remained of his injuries, and I doubted Avani had much left in her. I was surprisingly okay. My fatigue ebbed away rather quickly, and I felt strength flood my limbs again. I wondered if Marsh’s blade had a similar effect. I wasn’t sure what the extent of his injuries were, and I knew that healing spells took a toll on the target as well as the caster. It could be that the blade was all that kept him upright at this point.

As we began to make our way to the community center I began to get a bad feeling. That same feeling seemed to have spread to the others in my group, as I could practically feel their tension. If the heartless had just continued to attack us it might have been difficult, but predictable. This sudden complete absence of them did not bode well, and my fingers tightened on the handle of my blade. We reached the community center just a few moments later. I banged on the doors loudly and said,

“Let us in! We’re not Heartless!” Marsh too spoke up saying,

“Commander Kara! Are you in there? This is Agent Marsh Dalis. I have several towns’ people, as well as Agent Hebna Carro who is in critical condition. We need shelter.” There was another couple moments of silence, and then the door opened revealing a familiar figure. It was the same armored figure I’d seen speaking to Rogo earlier, though this time her helmet was absent. She looked young, no more than a couple years Marsh’s senior. Her hair was red, and her eyes were sea-green. Unlike Hebna, her face was devoid of many scars, save for a burn scar that extended from her neck up to her right ear, where the skin was darker and rougher as a result.

“Thank the Seven, you’re alright. Come in, quickly. I suspect we’ve not seen the end to these devils.” She retreated enough to allow us to enter. We passed through quickly, letting Rogo and Everask go first with Hebna. When I passed by, the Commander’s eyes fell on me with great intensity, and I could see a faint light within those green eyes as they gave me and more specifically my Key, a once over. The moment lasted a no more than a couple seconds before she closed the door behind us. With a gesture of her blade and an uttered word, chains of orange light came up over the entry area of the community center. The same spell was present over every entrance and even on and inside the ground beneath us. Commander Kara’s keyblade gave of a similar glow. It was a slender thing, which evoked themes of bindings, and stone spires. I found that the blade seemed to give off an air of oppressiveness that I found induced a feeling a bit like mild claustrophobia in me when I paid attention to it for too long.

We were not alone in that place. Dozens, if not hundreds of townsfolk were in there and it did my heart good to see that the commander had managed to save so many. Indeed, I began to wonder just how big of a skill gap existed between Marsh and his superior officer. Where it had taken the three of us a monumental effort to simply get to this building, though admittedly injured, Commander Kara had practically single handedly preserved over a third of the town. I quickly scanned the crowd for familiar faces. Avani’s father, holding a rifle much like the one Avani herself wielded, ran out of the crowd and embraced her, tears running down his cheeks and into his large white mustache. Everask and Marsh’s parents were there too, and the four of them had a similar reunion.

My look through the crowd became increasingly frantic as I realized I couldn’t see my mother. She had raised me alone for a majority of my life, and she was the person a cared for the most, even next to my friends. I eventually began forcing my way through the crowd, desperately seeking her, and the townsfolk, noticing my distress, did not get in my way. I scoured the whole building twice until I would even admit to myself that she wasn’t there. Unable to process that my mother might have been taken by those things, I sank to my knees in a corner of the room.

Several people came over to try and comfort me, but I waved them away, wanting to be alone with my thoughts. Had it been my fault, I wondered. When I refused the offers of that Shadow Man, had I inadvertently called down that being’s wrath onto my family, my friends? Would the being continue to hunt me, and what had really happened to my mother? Despite my attempts not to let my mind wander in such unpleasant avenues, I could practically see the torments the Shadow Man could inflict on my mother and anyone else he’d captured. As if in relish of these thoughts, my dark arm clawed at the ground making small sparks when the red nails scrapped away stone. I sat there for a while just staring off into the distance when a voice brought me out of my reverie.

“So you were the one who Awakened.” I looked up to see Commander Kara peering down at me with a calm, almost remote expression on her youthful, freckled face. Her accent was new to me, something lilting and strong, making me think of misty peaks and grassy hills.

“I guess so.” I said, not really caring at that moment. Everything that had happened seemed to be nothing next to the increasing sense of loss I was feeling. The commander seemed to notice this, as her expression became softer, more concerned. Without a visible strain, her armor dissipated, and she knelt down next to me. I didn’t want her to, but I wasn’t really going to be able to stop her even if I tried.

“I’m sorry for what happened to you. For what happened to your mother. I assure you, that I will do everything in my power to return her to you, safe and sound, however long it might take.” The certainty in her words calmed me somewhat, and I leaned back against the wall behind me. Despite our relative closeness in age, the way Kara spoke made it seem like she was quite a bit older. I sighed and closed my eyes for a moment, trying to dispel some of the gloom that was trying to grip me.

“How did all of this happen? Everything looked fine. All of this just seemed to come out of nowhere.” I said, talking more to myself than to her.

“In truth, we expected some kind of attack.” I turned to her, not sure how to feel and simply said,

“What?” A look of profound guilt covered her face, as well as self-recrimination, though it was quickly covered by the same calm expression as before.

“None of our intelligence suggested that we were bound to face a full scale invasion. The most we expected was a moderate force attracted to the light of the cornerstone. It happens more often that you’d think. Normally the defenses at the Royal Palace are enough to weather such attacks, but the timing of the Heartless’ arrival was odd this year.” Kara said, leaning her own head against the wall.

“The light of the Cornerstone both repels and attracts the Heartless. They crave it, but know that it is anathema to them if they get too close. It’s as if they remember what it was like to be part of it. As if they crave to regain memories of a brighter world.” My mind, despite its ever increasing list of distractions and worries couldn’t help but pick out her words and take interest.

“They came for the Cornerstone? But what can they even do with it? As you said, it kills them if they get too close, right?” Commander Kara nodded at my words, expecting the question.

“Cornerstones are ancient and powerful relics of the Time of Gods. Unlike imbued or enchanted items you might see among the worlds today, the stone is constantly emitting power and light in quantities that are seemingly infinite. The reason for this is still unknown to us, but we do know one thing. The closer one gets to the light, the greater one’s shadow becomes. Darkness draws power from the light, just as light requires darkness as a cradle to grow and shine. The two forces perpetuate each other while never touching. The heartless seek to use the Cornerstone as a method of growing and strengthening themselves.” Kara said, looking out in the direction of the town square.

“How do you fight those things then? I mean, if light just makes them stronger, why does it seem to work so well?” I asked.

“Consider yourself as an example. When you go outside and expose yourself to the heat of your sun, you take in rays that slowly burn your skin. As a result, your skin peels revealing stronger, darker skin beneath, skin that can take more punishment from the sun. However, if you were to say, touch the surface of a hot skillet, you would burn and the skin that grows back will be damaged, perhaps permanently so. Too much light at once kills the heartless, just as too much darkness can turn us into monsters.” She then turned to look at me, and her eyes fell onto my dark arm, which drove its red nails further into the stone floor. “You have already felt the effects of this first hand.”

I flexed the fingers of my dark arm, and I held it out in front of me.

“What can you tell me about this?” I asked, holding it out to her

“This is a very serious affliction, but contained for the moment. From what I can tell, this a very deeply set corruption that has been bound into your left arm. Though I am no expert, this will likely be terribly difficult to extract, if it can be done at all.” Kara said, trying to ease the blow her words might deal by softening her tone.

“So, are you saying that this might be permanent?” I asked somberly, looking at the ghastly inhumanness of my limb. Kara shrugged, and gave me an apologetic expression.

“I’m afraid to say that I don’t know for sure. I’m not a spirit healer by any means, but when we return to the Vinculum homeworld, we will have them treat you and see what they can do for the affliction before we begin your education.” I blinked in surprise for a moment.

“My education?” Kara nodded.

“You can summon a holy blade. Not just that, but you’ve manifested it in its keyblade form. Whether it was your plan or not you now have a place among our ranks, and are entitled to all of the education and resources that entails. Though, there are many aspects about your situation that are unorthodox to say the least. Your first weeks there will likely be interesting.” I normally would have felt excited, but at that moment it was little more than another item to consider on a checklist already of full of stressful items. Still, I did feel somewhat better, if for no other reason than I felt a little less clueless about what was going on. Despite this, I still felt a sense of growing apprehension, much as we all had upon seeing the horde disappear. Nearly thirty minutes passed and nothing was changing. I had the nagging feeling that the heartless were simply gathering up their forces for one colossal strike.

“Shouldn’t we be, you know, evacuating or something.” I asked. Kara nodded and began to get to her feet.
“We’ll begin the evacuation soon. I wish to give everyone who’s capable of fighting as much time to recover as possible before I create the light gate. The moment I do, we lose all major defenses, and we’ll likely need your powers again before the night ends. The process shouldn’t take any more than five minutes as long as we keep everyone calm.” I tried to feel reassured, but something kept nagging me. It was as if someone was standing near me with an exposed wire. The hairs on my arms were standing up. I didn’t know why no one else felt the tension. Kara seemed calm as could be, and everyone else, while worried and scared, seemed to feel relatively at ease. I sat there feeling twitchy.

“Renna, are you okay?” A woman’s voice stood out in the crowd. My head snapped to it, and I suddenly felt a shock of pure terror that I couldn’t explain. “Renna? Renna! Someone, please help, something wrong with Renna!” The crowd of town refugees began to stir and they parted to allow Kara to come through and see the girl Renna. She was having some kind of seizure. Her body convulsed violently, and her eyes were rolling to the back of her head. The woman who called out for help was whimpering and asking the room what was wrong with her friend. Kara called out to see if there was a physician in the room, but there wasn’t. The best Kara managed was to hold the girl firmly down to keep her from causing herself any significant harm.

My dark arm began to twitch and I jumped to my feet. The girl Renna continued to spasm, and Kara knelt over her. Dark black tar began to seep out of Renna’s mouth, as well as from her eyes. Kara’s eyes went wide and she moved back away from the body. Thicker globs of the stuff erupted from the girl’s throat and she seemed to be trying to scream unsuccessfully.

“Back off! Everybody back away, now!” The crowd moved away from Renna’s body, and Kara summoned her blade. Everask, Avani, her father, Marsh and Myself all armed ourselves in one format or another. I tried to not to listen to the gagging, sobbing sounds coming from Renna, as darkness spread under her in an ever widening pool. There were screams and cries coming from the crowd, and the girl who was Renna’s friend was practically hysterical as Renna began to sink into the pool of darkness she’d expelled. The whites of her eyes were completely stained black and Renna turned her head to look directly at me before she went out of sight.

The pool of darkness began to rise and take shape. A voice rang out in the community center filled with venomous hate, and many people covered their ears.

“NEITHER CHAIN, NOR LOCK CAN BIND ME OR HALT MY PASSAGE.”

A large humanoid body began to form from the blackness. Golden yellow eyes peered out from a head covered with extruding tentacles. The creature’s body was muscular and the same color as the black tar that had formed it. Small wings protruded from the entity’s back and there was a massive heart shaped hole in its torso. Its legs were similar to that of a human, though the feet were distorted and curled in a way that should have made it impossible for the creature to stand upright. This new monstrosity leaned forward and where its clawed hands made contact with the earth, small heartless manifested from new pools of dark material. The dark force began to makes its way to the towns people when Kara interposed herself, her arms out wide, her face set into a mask of stern fury.

“Monstrosity! I know not what you are, but as long as I stand here you will not harm these people!” Kara said, her armor manifesting in an instant. Marsh’s armor appeared as well. I summoned my blade and the seven of us stood between our hundreds of defenseless neighbors and the enemy.

“SO BE IT.” The creature swung one of its powerful arms at Kara in an over arm punch strong enough to stir the air in the entire room. Kara muttered a word and drove her sword into the ground. The defenses around the building flicked for a moment, and then chain constructs made of light burst from the walls, floor and ceiling, wrapping around the creatures arm and stopping it just a few inches away from Kara’s helmeted face. Marsh ran past me and brandished his sword in both hands. With a bounding leap, he tried to aim a sweep of his blade at the creature’s head. Moving in a fashion that would have been unnatural for a human body, the creature’s unbound arm flashed almost quicker than something of its size should have been able to. Instead of his blade slicing through the face of the creature, it bit into its arm instead, making a fissure from which dark smoke erupted.

The creature then proceeded to almost causally fling Marsh off of its arm and into a nearby wall with enough force to shatter a pair of wooden columns. Avani and her father had taken out their rifles and were taking down the smaller heartless that the larger creature was spawning. For the most part they seemed to have it under control though Avani looked like each shot she fired was bringing her a step closer to collapse. Everask was a bit separated from the action, writing something down on several square sheets of paper that he’d taken from his pocket. He wrote with a furious determination and I could see him running calculations in his head. As for me, I was clueless about where my skills, or lack thereof, could be useful. I decided to go with Marsh’s idea of trying to attack the head. Trying to feel my way through the process, I called up strength from the blade, and getting a running start, I leapt up into the air.

I was surprised by the strength of my jump, and I found myself more or less at eye level with the creature. I swung my blade at its face and it move back away from me. The creature shifted and wrenched its chained arm back. The bindings shattered and his arm zoomed towards me. The keyblade gave me an insight and I focused my power towards my feet. I pushed off against empty air and was suddenly propelled off of it as if it were solid ground. The giant arm missed me by a good foot, and I careened into a wall. The air whooshed out of my lungs and I groaned as a heap on the floor for a few seconds.

Marsh began to slash at the giant’s arms, noting that they were something of a weak point. Kara joined him, using spiked chain constructs to do cutting damage from various directions. Black mist filled the community center, rising to the ceiling like the smoke of an oil fire. Kara’s ability to intervene was severely limited, as she was holding up her defenses around the building as well fighting. Every time she did any significant casting, the barriers flickered with increasing regularity. It was a visible strain on her to keep up these simultaneous processes. Avani and her father continued to dispatch the small fry, though after a few more moments, Avani fell to her knees gasped for air. Sweat dripped from her and drenched her shirt. Her father looked worn out as well, though as far as I could tell, he still had some fight in him.
I stood up and felt the future bruises on my body. Though to be fair of course, up until today being flung into a wall like that would have probably shattered my bones, so I counted my blessings where I could find them. I prepared to jump up again and run into the fray when Everask ran up to me, his eyes determined,

“Knots, help me with these!” I looked into his hand and saw the series of papers he’d been scribbling on before, though upon closer inspection I could see myriad runes and inscriptions on each one.

“What are these?” I asked, as Kara took a full on blow from the creature and was launched head first into a table which splintered upon impact making a small cloud of dust and a spray of woodchips. Avani’s father was having trouble taking up the slack left by his daughter’s sudden fatigue, but he managed it as well as managing to get his daughter out of the way. As of yet, not a single heartless had passed them into the crowd of increasingly terrified town people. Marsh began to hurl x-shaped projectiles at the giant creature to great effect, actually causing the beast to stumble back and support itself against a wall, though it looked like Marsh was expending great strength to do it.

“Keyblades are really powerful magical items right?” Everask said.

“Yeah, okay.”

“Well, that energy can be used to gain or do a lot of different things, like strength, energy attacks, or it can be channeled into things.” Everask held up one of the slips of paper so that I could see it. His face split into a wide, wicked smile. “These are spell runes. They will let me use magic with your help.” My eyes lit up.

“Hell yes! What do you need me to do?”

“Just charge them. The more energy you change them with, the more intense the effect...within reason. I know they have a threshold, but it should be relatively obvious when you’ve reached it.” My face fell a bit, and then I winced as there was another crash as Marsh parried a blow from the giant creature and sent its arm into the barrier. Luckily, the barrier Kara put up prevented its attack from breaking through the walls of the building. Our shelter was still intact...mostly.

“Ev, I have no clue how to do that. All I can do right now if make myself strong.” Everask didn’t break his stride.
“That’s perfect. When you do that, you’re channeling all of that energy you’re getting into yourself. You just need to send that here instead.” He pointed again at the rune. I looked uncertain and I suddenly felt the weight of what would happen if I failed. Everask saw my shift in expression and he place hands on both side of my face while somewhat awkwardly holding the stack of runic papers under his arm.

“You can do this, Knots. You are one of the cleverest people I know. Just feel your way through it, and we’ll be able to save our neighbors.” I let my eyes fall to the cowering people as the giant monstrosity pummeled my other allies. The creature wasn’t in good shape itself. Despite the fact that it was clearly overwhelming Marsh, and Kara, they had managed to deal it severe damage. Long fissures seeping black mist extended all along its body, and one of its golden eyes was gouged out, replaced by another steaming slice. Despite this, the creature wasn’t slowing or showing signs of dying. After all, who knew if it even felt pain, or if that leaking smoke was really anything other than a fancy cosmetic method of telling it was damaged. As Kara and Marsh began the fight again, I nodded my head and said,

“Okay, let’s do this.” I took my keyblade and pointed it at the runes. Of course nothing happened. I concentrated, closing my eyes and willing the power within the blade to travel from the tip of the blade to the rune.

“Come on you stupid thing, work.” I said through gritted teeth. I ignored the sounds of combat around me zeroed in on the blade. I began to speak words in my head. “You chose me. You want me to use the power you have. Well it isn’t enough for just me to use it right now. We need to give it away so that my friends can use it. Please, let me do this.” For a few seconds, my pleas seemed to go unanswered. Then, as if a star came to life in my hands, light burst forth from the two smaller cornerstones at the guard and keychain of the blade. The inscribed runes the blade touched suddenly gave off a powerful bluish glow and Everask began to laugh in almost maniacal pleasure and relief.

“You did it!” Everask said, taking the runic paper in his hands and turning to the creature. “Keep charging them, and I’ll do the rest, got it?”

“Got it!” I said, and directed the energy that burst forth from the blade into the other papers. One by one they began to shine with magical light. The giant creature had dealt the other two keybearers serious wounds. Marsh was lying on the ground on the opposite end of the room, his blade having been flung from his hands to well outside his reach. Kara was using her remaining energy to keep the barrier up, but it looked like she was going to lose the ability to do even that soon. One of her arms hung limply at her side and it looked bent at an odd angle past the elbow.

“Heed me, Monster.” Ev said, before muttering a word in some unknown tongue. The paper in his hands flashed then burst into an orb of mage fire the size of a beach ball. It hovered just a few inches above Everask’s open palm. “For harming my friends you have called down harsh retribution.” And with that, he flung the orb at the monster. It was propelled like a bullet towards its target and when it made contact, it burst with explosive force, more force than Everask could have produced on his own. The creature reeled back from the spell and it was clear that a chunk of it had been blown into pieces. The giant surged towards us, but Everask was already initializing his next spell. With another flash, his second rune burst into arcs of blue-white lightning that danced along his hand for a moment before zooming towards the oncoming enemy. The lightning didn’t stop its momentum, but seemed to have enough oomph behind it to divert it to the side, causing the giant to slam headfirst into Kara’s barrier.

“Two more spells ready to go.” I said, giving him another two glowing pieces of paper. The monster slowly rose. For the first time, it seemed to be struggling to move. The lightning had made jagged scars all over the enemy’s tarlike form and had only made the wound from the fireball all the more grievous. Everask, still smiling, spoke two words and I could feel the temperature around Everask begin to drop suddenly. Two spears of ice the size of small tree trunks appeared over each of his hands. Water dripped from their deadly tips as they floated there. The large heartless rushed forward, dark energy surrounding its massive forearms and fists. Everask pulled back his arms and then flung the two javelins of crystalline ice at the monster. The javelins narrowly flew by the swinging limbs of the creature, up and through the head of the large heartless. Two holes just a bit smaller than the hubcaps of a car expelled copious black fumes. The creature suddenly became motionless and everyone in the room watched it with apprehension. For a moment, all was still and then with almost no sound, the large heartless began to deflate like a pierced balloon. Its limbs shriveled and its body faded slowly into nothing. The last thing to vanish were the thick arms of the thing as it seemed to try and make weak motions in my direction. The dark smoke began to dissipate and soon the enemy was mostly gone, the only evidence of its existence being the damage it had done to both warriors and the environment alike.

The only bit of it that remained was a small cloud of dark smoke that hovered in the center of the room. Everyone’s eyes rested on it, waiting for it to act, to attack to do anything at all. Soon, it undulated and the same voice as before echoed out all around us.

“YOU MAY HAVE DEPRIVED THESE SMALL HEARTS OF THEIR DESTINIES FOR NOW, BUT THE HEART OF THIS WORLD IS OURS. MILLIONS HAVE NOW EMBRACED THE ERA THAT IS TO COME, AND SOON, ALL OF YOU WILL AS WELL. A GREAT DAY OF WRATH IS TO COME. WHO AMONG YOU WILL STILL STAND WHEN THE TIME COMES?”

The blade in my hand shone brightly once and the dark cloud began to writhe and congeal into the form of a person. Within a moment, the body of the girl Renna fell to the floor as the dark gas faded. Her friend ran to her body, despite protests against it, and she broke into tears upon seeing that her friend was breathing and had begun to open her eyes. Kara, who was on her knees, looked over at me and then at my blade with shock and then wonder. Before anyone had any real time to process what had happened, one of the citizens of the town looked out of the window and screamed at the top of her lungs. Kara, ever the leader of the people, ran over to see what the problem was. Her eyes went as wide as saucers and I knew the situation had just gotten worse. As people crowded around the window glass, I could see what was making everyone panic, and I will admit that it took a lot of personal willpower not to scream myself.

All around the community center was nothingness, a vast void where stone and earth were being rent asunder and pulled into some endless darkness mass above. Kara wasted no time. She ran over to us and looked down at my glowing blade.

“Boy, if you can I need you to grant me some of your strength, just as you did for those runes you charged earlier. If I am correct, I can use the energy of your blade in order to create a light gate without compromising our defenses. I suspect the only thing keeping this spit of land up is my shield.”

“I will give what I can.” I said, pointing my blade at hers and focusing. She gasped as my blade shone with ever greater radiance and power flooded her. For a moment, she looked otherworldly, bathed in golden light and she reveled in it. Indeed, an exhilarated smile crept onto her face as she pointed her blade at the far end of the community center main room where there was sufficient empty space. A beam of gold and orange light shot form from the tip of Kara’s blade and upon hitting a specified bit of empty space, it spread into an elliptical disk of many colored lights that lit up the room.

“Everyone! Through the gate, and quickly.” Kara said, beginning to usher people past her towards the portal. As the first citizen approached it, the colors of the gate swirled and became an image of a court yard of fine stone and chrome. Warm lamplight poured through from the entrance. Hesitantly at first then with a panicked franticness, people ran through to safety. I convinced Everask and Avani to run through with the wounded, and they got help from Marsh and Avani’s father. Kara and I were the last two to cross the threshold of the gate and I took a moment to look at place that had been my home one last time. Kara seemed to understand and despite the dangers, she gave me my second to take in the last remnants of my home. Everything I was, everything I had been was in this small town, and in no more than a day it had been taken from me. Many people I’d known hadn’t made it. My mother...hadn’t made it. My world was dead. I would have just stood there blankly but Kara began pushing my numb self calmly, but firmly through the gate. As Kara stepped through, her defenses came down and the community center began to crumble into the void above and below it. The last thing I saw as the gate closed was the great consuming maw of this malignant force eating up the last dregs of my world, and I somehow knew this would not be the last I saw of it.

I also knew this. That if it was in my power to do so, I would be the one to get that darkness back for the death of so many of my loved ones. If it was the last thing I did, I would avenge them. I would find my mother, and bring her to safety. I would make the darkness see that it had made a very powerful enemy in me. I had been given power for a reason, and I wasn’t go to let it go to waste with self-pity. Though I mourned alone for the first day, lying in bed almost motionless, hardly eating, hardly speaking; on the dawn of the second morning, I began the long journey towards discovering what the true extend of my powers really were. I had new purpose, and it was time that I began to see it fulfilled.
 
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BlackOsprey

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Ah, I was worried that this fic had gone and died. This chapter was certainly worth the wait, though. That was intense. Even though the chapter was pretty long, it had me immersed and interested the whole time. Especially that part where what seemed to be a jacked-up Darkside erupted from that kid.

That demonic left arm is definitely going to play some sort of important role in the future, isn't it? I'm not sure if it will be something that Knots will use to draw power, or if it'll be more of an antagonistic force against him. Probably both, now that I think about it.

Oh, quick technical note on this paragraph:
“Of course you’re right, like always.” Ev said with evident sarcasm, taking out his spellbook and flipping through pages intently. Avani had a few smart responses ready, but wisely went with silence as Everask reached the page he sought, and began to chant words under his breath. Rogo’s wound was uncovered and Knoton had to look away from the sheer savagery of it. A gout of flesh had literally been ripped away by a forceful hand, and Knoton felt his dark arm twitch as if in fond remembrance. With sweeping gestures of his right hand, he passed it over Rogo’s injury which slowly began to knit itself closed. It was not masterwork by any means. The flesh didn’t heal ideally and it was clear that there would be a great deal of permanent scarring. However, the wound was no longer bleeding, and soon there were just angry red lines of tender pink flesh in place of the wound.
The rest of the story is told from 1st person perspective, but here, it abruptly switches to 3rd. Leftovers from an older draft, I'm guessing. Nothing that a bit of editing can't fix.

Anyways, keep it up. Glad you're continuing this, the story's been great so far.
 

Toghenma

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@BlackOsprey: Thanks for pointing that out! I have a tendency to do that if I don't catch myself. I fixed it~ Haha And Yeah, the arm will play a role in future events. But that's all I'll say for now~ :)
 

Toghenma

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BlackOsprey: Thanks for pointing that out! I have a tendency to switch back to third person if I don't catch myself. I fixed it. Haha. Also, yes the Dark Arm will play a role in the future, as I begin to develop how the Heartless work in this story you'll begin to see more of how the Arm works as well. :)
 

BlackOsprey

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BlackOsprey: Thanks for pointing that out! I have a tendency to switch back to third person if I don't catch myself. I fixed it. Haha. Also, yes the Dark Arm will play a role in the future, as I begin to develop how the Heartless work in this story you'll begin to see more of how the Arm works as well. :)
Oh, speaking of which! I've really liked how you've developed the Heartless so far, as well as the relationship between the light and darkness. One bit that I enjoyed in particular was how the Heartless' attraction to the light was described via analogy. It gives an interesting visual image of what's going on, but it also makes the world feel more grounded and thought out in lore.
 

KingdomKey

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I held my breath during this chapter because, I feared the worst would happened and it was an intense couple of battles. I do feel bad for Knots, because gaining and losing so much would take a toll on anyone's mentality; especially not knowing if his mother is alive or dead. Then having his home world be completely wiped out. Yeah, that sucks greatly. Even worse, having his arm be hostile towards everyone around him if he isn't careful. I do love the battle dynamic of wills within Knots because, his arm could eventually overcome him again. So I look forward to seeing how that goes in future chapters. However, I really like Kara. I think Kara will be good for Knots, because she seems to be like a big sister to him. Well, maybe a tiny bit. She still feels like a leader, but I like how she got through to him and relied on him a lot with encouragement. So I hope we see more of her later on! And I'm really glad Knots could team up with Everask to take on the Darkside. I feel like they might've made up some during that fight after their spat. And that was some scary sh*t with the Darkside right there, when it came out of Renna's defenseless body. Otherwise, I loved every freaking moment of this chapter and can't wait for more.

Well worth the wait!
 

Toghenma

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So i suppose in traditional KH fashion, i'm going to plug away a bit more at this story after an unreasonably long time away. Been writing up the next chapter recently and felt it should be posted.
 
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