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Trust is [NOT] Resolute



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purgatory

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I was overcome with a sensation that I wasn't familiar with in a long time, as if I'd forgotten it and maybe I had. Noctem had surged through my body and my appearance was the first thing that I noticed that had changed. I released a bit of high sigh, heavy, annoyed, standard stuff here and already I could here foot steps across the rooftop. I hovered there for a bit, before standing on Diem and jumping over the building and moving at the same speed as the heartless.

When I came over head with a dynamic range of motion, I spotted Try propelling herself towards the dark side on the roof and close behind here was another man she'd never seen until now. I couldn't worry about them for the time being and I whisked myself around and threw Diem into the two dark sides at the base of the fountain. Gripping lucient in one hand, i landed with a splash, the water rushing to the sides and mounted my foot on the lip of the fountain.

"You'll get this world's heart over my dead body!"

I wasn't the most elegant lady and with good reason. I had to show the shadows my resolve, quite literally and figuratively speaking. Rolling my arm back, slowly but surely the debilitating debuff finally disappeared and between Try and the other person that had arrived. I had a bit of a tenacious smile, I couldn't stop myself from doing it either. This was actually exciting, I really missed out on three years just to be faced with this kind of enemy in hoards and swarms? Perfectly fine I was telling myself, and in that moment my doubts started to dissolve. This was my role after all, like hell was I gonna let these bastards take this town from the people that remained.

"Long as you keep coming, we'll keep beating you back!"

I could feel it, a vision of the master putting his hand on my shoulder, long was he gone from what I remember, but he left me with a piece of himself, his memory, and a job to do. The light started to build around Diem and it exploded outward like a flash bomb and the dark sides on the ground reacted and reached for me. My lucient slashed and swiped both hands, not nearly as physically strong or powerful as Try, but enough to deflect both arms that dared try to get closer to the fountain. I let out a really intense yell as Noctis appeared in my hand, this time without both orbs hitting each other. The second keyblade came in tandem with two attacks one after the next deflecting the Dark Side's claws one after the other. There was a dark side in the alley, the neoshadows and shadows finally took notice and started to swarm and pop up under the dark sides just outside of the fountain.

I wasn't trying to fight adds and the boss at the same time, thats not the plan. The clouds were dark, and the dark sides simply started to fade into a dark fog, and brought out an pool of darkness that stretched covering the entire ground. Shadows were pulling together, forging a brand new demon tower, splitting into three separate ones. This had to be the start of the third wave, and the neo-shadows wove through the bosses all the while rallying the straggler heartless with them, all with the intentions of attacking the area I was defending, the fountain.

"I already said it damnit. You bastards are getting anywhere near this fountain I promise you that!"

Light exploded from my location and boy was I emitting a hell of a lot of it that I couldn't help but draw in their attention. I passed my resolve to Diem and started to shoot off a machine-gun style stream of light-based projectiles into the demon towers from afar. The shadows were quite literally everywhere, and the heartless attempted to climb into the fountain, but I was swatting them away as diem fired off rounds with reckless abandon.

"Pick a target, any target, no enemy is off limits!" I shouted loudly. "Hey Mr. Whats your name!"
 
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The Darkside's massive frame lurched downward violently as Try's attack connected, only being assisted even more thanks to an unknown entering the battlefield as well. She didn't even bother talking to this one, the roof of the building collapsing due to the force of the giant creature crashing into it seemed like a bit more of a priority. She took advantage of the low gravity and kicked off a piece of debris. She cast areo onto her keyblade, coating it in a silvery wind. She threw the keyblade downwards, her own body rising as she did so.

The keyblade whistled through the air, bolstered by magical wind as she slammed right into the neck of the Darkside. For good measure she echoed the force of the strike as well.

She called her keyblade back to herself and looked down at the town from above as she slowly fell. The heartless were converging towards a fountain. The same one the first Resolute she met was guarding with her life. So that was it.

Try pointed her keyblade at the fountain and focused a beam of light onto the tip of her blade. it formed a sphere of light before condensing and firing towards the fountain. This wasn't an attack, though if anyone that happened to have a heart got in the way it would likely tear it right out of them. What this was intended to do was close the door to the heart of this world. As far as she knew an open door invited heartless, any Keyblade wielder knew that much.

She knew that, yet as light streamed through the air, why was she overcome with a feeling of dread?
 

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[Chapter 2]
The Darkness & It's War Cry

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

∞ - Luxu's Heart Attack

Shit. Shit Shiiiiiiiiiiiit!!! Bad move! Goddamnit why!!!!

Maybe I should explain why I'm losing my shit right now, but goddamnit just watch! What the hell was she thinking, maybe the helmet is on too tight or something. Goddamnit, why would she do that with one of them so close to the world's heart.

This is bad...



As you can imagine. This was only the start of things, but the first reverberation of their erased based entered the fold thanks to the overeagerness of one of the resolutes. It created a domino effect, immediately impacting all of them connected by Omni. Connected by the power the master gave them, and what happened after that...well, it was a real light show. That damn keyhole wouldn't stop spitting out light in every which direction, relentless hunting down each of the resolutes, on and off world and introducing them to a piece of history they'd forgotten, but it was rested assured. to be the same for all of them.



CLAP
[memory applies to ALL resolutes]


"Resolute. You know why you're all called that right? Any one care to guess, oh! Show of hands, c'mon!"

The master looked into the crowd, each of them glimpsing at each other, uncomfortable, awkward. One of them raised their hand, like the master, hooded.

"Because of our Conviction?"

"DING DING! I could think of no better reason than to call you Resolute than that. You kids are charming, but it's your convictions that lead you to me. I've been apart of each of your lives for a long time now, but it's time I told you who I really am. You call me master because well, duh, thats my name. But I am The Master of Masters. Like some of you I've donned a role to, even I, possess a role to fulfill. Passing my power "Omni" or as you know in your own experiences with it to be your own "Resolve" or a manifestation of The Light, its my duty to pass that power onto to 12 deemed resolute. And here we are, a full squad of thirteen resolutes, dandy! But I need to ask you to show each other better than I could ever explain, so we'll do this."

The Master twirled his finger with glee and narrowed it over the group, using two fingers actually and he pointed at two separate persons.

"The Scarred and The Echo. 1 and 3! It's your lucky day, you've been chosen to battle each other for the class. To be completely honest, both of you are the most durable, I doubt you'll end up seriously hurting the other. Now now, don't be shy #3, #1's a sweetheart, but I'm gonna need you two to try to be moderately serious here."

The Master walked in the middle of the two of them and lurched over to lend #1 a word. "She's really self-conscious about the helmet, just don't accidentally strike her head, try to remove it, or do that thing where you undress, we're trying to keep it PG kiddo~!"

Eyes sharply observed the one that master named "The Scarred", everyone of course had an actual name, but no one here was on terms yet with each other to give theirs so liberally. There was an unease that crept through the air, looking at each other, thinking about their numbers, what resolute meant, and those apprehensive thoughts dissolved once the two resolutes that the master appointed to fight each other for demonstrative purposes, flared up.

"3, show him that his physical force is just another weapon in your arsenal. 1, remind her that you've weathered the battle field and experienced the pain of many tragedies and managed to weaponize them offensively and defensively. Enough, GO!"

The wind broke and everyone clasped their ears, hearing the sound of metal slam with an up-kick burst of wind. There was a flailing of blood that was quickly rushing off #1 as he was eating damage repeatedly. Truth was, the master knew that #3 could rebound nearly everything, having an incredibly high threshold to bounce back impact, but at the same exact time, the adaptability of his number 1 was what would level the playing field. Dealing with him quickly would've been the answer she'd likely discover too late, as expected given neither of the two had ever met, but one of them had several times more experience and...

The loud thud of a keyblade being driven into #1's bare hand, clutched, with the reverberation of the stroking the blood off his arm he pulled the woman in the red suit and helmet towards him and stroked her helmet slowly before he smiled, a complete bloody mess.

"Well the mask is cute and all, but I'm more interested in your name, in all of your names. Mine is Sa--"

CLAP

[Traverse Town]


Light began to flood from the fountain. The truth of the situation was a powerful light was released, effectively revealing the world's heart rather than sealing it. That light carried with it a portion of the resolutes missing memory, so gracefully hidden from them, but with a price...

Not directly Try's fault in this instance, but the cost would be one that forfeit the world to the darkness as the last of the light that lingered on the remnant began to wane against the darkness that had long since encroached upon the world and it was being suffocated even with the presence of multiple resolutes. Continuing to stay here meant forfeiting their light along with their lives as well, as the formation was upon them.


Traverse town was becoming a Harrowed End...

This was the grim reality they were faced with.


[I'm going to kindly ask you all on Traverse Town to flee to the world High Ground, the next Lingering Remnant]




 

Lumine

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Darkness

The wave crashed down. It hit hard, flooded him in a heartbeat. And swept him with it. He felt himself flung out of his body, Out of his mind. A bodiless drift.

♪

Lightning flashed outside, shattering the pitch blackness of the sky and the chamber for a heartbeat. It shone on the fancy plush furniture in lofty violet and royal blue, and the grand chandelier of sparkling crystals. The beautiful portraits wrought by brushes of immeasurable talent, the priceless antiques burdened with history and lore, and the vivid red that covered and ruined them all.

The ornate wooden walls were lit by shadows of people hanged like broken marionettes. Their bodies dangling lifelessly from the dark chains like empty lanterns swaying in the wind. And amidst them all, in the dark center of the chamber, clutching the woven links with bloody hands, a young dark haired teen was bent over heaving. Everything in the chamber kept its form and normalcy, except for that invisible radius surrounding her where chaos seemed to have erupted. Furniture and pieces of clothing and wood were torn, broken or utterly destroyed. Her dress was in disarray, torn in different places and stained almost entirely in blood, and her face was ghastly pale and clammy, splattered with crimson. It made her dark blue eyes stand out all the more in the gloom.

Her dark chains were wrapped about her hands, holding in place the weight of the twelve bodies they had pierced. The bodies of her family. Footsteps echoed behind her, then the doors were opened. A young man stepped in, he bore the same eyes and a lighter shade of hair, and a resemblance in features that could only be shared in a family.

“Why is it so dark in here?” He was older than her, closer to his mid-twenties.

Lightning flashed. Thunder Crackled. Then silence reigned.

“No… Nooooo!” He almost wailed.

“SHIKI! WHAT DID YOU DO? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!” He screamed and in his hand a ghostly gray scythe materialized in existence. He ran at her and jumped but something black and long had swiftly slithered and pivoted at him, past his guard and caught him midair.

“Forgive me.”

His gray scythe clanked to the ground, followed by a crescendo of pattering red. The air was filled with a scent of faint salt and loud iron. He gurgled, tried to pry off the chain that had pierced his chest but soon gave up. He instead focused on trying to breathe, he directed the fury of his dying gaze at her.

“You… Ruined… Everything…You-” He gasped in pain, “Shiki…You…Destroyed…uhhh”

“I had to.” Her voice quivered. There were tears streaking her face, but it stayed vacant of emotion.

His breathe slowed down, his eyes started to glaze over, but even as his breathe left him, his bloody lips twitched in one final sad smile.

“I know…” then there was silence.

Bodies fell all at once around as her chains retracted. She pressed her fingers to her lips trying to stifle the gasp in her voice as her face contorted in anguish and tears, but she couldn’t hold it all any longer as the sobs finally came racking her body.


Another wave crashed through him and the scene reformed.


“Eliot” Shiki came to a halt, at the top of the hill. Her dark blue and white armor shone black against the red of the setting sun. She had taken her helmet off, but she clasped Memento mori in her hand. Her eyes found the man standing at the other end, watching a scene unfold. In the distance to their left, a dome of coalescing darkness blotted the horizon. Screams could be heard all the way from there.

“I knew someone would eventually find me” the other man said without turning his gaze away. He too was in his gray and gold armor, his brown hair shone with streaks of gold in the waning rays. “I just hoped it wouldn’t be you.”

“Eliot please, Stop this madness.”

“Madness?” he turned then towards her, his handsome face slightly perplexed. There was an abnormal glow surrounding him, an envelopment of shimmering red that had nothing to do with vibrant sunset. It emanated from all around his body, but seemed to intensify and pulsate around his heart.

“These people deserve to know” He pointed at the giant dome, “They deserve to know what their hands have once brought upon others.” His voice was bitter and laced with anger. Intense lights and explosions of magic shone and flickered in the horizon, trying to crack the dome open, the silhouettes of a dozen other armored figures could be seen trying to undo the vileness growing around the city. Trying to save lives.

“They’re not-”

“They stood by and did nothing when my town was gone. They blessed the deaths of others for the sake of their own survival. They didn’t even try to help those who were left behind.” The intensity of the pain behind his brown eyes was unforgiving. Unyielding. He turned his full attention back to the dome of death eclipsing the horizon.

“Now... Now they can finally know for themselves what kind of fate they left others to when they stood by and watched.”

Shiki drew closer to him, throwing all caution to the wind. Her face was desperate and yet her eyes shone with a reverent hope.

“You’re a better man than this, Eliot. You’re not a murderer. ” He didn’t reply, but she saw his jaw clench.

“Do you think your own father would have wanted blood on your hands? Especially theirs?”

“Eliot, Please-” He turned then to her, and despite the screams and the darkening sky and the impending doom of a whole city and the desperate fight of the keybladers trying to free them, his lips were graced with a wistful smile.

“You’ve kept me back for so long, Shiki.

You’ve always seen too much light in others you almost made me believe that if I stayed with you… I could eventually
forget.
” His smile wavered, and in its stead there was loss and pain.

“I can’t…

I keep hearing their screams. Every day. Every minute.

All the time.

And not even your sweet whispers could hush their wails anymore.
” He shook his head, as if trying to push the voices out, to exorcise them.

“There is always another way, Eli. This is not the answer.” The screams and desperate calls for help intensified in the distance, the dome pushing down further and further to the ground. The red glow around her friend flared and increased in potency. The Sun had gone down, and darkness was at the door. So was Death.

“I’ve tried Shiki. I really did. I’m sorry, but I’m beyond your help now.” And there was a steeliness in his voice, a finality that Shiki knew wouldn’t alter or waver. And yet…

“Please, Listen to me. No just listen to me-”

“You should stop now and leave. I’d hate it if I had to hurt you.” Shiki’s face fell then, all hope left her. There was a sadness, so deeply etched in her eyes. In the resigned breath she took, in the way she pointed her own keyblade at him. A weight that would never go away.

The darkness in the distance was gone. And on the hill, overlooking the city Shiki stood across from the kneeling form of her friend. A keyblade was plunged through his heart, and an eighteen year old girl that wanted more than anything else to follow the same path and leave everything behind. Just to find Peace.

“Why does it always have to end this way?”


Everything dissolved like ink in water and redrew itself once more.


“Stay with me Cybil, we’re almost there.”

She was hauling the weight of another woman around her shoulder. They were on a wide winding trail in a large snowing forest, trying to forge their way towards the giant tree sitting right in the center. All around them smoke billowed, and the smell of burning and death saturated the air, the sounds of fighting were growing fainter and distant.

“Just put me down, Shiki.” The other woman mumbled, her blonde hair tumbling downwards as her figure sagged further. Her armor was cracked open in different spots, and she left behind a long stream of red in the piling snow.

“No.” Shiki huffed, her breath coming out cold as she almost dragged her friend along. She looked older, almost in her twenties. Her short dark hair had come undone and was swaying behind her in the icy wind.

“You won’t make it… like that.”

“I’m not leaving you behind, so shut up.” They kept at it for a while, slowly making their way to the center. Shiki too focused on getting to the tree and Cybil too exhausted to tell her otherwise.
When they arrived, they were greeted by the sight of death. Keybladers and fighters alike lay dead everywhere, some corpses still smoking, one or two they watched their hearts departing to join with Kingdom hearts.

“No…” Shiki hissed. The doors of the giant tree had been blown out of place and the entrance stood wide open, unprotected. They were too late.

“Put me down right here.” Shiki obliged then, setting her friend down gently against one of the tree roots. Just then she saw how badly Cybil’s color had gone, she had lost a lot of blood. She took off her glove to cast a healing spell, but Cybil had somehow found the strength to swat her hand aside.

“Save it. It’s already too late for me.” She managed, her light blue eyes stood out so hauntingly against the ghostly paleness of her skin.

“You’ll need your strength for this.” And she eyed the tree’s entrance.

“Cybil-”

“Shiki, there’s no one left.”

It was in the silence that ensued that the weight of the words finally settled on them. They were the last ones left to do anything to stop this world from going. No. Shiki was.

“You’re it now.” Cybil’s breaths were coming shallower and quicker now.

“Goddamn. Is there even any light left...” Shiki grasped her friend’s hand, and looked her straight in the eyes. She tried to muster a smile.

“There is always to those who are looking.” Her eyes were slowly closing, as if she was going to sleep.

“Yeah…” Cybil exhaled, her grip softened in Shiki’s hand and stilled. Shiki looked away, but wherever she looked, she saw all
of them dead. Gone.

The wind picked up, and snow started falling. She rose to her feet, and turned toward the grand tree. She never wanted this. All she ever wanted to do, was to protect her friends, to stop this spiral of death and darkness and yet…
There was no one else left.

She exhaled, and raised her face, her dark blues were steely with grimness as she walked towards the entrance.

“Don’t worry. I’ll see this through.” She whispered to the wind. To the souls of her dead comrades.

Memento Mori came to her bidding like a ray of sun in this coldness, as her slight figure disappeared in the darkness of the tree.


Everything disintegrated slowly, into nothingness. Into darkness.



Beyond the memories, the emotions, something vast and endless was there. Soundless yet loud. You don’t see it. You don’t taste it. You don’t smell it. But you know it’s here. There. All around. Every when and Everywhere. No. It was always there. Before the before, and it will be after the after. It was even between the folds of a single heartbeat, the pause between the breaths. It was between the between, was between the moment of being and not being, in the very essence of becoming. Its presence was so heavy, so solid it pressed against the thing that gave you a semblance of you, of thought, of anything and pushed against the walls of it with ease. Your resistance meaningless.

You are nothing.​

You were nothing.​

You will be nothing.​

Hush now.

Don’t break the silence. Let it in. Let it embrace you, cover you. Hold you and soothe you.

Forget your pains.​

Your sadness.​

Your losses.​

Your fears.

Those heavy things. They weigh you down. Tear your soul. Break your heart.

Let me carry those.​

You’re safe here.​

Nothing could hurt you now.​

Never.​

None of that here.​

Have peace.​

You could finally rest.​

Sleep.​

Sleep.​

Don’t be.​


You wouldn’t question it.

A drop doesn’t question a wave. A wave doesn’t question an ocean.

“That’s enough.”​

The clanking of chains filled the quiet, broke the silence. So Loud. Be quiet. STOP IT.

A song filled the void, a bright thing in the gloom. A beautiful hope. Plentiful and soothing. It encircled him around the waist. Filled him with warmth. Threw light across his body. He had a body…

It yanked him up, and away from the vastness, from the thing that kept calling and cooing, and into the world. Into being.


He resurfaced in Castle Oblivion. In the courtyard, the shroud had receded from him, he was standing right where he started. He never left to begin with. The grip holding his hand tightened and pulled him forward. His hood fell backwards.

“You’re not of this Castle.” Shiki whispered in his ear.

“We can drop the pretenses.” Their eyes met. He had such stark gray eyes.

This wasn’t a confession. This was a statement. A warning. He has seen, what she was. What she is, and now he knew that nothing stands in her way. Nothing stops her once she’s moved. There was a lot of question marks regarding him, and a mysterious weight to his presence. An undefinable quality. Regardless, she wasn’t willing to drop her guard around him. Even if his intentions seemed benign.

“You have your answer. Now it’s my turn.” She let go of him and walked past him to one of the broken off columns and leaned against it.

She was about to ask him, when she noticed two streaks of light rushing through the sky and right at them. They hit them in the chest. Shiki clutched at her head, her long fingers sliding through the dark bangs. It was as if a missing piece had found its way back where it belonged, in its rightful place.

A memory from 3 years past.

Yes. I was there…. I… We…

There was a lot to try to untangle and sink in. But she remembered something more pronouncedly through this memory. He stood vividly against the rest. The one the Master told her to watch for.

Saebyeolbe…
 
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Vibrant Fervor

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Just as the effect of the debuff was dropped, one of the other keyblade wielders created some sort of light near the fountain where the two Dark Sides were guarding. It seemed to release the last of the light in this world. The heartless got what they wanted and now, this world is lost to the darkness. For a moment, a suppressed memory resurfaced. He is frozen in place to recollect it but soon regains his composure.

"Sigh... I came too late. This world is done for. Our time is up". Iontis looks around and sees the other wielders. Remembering the remaining residents, he shouts out. "You lot, there are seven people held up in the Accessory Shop in the center of the 1st District. What form of transportation do you use to tranverse between worlds?" However, it looks like there isn't enough time to rescue anybody. "May they rest in peace". Iontis summons his dragon glider and heads to the next world.
 
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purgatory

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[Escape Traverse Town's Collapse]
[Debuff Activated: "Trapped for Eternity"]
[Countdown: 3m]



I stood a stalwart on the front of the fountain before jumping forward and splashing against the endless pool of darkness. Looking up, the break of light that shattered our ear drums purging from Try's own keyblade and hitting the fountain. As I watched, I felt odd as it hit the face of the fountain, and nearly the side of my cheek, a loose strand of hair or two the swayed but nothing major. There was a loud clunking sound, as the fountain face turned.

The heart of the world...exposed itself? Was this supposed to happen? In a similar way that I did just moments before, it absolutely exploded with light, and the darkness from the floor as if dying of thirst moved like water and wind to drink from the fountain. It felt physical and even I, a resolute, got washed all the way back to slam into the stone as it started to push toward the fountain which was using the finality of it's strength to push the darkness back.

Individual towers shot from the fountain, past me, one hitting Try, the nameless male, and even going over the wall into the first district, and others punching through the sky leaving the world itself, and finally one punching directly through me. It was then I began to see it. I began to remember, how we all had our first encounter with each other. How the master shepherded us together and explained to us what we were, this was a link to what we talked about, and it was clear to me now before we even met, he told us what he wanted me to do. There was no longer a confusion of who the other resolutes are, save for the absence of names, but I could confirm that none of us were strangers to each other, but what does that mean?

What...were we to...each other..? Reality took me hard as I snapped out of my memory-filled trance and shelved my questions for the time being.

"No time for that! I'll get them Mr! Jay is still in the first district preoccupied, it's time to get off this world! Master wouldn't want us to die right?? Do me a favor and leave immediately! I know this isn't the time to be wasting giving orders, but JUST TRUST ME!"

I clenched my fist before taking a foot to the fountain and jumped into it's well of light and used it as a geyser to launch myself upward. Transfering that momentum I flew directly above the town and into the first district. The darkness was rushing everywhere, the dark balls banging against the shop, but even they were getting saturated in what looked like dark-violet water, which was starting to cover the entire town. The shrieks from the people inside were horrifying, they were going to disappear with this world...and there was nothing I...nor any of us could do.

"...." I hard swallowed, my eyes narrowed holding back a tear or two as my eyes continued to scan. I was using my keyblades, to generate a wingspan of physical light to hang-glide over the town. Sure enough, the shape-shifter was on the last patch of land that was about to become engulfed.

"TIME TO GO SHIFTER!" I shouted to alert her coming down from up high.

I threw Diem to explode into a portal of light directly in front of the door leading into Traverse Town, and whisked my keyblades directly behind me with a sick swat to maximize my burst of speed angled towards the portal of light my resolve created. Both keyblades dissolved soon after and Noctem ejected from my body and vanished.

"JUMP~!"

My hand extended as I was angled directly receive her right as the darkness washed over the last piece of land. Our hands clasped tight, and I felt, something weird in that instant. What happens when two Resolutes make direct contact and Omni talks to itself. Call it a strange feeling, but I raised Jay up and tucked her in with me before phasing through the portal and it closed shortly after.

Traverse Town since the dawn of what's felt like it's very creation has been the herald as a place of refuge from this very darkness that overwhelmed it so inclusively. It was becoming covered, and the stream of light that spit from it's core would not stop, it would never stop. The architecture spreading around was becoming engulfed and slowly starting to move into something of an unreal landscape. The conversion of a harrowed end is what they were baring witness to.
 

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Rocks and stones for miles. His bare feet singed against the heat, the temperature from what felt like cinnereal fires cut through the atmosphere. The sudden thud of footsteps stopped, and an arm reached over the back of the man's horridly battered body, reaching to pull out the arrow buried into his side where blood was drawn. That blood almost immediately solidified, into a scar among carrying the memory of the type of wound, physical force, and the pain associated.

There was a town seen in the distance, burning. Burning to the very ground as the young man was walking away from that very area. A single eye was closed, there was a dry trail of blood that had laid over it where as the other was open. The common thread in the wake of this carnage was the very idea that he survived, he survived when he shouldn't have. There was a stumble in his footsteps and he collapsed in the desert.

"Your the only one that survived kid. You look like shit, a couple hours and maybe you'll be dead out here."

He was young, and his head tilted upward to gaze upon the tails of a black coat in the wasteland.

"Who...are you...?"

"Call me Master, its my name."



A less than ideal meeting.​


"HRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!"

"Relax. Concentrate and you can suppress the pain and raise your threshold."

There was an intense amount of burning. A mega flare being staved with nothing but the Alabaster and the youth's endurance. His skin was smoking, covered to the brim in burns he stood in places eventually peeling over and allow himself to become engulfed in the pure heat of the fire from the mega flare. The robing he'd worn has burned away and he stood there in burned and tattered rags almost completely vaporized down to his skin. His somewhat skinny frame had it's share of knicks and cuts, but there weren't very many.

The pupils and iris were all but gone, rolled into the back of his head while standing nearly naked and a statue. His body smoking, skin burning a bright red, his entire body pulsed. A light surfaced within him and with a vile sense of abandon, the gentle boy leapt forward with a strong assertion.

"Indurvatique: BERSERKER!"

"Saebyeolbe. Stop."

The master snapped his fingers and a field held the unstable youth in place. It occurred to him in that instant, the master was reprimanding him.

"You suffer and endure this pain so that others won't have to. Even if you are never thanked, even if you feel it goes unrecognized, the key is that is not where your focus lies. Your actions benefit lives, rally the weak who are on the on the verge of losing hope. You must remember, theres two drives for a man with your resolve. The resolve that wants to preserve life, save as many people as possible, but on the flipside...is the desire to win if not outright survive. A bias for one will cause you to lose control, I want you to find that happy medium. So win AND save lives Morning Star Rain."

The master's hold softened, and a breath of relief beat on Saebyeolbe's chest as he was beginning to calm down. The heat beating off his body was rather insane to say the least, his muscles were starting to flex and repair, leaving a wicked scar across his entire right arm where most of the heat directly impacted. No more than nineteen years of age, so this is what Omni turned into within two years, his resolve was Indurvatique. A hot breathe, the master tossed a water bottle that he caught and drank no different from their meeting in the desert as his home burned to the ground and he alone survived and fled.

"My family is long gone Master. I don't want to see anyone else lose theirs. So i'll be the best. Your Number One."


The Darkest of them all.


A tower as grand as this one deserved the tyrant that occupied it's halls. On some unknown world the wanderer came in contact with an oppressive force on a nearby town. Clad in wool and jean from head to toe, looming barefoot up a large flight of stairs. The light graced him, years of training and traveling bringing him to this oppressive superpower this corner of the worlds. A lord with the power to crush armies alone, and as a single man, likely equal to the young morning star rain. The people that were enslaved or otherwise oppressed had put not real faith in Saebyeolbe, but he remembered his teacher's words as clear as day.

The doors opened to the audience chamber, and a man sat on a throne alone. Stepping past the threshold of the door, a barrier formed and a voice then proceeded to fill the entire chamber. A blast flew past the robed resolute and he simply tilted his body to his left and turned his shoulder to watch it slam into the barrier guarding the door.

"Another one for the slaughter that made it past my guards." the man broke stance and leaned forward holding the arms of his throne.

"You must be a freak of nature if you have the yearning to do this intimate dance with the darkness that I wield. When the Harrowed Ends come, those planes of reality too, shall belong to me! Now fool, what is the name of the dead man that stands before me."

"Number 1. The Scarred, Saebyeolbe. It's a pleasure to meet you Dark Lord...though...I thought you'd of retired after finding eternal youth..."

"Nonsense. The darkness itself is timeless. Endless so long as light exists. Both are inseperable, but one has always existed before the other, and even creates the other so long as matter, objects, people, even hearts exist. Light wanes and Darkness prevails."

"Darkness can exist without the light, sure, but that isn't reality Dark Lord. Because figures like me will rise from the ashes of the civilizations your darkness destroys, to give people a tomorrow to embrace."

"You'd really place yourself as a martyr in a hopeless situation? White knighting and riding a horse to your death. It's inevitable, now sleep, Saebyeolbe."

"People love an underdog story you know."


A smile emerged on his face and he proceeded to cut off the head of the snake.

There was a difference in the ferocity of the two men. Where one sought to sovereign everything so completely, war of all facets was his specialty and making this an insurmountable opponent for the resolute. On the reverse end, Saebyeolbe was experienced, his ability to adapt in the midst of the fray were second to no one. The master blessed him with the powerful words of being realistic about his enemy, learning all manner of style, skill, trump, reading movement pattern, nothing was off limits and the truth was, his only limit was raised everytime he fought someone really strong. Who better to teach him how terrifying the darkness could be...

Than him.


No time for rest.

A yawn escaped him as he was showered in light even on a harrowed end, and unfortunately giving away his position to the endless droves of heartless. Looks like that little chat with the master ended up paying off in the end. His head turned and he looked at shadows crawling over the rocks staring directly at him. A smile appeared on his face, not quite the time he'd of desired to relax that he wanted, but good enough.

"Say cheese!" he said with a grin.

Both hands possessing fire from an original fire spell, his body jerked forward and he jumped in a straight upward motion before shooting fireballs to propel himself away. He slammed his fist into his shoulder, and summoned his keyblade vehicle, and decided to use it to traverse the harrowed end in order to quickly shorten the distance between where the core of the world resided and the heartless that attempted to give chase. He knew there was nothing he could do, but challenging the most powerful enemies on these worlds would go a long way towards his cause, and he would bleed for it if it in any way shed an answer to the burden that was what remained of hollow bastion, all harrowed ends for that matter.

"I didn't forget you at least Master, but now I know their faces. Other Resolutes huh...Shiki, which one are you? And..."

He paused.

"The helmet really was cute? Really...was I being modest, hell...at least I now visibly remember those scars now."
 

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Well this was rather difficult to explain to even resolute, but when you can co-exist on several different planes of time, perceiving or otherwise you'd understand quite vividly why he just didn't fit the mold with even her. A darkness so deep and vast it may very well have been, but with a split in sensation, was the divisiveness of how the man coincided. As if viewing everything simultaneously and yet never truly "leaving" cognition, it was impossible? No, no it wasn't, not for him.

Chains caressed him. Darkness surrounded like the motions of being waist deep in an ocean, or an extremely dense body of water. A lesson would be appropriated rather swiftly, but his cognition basked in the real, to which he came to draw even more vividly than she. Things she could not see, he could. Time. Dates. Location. Names. Pre-existing history was a slew of information for the resolute so thoroughly gifted with power over time and even memory itself, that the details were truly terrifying. Things meant to be hidden from any walking feature known as an organism would stare dauntingly into he darkness completely distracted and overwhelmed by Shiki's past. Thats right. Shiki, she was the masters "Number 2, the Whisper" officially confirmed by her brief history lesson.

How did this make the stranger feel?
♫


Well. This answer was fairly simple, not truly complex at all. He didn't possess any strong feelings one way or the other. His heart was stilled, this presence seemed terrifying to another but to him it felt...weak. Pitifully weak. He understood her physical resolve, but what was her moral resolve? To watch more people die? To be responsible for more deaths? Non-sensical history, this was an element that the greedy would seek surely. His solitude answered her loss in full. This inquiry confirmed she wasn't the one to satiate this quest and role he'd been tasked with, and with genuine remorse he held ground.

As his hood blew back and his gray eyes, deep, daunting, and the same no matter how he appeared when faced with a resolute. Exposed. Not the master. Not an illusion. An actual person existed in this castle hollow of any form of life for many decades now. To this woman, medium length hair, dark and a rather solid if not empty expression.

He exhaled, the breath was light. Everything in the room that tinted, was gone instantly. Have you ever experienced light that exist in a radius, infinitely small, that could expand and part the seems, quite honestly reverting certain imagery instantly. The chains appeared to have been broken and there was a release of his hand that gripped hers. The "oceans" like they never existed, were also gone. This defied all sense of perception, because perception was finite, this feat, was not finite and the difference had been slated.

He saw it even before it arrived and time froze as the light darted past him from his eye and hit the woman Shiki before he was about to be hit. Light is as fast as light after all. Her expression from the frozen state was, certainly vulnerable. He held his hand out, rejoining them in time and quickly combed through the memory that suddenly appeared. The horrible realization hit him that he doubt the others would catch. This came from a dying world, well on it's way to becoming a harrowed end, a hidden message revealed him some additional movement as the crystal reflected in his left eye briefly exposing four other resolutes on that very world.

Traverse Town.

So the world collapsed when the heart...was exposed during an invasion of the darkness. Is that what happened on the world he woke up on...? Destiny Islands? More questions, a sigh escaped his breath again and he turned his attention to Shiki leaning against the broken pillar. That memory, Traverse Town, more confirmations Zero couldn't ignore it now. She was a resolute if her appearance in this recent memory of them all "meeting" for the first time was anything to go off, he couldn't see them having any form of relationship for that matter and the realization pressed he needed to move even quicker.

First things first.

"Why did I even bother asking." the words coldly dripped from his tongue. "Shiki. You and me? We're worlds apart, both in history, and in what we've both forgotten."

"You came to this castle likely to find answers. Me? I can't be trusted, why? Because even after what I've been shown, even I can't understand you. This was likely a mistake."

He pulled the hood over and stood momentarily before he showed her his back.

"Just forget I was even here, or that I even exist and resume your role. Resolute #2. Theres nothing you can tell me...."

A portal of light this time cut through the open area of the castle that required a dark portal to reach initially. As he stood in front of it, he felt...virtually nothing. A question that could break any soul but Eth's it seemed. This was likely a comrade, but Eth recalled the master's words very vividly in his mind. Trust was neither liberal nor mutually exclusive, but he felt a desire to forsake that in this instance but shrink the distance but with solidarity.

"This place is deserted, nothing but records about a special nobody, previous sanctions of an organization, and empty rooms from top to bottom. Thats all I learned while I was here. I won't waste anymore of your time."

"The most I can tell you, is to head for Twilight Town if it even still lingers, my investigation here referenced that a great deal of information was moved there. I'll make this abundantly clear now. We're not friends, we're not allies, just people that want to see an end to this nightmare of a reality to suddenly wake up to. So this distance is necessary...for now."

His foot steps were slow and another portal of light appeared on the opposite side of the hall near Shiki as a means to send her on her way.

"Ð pronounced Eth. The Master's Number Zero Untouchable. Maybe next time if circumstance change Shiki, I won't have to be so stand-offish, but got a role to fill."

He vanished into the light.
 
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In the wake of Traverse Town's demise Try found herself staring up at a congregation of green foliage. In the chaos that followed her attempt to lock the door to the heart of Traverse Town she'd opened a portal purely on instinct and escaped. There was a lot going through her mind. Why had her plan failed? She was sure that her action should have saved the world, not caused it's downfall. Frustrating, it was a lie, it had to be. Unforgivable, someone had to be behind this. The laws of nature didn't change so easily unless forced to... Traitor, the traitor. Yes it had to be them, it was all their fault! good, that meant her mind could rest at ease, she'd done nothing wrong.

Aside from that, a memory involving the master resurfaced. As she expected she'd known the Resolutes. The contents of the memory didn't matter much, all that mattered was that she now knew what her target looked like. The man The master of masters set her upon.

With that, Try stood to her feet, realizing that she actually had no clue where she was. whatever world it was, it seemed peaceful. She was standing upon a grassy hill overlooking a fog covered expanse below, beside her was a stalwart tree, the sort one had to crane their neck back to see the peak of. She took a step forward only to stop in her tracks. A voice was resounding inside her head.

"I can't stand looking at that face of yours. Put this on, and never take it off." A voice pulled from her past heard as if it had been spoken just seconds ago. The helmet buffered most voices somehow, but this one still managed to sneak in.

Try panicked, her chest heaved with quick chaotic breaths as she banged on her helmet with her gloved hands. "No. No no no no no no!" She screamed as loud as she could, her throat aching as she bellowed like a beast attempting to frighten away a predator. "I won't let you! Get away! This is my body, my soul, my heart! It doesn't belong to you!" She swung a wild punch, inadvertently striking the tree. Splinters exploded from the bark as her fist moved through it as if it were simply air. Try shook with surprise, stopping. She looked at her shaking right hand as it pulsed with dull pain. Fragments of wood were lodged inside her skin.

She took a deep breath, calming herself. "I am... Resolute. I. Exist. I am... I am a human being." She spoke as if going through a rehearsed chant as she plucked splinters from her hand. With the last of the fragments out she opened and closed her hand, as if to reaffirm it's strength, of her own.

A world was lost, but it wasn't the end. She didn't quite understand what it was, but she knew she still had a purpose, still had work to do.
 
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purgatory

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The tumble was the hardest part.

I don't know what the hell happened, but I hit what felt like some soft grass pretty hard and slid until I stopped. The shifter was neatly tucked, we were somewhere around the same height, but the pull on my hair was annoying. As I let got and slid to the side I mounted one knee and grabbed my head. Feeling the ground, my vision was spinning a tad, and I started to notice it finally.

High Ground.

"....." I couldn't talk, I couldn't just...accept that in part, I failed to do anything. It was just, really screwing with my resolve and what I was tasked with to do. Those people that held onto their lives up until their final moments inside the accessory shop, were now gone. My hand was shaking, anxiety, fear, and anger all at the same time. I had to leave the shifter there for the time being, and I could visibly see the scattering of birds up the hill, and a tree that violently shook and toppled over.

Who else by Try was at the top of the hill. She was in the memory I saw, she was also the one responsible for that escalation past our ability to control it. As I stomped up the hill, I aggressively palmed the tree with my right hand and collared a woeful Try with my left hand. There was trembling felt, I had a lot going through my mind, but everything was overpowered by this failure, a failure I absolutely refused to sweep under the mat. I was searching deeply in the pits of my heart for the most actionable words to use.

"Did you know...DID YOU KNOW!??" I shouted hysterically, confused, angry. "Did you know that would trigger a free pass for the darkness to completely devour the world and end it?!? ANSWER ME!"

I let go, my body was tensing, I really just couldn't calm down and you could visibly see it in my eyes. I was crying, people just died that did nothing but exist, and a world collapsed with more overwhelming force than even one chosen by the master could survive. Four of us were there, but what did we do? What was the impact we had there against...an endless nightmare.

"You know something...you don't have to answer that Try...theres only one thing that comes back to my mind over and over when I think about what happened."

I tried to calm down, but this was my anger simplifying in a wildly aggressive calm. I walked forward and leaned towards where her ear would be and whispered.

"If you didn't want this outcome then theres no way you could be 'them'...A Tr-"

My eyes widened as I was looking past Try through the fog and I spotted something that just didn't seem natural. Rising water, looking like a giant tidal wave the scale of a Tsunami brushing along the low-ground.

"HOLY SHIT! RUN SHIFTER!"

From the corner of my eye there was a figure sitting on top of a pillar way off in direction of the water rushing past them.
 

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The shingles of light, a smile, and a fanatic's devotion to it. From on high, a man sat with the widest of smiles and both of his eyes were shut, though conscious. A sphere of light slowly started to wane and finally vanish as he was raising his consciousness, fighting to get to the surface. The sounds that encroached were loud, monstrous even, rushing water faster than the likes of any that you'd see for miles. They were here, wait, they were HERE?

Tasting the roof of his mouth, he yawned and stood up carefully spreading open a single eye, the left one open. Looking around in retrospect just to ensure he was awake, alive? Alive. Definitely alive, definitely a thief, an unwanted center piece, as he could hear it and see it with his own eyes.

"Where...wait, no. When...wait, no. Hmm...ohh, oh! Shoot I fell asleep again, ehehe...well we're screwed."

He could hear it. Loud as hell, in constant motion, and flooding as it towered just under the pillar he was put to sleep on. Scratching his already bushy mess of a hair, he looked around, he could see green grass for miles, and behind him water that buckled as a grand wave. Where...did it come fr-oh...yeah, thats right...he was sleeping so...shit. Looking down he saw someone unconscious, looking left, he saw two others on a hill higher than the water could reach.

"Unlucky dude. Wait. Lets see that that one isn't harmed."

As if some magic or manner of trickery, the wave crashed down early and it split the flow into two different directions swirling mere feet off to the sides of the resolute in the line of fire. The water's flow drained off what felt like the edge of the world, or a section of it that disconnected and another plane started off in the distance.

"Beautiful. We can't have such precious light getting snuffed out, and by such unforeseen circumstances. Heeeeeeeey!"

He jumped from the pillar.

"Well, I certainly didn't think that through...I'm going to break my ankles landing..." he sighed

There was a cuff-like choker around his neck with a reasonably long chain and he unhooked it, throwing it to catch the nearest tree branch and swing down to the women at the top of the hill. Complete chance, but this seemed to be reality. A light washed past him right in front of the two women and suddenly...he remembered something. He remembered their faces, and it brought a bit of a smile and even a tear to his eye as he reached out to quell whatever confrontation they'd been undergoing with a hug.

"It's so good to see others like myself!"

He was tall and he lifted them both up in each arm presenting them with a hug.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~


There were some wobbly steps at first, and here in the town of cul-de-sac there was man late twenties. There was a little girl walking across the cobble stone path, the bulky steps she took were adorable.

"Daddy, when's dinner?"

The voice was squeaky, the body frail and tiny. Her hair was a dirty blonde and her eyes were gray, in a sun-dress and sandals. Roaming around the front yard of the apartment complex. There was a man sitting on the porch top, sitting in a chair and the tiny little girl wobbled towards him and hugged his leg graciously.

A hand reached down and clutched the child's head and gave it a soft brush off the hand. She saw a smile form and arms then took the child in and embraced her, placing her on his lap.

"Just a little longer Freya. You want to hear that story again, about the cul-de-sac?"

"Yes father!"

Its rumored, this world was the source of the age-old technique that many of these children mastered prior to the disappearance of the last three deans of the academy. This man had done some growing over the course of the years, raising his daughter alone for such time. Many things, many different feelings, and the depth of escalation that he would've otherwise lacked outside of this family he possesses now.

"Cul-De-Sac belonged to it's people. A world born of many different cultures, an amalgamation of three completely different worlds. This Cul belonged to an ancient tribe. De housed the smithing capabilities of bending the elements. Sac provided the lay of the land which evolved the technology. The Master always told us, Cul-De-Sac was a bastion even more fortified and well protected than any other world save for Arcadia, but unlike Arcadia, the Cul-De-Sac nurtured the many children that take it upon themselves today to actively keep this world." he spoke, winded and clear.


His little girl bubbled in his lap and hugged her father upon hearing the story.

"What was the name again dad?" there was a tilt to her head slightly to the right.

"Shhhh. I'll tell you later sweetie, it's time to eat now." with a firm press of his finger to his lips, he carried her into their home.

"Yay!" she proclaimed for dinner.
 
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Try looked down at Lucrecia as she gripped her shrug, she was crying. The yelling didn't really bother her, this wasn't her fault after all, but her tears... Shouldn't she be crying as well? Empathy is what made people human after all, so where was her empathetic response?

Try didn't say a word as Lucrecia let go and leaned in closer to her. When was the last time she'd had someone this close to her? Her body already had to fight the urge to snap her arm when she grabbed her, but this sensation was different. Her hands twitched, and a chill ran down her spine. She remembered now, why intimacy like this was so anxiety inducing. The same reason she wore the helmet and covered her hands in gloves.

Regardless, Lucrecia was cut off as something behind them caught her attention. Try turned around and looked up... Then looked up some more. "Huh, and here I am without a surfboard." In contrast to the disaster level threat crashing towards her she was relatively calm. "It's just a little water, a little water's never hurt anyone..." Try cupped her chin in thought. "No wait, that's not true..." Her tone deaf contemplation was thrown off by the sight of the tidal wave being split. She watched, dumbfounded as water simply fell off the edge of the world. What in the hell did she take those physics lessons for if it was just going to be ignored like this?

She looked around, searching for who or whatever caused this only for them to show themselves. Another Resolute, shame it wasn't the one she was looking for. A shaky smile formed on her face, the sort you put on when that kid you knew from high school and always insisted he was your friend spots you in a convince store. Her visage being locked behind a black helmet was a blessing in cases like this.

"Ah, Komaeda... Nice to see you." She said, fighting the urge to drive her elbow into his skull for picking her up. Only she was allowed to pick people up without consent! "I'm guessing you weren't in Traverse Town a few minutes ago..." Try turned to look at Lucrecia before looking back to Komaeda. "It's been overrun by the darkness, trying to seal the keyhole didn't work, made it worse in fact. Someone's messing with the natural order of things, and I intend to find out who." Try spoke seriously, but her hands had somehow gravitated towards Komaeda's hair, and she was now ruffling it gently as if she were petting a kitten.
 

Vibrant Fervor

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High Grounds

While flying around in the space between worlds, he ponders what the hell happened there in Traverse Town. One of the female keyblade wielders attempted to seal the keyhole there by the fountain. It seemed she succeeded but the opposite result occured, ultimately leading the world to its demise. Iontis's thoughts scrammbled as he shakes his head off and focuses on his next task. He recieved orders to head to a world known as High Ground. When he thought of High Ground, Iontis thought of a floating island in the sky.


The Dragon Glider enters the skys of High Ground and it is a site to be seen. Iontis flies over a scenary of grasslands but spots below some familar faces. These were the resolutes he encountered at Traverse Town. They somehow made it out before the end of that world. They are in the mists of a tidewave of water heading in their direction. Atop the scene is a mysterious person with a grinning smile. Iontis thinks he's the cause of the wave so he attempts to divebomb and bullrush him from behind.
 

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No Longer Alive

They began to spawn by the thousands, countless shadow and neo-shadows ripping across the plane of murky white-lilac and deep purple as The Scarred dove closer and closer to the heart of the harrowed end. His eyes were sharp daggers behind his armored helmet, he held fast to his vehicle feeling uneasy as he was navigating around a an entire ship-yards worth of jagged rocks he had to surf around. Light sprang forward from the vehicle creating a ramp elevating him consistent eighteen feet of suspended air-time, surfing another rail of light he forged.

Looking down he was close, and tapped something on the motor console, which would de-spawn the vehicle as he removed the keychain from his alabaster. He jumped from the bike and tucked as when he hit the ground, he rolled a bit to break his momentum safely than absorbing all of the shock in his legs. Finally stopping, he burst up to a legion of heartless a few miles in the distance heading towards this area that spawned following him.

"Looks like I'll have to be quick here."

Saebyeolbe dismissed the armor and his cloak dangled with the exposed areas of his skin revealing his scars shown. This place was drab, the scent of decay was something evidenced by the heartless here. His steps were humble and yet weighted, the man move along the broke piece of hollow bastion until he encountered stairs via the broken castle. His eyes turned wide a while, feeling every scar on his body twitched. He gripped his shoulder briefly to steady the tensing, the scent and feeling of darkness just increased in intensity as he head down deepr. The winding staircase brought him to what looked like a core suspended in place by organic threading, veiny almost, and pulsating from the core.

"What is this place..?" Saebyole asked and considered the question carefully.

The were was the sound of spitting. Alarming the scarred, he didn't know where it was coming from, his senses were buried and distracted by the intensity of the darkness. From the corner of his eye, he spots a hand going limp just behind the console where the heart lay suspended. Rushing around he discovers a male in a blue parka, impaled and tied to the base in chains.

"If this is what God really intended for me...then screw God." He was speaking in delirium, not even noticing the resolute just yet.

"Wait...who are you? Are you one of those freaks of nature..?"

Saebyeolbe's were fixated on three things, their was a person here presumed dead one would thing, he was bound in chain and impaled with a blade, lastly blood. This man had been bleeding out, but on a harrowed end where even Saebyeolbe seemed to notice, his sense of time was virtually gone. He was overcome with a draw of emotion he'd not felt in a very, very long time.

"Sir...I have so many questions. Can I un-"

"Don't touch the chains or the blade. Leave'm."

This alarmed the resolute to be refused from help, but he quickly composed himself and accepted the strangers request.

"Your stubborn...but at request ok. Can you tell me your name sir?"

"Hahaha! Really?? You wanna know my fucking name of all things!? HAHAHAHAHA!!!"

The stranger looked at Saebyeolbe's face and he was truly concerned, interrupting his brief laugh.

"It's Wendall, Wendall Blake. I went by the moniker or alias of Trace."

"You're not human are you...?"

"In all this darkness that'd damn even my senses, you noticed that too? Who are YOU really? No, I'm not human, you haven't heard of hybrids have ya? We came from the first harrowed end after all...Destiny Islands."

There was a pause, Saebyeolbe said nothing when destiny islands was mentioned, because it reflected on existing information he had. His eyes were now fixated on the man, clearly someone presumed dead must know something in the gap of his memory. He went to touch the strangers chest despite his earlier protest and something strange happened, the chains rustled and attempted to bind his hand, it jerked back almost instinctively. But wrapped around the right arm and Sae shook uncontrollably making no mistake in sensation. This was familiar to him, it provoked some deep seated reaction he'd likely suppressed, but...it was anger. His muscles pulsed, teeth gritted, and he pulled his arm free.

"Sorry about that mate. That sword...is for my heartless companion, you see...it weakens the heartless core, but doesn't stop it, thats what the chains are for. Disturbing the sword, will just provoke the chains less ya deal with'em. Don't, once I've lost enough blood...thats it. No heart release, no kingdom hearts, just complete nothingness, what one'm said anyway." he gave such a guarded reply.

"Your not making much sense. Hybrid? Heartless? Destiny Islands? And the person that did this to you? Give me something Blake."

"I don't know you, and I sure as hell don't trust you, my dream of a utopia for hybrid kind died the day I was left here to die, and all I've done is reflect until this moment. Fuck humans. Fuck Resolutes. Long live hybrid kind!" he shouted in pride, anger almost, and starting to move.

"What?? What are you doing Blake??"

The man started to move, pulling the last of his strength into his legs, in an attempt the stand. The position of the blade was drove through his heart and into the ground behind him, this virtually meant it was stablized and stationary. Meaning him attempted to move would further slice his insides, but proving stubborn he didn't care. Sae watched the man seer his own body to shreds in a vertical line, as the light blade was cutting from the chest to navel cutting through the chains on his body like a butter knife. Large pockets of blood started to drop from both ends of his body until the cutting stopped.

"AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!" he shrieked, bolstering in darkness placing both hands on the blade, and in a swift motion, yanked it forward splashing a red shower onto Saebyeolbe. He panted vigorously, vision hazy, and he collapsed backwards onto the cornerstone next to the core faintly breathing.

"Hah...well, it's funny stranger. Why do you care so much about a villain such as myself? I wanted to eradicate all of you humans...I wanted these harrowed ends to be safe spaces for my kind, heartless, hybrid. Hearts finally free...no more hypocrisy, pure instinct and the serenity of mindlessness. But it wasn't to be...I believed harder than anything in among these worlds, that the heart deserved freedom from the chastity of the light the imprisoned it, and it is only in darkness whence we all came, that we are truly free..." he coughed and hard.

Feeling a steady breath, growing weaker rapidly the more he talked, the blood starting to saturate his parka from the back to the front now even up to the top of the hood. Sae came in closer and went to rest his hand on Blake's head, before he made a colorful comment.

"Hah...haaaa....HAHAHAHAHA...what are the fucking chances you're one of them? That tatoo on your shoulder, the roman numeral "I" isn't just for show is it? Get away from me...you fucking hypocrite! Your people did this, I don't...give a shit...about your JUSTICE...!!" clinging desperately to life, rage would be felt in it's entirety.

"My people...the resolutes? We...did this...? We caused you so much suffering...?"

A patch of blood traveled and was spat directly in Sae's face.

"You want info...shove it like Shiki getting piped...by that nameless fuck."

"YOU KNEW SHIKI?? What did she look like??" the youth's eyes went wide, his chest tightened even more as the blood statured the soles of his bare feet.

"A hypocrite. A demon. If i could've only turned...someone like that to my side...that other person would be here...not me..."

Trace looked hard at the stranger, his body was covered in nothing but injuries as shown by his bruises and scars, and he was alone on this hollow rock of a harrowed end. His vision started to blur and his head tilted back as one arm went limp and the other clutched a fist. His body was failing, but he reached through the open wound and held in his hand,

His heart.

"BLAKE! WHAT ARE YOU-!?" before he could say anything, it was shoved into his hands, before the arm dropped limp as well.

"A trophy for you resolute....you'll get your answers...take it...I never needed this piece of shit ever...and now...Anti...I'm sorry old friend..."

Suddenly the air felt...cold. Trace, Wendall Blake, just died right in front of him and he cupped the heart summoning his alabaster keyblade and the eye at the end inherently absorbed the heart. He placed his hand over Trace's face and slid both eye lids closed.

"This always happens...why....WHY CHOSE TO KILL YOURSELF?!" he proceeded to scream in a similar vain to Trace just moments ago.

He could feel it. Wendall Blake's heart was one that was wicked and full of sin since the dawn of his very inception. Ridicule, shun, the memories from his earliest days, to events that lead up to the worlds end. Finally he could see it, her.

Shiki.
 

Dari

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That smile he had.
♫

"Komaeda?" he said as he looked at the helmet and heard a woman's voice, "Who's that? A friend of yours?"

His hug intensified as he felt the helmet woman stroking his head. Foot tapping like a race horse, it was enough to distract him and lets be honest, he was very easy to distract. He didn't anticipate or expect, or even see it, but someone came in like a jet. He released the two women, and felt his back and entire body jerk forward was he was taken down at complete random.

He scraped along the grass and in an instant, boom. Unconscious.

Trust this, that was bad considering who he was, it meant disaster for everyone there. A small little globe of light formed around the male and he sat inside of his little ball floating inside of it knocked out. There wasn't anything that could punch through that, but none of them remembered the repercussions of such a volatile resolve. The light caressed him gently, and the storm clouds started to roll in, and on these ruins, this forestland, it began to rain, suddenly and out of nowhere for no apparent reason at all, likely guessed to be a phenomena with the world itself.


~~~~~~

He desired very little, little to nothing from any one. What was the answer that he was seeking...it wasn't at castle oblivion, but he'd send Shiki to Twilight Town without asking her to go. No, it never crossed his mind to rely on his "comrades" if they really were anything of the sort. It just felt unnatural to him, people, this foolish idea that they were supposed to unite? Why? Why would that even be necessary? Sharing information is the only tolerable answer he could spare, all others weren't good enough, those people he'd just be a burden on with all that he carried, the responsibility to shoulder to ensure they would be ok.


~Betwixt & Between~

"I really didn't want to say those heartless things. Sometimes I forget I'm human striving for the common ground to restore balance to the worlds."

He buried his hands in his pockets. "I'll apologize Shiki, if you prove you aren't just a walking bad omen that people die when they get anywhere near you. What a terrible life to have lived, but what would you know of mine...you'd never understand even if I explained it to you over...and over...and over again. None of you would, so I won't waste your time or my own."

Eth started to talk to himself, in complete isolation in a place only he could reach. The intersection between the realm of light and the twilight, the Betwixt and Between. His eyes were stoic, firm, almost cruel as he spoke. There was a coldness from his ability to speak with purpose and cutting out attachments, save for all but one.

"I was never worthy of a family. To hope or dream, or even of fortune or even misfortune. All you have is power and the intent to use it completely and without hesitation. I would gladly use that it means I can uphold and live up to the standards of the task I am to perform. Anyone, resolute or the non that interferes, shall know that very same power intimately."

Snapping his finger the crystal ball purged into his hand once again. "Maybe the others will prove useful by at least stalling the darkness while I find the answer. What good are they to the master if they can't complete their roles...traitors to be blunt. Heres hoping."


These were some harsh words, but they needed to be said. Zero had such a steep burden to shoulder, the others weren't responsible for the master's influence and overall effect on his psyche and
philosophy. Light washed over the expanse, filling it with a sweep of wind reflecting off the clear surface of orange and blues. Eth had several unexplored facets of light sure, but using the destructive power just seemed like a waste of energy and his own personal time. He turned and thought perhaps confronting his weakness would help him.

"Maybe you are worth my time. Luxu. I wish...I knew where you were...you just might be worthy. I truly wonder if I was a much different man in the time that I've forgotten, it seems extremely unlikely...still, what was I like? I just don't have that answer or the one I truly need."


The crystal ball reflected the light of darkness he'd been already introduced to, and it was his next motion. A pool of blood, fairly unsettling and thats putting it mildly. Zero's eyes didn't swat once, understanding this was his next target to investigate. He'd already known the name, but what he couldn't figure out...was why he could see him, why he could see really any of them. A sharp nod before it vanished from his palm and he opened yet another path that lead directly to the core of that harrowed end which would appear on the other side, hoping to peak his curiosity.

He promised it'd be a brief testament, but maybe he could tell him something useful.
 
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purgatory

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When the water broke, no, it snapped in two parts and crashed perfectly around Jay. I was dumbfounded, speechless even at how that was even possible. So distracted that I didn't even notice someone swinging down and dropped just feet away from me and Try. Professing himself in a friendly way, I felt my feet leave the ground for a moment and he cupped myself and try in his arms. He was definitely...much taller than she was, not by much, but enough for me to be a bit nervous. I watched as Try was petting his hair, it looked like a string of cotton balls, and I obliged and did the same.

"It's so good to see others like myself!"

She called him a name, and I scratched my nose. His face, seeing it this close he was in my line of sight in that event I remembered. All of us were there...all of our faces except for the master and some other person, were visible. I could remember that much, I could even remember how I felt that day it happened and it was an uneasy experience. I shifted my eyes over to try who was still stroking his head, and she called him by a name. At complete random.

"Ah, Komaeda... Nice to see you."

"Komaeda?Who's that? A friend of yours?" I could see the confusion in his eyes, but his smile persevered through it.

She went on to inquire that he wasn't in Traverse Town, and to his credit, this was the first time anyone had seen him. Her comments regarding the fate of the world, were telling...and unsettling. Maybe it was an honest mistake, but this kind of denial would only serve to piss me off if it continued. I was a believer though, I believed the mission was more important than letting my emotions splatter against a wall and that wall being another one of us.

I'd almost forgotten about the other man that was here, the sound of jets gave his presence I'd almost ignored thanks to these two distracting me. He seemed odd, suspicious of the resolute who from the back probably looked like he was restraining them both and in that sense I could understand what he was doing. When the two buckled together, I was dropped and so was try and I hit the grass rather softly. I watched him hit the ground and he rolled, appearing to have been knocked out in the process.

"
Hey! What are you doing stranger?? He didn't do any-" I stopped short and just watched.

We all watched as the guy wasn't moving, and for several seconds, I determined he was out of it. A light pitched around him and took him inside of a ball. I'd never seen anything like it before and I walked forward, behind the armored guy and placed my hand on his shoulder.

"
You hearing me ok? Lucrecia, thats Try, the girl that didn't get crushed by the wave is Jay. I was going to ask him his name, but you had to go and knock him out. Whats your name, in fact, everyone start sharing information. No use in pretending like we're strangers...I know you...but I don't know any of you..."

Before I knew it, as I said that, black clouds rolled in and it started to rain. This was just...unlucky.
 

Vibrant Fervor

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"Oof" The bull rush was successful. The man was too distracted to notice Iontis coming in like a wreking ball. The man was blindsided and dropped his grip on the resolves. He went flying forward into the grass. It was a sight to see. Someone shouts out "Hey! What are you doing stranger?? He didn't do any-". It was too late. The man tumbled and barrel rolled until he fell completely on his face. His body was wrapped in a sphere of light. He was knocked out cold. The other resolves were back on their feet. Iontis lands of the ground and reverts his glider back into Bahamut Arc. One of the resolves comes up to Iontis and "You hearing me ok? Lucrecia, thats Try, the girl that didn't get crushed by the wave is Jay. I was going to ask him his name, but you had to go and knock him out. Whats your name, in fact, everyone start sharing information. No use in pretending like we're strangers...I know you...but I don't know any of you..."

He looks around and about for a moment. There was a sudden change in the enivornment that seemed very odd. Storm clouds came out of left field and the area was showred with rain all of a sudden. He looks at Lucecia and sighs "Hmm, it seems there was a major misunderstanding here. Nevertheless, I'm not gonna explain myself or my actions. Sigh, if you insist, my name is Iontis. Lucecia, Try, and Jay, I suggest you three going on ahead. This one will want retribution for what just transpired and you all will just make things more complicated. I'll be able to handle myself. Leave". Iontis finds a large slab of flat rock to sit on near the light sphere and waits for the man to awaken.
 

Deimos

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Questions

This wasn't Sae's first rodeo in the ring with death, pride was something that having too much of could get you killed one day. As he kneeled down and parted his hands and crossing his chest, his arms performed a fluid motion to bless the deceased. Trace didn't have to do what he did and perhaps if he'd even accepted the resolute's help, just maybe...he'd still be alive? A thought that would forever linger in the back of Sae's mind and it was a question he felt would go unanswered.

"Even you had others you cared about...other hybrids. Calpurnia? Vi?"

He stood up slowly as the warm blood washed past both of his bare feet. Covered in blood, from Trace spitting in his face, to slicing himself apart and splattering over the entirety of his wardrobe, Saebyeolbe looked like an orphan of a slaughter. His eyes were still, his heart calm if not pulsating with remorse. The late Trace's heart beat somewhere from within, and Sae learned that he was a researcher well before he completely went off the rails. Many things he studied, topics he covered, all regarding the heart only to dispose of it.

"Blake...this theory you had about all of it, you'd really discard it? Even if what you do seems thankless, even if you efforts no matter how unrecognized they seemed, it could've gone so much further towards a peaceful cause."

Lessons a much younger Saebyeolbe developed early, his recklessness many times in the past almost got him killed. The master had no obligation to protect his students life as he was not with him at all times. The words he shared were ubiquitous and spanned across many situations and encounters. This made him the soul he is today, but it was likely thanks in part to said experiences and the scars to prove it. There was a light that shone through, bright as if a rift between worlds had opened. Lowering his arm, he caught it in full visage and lowered and looked onward at this unknown gateway.

He took a deep breathe and finally took a step through the gateway of light. Not having the foggiest idea of what he'd be thrusting himself into, but the light that washed all around him and not knowing whether or not to move or not something pushed him forward. In the blinding visage, he looked hard and a very large if not infinite space of oranges and blues surrounded him. Eyes fell dead center on a man in a coat, and to the untrained eye, anyone that didn't know would immediate mistake this man for the master, but his body type wasn't nearly as broad and he was fairly shorter than the master.

Saebyeolbe was still covered in blood, and it was dripping from the ends of his cloak and cape. His feet were painted red, and where he was stopped, he continued to walk forward tracking red footprints behind him. Coming within about nine meters of the individual, Saebyeolbe removed his hood and broke the silence.

"I take it I'm not here to for tea. A man dressed like the master, are you him..?"
 

Dari

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His appearance was startling, gruesome and brusque. The tainted elements, from the disfigurement of his arms with scars, the blood painted on his cape, soles, and face. There were was a twitch that unlike with Shiki, was visibly felt here, was this really a resolute drowning in sin? No. His eyes as they met each other's were an indication of his vigor and despite the visible hell and ambience that washed over him, he remained...tranquil.

[hitplay]

"I take it I'm not here to for tea. A man dressed like the master, are you him..?"


There was a slow clasping of hands, Eth had begun to clap as he was peering at a sight almost expected in this kind of reality. Was this bloody warrior, almost brutish in how he appeared really a resolute? He'd mull it over later, as he stepped forward and dropped his hood as well. This was the important detail that no one should overlook going forward, but to everyone under Eth's hood, he appears different to each person, but his gray eyes are always the same. Hair spiked, long, and a silver but a bandana tied over his mouth and monocle over the left eye.

"Your face...I know you, resolute. You and that woman in the helmet beat each other down if what I remember is anything to trust. I didn't quite catch your name, it cut out just before I could learn it. Well anyway, thank you for coming and sorry, I'm not the master but it seems we've got that in common. I'll get to the point...I just met someone else like us, but they couldn't help me with their history so maybe yours can help me."

Eth was becoming more illuminated, more practical, fierce and serious. Like lightning, the light was bending around him, and cracked, ricochet and bent in every direction. His foot crushed the surface, and a ripple of light spread out, playing with the visage of the atmosphere. It was light, weightless, and it did nothing but fill the empty space the two resolutes stood in mere meters apart. Power. Power to do so much, effortlessly, and unsheathed he revealed his identity. Swords started to permeate into the very fabric of existence filling the space in between them both.

"My name is Eth, I am Zero, Untouchable. Hear me out. Time is finite, and the only thing I have to go on is the past, surely all those bruises can tell me something even you probably don't remember. I just need your hand friend, I won't ask you a second time."

His footsteps drew closer.

They were loud.

Heavy like the burden of his role.


He stopped until he within arms reach of his fellow resolute and he extended his hand, making direct eye contact.

"
Don't make me regret this. Please. Your hand." the blades were circling around around the space dancing in between the two resolutes.


-----


His daughter sat in a high chair and there was cooled meats sat aside on a plate for his young dear. Taking the metal fork, he pricked the small cured piece of steak for her chew firmly. The poor girl sure could make a mess of things. She extended her arms over the edge of the high chair, her restraints keeping her locked in and her father pouted.

"
Come on, what have I told you about over-extending yourself? Ya know better dear."

"Sorry daddy..." her cheeks puffed

"
Here, a small sample of desert if you can finish what you haaavvvveeee....here." he tipped the spoon up to make sure she got a good taste. It was pudding, home-made pudding. His daughter was giddy, she grinned and chewed while giving her father a casual nod. With two full cheeks, you'd understand she could barely contain the yumminess and had to focus on chewing.

"
Thats my Freya. Your mother would be delighted to see you cleaning your plate, I know it."

"Daddy...?"

"
Yes my love." He leaned forward, knowing that look.

"Mommy is still working..? When is she coming home?"

"
The towns been in crisis mode for some time now, she's working extra hard to ensure everything is secure. She sends letters as often as she can Freya, she is deeply sorry to worry you and I, and she loves us both dearly
sweetie, always and forever." the man smiled and he pinched his daughter's cheeks.

His eyes drew concern, this town already had some weird visitors based on the word from his senior students. School might've been out today, but there was word that Reforge was spotted around town, as well as Yamato. Reforge was a well known member of this community and not for any outright good done. Wanted for the murders of Renn and Max those short years ago, where as Yamato had been more of a public disturbance on the locals. His eyes darted over to his door, then back to his daughter that had been finishing the last of her meal.

"
All done?" he said smiling to her adorable head nod. With both arms he lifted her from the high chair and took her into his arms and whisked her to the sink counter-top. Running the water, he took the sponge and her hands and began to wash and dry them before setting her down so he could wash the dishes.

"I miss mommy daddy, I hope she comes home soon."

"
I do too Freya, I do too." his eyes were daunted with concern and his focus was broken when he heard a knock at the door. Stopping the sink from running anymore water, he crossed over from the kitchen to the dining room and his daughter stood behind him hugging his leg as he opened the door.

A Black Keyblade with an eye in the tip pushed the door the rest of the way open.

No way...

It was him. It was...
 
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Deimos

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Neck Above Water

"Saebyeolbe. You said your name was Eth? Why does that name sound familiar to my ears...Eth. Zero. One minus one. You."

What the hell was he hearing right now? What started as an anomaly that appeared on a harrowed end turned into a off-putting man painting his intentions clear as day. The sharp eyes of Saebyeolbe spotted the blades as they were forged, he remembered them. This man, was the other one -- he accompanied Shiki in the events that befell Trace. It didn't go away, the anger that was burning in The Scarred's chest, rage felt that was twisting even under the prime of his steel-trap altruism, but he'd beat it down almost.

His foot steps were loud and they echoed across the betwixt space, the portal of light behind him was gone. It certainly was the only way in, but he wasn't so sure that was his only way out. His keyblade vehicle used the lanes between to travel between worlds, even realities, so he'd keep that in his pocket for now. Looking into Eth's eyes, the two were nearly the same height, Eth just a few inches taller than he, and he stopped abruptly giving him a hand extended.

Sae was never troubled, not after so many years of pain, so much experience and the power he'd obtained by tempering and balancing his emotions by the by. Was this Trace's heart pushing it's influence over his resolve? The burgeoning pain, the memory of the heinous acts he committed all in defiance, and that experience was now passed to him. Whatever the game was, this, was not it. Never a petty man, but staring from second to second at Eth's hand and then the blades that surrounded, was this an assertion of dominance or perhaps fear? Definitely the former.

"Why does the untouchable ask to be touched? Hah...it's actually redundant don't you think. No. I want you to take a good look at me Eth. Look at my face, my arms, my legs, chest and back and tell me what you see."

Saebyeolbe cast his clad and cape to the side and it was weight, hitting the soft surface and rupturing the space that propped it flat, flattening it more. Only underwear and wrist garbs, he was bare, horrondously disfigured and riddled in scars that were brutalized and carved onto his body. The impress of the armored knight's earthshatter keyblade pressed in between both his breasts, overlapping hard. A trail of darkness lingered from the invisible attacks that soaked into the firm press of his skin. Just as he raised his hand mere inches away from connecting.

"You might want to reconsider."
start @1:10<

Pain.

An endless ocean of pain transferred from one Resolute to the other and all within an instant. What was normally a portion, was Saebyeolbe himself. All. Enough to kill him where he stood without the meandering bullshit for games. His heart would be taken aback, and would stop seize during the entire experience.

Blades.

Blades for miles, one after the next scattering the threadcount of Eth's robing, severing nerves from primed angles, an amalgamation of multiple and surgical lacerations. Cutting tendon and flesh, enough to break the mind in collapse. Some of the cuts were fast and forgotten, others were stabs the peeled the nerve-endings with a slow and agonizing twist to emphasize obedience and the gravity of one's predicament.

Hammer.

"Look at that. Holes in his chest and he's still alive? We got us a fighter!!! Mount his head on that stump, i don't care if you have to fucking smash it!!!"

His head was placed on a stump cleared away, it was bloodied and with five men pinning the resolute down his eyes frantically searched around. Screams released from his mouth before the men placed a gag to muffle the sounds that escaped. Only instead of Saebyeolbe here, it was Eth and a much larger chap strummed by with a sledge hammer and inspected it thoroughly. This was a fine weapon, tapping it's head, his arms arc'd and he wound up heavy as the hammer came down, faster, and fas
ter, and FASTER. *SQUELSH!*


Gunshots. Fire. Cast Iron. Cruxifixion.

Suspended to a stake. Multiple bullet lacerations the size of a red grape. The firm press of a cast iron brand just above the sternum, all as the cross itself was burning. The agony looped, and it occurred again and again and again and again and again. Bullets ripping through flesh and bone, burying deep into the skin forever disfiguring the bone and engraving a memory of the true nature of human life. The people Saebyeolbe set out to save, would go commit such unspeakable and abhorrent acts upon the flesh. He'd make sure Eth felt every last ounce, these memories, were whole.

?????????????????????

Insanity. Madness. Instantaneously the happening escaped all comprehension. In an instant his body...fell limp, all pressure points were hit in one fail swoop. Blood seething from multiple punctures, fractured bones, lacerations and cuts a resolve that couldn't even respond in time. Low consciousness, but a keyblade was felt, being driven into his throat as he struggled to gasp for air and it struck his face only for the light in his eyes to go dark.

"
Thats enough."


Saebyeolbe doing exactly as he was asked, clasped Eth's hand but he wasn't sure this was what the man should see. Now he held his hand far longer than he would've liked to, the effects of his paralysis may very well have gotten extended way beyond their intended limits. Either way, Eth, as he called himself if he wasn't dead or unconscious, he was immobile and unable to speak until the paralysis weakened and he could move again. He bent down briefly and picked up his weighted garbs and dressed himself appropriately before speaking again.

"Shiki. I'm looking for a woman by that name. She's one of us -- one of the resolutes, if you aren't dead Eth. You and her did some...well, things of note no different than the men who afflicted upon me. Touching you just now confirms we've met before, and the most recent memory of you was not a friendly one. Trust this, that if I didn't overcome so much hatred in the past I would kill you now, I would kill you for him. And if you have anything to do with our missing memories--" the resolute stopped himself as a finger moved from he corner of his eye, looks like Eth wasn't dead.

"Tell me where she is. Where everyone else is. Stop dicking around playing whatever game you're playing and just get us all on the same page, I don't know about you but if you knew the master at all, this isn't what we need to be doing. Memories or not, whether you trust me or not, there are still worlds that call to us for help. Please Eth! Tell me where Shiki is!"

Without saying why it was imperative to find her, the light released from his body this time fortifying himself in the event he needed to.

"Don't. We can both walk away. I showed you everything, now grant me what you know and you won't have to worry about me doing anything stupid. I'm just insignificant to someone like you anyway, right? Untouchable means virgin doesn't it, removed from sin, hell even untainted. What would you know about what someone like me has had to endure? Tell me that while you're at it."
 
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