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Arata

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Posts : 74
Join date : 2010-07-21
Age : 23
Location : Under your couch

PostSubject: Ice Heart   Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:21 pm

Here is my yet to be finished sequel :O

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Arata

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Posts : 74
Join date : 2010-07-21
Age : 23
Location : Under your couch

PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:23 pm

Prologue

The dim sanctum stood vacant of all but a lone figure. Black robes rustled as he walked to the center of the massive chamber, bowing his head. He put a hand to his lips, whispering ancient mutterings to the ground. He bent down, running a hand across the cold floor, strange markings dug into the once smooth surface. He stuck a hand into the folds of his robes, shuffling around until his long, thin fingers fell over something round and icy. He smiled, revealing a row of unnaturally sharp teeth.

Pulling his frail hand from his robe, he took a large, round orb, completely smooth aside from a single, glowing crack at the top. The cracked globe pulsed hungrily, the split emitting a bright glow of orange in contrast to the orb's onyx shade. He chuckled, admiring the ominous beauty the object held.

Two pairs of feet entered, footsteps echoing loudly throughout the sanctum. The dimly lit room became awash with light, torches lining the walls flaring to life as the two arrived. The room was revealed to be completely covered and engraved with symbols, all interlocking and connecting to the center floor. The two figures were garbed in the same black robes as their third companion, faces completely obscured, except for dual pairs of glowing scarlet eyes.

Between them they held a young woman, bound and gagged, rope tied to her ankles and wrists, a cloth wrapped around her mouth. Long, raven black hair fell down past her shoulders, and bright orange eyes sat, open wide with fear. Her clothes were in tatters, dress torn open severely, just barely keeping her decent. Bruises covered her body, the largest being on her right temple.

The two kidnappers walked towards their sharp-toothed ally, setting the woman down in front of him and stepping back, standing by the entrance with arms crossed. The man set the orb down in a large, spherical basin, a clicking sound following. He turned to the woman, yanking the cloth from her face and tucking it into his cloak. He chuckled sadistically, gripping her face hard with his hand. He stared down into her bright, orange eyes, boring into her with soulless black orbs. "You know...you can scream if you want."

The woman just stared, gulping, too frightened to speak. The man shook his head. "Fine. No fun. Do not worry my dear.." He smiled, pulling a wickedly curved knife from his robes. "..you are about to be a part of something far greater than yourself. Something that shall change the world."

He cackled, dragging her by the hair, holding her head just above the orb. He knelt down, pressing the knife up against her throat. His eyes widened as the blade went across, cutting through the blood vessels, crimson liquid exploding everywhere. The blood stained a good half of his face, falling into the crevices. The blood spread outward in every direction, filling all of the symbols, though no human body could house that much blood. It seemed to expand on its own. The lines glowed brightly, being drawn into the orb. It absorbed the liquid hungrily, until all of it disappeared. The orb's cracks grew, splitting more and more until the sphere shattered, leaving a sickly orb of orange, which then shot into the ground.

The chamber shook, the roof beginning to crumble. The man smiled. "It's done.."

______________________________________________________


Deep beneath the surface, a figure sat, chained to the wall by four glowing chains. Orange, Red, Green, and White wrapped around his torso. Even the bright glow of the chains could not pierce the impossibly dark cavern. The figure looked up, slit-golden eyes growing wide as the orange chain broke apart, falling to the ground. He smiled, revealing a vast array of gleaming, sharp teeth. "The first seal...has been broken."


Chapter 1: Beasts of Battle

Arata leapt back, narrowly avoiding a rock about the size of his face, looking to smash his skull in. He pushed off of the ground with one foot, spinning in midair to dodge two more oncoming stones, landing on his feet with a hand pressed to the tough mountain side. His head shot up as an ear piercing screech sent his ears ringing. He looked to the scene of his friends, fighting.

The mighty Roc screeched again, causing the ground to shake. It currently combatted two of Arata's friends and allies, Azkikr and William (or Bill, as he liked to be called). Bill was beneath the Chaos Beast, slashing away at the birds menacing talons with his vampiric blade, Mandurugo. However, it was tough work, fighting against the beast's pounding feet, with a hide of stone to protect it.

Azkikr continued about his way of fighting, leaping from one part of the bird's body to the next. Wing to back, back to head, head to legs, the assassin hacked and sliced with his dual blades, managing to actually stab into one of the Roc's eyes before having to come down.

Rayzer and Arata were currently battling against the balboa's that inhabited the side of the mountain as well, hoping to keep them from hindering their allies current fight. Whenever given the chance though, Arata and Rayzer shifted their attention on the Chaos Beast, Rayzer firing off explosive spells while Arata struck it with tendrils of water.

Arata struck down the last of the balboa's, causing the earth elemental to break apart into a pile of dust and rubble as he brought Hokkyoku down upon it. He looked around, making he had slain the last of the balboa's, so he and Rayzer would at last be able to focus on the Roc.
It appeared he was correct, in that he had defeated the last of the elemental's, at least until they mustered up the energy to reform themselves.

Arata looked up to the top of the mountain, bright blasts of multi-colored light able to be seen occasionally. Rayzer joined him, glancing up. "Steel and Slayer should be able to take care of them. With Finrod helping them, Vath and Stalagbite don't have much of a chance. At least..so long as we take care of this stupid bird!" The sorceress glared at the Roc, launching off another concussive blast at the bird. The avian shrieked, causing Arata's hands to fly to his ears.

Arata put his fingers inbetween his lips, blowing hard and fast. The loud whistle that followed signaled for Bil and Azk to move away, as he prepared his own attack. Arata outstretched his Katana of Torrents out in front of front him. He pointed the blade skyward, the brought it down in the shape of a large C. He then brought it up in the shape of a smaller C, connecting with the larger one. A crescent moon shape. The shape glowed as icy blue Myst roiled off of his shoulders and filled the air around him. Arata's eyes widened, slashing downwards, a crescent shaped blast of Myst and energy striking the Roc, slicing into the bird's thick skin of stone, the Myst enshrouding its shape. The Beast was injured and stunned, though not as much as Arata had hoped.

Arata looked back at his friend's, shoulder's sagging from the portion of energy that he had lost. "It looks like we'll have to call them."

Azk smiled, placing a hand on Arata's shoulder. "Do you think you have enough energy to call him?"

Arata nodded. "Azk and I should be able to handle this," he said, looking back at Bill and Rayzer. "Call on your Eloths if it tries to escape."

Azk smirked as he stepped forward, lacing his fingers together and pushing them outwards in front of him, all of the knuckles cracking. Grey-black Myst smoked from his form, crawling out off of even his outstretched fingers. He closed his eyes briefly, then opened them, yelling. "Hakkar!"

The black Myst moved from Azk's body, forming together into what appeared to be a shadowy panther. The panther slammed its large paws into the ground, claws extended, a loud roar ripping loose from its maw. Golden eyes opened wide into slits, and its body seemed to be made of pure shadows, wisps of darkness rising and flaring from its form.

Arata stepped forward as Hakkar, the Feral Shadow, lunged at the Roc. It sliced and bit with its powerful claws and fangs, putting up a worthy fight though it wasn't quite as large as the Chaos Beast. It would need assistance soon enough. Icy blue Myst enveloped Arata, a peculiar shade of violet added to the mix. He closed his eyes, the Myst spreading out before him as he whispered.."Kudaku.."

From the azure vapor emerged a majestic fox, fur as white and pristine as freshly fallen snow. Wisps and swirls of navy rose from its legs, marked its undercarriage, as well as the tips of its ears. Four magnificent tails burst outwards from its rear, flicking about restlessly. Eyes of the deepest of blues flicked to Arata protectively, then to the Roc readily. The violet Myst that rose from Arata moved forward as well, coming to rest upon the fox as a tattered dusty purple cloak, draped over its shoulders and torso, blowing mournfully in the wind.

Arata watched next to Azkikr as Kudaku, the Southern Torrent, strode forward to join Hakkar in battling the Roc. Hakkar slashed quickly and viciously, very rarely suffering a blow from the imposing Roc. Kudaku pounced as well, settling on bone breaking chomps, lacking the powerful claws that the panther possessed. Kudaku backed away, as did, Hakkar, breathing loudly. A cloud of diamond dust shot out at the Roc, slamming into it and seeping into the cracks of it's rocky legs and lower half. The diamond dust settled, then expanded, causing the stone hide of the bird to shatter with a loud burst of ice.

The Roc screeched its loudest, flapping desperately, higher into the sky to get away. Luckily, Bill and Rayzer had listened to their instructions carefully. Bill shouted his Eloth's name. "Pangil!" A cloud of fiery red Myst bolted into the sky, transforming into a large, crimson bat. The bat met the Roc in mid-flight, screeching in return. The energy filled sound caused the air to ripple and sent the Roc crashing down into the mountain side again.

Now it was Rayzer's turn. The sorceress called out the name of her Eloth. "Thobaan!" Silvery wisps of her Myst transmogrified into an enormous hood snake of purest Silver. The ethereal reptile shot forward, constricting the fallen Roc within its vice-like grip. It squeezed tighter and tighter, sinking its penetrating fangs into the Roc's head and last good eye. The Roc shrieked, wailing in its death throes as Thobaan released its energy into the beast. Thobaan released the Roc, just in time for all of them to watch as the Chaos Beast exploded, raining down in a torrent of rocks and dust.

"Yeah! Take that you stupid, overgrown chicken!" Arata shouted, laughing.

Azkikr chuckled, nodding as the Eloths all returned to their users, dissipating into Myst. "Not bad."

Arata grinned. "Looks like we rocked that Roc!" The group groaned. Arata pouted. "What?"

Bill shook his head. "If you even start with puns, I'll have to stone you," he said, and everyone laughed.

-

Arata, Rayzer, Azk, and Bill all waited patiently at the foot of the mountain path. They crossed their arms, tapped their feet, or chewed their lips, waiting, hoping that Steel and Slayer had succeeded.

Their grim features brightened as three figures stepped into view, heading down the path. Slayer, although bruised and cut, smiled triumphantly. Finrod walked quietly, his hood always obscuring his face. And Steel...Steel walked towards them , chuckling as he held a purple blade in his hands, broken it two. "Looks like we're done here."

Steel looked down at his Knights proudly, the sun setting behind him in the perfect formation of dusk. "It is time to return...to the Twilight."


Chapter 2: Return

Arata steadied himself as he came out on the other side of the Gate, doing his best to make sure his stomach came back down from his throat and was no longer upside down. The gut-churning and nauseating experience of travelling through the dimensions was something he'd never really get used to. In all his time with the Twilight Knights, the most he had ever been able to do was stay on two feet when entering and exiting the Realm.

Once his head stopped spinning and his stomach had settled, his azure eyes immediately shot up to take in the scenery of his home. Grey-green grass, rosey-manderin skies and crimson and black clouds. The magnificent Twilit Keep stood vigilantly at the center, surrounded by the structures of the sparring arena, the garrisons, the armory, and the village. The celestial bodies of Luc and Nox hung in the sky forebodingly, keeping each other in eternal balance. Luc, a floating being that shone a brilliant white, and Nox, it's opposite. A deep, sharp black. Each seemed to radiate energy. Luc positive, and Nox negative.

Arata gulped as he registered Nox's presence. He knew all too well the power the rock possessed. His gaze ran over the lone cliff that hung out over the bay. Deep, sparkling violet waters. A stab of sadness struck Arata, though he waved it away. Although it served a reminder of a great loss, he sat there to admire its beauty nearly every day, thinking with the wind to his back.

It's already been a year.., he thought as he followed the group into the Keep. It had already been a year since he and his friends had destroyed the creation that was the Realm of Chaos. A year since Arata had conquered his dark side. A year...since his brother Alastor..had died.

Arata followed the group quietly, remembering the day well. Too well for his liking. The rain had pounded against his injured form mercilessly, the Chaos Realm crumbling all around him. And in his arms, the fatally wounded form of his stormy eyed adoptive brother. Stabbed through the heart, blood running from his body and filling his lungs. They had reminisced, until the last breath of life left Alastor.
A rough month and a half had followed, leaving Arata spent of energy and will, no longer able to keep moving forward.

Steel and Slayer and Finrod moved off to the right, entering the throne room to discuss Gods know what, leaving Bill, Azk, and Arata to follow Rayzer. The three males filed behind Rayzer relatively quietly, Bill and Azk conversing in soft whispers while Arata was at the back, lost in thought. The four of them were headed towards Rayzer's tower and personal study, most likely to recap their past activities, as well as plan for new ones.

Rayzer stopped in front of the door. The three men all bumped into each other rather comically, taking a moment to dignify themselves again. Azk whispered to Rayzer softly. "What's the matter?"

Rayzer furrowed her brow apprehensively. "The door is already open..." Rayzer brought a finger to her lips, shushing the confused men and turned back on the door. She pushed open the door silently, staff at the ready. Arata looked over Rayzer's shoulder, catching sight of what appeared to be a young woman with her back to them. She had shoulder-length brown hair, and wore a sorceress's outfit.

"Is that..it can't be," Rayzer whispered. The woman was looking down at something. She got a little closer, speaking louder this time. "Is that you...Selena?"

The woman spun around, holding a book of some sort. Her eyes were akin to sparkling orbs of cinnamon. "Mistress Rayzer!"

Rayzer smiled broadly, lowering her staff and rushing forward to embrace the woman. "You're back!"

The woman, Selena, smiled, returning the embrace, then stepping out of it. "Yes. I returned earlier today, when you had already left."

Rayzer smiled. "So, your mission went well then?"

Selena smiled and nodded. "Yes it-" She stopped, leaning to the side a little to look past Rayzer, seeming to stare at Azk, who looked down at an angle. Perhaps, a little sheepish? She stepped towards, him, looking up at him, touching his arm lightly as if to make sure he was real. "Azk."

Azkikr looked down, voice low. "Selena."

She bit her lip, eyes beginning to water. She suddenly threw her arms around him, pulling him into a hug. "I missed you."

Azk smiled, expertly covering up his own emotions, though if you looked closely enough, you could just see the tears forming at the rims. "Glad to have you back, Selena."

Selena nodded, looking up at him. "Glad to be back."

-

Rayzer had set up a little presentation, explaining the situation with Selena and what had been going on. Selena was a young shadowmancer, one of the last trained in the forbidden arts of shadow manipulation. She had joined the Twilight Knights as Rayzer's apprentice, but had been away for quite some time on an important mission, though the details were not confirmed.
Selena had been introduced to both Arata and Bill, and it had been made clear that Azk and Selena were close. Arata had elbowed Azk while Rayzer had her back turned. "So...sweet on the Shadowmancer, eh?"

Azk quickly grew flushed and hissed at them. "Shut up!" Bill and Arata simply snickered. Rayzer soon shot them a death glare, and the three clammed up immediately.

Rayzer smiled. "This is great Selena. We need as much help as we can get. Now..if Leyla can finish her assignment.." she mumbled.

Arata's ears perked up as he caught the name Leyla. Leyla.... one of his best friends, as well as one of the eight, now seven, Myst Children. Long, chocolate brown hair usually tied into a characteristic ponytail, with eyes as bright and brilliant as emeralds. One of the kindest and purest souls one could meet. It was Leyla who had put Arata back on the road to recovery after his brother had passed. She had helped step by step, there when he felt sad, and kept him company. Kept him busy with training or other such things, never giving him time to dwell.

Arata had spent much of the past year with Leyla, enjoying her presence on a day-to-day basis. He spent a great deal of time with Azkikr and Bill as well, though when he was with Leyla...he couldn't explain how great he felt. At a certain point in time, Leyla had gone back to see Cor, her grandfather, near Sayle. However, unknown to either of them, Arata had followed, staying nearby and keeping guard over Leyla. He wouldn't take another risk of her being harmed. Trouble seemed to follow her. No, he really couldn't explain it...

Rayzer continued. "Leyla is currently working undercover in Akiba, the capital of Yokai Isle. As you know, we have been hard at work to repel the Lords of Chaos and Chaos Beasts that Drakath seems to be pulling out of nowhere. We have successfully neutralized Escherion and the Hydra, and more recently, Vath and the Roc." Arata opened his mouth. "And NO rock puns Arata..." She leered at him, eyes narrowed. Arata's mouth closed.

Over the year, Drakath had come up with a new scheme, to an end that was currently unknown to the Twilight Knights. He had introduced to Lore the Chaos Lords. Escherion, the first, had taken over Mobius, located in the Chiral Valley. He had made the entire village inverted, twisting the buildings and life there physically, and turning the place upside down. After that, the Chaos Sorceror had summoned the Hydra, a serpent with multiple heads. Luckily, Rayzer managed to best him while Arata and the others had taken down the Hydra. His living Chaos staff now rested in the treasury vault, wings tied down with rope and its eye covered in bandages.

And now they had defeated Chaos Lord number two. Vath, the Chaos Dragon lord. He had held the dwarves of Dwarfhold mountain hostage with his army of drows and draconians. He wielded a Chaotic Dragon Amulet, plus a Chaotic Sword of Dragon Control, allowing him to command the powerful creature, Stalagbite. The Drow had summoned the powerful Chaos Beast, the Rock Roc. A massive bird made entirely out of stone. This had been their most recent victory. And now, there were rumors of Chaos rising on Yokai.

"We'll need to make preparations to go and confirm Leyla's mission...she hasn't reported back for some time now," Rayzer said, worry clear in her tone. "I'd rather not lose any apprentices." She turned to them. "Go and get ready. We'll leave tomorrow."

Arata swallowed hard. He didn't want to think of Leyla getting hurt. It was too much for him to bear. He stood and left, ready to find her.

________________________________________________________


"Order's ready for table seven!" Leyla's head shot up as the chef's voice rang loud and clear. She rushed towards the kitchen, taking two plates and balancing them on her palms. One plate had a fresh preparation of sushi and a glass of water, and the other, a roll of mixed vegetables and some green tea. She rushed to the designated table, placing the contents of the order in front of two men. "Here's your order."

Leyla straightened out her green kimono. The clothing was a bright emerald, with a tree and leaf pattern. Her normally long, brown hair was placed up in a tight, elaborate bun at the back of her head. She had arrived a month or so ago, with orders from Rayzer to be on the look out for anything suspicious. Suspicious beings, signs of the next Chaos Lord. Or, she had been told, any signs of peculiar energy. Any bizarre happenings or sightings aside from Chaos. She could only recall one incidence in which that happened...

She looked at the men she had served. One man had roughly cut, sandy brown hair. He had a tan, rough face with numerous scars over his face. The other man looked much younger, though his eyes were constantly bloodshot, and his hands shook continuously. Both wore pitch black robes, over something that seemed a little bulky beneath. The older guy looked up at her as she observed them. "Like what ya see?" He chuckled perversely.

Leyla's eyes widened in disgust. She turned around and began walking away. "Enjoy your meal and get lost."

Leyla sighed, taking her break. She walked outside and stood on the curb, her back to one of the alleys that held the trash. She watched the streets for a little while, looking as people walked by, samurai guards, citizens, children playing. She smiled. What she wouldn't give to be back home, with her friends. "With Arata....," she said. She stopped herself, blinking incredulously. "Did I really just say that?"

She shook her head. Suddenly, a hand gripped her shoulder hard, another clasping over her mouth. The hand moved from her shoulder to her waist, pulling her into the darkness of the alley.


Chapter 3: Departure...again

Leyla was slammed down hard into a thick, creaky wooden chair. Thick cords of rope bound her to it, tied at her waist, arms, hands, and feet. The room she sat in barren and dank. A single flickering bulb sat above her head, barely illuminating the room. No windows. Leyla felt a heavy weight settle on her shoulders in that she could not feel the sun's warm embrace. The room was wet and filled with mildew. It reeked of a wet dog smell, and bugs and other such things scuttle about in corners, looking for meals.

And within theses walls were her attackers. The kidnappers, the perpetrators. The two men she wanted to bite, kick, and scream at. She looked up at them. The men she had served not even a hour ago. The tan-haired scarface, and the young, fidgety man. The older man stepped forward and knelt down to Leyla's level. "Do you know why you're here?"

Leyla just glared at him, emerald eyes smoldering. She refused to speak even a word. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted her weapons, sitting in the corner furthest away from her. A nine-tailed whip with hooks and blades on the end, along with a silver dagger.

The man chuckled. "Nervous? I would be."

Leyla spat in his face. "Get away from me!" She hissed.

The man wiped his face with his hand, and then gripped her face hard with his beefy fingers. "Now you listen to me. We know what you've been doing. And we can't allow that. We can't allow anyone to catch wind of our master's debut."

The fidgety young man stepped forward as well. "Th-that's r-right. Lord K-kitsune must have the element of surp-prise," he stuttered.

Leyla's eyes widened, and even in the grip of the man, she managed to speak. "So you're with Chaos?" She knew it. The rumors, the shifty figures that just radiated the aura of Chaos. She had to get this to her mistress, Rayzer.

The scarred man smirked. "Yes. And we also know you work as an agent against us. So," he jabbed a finger at her face, letting go of it at the same time. "You'd best behave."

Leyla took this opportunity to achieve her goal of biting. She brought her teeth down hard on his jabbing finger, the taste of copper moving over her tongue in a thin layer as she tore through the flesh of the digit. He yelled, yanking back his finger and stumbling backwards a few steps, holding his hand and looking down, distraught. Leyla smirked, spitting out his disgusting blood. He glared at her. The smug look remained.

The jittery boy put a hand on the man's shoulder before he did anything rash. The older male glowered at both of them. He grunted, turning to leave, though not before showing the armor and blade that lay beneath his robe. "Pull anything like that again, and you'll lose one of your fingers."

Leyla sighed once they had left, looking up to the flickering bulb above her. Her arms rustled in their sleeves, trying to catch hold of something she held within. She shook her head as she tried and failed. "Arata..everyone..how will I get back to you?"

________________________________________________________


Bill sat quietly as he watched everyone hurry about, getting ready for the trip to Yokai. Apparently, Yokai had once been a very isolated society, only just recently having opened its walls to the outside. Therefore, nobody had been there before. This and the fact that a strange veil surrounded Yokai’s lands prevented both Rayzer and Xavier teleporting anyone there. Like Leyla had, they would have to arrive by boat.

Rayzer could not go with them in search of her apprentice, unfortunately bound to the task of helping Steel draw up battle plans should the next Chaos Lord and its Beast arrive soon. So, Selena took her place instead. Xavier decided to join them, as well as a man named Frozen Fighter, a recent Holder of the Shade Amulet. From what Bill had heard, Frozen was a ranger of great caliber, as well as one of the earliest Twilight Knights. Well accustomed to the use of bows, knives, and swords, as well as an adept tracker, Frozen had become an invaluable asset to the Knights over the years. He also worked well with animals, taking an especial liking to the messenger doves that he bred. Apparently he possessed a powerful bow named Yumi, once used by his ancestor to slay nearly the entire vampire race, though they had repopulated in Darkovia.

Bill already had all of his things ready. A case for his clothing, a journal, and some provisions of his own. He looked down to his side, making sure Mandurugo was securely fastened there. He glanced down at his finger, running a purple eye over the red and gold ring that sat there. The ring that he had held onto for twelve years. Its whispers grew louder. Its temptations stronger. Yet, Bill resisted, as he always had. However, this new vigor unsettled him. Something was coming, something that the ring anticipated, believed it would give it liberation. And that could only mean trouble for the rest of Lore.

His drow-purple eyes shot up again as a figure rushed past him in a blur of blue and grey. Arata. He, having recieved the rank of Nightbreak Captain, had quite a bit of weight on his shoulders. He had more to prepare, more to pack, and more to see to. He had gotten to know Arata fairly well over the past year. An honest, caring boy. He was quiet and thoughtful often times, and since the passing of his brother, had only grown to be more of those two. Seeing him become so excited over their last victory had made both Bill and the rest of the group happy. It meant he was at last conquering sadness. Arata could often be reckless, though he meant well.

The loss of a brother, the very possible danger of a friend. Conquering a darkside and fighting for your friends. Indeed, Arata had quite a bit of weight on his shoulders. Far too much for a young boy, as far as Bill was concerned. Ever since Arata had learned of Leyla's lack of communication, he had been working about endlessly, feverish in his preparations to go to Yokai. Bill chuckled. From what he had seen over his time here, Arata had quite the fancy for young Leyla. And sometimes it seemed, that she had a fancy for him as well. Although he never spoke it, and may never admit it even to himself, Arata showed his love through his actions. A few may have argued this point, but to the keen eye, it was obvious.

William sighed, walking outside of the Keep as others finished up their packing. He thought back, twelve years ago. He smiled as he remembered his father. A druid, working in a monastery. And Bill had been his aid, helping him wherever possible. His father had also been the original keeper of his ring, but he had succumbed to its deceiving ways and its lethal whispers. Bill looked down at the piece of jewelry bitterly. This ring of death...this Ring of Poison. He would be rid of it somehow.

He looked down at the grass, eyes growing a fiery red. He saw the heat of everything around him, the small orange figures of children playing apparent to him. He concentrated harder, this time on the ground again. Soon enough, a small spark alighted, and a flame had ignited over the patch of grass. He blinked, and it went out. Rayzer had been training the Myst Children further in their talents. She had made it quite apparent that the powers of Myst went further than they had expected. Bill could not only see heat, but create it. Azk, in addition to his muting of sounds, seemed to be able to meld with the shadows themselves. Leyla had learned to fully talk to and use plants, able to make them grow, or control them any which way. The group had only recently seen General Slayer's Myst ability, recently in the sparring arena's obstacle course, where he had turned an oncoming ball and chain to dust at a mere touch. Arata however, had taken up some private training lessons with Rayzer, though he was reluctant. He had a unique and powerful mind-talent, and was afraid of the damage he might do.

Bill looked up again as he heard footsteps walking towards him. Everyone was ready, heading towards the gate. Xavier could teleport them to the docks, and allow them to save a lot of time. Arata was at the back, appearing to be in thought (again), but then looked at Bill. He smiled and walked up to the man. "Are you ready?"

Bill nodded, following the blue-haired swordsman quietly. I only hope you are, he thought.

_____________________________________________________________


The night sky of Yokai shown brightly, dotted with millions of twinkling stars. However, within this celestial beauty, dark intentions arose, poised and ready to strike the unsuspecting.

A black-cloaked man knelt down to the floor quietly, no words spoken. Only the sound of a hard, sharp object etching into the floor of one of Akiba's many hidden chambers. He stood, at last finished with his most recent artwork. He lit a few of the torches, illuminating the demonic etchings that lined the walls and floor. "Perfect, as always," he said to himself, voice raspy. He turned to the two figures that leaned against the walls of the entrance, taking on the odd liking of two Satanic bouncers guarding a party. "Find us the key."

The twin figures straightened out, standing to their full heights. A towering 6"6'. The man smiled, sharp teeth glinting menacingly in the torchlight. "You know where to find her...the farming village, just east of here."

The two beings clicked in unison, the sound an eery noise, meant for speech or communication, though certainly not human. The man looked up as they left, speaking almost inaudibly. "Very soon, Lord Yami. Two seals to be broken, and you shall be free."

__________________________________________________________

Arata looked out over the edge of the ship, smiling to himself as his icy blue eyes gazed into the equally blue waters. Ah, to be on a boat again. This was one of the best feelings in the world to him, even under the circumstances by which they travelled. He glanced around at everyone. Oh, right, they were all below deck, trying not to puke their brains out. All except him and Selena were seasick. Even the cynical Xavier was having a great deal of trouble in holding his lunch down. Arata, being a fisherman prior to joining the Knights, had already been accustomed to these conditions. And Selena simply seemed immune to the rocking of the boat.

Selena moved to stand next to Arata, looking out at the sea as well. "We should be arriving soon."

Arata nodded, still attentive to the sparkling waters beneath him. "So, used to the sea?"

Selena shook her head. "Nope. Just seem to be unaffected by it. I've actually never been on a boat before. You?"

Arata rose his eyebrows in mild surprise. "Well, I was a fisherman all my life. Being on a boat is like being home again to me."

Selena cocked an eyebrow. "Home again?"

Arata looked away. "Well...I used to live in the south, but I got washed away...It's been a year since I last set foot on home."

Selena nodded. "You must miss them. Your family I mean."

"Yeah.."

She looked like she was about to say more, but stopped as she looked at the approaching land of Yokai. But, something wasn't right. Arata turned to look with her. Smoke seemed to be rising from the city of Akiba. "What the-"

A fierce rock shook the boat, passengers screaming at the unknown. Arata rushed to the stairs, calling down to his companions to get up to the deck immediately. Arata turned around quickly, watching as a rising shadow blocked out the sun and overtook the boat.


Chapter 4: Darkness Binding

The footsteps of the Satanic twins returned, hauling along a young girl, no older than 17, between them, kicking and screaming and struggling to no avail. The two captors brought their prey to the sharp-toothed man, setting her down in front, allowing him to take hold of her before she thought to make an escape. The man gripped her arm hard, making it so any movement caused pain. He whispered to her. "What's your name, child?"

The girl clamped her mouth shut. The man sighed. "Fine..." He drew a knife from the folds of his cloak and thrust it forward, stabbing clean through the girls patella. Blood sprayed and the female screamed in agony. He dropped her to the ground, having both successfully gotten her to make a sound, and prevented her escape. He knelt down in front of her. "Now, I will ask again. What is your name child?"

She swallowed, staring up into the man's soulless black eyes. "K-Kaede."

The man grinned, sharp teeth causing Kaede to cower all the more. "Nice to meet you, Kaede. My name is Sangue." He turned from her, reaching his other hand into his cloak, appearing to be searching for something.

"W-what are you doing?" Kaede said fearfully, though Sangue appeared not to have heard her. He continued shuffling, until he at last pulled out a necklace, a dangling stone attached to it. The blackest obsidian anyone had ever laid eyes on. He chuckled.

"Kaede my dear, you are about to be a part of something far bigger than yourself. You shall play an important role...in the resurrection of a god!" He set the necklace in the center of the etchings with a click, and turned towards Kaede with a crazed look in his eyes. Truly, this man had gone insane. He grabbed Kaede by the hair and dragged her to the center, neck over the necklace.

"No wait! What are you doing?!" Despite her protests, Sangue continued. He brought his knife forward, pressing it up against her neck. And, he began to drag it across...

__________________________________________________________________

A figure as dark as night stood in the center of a lightless cavern, chained to a small piece of land surrounded by murky, churning waters. Darkness billowed from his form, rolled down his shoulders, and flared from his arms. The man (for it had a masculine build) had no face, only darkness, with a violet gem in the center, flaring out in necrotic lines. He breathed quietly, the chains that bound his hands to the ground shaking ever so slightly. He chuckled, speaking though he had no mouth to speak of. "I shall be free soon...."

A few chuckles could be heard throughout the cavern, though the origins of the laughter could not be defined. All that could be seen or heard was the swish of the water, the scraping of something across the ground, and the occasional glint of an inhuman eye. "You find this prospect amusing?" The dark figure spoke, anger shaking in his voice slightly.

A voice spoke, a male's, somewhere off to the Shadow's right. "Continue to hope, Yami. We have been sealed here for our transgressions, and this is where we shall remain. There is nothing to be done about it."

Another voice, a female's now, concurred. "Indeed, 'Lord' Yami," she sneered, stating his title in a mocking tone,"None of us shall see the surface. The only activity we can manage is the daily duties of our legacies.." The woman's voice was scornful and contemptuous.

The shadowy figure, Yami stiffened indignantly. "I can feel it close. My followers will bring me back. As will yours...Kegasu...you as well, Mistress Talona," he said matter-of-factly, though there was an edge of irritation in his raspy echo.

Another voice spoke, below Yami and off to the left, across the waters. "It is true...My follower. I can see the man...the one I have gifted with blood from Hell, is slowly making progress to release us and our forces..Lord Yami." He chuckled, speaking in an obsequious manner.

Yami nodded, looking to the darkness at his left. "Very well, Empousa."

Talona snorted. "Don't get your hopes up, long tall, and wispy."

A fifth voice boomed throughout the cavern, far deeper and more commanding than any of the others. Its voice was low and rough, like the sound of one thousand swords scraping across the mountains. "Enough." All of the rest grew silent. Their darkness-obscured heads all swiveled towards the source of the voice, holding a fearful attention. Their gazes were drawn towards the faintest glow of white, green, and red, binding a large figure to the cave wall. It's lipless mouth moved, glistening sharp teeth revealed. "Yami speaks the truth. The zealot..Sangue was it? He works towards our release, already having broken...the first seal on myself..."

"But Lord Geddon-" Talona began.

"Do not speak Talona!" The woman went silent. "Soon. Very soon...and we shall be ended of this...and once it begins...the rest shall join us as well..."

Kegasu let out a low growl. "Are you sure they would ally themselves with the likes of us?"

Geddon chuckled, a sound that would send chills through any living thing. "I have assured it."

Suddenly the roof of the cavern began to shake. One of the two chains that bound Yami's arms shattered, and the impenetrable darkness that once filled the room thinned out a bit, making it slightly more visible. The water around him shook. Faces rose from the waters, and then bodies. Some were human and some were not. Some were fully armored, and some scaled. The bodies rose, eyes snapping open. One of them stepped forward, their leader it appeared, wielding two wickedly curved dual blades, black lined with red. Raven's wings spread from his back as he bowed before Yami. Black lines trailed from ruby red eyes, going down his neck and stopping at his chest. His hair was jet-black, and his face a stark white.

The Master of Darkness spoke to the winged man. "Rise Nyx." He looked up, as if something had just caught his attention. "It would appear they are fighting above..." He looked down at the man, the one called Nyx. "Pay them a visit. Shows what it is like...to battle a demon."


Chapter 5: Sticks and Stones and Brittle Bones

Nami hummed softly to herself as she walked, eyes closed as the wind pressed against her face in a cool embrace. The soft click clack of her weapons could be heard, strapped at her sides, the Katana and Dagger occasionally knocking against her hips. She had just come back from town, and had stopped at the river. Her favorite spot. Her own little area of freedom and space.

Nami stopped abruptly as a pungent odor struck her in the face. Smoke. Nami coughed, opening her eyes which immediately began to water from the impossible smoke. Her village! Everything was on fire! A few soldiers were scattered about, covered in peculiar violet eyes and tubes of the same color. Many more of them lay dead upon the ground, next to the samurai guards that watched over the town. Namie brought a hand over her heart, and then up to her lips, whispering a prayer. She stopped and then ran towards her house. "Mother! Father! Kaede!"

Nami unsheathed her katana and dagger as she ran, these strange warriors coming at her to bar her path. She blocked the strike of the nearest one with her katana, following through with her dagger into his neck, felling him immediately. She yanked her dagger out and spun around, slicing through another soldier with an uppercut of her katana. She yelled, leaping at the next opponent, sending a kick towards his face and knocking his helmet away. She then twisted her body with amazing dexterity and stabbing downwards with her dagger into the man's head. She pulled it free again, still rushing towards her home.

She slammed through the front door, grey-blue eyes widening as they fell upon the marred corpses of her mother and father, surrounded by flames. Fire consumed the home and smoke billowed endlessly, threatening to engulf Nami if she didn't get out of there. But, Kaede's body wasn't there. That meant she had escaped! Or was taken prisoner..."I'll find you...little sis," she muttered. She moved towards the door, tears slipping down her face as she turned from her parents' bodies.

Suddenly, a loud crack sounded behind her, and she looked up just in time to see a flaming beam crash down upon her.

__________________________________________________________________


Arata took several steps back beneath the massive shadow. A massive squid creature had risen from the depths, sea water and sea weed dripping from its glistening slimy skin. Soon, the others came rushing up to the deck. Azk ran to Arata. "What's the-" Arata pointed and Azk turned. "Woah!"

The goliath sea creature was covered in a multicolor skin, constantly changing from one hue to another. One round eye sat upon each side of its head, swirling about in a spherical motion, exploring the surface world. A gigantic bloodshot, violet eye rose from its disgusting flesh, veins of chaos spreading all over it. 10 imposing tentacles rose, wrapping around the hull of the ship. Several shot out, picking off screaming passengers and shoving them into its mouth. It brought down two more, slamming into the deck and sending wooden shrapnel flying towards the Knights, just barely missing them.

Arata drew Hokkyoku, though he was soon knocked back by another tentacle, slamming into one of the main masts. He blinked looking up, disoriented. Warm blood oozed down the back of his head.

Bill had drawn Mandurugo, Azk, his dual blades drawn. Selena's hands had transformed into monstrous shadowy claws, and Frozen had three arrows drawn at once. Xavier fired off incendiary spells at the creature, intent on frying its skin. Mandurugo bit into its tentacles, sucking its blood. Azk and Selena slashed apart another tentacle, slashing and clawing their way through the thick, disgusting skin. Frozen released arror after arrow, aiming for the upper parts of the squid, managing to lodge one in its quickly swiveling eyeball.

Arata shook his head, standing up shakily. He panted, running forward and brandishing Hokkyoku. He lunged, stabbing the magnificent blade into the cephalopod's tentacle, causing the monster to shriek in pain. It drew its tentacle away before Arata could pull Hokkyoku out, taking the sword. It's tentacle arched in the air, dislodging his Katana. The weapon flipped in the air, falling and stabbing into the top of the squid's pen. Arata cursed.

He ran towards the edge, getting ready to jump off. Frozen yelled to him. "What the hell are you doing?!"

Arata looked at him hard. "Getting my sword!" He jumped from the, landing on the water with a large burst of it flying up around him. He stood on the water looking up at the squid, his neck beginning to hurt from the strained sight. He could only see the side of the ship, Frozen's arrows flying forth to stab into the squid. Arata slammed the palm of his hand into the water, the liquid freezing and shooting him up at a high speed on a pillar of ice. He readied himself, using the momentum of the ice pillar to add to his jump, lifting himself up higher to land on the squid. He slid down the creature's slimy hide, managing to grab the hilt of his sword as it drew close, dangling by it.

Azkikr knit his brows together. "What the hell is he doing?!"

Bill laughed grimly. "Getting his sword apparently!"

"Damn it.." Arata grit his teeth as he hung from the sword perilously. He pulled down on it, the blade sliding down and lowering him as he tore through the beast's flesh. He pulled Hokkyoku free, able to keep his footing as he landed on the monster's massive violet eye. He brought out his hand, the water beneath him swirling. He thrust it upwards, the ocean's water rocketing skyward. He turned his wrist, the water solidifying into spikes of ice. He smirked, pulling his hand back towards him, commanding the ice to stab into the monster. And so it did. The ice struck in numerous places, causing the squid to rock back and forth, and the ship with it. It squeezed, causing further damage to the hull of the ship. If this didn't end soon, the vessel would sink.

Arata yelled, bringing Hokkyoku down in numerous slashes and stabs, aiming for the large purple eye each time, doing more and more damage. Arata stopped, panting. If they didn't make this thing let go, it would drag the boat down with it. He gathered water, rocketing himself off of the monster, landing back on the deck with a loud thud. Arata ran to Frozen and the others. "Quick, Frozen! How many more arrows do you have?!"

Frozen drew an arrow from his quiver, biting his lip. "This is the last one."

Arata gathered the others. "Don't use it yet." The others had gathered around them, deflecting blows from the squid with difficulty. "I have a plan." He looked to Bill, Azk, and Selena and Xavier. "We need to offer our Myst and energy to Frozen."

Selena grunted as she knocked away another swipe with her powerful claws. "And do you suggest we do that?"

Arata grinned. "Azk, Bill. You and I will call the Myst and concentrate it on Frozen's last arrow. Selena and Xavier, use whatever magic you can to propel it."

Arata placed his hand on Frozen's hand, which had the arrow drawn. Azk and Bill did the same, while Xavier and Selena muttered spells, with the intention of creating speed for the projectile. Blue and purple Myst rose from Arata's hand, mixed with the black and red of Bill's and Azk's. "Ready...release!"

Frozen released the arrow, flying at an impossible speed, an assortment of colors flying from it as it aimed towards the squid's chaotic eye. It slammed into the eye with a bright flash, and with such force, the squid was sent back, tentacle's releasing from the shock. The slain creature fell away into the darkness, tumbling back into the depths.

The remaining passengers cheered, though the Knights weren't quite as relieved. The group turned toward's the burning city of Akiba. "Looks like we'll have a bit of a reception party," Xavier said.

__________________________________________________________________

Leyla blew out a sigh as more men came in to watch over her. More guards allied with Chaos it seemed. The scarred man and jittery man had returned, their backs to her. The scarred male chuckled. "I know what you're thinking. 'Why keep me here when the fighting has already broken out?' Simple. You're important to the Twilight. This way, we lure more here, and pick off the Twilight, one by one."

Leyla didn't give a response. She still worked the instruments of her escape up her sleeves. Two small blades, hidden with the sleeves. She chose to respond, just to keep him from growing suspicious. "Please. The Twilight is filled with the most skilled the most skilled fighters to be born into this world. You don't have a ghost of a chance."

"Tch. The most skilled? As if."

Leyla hid a smirk. Yes, like me, she thought. She had succeeded in working up the blades to her wrists, keeping them concealed between her fingers. Slowly, she worked them through her bindings, eventually breaking through her wrists bindings. She worked soundlessly at her legs and torso, moving the ropes back over their original, seemingly perfect position whenever the guard turned. Soon...you'll regret taking me prisoner..

________________________________________________________________

The hull of the ship had been badly damaged, forcing Arata to manipulate the tides to push them into port. The passengers left, though they quickly sought refuge, places to hide. The battle continued around them in the city of Akiba, buildings set aflame, samurai guards fighting against the warriors of Chaos. The group rushed in, recieving virtually no trouble from the opposing forces, the enemy seemingly occupied with the city guard.

Soon, a small village to the east came into view, set ablaze as well. Frozen stopped abruptly, clenching his fists, one at his side and one on the hilt of his thin longsword. Azkikr called out to him. "Frozen, what are you doing?"

The ranger looked at him. "I have to go there! There may be survivors! I have to help." Azkikr opened his mouth to protest, but Frozen brought up his hand. "I won't change my mind. Go on. I'll join up with you guys later."

The assassin nodded, running with the others while Frozen departed for the farmland. The sight appalled him. Everyone lay dead. Chaos, guards, and civilians. Smoke billowed from the engulfing flames. It appeared nobody was left. Suddenly, a lone Chaos guard leapt out at Frozen. The ranger dodged his strike and ran the soldier through with his long sword.

Frozen searched frantically, but to no avail. "Hello?! Is anyone there?" No answer. Suddenly, he heard a groan of pain. He looked into one of the homes, finding a young woman fallen beneath of piece of burning timber. But, she still breathed. Frozen clenched his gloved hands and knelt down, lifting the burning wood, persevering despite the heat. He carried her out, setting her down outside. "Are you okay?"

The woman's eye's fluttered open, blue grey irises bordered by reddened whites, seemingly from crying, Small streaks of tears ran clean paths down her ash covered face. She coughed, then sat up, groaning as her burned back stretched out. Her blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail, though covered with ash and singed at the edges. "Yes...I think so..." She shook her head, then seemed to finally realize what was going on. "Wait! My sister! Kaede!"

Frozen shushed her, helping her to stand up. "Calm down. We'll find your sister. I have friends who can help."

______________________________________________________________


Arata kept his sword drawn, even though the group seemed to have wandered into an abandoned section of the city. Most of the fighting was going on in the center of Akiba, not within and around its alleyways. He was anxious to find Leyla and end this, before things got too out of hand. It was too bad he would never get his wish...

Xavier kept his hand outstretched, a faint white glow emanating from it. "We're close," he said quietly.

Selena looked to him. "Which way?"

Xavier pointed to on of the back doors of one of the many buildings that form the walls of the alleys. Bill nodded, moving ahead and opening the door. "Let's get moving then."

As the group stepped in, Arata could see that it was an old inn. Everything was crumbling, cobwebs strung together in the corners of shelves and walls, and all manners of bugs and mold flourished in the darkest reaches. It had yet to be set on fire, and it could be seen that this place had been abandoned long before this recent battle had broken out. "This place hasn't been used in years," Arata whispered, the dusty air making him cough.

Then, Xavier tensed. Azkikr spoke quietly. "What is it?"

Xavier closed his eyes. "There's more than just one life force here."

Selena had her eyes closed as well. "At least 6 more than Leyla."

Arata clenced his fist. "So, they're guarding her then? Well..." He looked to each of them. "We'll show them what a real Twilight Knight is."

Xavier led the way downstairs. There were quite a few sets of stairs, leading probably a bit underground as well. The group found themselves standing outside a rust door. Arata tensed as he heard shouts come from within. "Something's going on. Let's go!" He said, slamming through the door.

But it appeared they were a bit late for the party. Six men lay on the floor, dead or unconcious, all bloody and cut. On almost all of them, it seemed as though they had been slashed by multiple things at once, some of the cuts appearing as though a hook had been thrust into their bodies. Arata looked from the fallen men, to the woman who had slain them. In the center of the room, Leyla stood, garbed in a tree patterned, green kimono. Ropes lay on the ground around her, as did two small blades. A whip with nine ends was held in her hands, blades and hooks on each tail, and a dagger in the other. She stood with her back to them, her hair in a very out of character bun.

Arata was speechless. He had known Leyla had been polishing her fighting skills...but this? This was amazing! Before..she could barely defend herself against anything. He smiled, laughing. "Not bad."

Leyla turned around quickly, emerald eyes growing wide as she caught sight of Arata and the group. She dropped her weapons and rushed forward, throwing her arms around Arata in a great embrace. She smiled and sobbed at the same time, burying her face in Arata's shoulder. "I missed you guys so much."

Arata pat her back lightly. "We came to rescue you..but it looks like you didn't need it."

She pulled her head away from his shoulder. "Thanks..." She bit her lip, face red as she seemed to just now realize how close their faces were to each others. She let go, admittedly somewhat reluctantly, and picked up her weapons.

-

The group rushed from the delapidated inn and out into the streets where fighting still took place. Frozen rushed to meet them as well, helping a limping woman with blond hair. But, before any questions could be asked, a loud quaking ensued. Bones shot up from the ground, aiming for the small mountain range of Yokai. The bones became larger and larger, some skulls joining the mix as well. The collection of marrow formed together, clicking in perfect unison. A gigantic skeleton soon emerged, screeching a loud grating sound, eye sockets glowing violet. Arata's eyes grew wide. "What in the name of Arcterra...?"


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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:24 pm

Chapter 6: Blade and Bone

Arata stood, mouth agape as a massive undead stared down at them, empty eye sockets glowing a bright violet. A massive horde of smaller skeletons were packed together, clicking and clattering as they moved about and tried to climb out from its rib-cage. A bright light came from the small mountain range that the monster stood next to, signifying the man that brought the beast from hiding.

Leyla moved back a little, hiding slightly behind Arata. "What the hell is that thing?!"

Arata looked to the rest of the knights. All stood staring at the monstrosity with wide open mouths. All except Xavier, who stepped in front of everyone, arms crossed. "That thing...is O-dokuro. The third Chaos Beast."

Bill crossed his arms. "And it's our job to destroy it and its summoner."

Azk turned to Frozen, who was still supporting the young blond female. "Who is this?"

The girl looked up, panting. She seemed to be hurt. "My name...is Nami..."

Frozen nodded, looking at Azk. "I rescued her from the village. You can fight right?" He looked to Nami, who nodded, though the gesture became very unconvincing as she winced from her burns.

Suddenly, a wave of people rushed past the eight of them, running into what appeared to be a large fighting dojo. Following at the rear was a young girl with a white kimono and a red strap around her waist. Azkikr stopped her. "Wait, where is everyone going?"

The girl looked at him, fear in her wide, round eyes. "We are all running from O-dokuro! There is no safe place left now that Kitsune has the Hanzmune Blade, so we must hide in the underground chambers!" She rushed past him, following the people quickly. A small force of Chaos Soldiers pursued the fleeing citizens.

Arata looked to Frozen and Nami. "You two help make sure the civilians get to safety! We'll take care of the Chaos Beast and Lord!"

Frozen nodded, moving with Nami to intercept the pursuing soldiers. "Good luck!"

-

The low laying mountains (if they could even be called that) of Yokai were relatively easy to climb, more like glorified hills than mountains. O-dokuro and his master seemed too occupied smashing buildings to notice the six small figures climbing towards them.

Bill, Xavier, Leyla, Selena, Azk, and Arata peeked up over the edge of the summit, looking at O-dokuro and the man commanding him. A man wearing the armor of a Chaotic Samurai, a mask covering his face. A large, mangled cape flowed from his shoulders, and in his hands, one of the most magnificent katanas Arata had ever laid eyes on, next to Hokkyoku. A long, silvery blade, glowing golden.

"That must be Hanzmune," Arata whispered.

"And he must be Kitsune," Bill said.

"Yup, that's our Chaos Lord," Selena concurred. "So who is gonna take Kitsune?"

Arata smirked, crawling up a little further. "Let me do it. I want to see how good of a swordsman this guy is."

Azkikr chuckled. "I guess that leaves the rest of us to take care of Big, Bad and Bony."

-

Frozen brought down another Chaos Soldier, yanking his thin long sword from the enemy's body. He looked over to see Nami bring down one as well, scissoring their body with her dagger and katana. That was the last of them...for now. "You alright Nami?"

Nami nodded, though she held her side painfully. "Yes...I'm fine. Quick, we have to get everyone down there. My sister could be there."

Frozen nodded. Nami had spoken to him on the way back to Akiba of her sister, who had not been home during the attack. She hoped to find her underground with the others. The two guided the escaping people, following down through a trap door in the dojo as the last person got through.

The tunnels were dark and narrow, the people in a single file line. Every few people, one of the refugees held a torch above their heads, illuminating the dim, cramped caverns. Frozen kept his sword drawn, as did Nami with her weapons. They guarded the rear of the line, much to the refugees' relief.

The people sealed themselves off, to wait for a day, carrying keys to the many panic rooms within the underground escape system. Each room contained lighting fixtures, and enough water and food within them for weeks. Bedrolls were found in containers among the food. Frozen looked to Nami. "Stay here."

The girl shook her head rather indignantly. "No. I'm going to find my sister if it's the last thing I do!"

Frozen groaned. He didn't know how to deal with this girl. "Fine. But, be careful. You're already hurt."

Nami nodded. I'll find you Kaede. I promise.


The two of them ran down the dark passageways, having grabbed their own torches. Each room they checked, they could not find Nami's sister. She was nowhere to be found. "Maybe she's-"

"Don't say that! She wasn't there, which means she got away," Nami said, trying her best not to break down from frustration.

They had reached the last one, at the end of the corridor. "She has to be in this one..." Nami said quietly. She threw open the door to the most mortifying thing yet.

A man stood in the center of a heavily marked room, holding a bloody dagger with stains of the crimson liquid all over his cloak and face. Two large cloaked figures stood next to him, arms crossed, with inhuman red eyes. And..crumpled to the floor was the figure of Nami's sister, eyes wide open with terror, her throat slit open, blood still oozing from her sliced jugular, staining the ground in front of her in a wide streak.

Nami screamed, falling to her knees, tears falling down her soot covered face. Frozen stood, eyes open wide in shock, sweat breaking out across his face, struggling to keep a grip on his longsword.

The cloaked man turned around and smiled, revealing a set of unnaturally sharp teeth. The domed room began to shake. "Well, well, well....It looks like we have some unwelcome visitors."

-

Arata rushed the Chaos Lord again, Hokkyoku clashing with Hanzmune, the blades locking. "So," he said, shaking from the force both him and the man were putting on their respective blades. "You're Kitsune?"

The opposing swordsman pushed harder, making Arata leap back a few feet and setting his blade free. "Yes. And I shall make all of Yokai pay for its insolence!" He ran at Arata, going all out offense. He slashed consistently, Arata parrying strike after strike. The two swordsman were equally matched. "You cannot hope to defeat Hanzamune, the legendary Dragon Koi Blade!"

Arata's face grew smug as he fended off another strike from Kitsune, pushing him away. "We'll see about that." He readied Hokkyoku, performing an uppercut that shot forth a wickedly sharp wave of water. Kitsune brought up Hanzamune, deflecting the wave with some effort in a flash of gold.

He readied his blade and charged forward again. "Die!"

-

Leyla watched, if not cowered beneath the shadow of O-dokuro, watching from the sidelines as everyone else fought to defeat it. Bill and Azkikr had already summoned their Eloths, Pangil and Hakkar. Selena had brought out her shadow claws, and was using dark explosions while Xavier used concussive blasts and his fire spell, Bombardos as well. Even with all of that, defeating O-dokuro would be difficult, considering its size.

"Damn it, they need my help," She muttered. But what could she do? The most she was able to do was vanquish the smaller skeletons that leapt from O-dokuro's ribs, but that did not help much altogether. She couldn't summon any plants from this rocky terrain. She could always..."No, I'm too inexperienced with it." She had only ever used her Eloth once. It could be dangerous. But, then again, what choice did she have?

Azkikr fought alongside his shadow panther, slashing and throwing knives at everything the Chaos Beast threw at him. Whenever he needed to, because of his Myst, the assassin melded together with his own shadow, effectively protecting himself from O-dokuro's mighty fists. Hakkar was currently clawing its way up O-dokuro's spine, apparently causing the skeleton pain, though still able to cling to it despite the monster's attempts at shaking him off.

Bill's Eloth, Pangil, had a huge advantage in this fight. Being able to fly was crucial. It was able to attack at O-dokuro's head with relative ease, slashing with its claws or biting. It's screeches disoriented O-dokuro, and its mighty crimson wings brought forth a gust of red, heated wind that impaired the skeleton. Bill had mastered a second level of his Myst as well, setting Mandurugo ablaze at a glance, though it would only last a few minutes.

Xavier and Selena bombarded the Skeleton with grenades of dark energy and concussive force spells. Gouts of flame and large explosions could be seen coming from Xavier's hands with his spells.

Leyla whipped through another pygmy skeleton. She closed her eyes, trying to slow her breathing and calm down. Soon enough, emerald green Myst rose from her body. The Myst sunk into the ground in front of her, sprouting upwards like a plant, and budding outwards in a flower shaped vapor. From the wonderfully green Myst formed a peculiar creature. It stood on four legs, had somewhat large ears, and a long, round tail that swayed back and forth. It had strong, feline paws, though in comparison with Hakkar, it was much more slender, appearing to be a strange mix between a lynx and an oscelot. It had a strange vine pattern across a pelt of deep forest green that seemed almost real. Beneath its feet, plants grew. "Macka!" Leyla said as it appeared. Macka, the Whispering Leaf.

Leyla breathed a sigh of relief as she commanded the Eloth. It followed her commands completely. Macka leapt onto O-dokuro's fist as it slammed down to hit Azk and missed, padding quickly up its bony arm. It leapt up, slamming down hard ontop of O-dokuro's head, creating a crack upon impact. Hakkar joined Macka atop the skeleton's head, pounding its huge claws into the goliath of marrow, tearing out bone matter with each strike.

Leyla concentrated her energy and sent a burst of Myst to Macka. The green feline yowled, bringing her head up into the air. Numerous vines and roots sprang up from the earth at the base of O-dokuro's spine. They wrapped up and through and around the skeletal structure of the Chaos Beast, splitting marrow and tearing off vertebrae. The plants stabbed through the multitude of undead clammering within O-dokuro's chest cavity and shot through the rest of its body, until eventually, everything split. The spine shattered, limbs fell and the mighty Beast plummeted to the ground.

-

Arata panted, bleeding from several cuts along his arms and thigh, as well as a shallow wound at his left side. Kitsune had similar wounds, a deep cut in his side, as well as a few on his arms. His armor didn't stand a chance against Hokkyoku, whose refined blade cut through metal like a thin sheet of paper. Suddenly, there was a loud crashing sound to their left. Out of the corner of his eye, Arata could see that the mighty O-dokuro had fallen, kicking up an impossibly large plume of dust and dirt.

Kitsune however, turned his head, distraught at the sight of his perfect summoning being slain. A foolish move. Arata dashed forward, bring Hokkyoku up at Kitsune's sword hand, effectively cutting through the wrist's tendon and knocking Hanzamune away from the man. Kistune howled in pain and frustration, while Arata leapt up into the air and caught Hanzamune, now dual wielding both it and Hokkyoku. He lunged at Kitsune, slashing in an X-shape down Kitsune's face and chest, blood spurting from the chest wounds and causing the mask to shatter.

Arata stumbled backwards, dropping Hanzmune in shock. Kitsune's face...was that of a fox! A deep purple furred fox had lay beneath that samurai's mask. "So...your name rings true. You truly are...a kitsune?"

Kitsune spat at Arata. "Damn you. Of course I am! I once served these people of Yokai, but they betrayed me! I refused the acceptance of outsiders, and they left me in the dirt for it! And now, you shall die as well!" Kitsune suddenly began to grow, the armor thrown off of him in the process, taking the force of a huge, purple fox, with nine tails.

Kitsune swiped at Arata, just barely missing as Arata jumped above. He collected his Myst and projected it outward. "Kudaku, come forth!" A majestic, arctice fox stepped into view, 4 magnificent tails bursting from behind it. Swirls of navy marked its legs, undercarriage, and ear tips. It was big enough to rival the size of Kitsune.

The two beasts went at it. Kitsune swiped at Kudaku, Kudaku bit Kitsune. The fox creatures wrestled each other, trading wounds like two feverish merchants. Kudaku suddenly managed to bit Kitsune's fore thigh, causing the opposing fox to howl in pain and then to kick Kudaku away.

Arata moved foreward, placing a hand on Kudaku's largest wound, closing it up with a mixture of Myst and water magic. Suddenly, Kitsune's tails glowed a bright purple, and then shot forward to stab at Kudaku. Kudaku dodged and swerved, then howled and roared at Kitsune, a blast of diamond dust slamming into the enemy with great force, freezing into his body. Kudaku smacked into him and sent Kitsune sprawling across the ground, shrinking back into smaller form. "Dismissed..." Arata said, and his fox partner soon dissipated and returned to him.

Kitsune remained still as Arata looked at him. "I'm sorry..." He turned away, planning on rejoining with his friends. But, Arata failed to notice Kitsune get up slowly and scoop up Hanzmune. Suddenly, Arata turned around again, and Kitsune was upon him, a mere second away from stabbing Arata through the heart.

What happened next all happened within the next half of a second. All Arata felt was the fear pounding through his chest and body. His Myst reacted, isolating that emotion of fear and amplifying it throughout his enemy's brain. His mind screamed. Stop! A powerful pulse of fear was sent through Kitsune. The man fell back, eyes widening, his body spasming as the thought became more and more powerful, overwhelming his senses. The fox spirit shook violently, blood and saliva falling from his mouth as he lay on the ground in the fetal position, unmoving except for a faint breathing.

Arata fell to the ground on his knees, shaking, dropping Hokkyoku. "W-what....what have I done?!" He buried his face in his hands, unable to comprehend what had just happened. He nearly killed the man. Worse, he had tampered with his own will, mind, and being and damaged him forever. "What have I done..."

-

Leyla stood amongst the skeletal remains of O-dokuro, smiling as everyone's Eloths dissipated. Everyone had clapped her on the back for making an apparently very successful debut of her Eloth. The Chaos Beast was now nothing more than a pile of bones and dust, with vines and roots intertwining between the bone. She looked up to the peak. "I wonder if he's won?"

-

The shaking of the underground chamber grew more violent. The man chuckled. "You knew this poor creature? I apologize for your loss young girl....butm you should be proud! She was a part of something far greater than you can even imagine!"

"You filthy bastard!" Frozen clenched his fists around his longsword, standing in front of the grieving Nami.

The man laughed. "I am sorry, but I cannot stick around to welcome you. You will have far more interesting people to recieve you in a moment, my young friend." The man cackled, and in a burst of blackness, the three of them were gone, the man leaving behind but a whisper. "The real fight has only just begun..."

Chapter 7: Crawl in the Dark

Pieces of the roof began to fall, landing perilously close to Frozen and Nami. The ranger pulled at Nami, trying to get her to come to her senses and escape with him. But, the young woman simply sat on her knees sobbing over the corpse of her sister, sitting in her lap, eyes wide open and looking up with a horrifying stare. "You have to leave her here Nami! If you don't, we'll get crushed!"

Nami shook her head, clinging all the more tightly to Kaede. "I won't leave her!"

Frozen cursed. "You don't have a choice!" He then yanked Nami from the floor and into his arms, causing her sibling's body to roll out of her grasp onto the also crumbling floor.

"No!" Nami screamed. She beat at Frozen, screaming and struggling in his grasp and begging to let him go to her sister. He took all of her beatings and insults as she went from sorrowful to an unstable anger, refusing to let her go until they cleared the underground. The other refugees burst from their panic rooms in a flood of hysteria, fleeing from the quickly collapsing caverns.

Suddenly, a flash of black light burst behind them, a loud explosion coming from somewhere below them, and a crash that seemed to go through the ceiling. Soon after, it began to fall apart everywhere, not just behind them. Frozen struggled, having to tote the now quiet Nami while pushing through the throngs of people the took up the narrow passageways. Frozen winced as people behind him screamed, their bodies crushed and broken beneath the falling stones.

He pushed and pushed until finally, he broke through to daylight. Relief flooded his insides as he came upon Akiba. Though the city was in ruins, and Chaos still roamed, it had appeared that much of the forces had fallen, along with O-dokuro, from what the ranger could see. The refugees that had escaped the miserable fate of being swallowed up by the tunnels ran forward, though from what, Frozen knew not.

His question was soon answered however as more and more screams of terror pierced his eardrums and sent chills through his spine. He spun around, eyes widening in horror as he watched the people before him gutted and torn to shreds, and even eaten. Creatures of the most grotesque nature were clawing their way out of the tunnels, tearing through and devouring any who happened to be standing in their way.

Their features varied, none of the twisted creatures looking alike. Some walked on all fours, some had wings. Some had lethally sharp spines, some had multiple appendages. Some were even humanoid, or had a humanesque look about them. They only had one thing in common. Pitch black skin covered all of their demonic skeletons.

Frozen took a terrified step back from the horrible scene, gripping Nami, who still appeared unresponsive. It was all he could muster, for his fear froze him in place right afterwards.

Suddenly, a man stepped out from the mass of creatures. He had jet black black hair, and snow white skin. Two ruby red eyes sat just above his nose, glowing like hot coals. Black lines fell from those eyes, traversing his cheeks and ending at his exposed collar bone. He wore dark armor with two dual swords, one strapped at each side. But, his most impressive feature, or features, were the two raven wings that shot out from his shoulder blades, flaring out. A harbinger of death. The man drew one of his blades. The blade part of the sword was primarily black with an outling of red. He took the blade and swung it to the side, effectively decapitating a hysterical man who had run in front of him.

The apparent leader of the horde (for the creatures had stopped feeding in attention to this man) ran an eye over the area, stopping his scarlet gaze on Frozen. Frozen flinched backwards, holding Nami protectively against his chest. The man then resumed his wandering gaze, apparently taking no interest in Frozen, flying upwards at an incredible speed and taking off towards the mountains.

As their commander left, the beasts began moving again. One took notice of Frozen. It had human hands and legs, but black and on all fours. It had no eyes to speak of. Only a mouth full of sharp teeth. It focused on the ranger, and lunged!

-

Arata's breathing grew deep and rough, choking on the anxiety and overwhelming guilt that piled up in his throat. You could overwhelm a person, putting extreme stress on the brain, incapacitating them. You could permanently damage their mind. Rayzer's words from the year past echoed in his mind. Again they came. That person will never be the same. They will simply be scarred, nothing but a vegetative zombie.

Arata put his head inbetween his hands, shaking it roughly. What had he done? He had no right to tamper with someone's mind like that. To take their willpower and twist it until they were nothing but an unstable, mangled husk. He had just permanently damaged this man who lay before him. Enemy or not, it was wrong. He had been warned, taught not to bring it to this extreme. But, he had been caught in the moment, projecting his own fear of death onto his opponent, effectively subduing them, but also causing permanent damage.

It was powerful and useful at times even, but it was not a toy. It was not to be played with. It was not an ability to underestimate, nor to be taken lightly. And now, the full weight of this reality settled upon Arata's mind, threatening to break him just like he had broken Kitsune.

Suddenly, a figure landed from overhead, slamming into the ground. A man, with jet black hair, porcelain skin and wings as dark as night. But, Arata barely registered the man's presence, caught up in the battle between his morals and his will. However, the sound of metal sliding brought his head up to look.

The man had drawn a blade; A cruel looking piece of steel that was wickedly curved and lethally sharp, completely black with a red border. He looked down at the mentally shattered Kitsune, who shook in a fetal position, drooling and bleeding. He held out the weapon, pointing it down towards Kitsune. He glanced down to the fox spirit again and the only expression on his solemn face was the smallest trace of pity.
He then looked up at Arata, face once again emotionless, and stabbed downwards, a sickening splitting sound as he tore through the creature's lungs.

Arata cried out in anguish as the enigmatic man plunged his blade into Kitsune's body. It was all he could do not to go insane as the man dragged the blade up Kitsune's body, splitting the Chaos Lord's skull and ending his life. Bile shot up from Arata's stomach and he vomited all over the ground, bent over with his head in his hands again, shaking it vigorously.

The man appeared to take a sick pleasure from Arata's despair, though he did not show it on his face. He simply walked forward, pulling the sword from Kitsune's dead body. He moved towards Arata, slowly, deliberately. He dragged his blade across the ground, creating a spine tingling scrape. He stopped in front of Arata, indifferent to the pool of vomit and bile that he stood in. The monster of a man waited for a moment in silence, and then rose his blade into the air, and swung down.

-

The celebration of the Knights was cut short as they heard a loud explosion, followed by a chorus of screams. The Knights looked down to the city of Akiba, watching as countless panicking refugees poured from the tunnels. Azkikr squinted. "I see Frozen and that Nami girl!"

Selena breathed a sigh of relief. "Well, at least they made it out. I wonder what's hap-" She broke off, staring in horrified silence as a large number of strange creatures crawled behind the people and began tearing into them.

Leyla gasped, tears beginning to fall as she covered her eyes. "It's horrible."

Even the cynical Xavier was having a hard time watching as the people were being eaten alive.

Bill ran forward. "Come on! We have to help them!" He shouted, about ready to go running down, but he was stopped as a man stepped from the horde of monsters. The man then shot upwards, flying with the most horrifyingly beautiful pair of wings he had ever seen. The man flew past them and landed on the summit where Arata and Kitsune were. "What is he..?" Everyone turned away as they watched the man stab into what they assumed to be Kitsune.

Suddenly, he began walking towards Arata. "Uh oh. What's he doing?! Arata, get up!" Azkikr shouted.

"Maybe he's injured?" Selena suggested.

"Either way, he could be killed if he doesn't get out of there!" Azkikr said, running at full speed towards the summit. Leyla and Selena followed close behind.

Bill looked to Xavier, who nodded, following him down to where Frozen and Nami were. The two reached the bottom fairly soon, making their way to Frozen's side. "About time you arrived!" Frozen said, currently fending off an eyeless creature with his longsword, though he only had one hand to use, the other occupied with supporting Nami.

"I'll take her," Bill offered. He could fight fairly well with Mandurugo one-handed, whereas Frozen needed both to handle his longsword at his full ability. Bill held Nami over his shoulder with a hand, deflecting monsters with Mandurugo as he back up to a building. He placed her behind him, holding Mandurugo at the ready. These creatures were strong. It took a lot of effort from both Frozen and Xavier just to kill the one that had attacked the ranger. "Damn it...how are we going to get out of this?"

-

Leyla, Azk, and Selena climbed over the ridge of the summit, just in time to see as the man rose his sword into the air. "No!" Leyla screamed, her hand outstretched.

"Stop!" Selena shouted, loosing a blade of energy at the man, causing him to leap backwards.

The man looked at her with a strange look of confusion and recognition, crimson eyes burning intensely. "You...?"

-

Arata vaguely heard the urgent voices of his friends, which were quickly dying away into a loud roar. He looked up again. The man had glanced over to his friends. He was...further away than before. Suddenly, the man's gaze snapped back towards Arata and he rushed the boy. He brought his blade out, and thrust it forward, just as Arata gave way to the blackness that was unconsciousness.




Chapter 8: Above and Beyond

The lethal strike was stopped short with a loud CLANG! Azkikr's speed had proved useful, for he now stood in front of the fallen Arata, one of his dual blades blocking the deadly thrust that had been meant for the young swordsman. Azkikr took his other blade and slashed forward, only to have his own attack blocked by the strange man's second sword. "I could use some help here!" He yelled back at Leyla and Selena. Leyla rushed forward and grabbed Arata from under his shoulders, moving him back.

"Get back!" Selena shouted. Azk nodded and leapt away as Selena threw a dark sphere which exploded on the winged man. She smirked as Azk rejoined her, satisfied with her custom made Darkness Orbs. "That should hold him off for a while. Come on, let's-" She stopped as she saw a literal rip in the cloud of pure shadow that engulfed the man. He slashed his sword to the side, completely dispelling the gripping darkness.

He stepped forward, a sword in each hand. Then, for the first time, he spoke. "Shadow cannot hinder shadow." His voice was deep and demonic, though as his words were spoken, they faded away, like a mere echo. He brought down a blade in a swipe, the tip striking the ground. Cracks formed, and from it large tendrils of darkness shot up and forward.

Selena moved, her arms turning into large shadow dragon claws. She knocked aside and blocked the tendrils, though it created a great deal of strain on her body, causing her to fall to one knee. "Are you okay?" Azk moved to her side, helping her up. He drew a fistful of knives from some place in his robes only known to him.

Selena nodded. "I'll be fine. Be careful Azk...he's definitely not human."

The assassin assented with a nod and threw his fist of blades, most of which bounced harmlessly off of the man's armor. One however, flew past his face, catching his cheek. From the thin cut, black blood oozed. The man's eyes moved to the side, as if trying to examine the cheek and accept the fact that he had been cut. He glared at Azkikr, carmine eyes widening. "Pest..!" He shot forward and slashed.

-

Arata blinked groggily. He was lying down. He turned over on his side and pushed up with his hands, getting to his feet. He blinked a few more times, hazey vision clearing a bit. He started when all he could see was white. The sky, the ground...wait, where was the ground! "Where am I?!" He nearly shouted, on the verge of panicking. Where was the summit? His friends, Kitsune, that man...? He took a step. The white space beneath him rippled translucently.

Suddenly, it grew cold, and white dust kicked up in his face. No..it wasn't dust. It was snow! But, there was no snow beneath or around him. Just a wintery breeze, and the cold of the arctic. "Be at ease. Nothing can harm you here, boy." A deep and powerful voice said from behind Arata. He turned and came face to face with the most bewildering sight he had yet seen.

He was looking at a man. A man that felt intimately familiar and yet completely alien at all the same time. He smelled of home, of the tundra and arctic seas. The man was tall and muscular, with pale skin not unlike Arata's. He was covered in scars and had harsh appearance, yet welcoming too. His face was rugged, yet handsome. He wore a white fox skin coat that fell over halfway, hanging on his left shoulder, leaving the other half of his torso bare. His pants were torn and leathery, a similar skin to that of a seal or walrus, and lined with fox fur as well. His feet were bare. Long, azure hair fell down to the lower half of his back, filled with turquoise streaks. Icy blue eyes looked Arata up and down, filled with a misty energy. A small white fox stood next to him. One word entered Arata's mind. "God...?"

The peculiar man chuckled, moving towards Arata slowly. "Very good my boy. I am indeed that..." He stopped right before Arata, placing a hand on the boy's head and tousling his hair lightly. "Do you know who I am?"

Arata's eyes grew wide, mentally slapping himself for not recognizing this man the second he laid eyes on him. "Arcterra!"

The man grinned wide, messing up Arata's hair once more and then letting his hand fall. "Yes! I am happy that you recognize me, Arata."

Arata supposed he should have been surprised that Arcterra knew his name, but with all that had happened to him, he didn't question it. "Why...are you here?"

"Why am I here?" He quirked a brow, scratching his head. "I'm here for you of course!"

"Here for me?" Arata said quietly, almost a whisper. Why would a god...the god of his people, want to see him? Arcterra nodded. "But, why?"

"You shall play an important role Arata.." He placed his hands on Arata's shoulders. They were rough, but their grip was gentle. "In this coming war..."

"War?" Arata said.

"Yes...between forces you can only imagine. A war with the gods themselves..." Arcterra said gravely. "You must-"

Suddenly, the white space around them began to shake, cracks appearing all around. "What's happening?" Arata shouted above the quaking, panic threatening to take over again.

Arcterra let go of him. "You're waking up. Your friends need you. Go!" And then, the white shattered.

-

Fire erupted from Bill's blade as he channeled his Myst through it, searing the flesh of his enemy as he slashed through an oncoming demon. The disfigured creature's two halves fell to the ground, smoking as they spasmed and seized. Xavier and Frozen joined him, the mage blasting away creatures with his concussion spell, and the ranger hacking and slashing with his own blade.

"There's too many!" Bill shouted, barely repelling another creature. These things...they were too powerful. It was lucky for the four of them that they were preoccupied with devouring the townspeople, otherwise they would have been overwhelmed a long time ago.

"Phonerylis!" Xavier yelled, blasting a lizard shaped creature away with a shot of sound. "We won't hold out much longer!" He looked to Nami, who simply stared off into space, mumbling to herself incoherently.

Suddenly, the clouds above them parted, and a bright light shone down from the gap they created. Many figures spilled out, landing around the group of four. Some were animals, and some were humanoid. All were silver and white. These new beings formed a line around Bill, Xavier, Nami, and Frozen, combatting the dark creatures with weapons and powers most ethereal.

Bill could barely form a sentence. "What in the world?"

-

Arata shot up, eyes wide open. Leyla was beside him, on her knees. "Arata! Are you okay?" She put a hand on his shoulder. He turned to look at her, mind still racing and swimming in all directions, unable to absorb what had happened in just the past few minutes.

"I-I think so." He stood, watching in confusion as Azk and a strange man fought. Azk had suffered many cuts and was bleeding profusely from one in particular, located from his collar bone to his hip. The man only appeared to have had a single cut on his cheek, which oozed black rivulets of blood. The same man who had murdered Kitsune... Rage boiled up within Arata and he drew Hokkyoku. He soon faltered however, wincing from the wounds Kitsune had dealt him.

"Careful Arata...You're in no condition to fight," Leyla said, setting him down.

"But...I have to help Azk!" He struggled against her, though she was right. Arata watched helplessly as the two men charged at each other. Suddenly, a bright flash of light burst from the sky, and everything became white.
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:40 pm

Chapter 8 is up!
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:54 pm

Great chapter, Arata!
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:04 pm

that was great arata! cant wait for more.
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:02 am

Awesome chapter Arata
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:05 pm

Chapter 9: Starting Point

The blinding light faded, and in its place was a man, standing inbetween Azk and his opponent, both having stopped dead in their tracks right before this newcomer. The man stood tall, chin up, garbed in bright, silver armor. A long, pristine silver and white blade was held in his hands, light emanating from it. Snow white hair fell from his head , stopping short at his jawline. The man was in equal size and build to the one who had killed Kitsune, with a fair complexion. Two beautiful wings burst from his back, white and unsoiled, like those of an enormous dove. The man with black wings stood stone still, but Azk started towards the one who had stopped his charge. The white winged man held up a hand to Azk, who backed off slowly, making his way back towards Arata and the others.

The white winged man faced the black winged one, speaking in a soft voice. "Nyx...it's been a while." His words were paused, hesitant, as though he was having trouble picking them from his head.

The black winged man, Nyx, nodded. "That it has...Lumin."

Lumin nodded and spoke no more. He threw his hand forward, a blast of silvery-white wind flying towards Nyx. The move was countered with Nyx's sword, a sphere of dark energy repelling the ethereal gust. The two men flew towards each other, swords striking each other, never managing to land on the other. They were opposite and equal.

Arata struggled to sit up, watching the spectacle before him. "Who are they?" He asked, not expecting an answer.

Azk shrugged, supporting the exhausted Selena. "I'm not sure..." He glanced over the side, eyes widening.

"What is it?" Arata inquired, Leyla helping him over to the side of the summit. He got an answer as he came to see the struggle below them. Twisted husks of darkness attacked and devoured, sparing no human nor animal. "Demons..." Arata whispered. Soon, his eye was drawn to his friends, backed into a corner. Figures of pure white repelled the demons, purging their wretched forms and slowly pushing them back. Arata looked from the battle to Lumin and Nyx, who were still engaged in combat. Then, it dawned on him. These two forces, Lumin and Nyx, the creatures of light and dark, were the true enemies of one another. Arata, his friends, and the people of Akiba, were simply caught in the crossfire.

Arata got to his feet, ignoring the protests. He clenched his fists and ran, treacherous as the action was, underneath the skyborn battle of Nyx and Lumin. "Stop!!" Both males halted immediately, surprised by Arata's cry. The two simply stared down at him. Lumin recovered from his surprise faster than Nyx, impaling the man with his ethereal blade. Arata jumped back, falling on his bottom, startled as Lumin threw Nyx to the ground, off of his blade.

Lumin turned to the fallen Nyx, largely ignoring Arata. "You had best withdraw before you lose your head, Nyx. As you can see, your army will not win this battle." He gestured to the town below.

Nyx cackled as Lumin brought down his silver sword, dissipating into dark vapor before the weapon managed to cleave him in half. The angelic man's blade disappeared in a flash of light and he moved towards Arata, extending a hand down to the boy. "Are you alright child?"

Arata swallowed and nodded, taking his hand and allowing the stranger to escort him back to his friends. "You will be alright soon." Lumin nodded to the summit side. Everyone looked over the edge, gasping in unison as the demons disappeared with their leader, leaving the figures of white to tend to who and what was left.

Arata looked to their savior, eyes filled with many questions. "What do you want?"

Lumin looked to him and smiled. "You shall soon know."

-

One week later

Arata's eyes fluttered open, and he found himself within the world of white once more. A space of nothing but blank canvas, where there was no ground, but you could walk. Where there was no air, but you could talk. Echoes bounced off of non-existant walls. Soon enough, a wave of snow kicked up in Arata's face. He turned around to see the unreal form of Arcterra walking towards him. The god of the South smiled as he saw Arata, the white fox beside him padding at a leisurely pace.

"Arata, good to see you again." Arcterra said, smiling warmly.

Arata blinked and stared dumbly, still unaccustomed of being addressed by a figure so imposing. "You...again...?"

Arcterra nodded, absentmindedly petting his fox. "Of course! Do you not wish to see me?"

Arata shook his head vigorously. "No, no! Of course not! I-I didn't mean it like that.." He said sheepishly.

"You know of the demons?" Arcterra's tone suddenly grew deep and grim.

Arata took a step back, startled by the god's sudden change in demeanor. "Yes..I do. Is that...why you wanted to speak to me?"

He nodded. "I wish to help you in this fight Arata. If these demons are not stopped, if the gods of death are not stopped, all as you know it shall end. Do you understand this?" Arata shook his head yes, suddenly very fearful. "I wish to see the continuation of the human race my boy. But...I am forbidden to help or interfere in the affairs of humans directly. As are most of the gods."

Arata' shoulders sagged, distressed. "Then what am I supposed to do?! I don't even where to start! You saw those things! How can we hope to stop that?!"

Arcterra shushed Arata, placing a hand on his shoulder. "I can offer you a starting point. You must seek the advice of the other gods and goddesses. Seek Mori, the nature Goddess. She is wise and shall help you. Stop the zealot who claims to unseal the gods. Prevent the revival."

"Alright. But-"

"I must go now, Arata." Arcterra said, interrupting him. "Do as I say. Wake up."

Arata's eyes snapped open once more, the world of white gone, replaced by his bed chambers. He looked out the window. The Twilit sun was high in the sky. "How long have I been asleep?" He hopped down from his bed and rushed to the throne room.

-

Arata tapped his foot impatiently, arms crossed, the sound echoing throughout Steel's massive throne room. It had already been a week. Lumin had brought Arata's group back, introducing himself and his peaceful intentions to Steel, waiting to explain everything until he had been sure Arata and his friends had been rested. Frozen, Bill, Xavier, Azk, Selena, Arata, Leyla all waited with Steel. Nami, the girl rescued from Akiba, was there as well. Steel had agreed with Frozen on the point of letting her stay with them until she had recovered. She had chosen to stay with the Twilight Knights as long as it took for her to exact revenge on the man who had murdered her sister, Kaede.

"Where the hell is he?" Arata said, obviously tired of waiting for the man.

"Patience, Arata. He will be here any minute," was Steel's calm response, filled with a patience that Arata doubted he could ever have.

As if on cue, Lumin strode in through the impressive double doors that marked the entrance of the throne room, leaving two awestruck guards outside in his wake. Apparently, Lumin had been seen coming and going from the Twilight Realm through means other than the gate. This, plus his presence, left the whole of the Twilight Realm and its people in awe of him. Arata thought he had heard Bill, who shared some of Arata's impatience, mutter "Finally" under his breath.

Finrod could be seen in his wolfen form as Steel addressed Lumin. "Are ready to offer us an explanation?"

The man nodded. "As you know, my name is Lumin. I am here on orders to offer you assistance in this time of need."

Xavier scoffed. "You mean you came all the way here to help us with Chaos?"

Lumin shook his head, showing no anger towards the cynical mage. "Drakath and Chaos are the least of your concerns right now." All faces in the room fell. What could be more important right now than defeating Chaos?

"As you noticed in Akiba," the man continued, "Dark forces are at work. The creatures you saw, the demons, have been released back into the world."

"By whom?" Selena asked.

"A zealot by the name of Sangue. A follower of the original god of death, Geddon."

Finrod's canine head shot up. His strange, ambient voice echoed in Arata's head. "Geddon? That wretch has been sealed away for thousands of years."

Lumin assented with a nod. "Yes, and now this zealot is working towards bringing him and his allies back. He has worked quietly and diligantly, and has been successful thus far in finding the the seals and their keys. He has already managed to break one of the four on Geddon, and one of the two on Yami."

The group nodded, digesting this new piece of information. Lumin went on. "With this first seal gone, Yami's forces were released, though his full power and theirs have not been yet. It was these forces that attacked Akiba. The man Nyx is his general, as well as my sibling. He fell from our ranks as an Angel and became a Fallen One, allying himself with Yami."

Steel bent forward, lacing his fingers together and placing his elbows on his knees, his hands in front of his face. "Why are you involving us in this squabble of yours?"

"It is not our fight, but yours, Steel Fire. Geddon and his forces wish to be free again and create a world for the gods. A world for the gods means no humans. At all. These demons are here to exterminate you. We have been sent here by those in opposition of this, those on the side of light, who wish to see the human race through to the end. But, they cannot directly assist you. That is why we, their forces, are here to fend off the demons. We however, cannot help you directly confront Geddon or Sangue, or their followers either. We can only prevent the demonic horde from destroying any other places like Akiba. The rest is up to the human race. Whether you shall fight is your choice."

Arata gulped. It was just as Arcterra had told him. It was up to them to save themselves. Leyla piped up. "How are we supposed to fight them? They're gods. We're just...human."

Lumin chuckled. "Sometimes the gods choose to give such advice to you humans. Your friend Arata had already had a couple of encounters such as that." His head swiveled to Arata, as did everyone elses, looking at him expectantly. Arata shifted uncomfortably.

"I uh..." He coughed, clearing his throat as he struggled to begin explaining himself. "I-I had a vision of Arcterra..."

Azk's (as well as most other's) jaw fell. "The god of your homeland?"

Arata nodded. "He said...we must stop Sangue, before he can break any other seals."

"We don't even know where he is. How can we kill this guy if we can't find him?" Xavier said skeptically.

Lumin chuckled. "I believe he is heading towards Darkovia. Empousa would be his next objective."

Arata coughed again, not quite finished. "Also, he said to...to find Mori, and ask her advice."

Steel nodded. "The nature Goddess, said to be found in the fabled Emerald Glade. Though, it is said nobody knows where it is..." He looked at everyone. "Then we shall split up. Lumin and his forces shall defend Lore, while we focus on putting a stop to this. Bill, Azk, Selena, Frozen, and Nami shall form a force to intercept Sangue. Arata, you and Leyla will find Mori. Dismissed, for now."

Arata nodded, glancing at Leyla out of the corner of his eye. To Emerald Glade...
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:26 pm

Yay! New chapter! Great as always, Arata!
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:23 pm

Awesome new chapter arata. =)
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:41 pm

i keep getting told off for posting in every topic but, yayayayayayay great story!!!!! woot woot wewt wewt woot
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:27 pm

Chapter 10: Take off

Arata shoved the last of things into his pack. Food, plenty of water, a few extra weapons (aside from the daggers strapped to his hips) as well as bandages. He didn't know where Emerald Glade was, or how big it might be, or what might be lying in wait within the mythical forest. And he was going with Leyla, so he would need to be able to protect her, though he doubted she needed him for that.

They would be by themselves on this mission. Alone...
Arata furrowed his brow in confused frustration as heat rose in his cheeks. Why did he feel embarassed at that thought? They were just friends...right?

Arata shook his head, picking up his rucksack and slinging it over his shoulder, strapping Hokkyoku in it's highly decorated sheath at his side. He rushed to the throne room, once again.

-

All were present except for Leyla. "She must still be getting ready," Bill said.

As if on cue, Leyla stepped in quietly with her own little satchel of supplies for the trip. She was now back in her earthy clothing, though it too had a plant design on it. Her hair, instead of it's characteristic ponytail, was let loose completely, cascading elegantly down to the lower half of her back. Her emerald eyes sparkled happily. Arata found himself staring, before he was brought back from his stupor by Bill, snapping his fingers in front of his face.

"You okay there?" Bill asked.

Arata blinked, face flushed. "Y-yeah...sorry."

Azk and Xavier snickered, Selena giggled, and Leyla simply smiled at Arata, walking past. Arata straightened himself out, turning to face Steel before Leyla distracted him again.

"We do not have time for messing around!" Steel barked, his gruff voice reverberating throughout the room. The knights stopped immediately. "In the few days it has taken to prepare, the demons have already gained significant ground! They have invaded city after city! Village after village! We must hurry if we hope to win and survive."

They all nodded in unison.

"Good. Now, Azk, Bill, Selena, Frozen, and Nami. You must go and intercept Sangue in Darkovia, before he gets the chance to free anyone or anything else. Be careful, who knows what he had up his sleeve." He turned to Arata and Leyla. "Arata, Leyla, you two shall find Emerald Glade and go to its heart, and ask the nature goddess Mori her advice and assistance." The group saluted him, and dashed from the throne room, leaving through the Gate.

"Xavier..You shall lead a force of our knights to Swordhaven. Help Lumin's forces combat the demon insurgence."

"You want me...to lead them?" The normally skeptical mage was incredulous.

"Yes...Now, gather your men and leave at once!"

"Yes sir!"

-

Steel Fire breathed in the fresh air of Greenguard Forest. It had been a long time since he had been outside his own Realm. The sun was setting. He'd have to return, if he didn't show up soon. The Twilit Emperor stood impatiently, tapping his foot.

Suddenly, a figure appeared overhead, landing with a loud impact on the ground in front of him. A large pair of menacing bat wings spread out behind him. A swollen, chaotic eye rested on his chestplace, swiveling about constantly. Drakath, Prince of Chaos. "Why did you ask me here, Emperor?" He said Steel's title with a sneer.

"You know why, else you would not have come, Lord Drakath." Steel replied, lacing Drakath's name with as much contempt as possible.

"Oh yes, you wish for me to spare my soldiers to help your little band of misfits fight the demons...? Well I have some news for you...that will never happen."

"Oh I think it will," Steel retorted.

"Why is that?"

"You wish to take the world with Chaos? If you don't stop the demons, there will be nothing to control. You will die along with the rest of us." Steel smirked. There was no way Drakath could argue that. "It's either help us, or die."

Drakath stood silent for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, "Fine. We'll see..."
Then, the bat-winged man shot skywards, disappearing within seconds.

"Yes...we will..."


Chapter 11: Blood for blood

"Are you here?" The grating, unnatural voice of Geddon pierced through the dark veil of the cavern, appearing to make the entire place shudder at his word and his alone. His cruel articulations were spoken in unison with the churning of the water before him.

"Yes I am. Here to serve, my lord." The reply came in the form of a raspy articulation. The keeper of this voice walked closer to Geddon, carrying with it the sound of sloshing water, splattering across the cold ground.

"It would appear our new friend has offered assistance...take it and head to Swordhaven...do what you will..." said the Death God.

"Don't worry...I will..." The rasping male let loose a cackle, and the sloshing liquid's volume increased.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

"How long until we reach Darkovia?" Nami's question had been cast out into the open air, awaiting an answer from her party members as they walked.

"I teleported us as close as possible to Darkovia," came Selena's matter-of-fact reply.

"Which gives us about 10 miles to cross, after having traveled so far today. So, several hours," Bill completed.

Nami nodded. Selena's teleportation skills astounded her. In the blink of an eye, they had traversed over half of Greenguard, and after 12 hours of travel, they were now closing in upon the lands of Skullhome, and within it, Darkovia.
She gripped her katana and dagger tightly. When they found Sangue, she would make sure that she would be the one to tear open his throat, in vengeance for her sister. The cold steel of her blade would be covered with his blood.
"Just you wait..."

-

Arata and Leyla walked silently side by side. It had been going on like this for a few hours now, no words passing between the two of them. They were both lost in their own thoughts. They were now in the northernmost part of Greenguard, the area in which Emerald Glade was rumored to be found. So far, they had found nothing.

"Where could it be?" Arata murmured to himself. Suddenly, he halted. Flashed of white played before his eyes. In each of them he saw a figure. Arcterra. It switched between the images of an approaching Arcterra, and the real world, where Leyla was in front of him, looking concerned. She appeared to be talking, but her words were muted. All of a sudden, images of the real world were blocked out, the only thing in his vision being the world of white and the Winter God.

"What's going on!" Arata exclaimed.

Arcterra shushed him. "Nothing to be afraid of. I simply need to speak with you." The god crossed his arms, a cold air surrounding him. "You must hurry Arata. The human side is losing. They won't hold out much longer...."

"I'm trying! But..." Arata sighed. "I can't find this Emerald Glade place..."

Arcterra nodded, seeming to understand. "Alright. I can open the way for you, temporarily. Not many humans are granted passage. When the sun meets the horizon, the way shall open..."

And then, the white vanished. Arata found himself collapsed on his side, face half buried in the ground, with Leyla standing over him. He stood shakily, Leyla taking his arm. "Are you okay?!" Leyla said, clearly still in a state of panic.

"Yes, yes, I'm fine." Arata said, calming her. He put a hand to his head, which now throbbed severely.

Leyla nodded, trying to calm down. "Alright, if you say so." She looked past the trees. "What do we do now? It's almost sunset."

Arata blinked. "It's almost sunset..." He looked at Leyla. "We wait."

-

It was getting dark. "Shouldn't we wait 'till daytime to enter Darkovia?" Nami said quietly.

"It's always nighttime in Darkovia. There is no daytime..." Frozen said sullenly.

Azk nodded. "Yes, so we may as well go now, while we have time."

The group moved about silently, picking their way through the bare trees of Darkovia, stepping over brambles and stumbling around roots. The moon hung in the sky, full, glowing a malevolent crimson. Though the moon was full, not a single werewolf could be found.

"The Blood Moon is different from a regular full moon. It amplifies the powers of vampires, whereas it has little to no effect on lycanthropes, which causes them to hide until it has passed. It is the other way around however, when a Blue Moon comes about," Bill informed them, sharing his apparently vast knowledge of Darkovia.

"And where are the vampires then?" Selena questioned, continuing to walk. Suddenly, Frozen (who was at the front of the party) shot out his hand, blocking the way of the others. "What?" Selena asked, rather indignantly.

"Shh..." He pointed to a small clearing, simultaneously pointing out the threat and answering Selena's question. Amassing within the clearing was an immense crowd of vampires. They all gathered in front of a large altar, with a single vampire standing over it. As the group edged closer, they could see more of the ceremony. One large pillar stood on either side of and behind the altar, the tops lit aflame. Inbetween the pillars was a large piece of cloth, placed upon something of a peculiar shape. Upon the altar lay a chalice, filled with who knows what, and an open book.

The vampire behind the altar spoke. "My fellow creatures of the night, today, we make our offering to our god! Empousa!"
The cloth behind him was torn away, revealing a hideous looking statue. It was carved in the shape of a hunched over man, with large fangs and bat wings. It was sculpted to appear as if his flesh were bubbling.

The crowd cheered, chanting the same name over and over again. Empousa. Empousa. They said it incessantly, in a rhythmic pattern. The vampire leading the ritual pulled out a small knife, piercing the flesh of his forearm and allowing it to drip into the chalice. He grasped the chalice and tipped it over, letting crimson liquid drizzle over the book. The statue appeared to shake slightly, and the moon glowed a little redder. "I, Xanhast, make this offering to you!" The vampire, Xanhast, then drained the chalice of its contents, mouth stained scarlet.

Suddenly, shouting could be heard, as well as hissing. The crowd was beginning to part as three figures forced themselves through the throngs of people. All three wore identical cloaks of the deepest black. Two were tall and bulky, on either side of a smaller man, who was lean and pale. The group moved closer. "That's him!" Nami whispered fiercely.
Sangue was now making his way through the gathering of creatures, smiling with a set of impossibly sharp teeth. He moved calmly through the crowd, but if it weren't for his menacing bodyguards, he would have likely been eaten alive.

The zealot stopped behind the altar, in front of Xanhast. He shook his head, waving a finger at the man like he was admonishing a child. "Now now, you really think that will suffice?"

"What..? Who are you to question our ways, human filth!" Xanhast snarled.

"Human? No..perhaps once, but no longer completely." He chuckled.

"Filth!" Xanhast drew his sword, a long green blade, thrusting forward at Sangue.

Sangue sighed, catching the blade in his hand. Murky blood soon came to stain his palm and fingers, but he didn't let go. In fact, he squeezed on the blade, until eventually, it shattered. Xanhast stood, holding the hilt of his broken sword, mouth agape. Sangue lunged forward and grabbed Xanhast by the throat, and not even the vampire could break free of the zealot's iron grip. He turned to face the crowd, still holding Xanhast. "Now, do you truly wish to see your god appeased?!" He took a long, curved knife from his robes. Insanity entered his gaze as he moved his hand to take hold of the back of Xanhast's head, cutting clean through the man's throat. Blood spilled everywhere, a majority of it landing on the book.

The book shook violently, scarlet mist rising from its pages. The statue's eyes glowed a bright red. A roar burst from its unmoving mouth. The ground shook. The once awed vampires shrieked and ran, showing fear for this new god. Crimson smoke poured from the statues open maw, jets of the vapor rocketing forward and impaling some unfortunate vampires, sucking them dry of blood until they blew away as nothing but dust.

The entire group stood by, mesmerized by this horror. Frozen was the first to break from his daze. "Quick! We have to stop him!" The rest broke away from their trances as well, following Frozen down into the clearing. The demonic guards barred their path. Nami tried to move around them, only to be repelled back by an earth shattering stomp. "Stop Nami! You'll get killed if you get reckless!" Frozen yelled.

"But..! I have to do this!" She yelled back.

The twin guards attacked relentlessly. Their strength was immense. Bill could only be on the defensive. Suddenly, he saw an opening! Bill rushed forward, slipping inbetween the clicking brutes while they were distracted with his friends. He drew Mandurugo, rushing towards Sangue.

Sangue stood with his arms outstretched at his sides, the carmine vapor emanating from the statue streaming down his throat. His body trembled, filled with the power of Empousa. The knife fell from his hand, clattering on the ground. His veins bulged, irises red. His hood fell back, revealing a bald head, covered in a satanic tattoo. His shoulder blades pushed against his skin, threatening to tear open the skin. Suddenly, a pair of wings shot from his back. They appeared as the webbings and veins of a bat's wings, but no membrane. Down each branch of the wings, blood could be seen within hollow divets, like the inside of a blood vessel.

Bill stopped abruptly. Sangue looked down at him, sharp teeth appearing to have lengthened. "You wish to stop me?! Pah! I am immortal!" The transformed Sangue shot forward, slashing at Bill with his hands. The flesh of the fingers had peeled back to reveal curved, black claws. Bill rolled to the side, barely dodging. Sangue rose up into the air, floating despite the lack of flapping coming from his wings. Bill charged again, only to have his strike blocked by the branches of Sangue's wings, which were as hard as stone. Sangue brought the back of his hand to Bill's face, sending him flying backwards, and at the same time knocking Mandurugo away.

Bill struggled to stand, the wind knocked out of him from the landing. Blood fell down his face from a slice in his cheek and a break in the skin along his hairline. He shook his head, pulling out a knife from his belt. "Let's hope this practice pays off..." He grabbed the end of the blade and flicked his wrist, and then his arm, forward. The knife spun and sped towards Sangue, managing to slice open the skin of the man's shoulder. "Yes!" Bill exclaimed to himself. It looked like those knife throwing sessions with Azk had bore some fruit.

But, Sangue did not look like he had been hurt. In fact, he looked happy. He simply stared at the cut on his shoulder, a wide grin split across his insane face. He turned to face Bill. Suddenly, blood began to rise from the wound and float above it in a stream of liquid. He smirked, and the levitating blood straightened out. He moved his other arm, and the blood shot outwards, slashing towards Bill like a whip. It slashed through the chainmail on his left arm, wrapping around it tightly. His own blood spilled out from the wound, the cut deep. Bill grimaced. It slowly brought him closer to Sangue. Bill scrabbled across the ground, until finally managing to pick up a rock. He looked at it, purple eyes glowing fiery red. The stone caught fire and Bill turned to throw it. The flaming projectile struck Sangue's whip arm, just below the bleeding wound. The man shrieked in pain and released Bill.

Bill scrambled back to his feet, watching as Sangue recovered from the attack. That gave him an idea. Suddenly, Sangue's wings shifted. The tips of the branches pointed towards him, and from them, jagged shards of crystallized blood shot forth. Bill ran around, avoiding the oncoming spears of blood. He picked up another rock, larger this time. He glanced at it, and it once again caught fire. He took aim and threw! The stone landed at its intended target...Sangue's eye. The zealot screamed, covering his eye with his hand. Bill rushed forward, managing to scoop up Mandurugo. He lunged and stabbed...impaling Sangue through the stomach.

Mandurugo drank Sangue's blood thirstily, the blood of Empousa entering the blade. Once the blade had had its fill, Bill yanked it from Sangue, who fell to the ground. The sword glowed a bright red now, thrumming with power. Sangue looked up at Bill, pure hate filling his maniacle eyes. "Damn you! Without Empousa's blood..." His distraught face suddenly snapped to an expression of crazed delight. He pulled a large ruby from his cloak.

"What are you...?" Bill looked at him, too confused to finish off his opponent.

Sangue chuckled and that chuckle turned into a cackle as he drew a blade from his cloak. "I'm...breaking the seal!" Before Bill could stop him, Sangue slashed open his own throat, the blood rushing forth in a torrent over the ruby. The gem burst open, and a scarlet light plunged into the ground, a rumble heard from beneath.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________


The ceiling shook violently, chunks of rock breaking loose and plunging into the churning waters below. The red chain strapped across Geddon's front shook. Then, the once luminescent binding broke apart, its remnants falling to the ground with a loud CLANG! Geddon's laughter rumbled the cavern. "The second seal...has been broken."


Last edited by Arata on Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:34 pm

Cool... Great chapter Arata, can't wait for more!
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:20 am

Yay! More!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:22 am

Great chapter Arata. Steel working with darkath. =0
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:06 pm

Chapter 11 is up!
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:22 pm

Wow! That was great, Arata!
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:22 am

yeah it really was, more more more!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:04 pm

Chapter 12: Confrontation

Xavier held his chin high as he marched through the damaged gates of Swordhaven, a contingent of 300 Twilight Knights marching in step behind him. Despite the grave situation, the white mage could not help the wave of pride that washed over him. Finally, Steel was recognizing his true worth. He would show everyone. The demons, Steel, Chaos, all of his fellow knights, that he was more than capable of taking this day!

The city was in bad shape when the force of Twilight Knights marched into the town. Buildings were lit aflame and structures crumbled. The wooden beams that supported the sign of the Foaming Mug were broken, snapped in half, the sign itself shattered and strewn about the ground. This was the case with many buildings. If one looked past the center of town to gaze at the castle, they would see not the vigilant structure it was meant to be, but a crumbling, blazing fortress, quickly losing the fight.

Night was already beginning to descend, the Sun beginning to make its way down below the horizon. The demons still scurried about, Swordhaven Knights, as well as some of the Angelic forces combatted the dark creatures. It was bad. This invasion had been extremely large scale, the sheer number of monsters too much for the combined forces of Swordhaven and angels. But, of course, that was why they were here, wasn't it?

The Knights scattered throughout the city, already on their way to repel this demonic horde. Suddenly, Xavier was propelled forward as the ground behind him blew apart, a shockwave lifting him off of his feet and tumbling across the ground before him. The white garbed mage, now soiled with dirt, got to his feet and spun around to face a particularly large demon. The creature had a tall body, a wall of muscle, with two colossal arms and hands, shaking the ground slightly with each pound of its fists. Its skin was pitch black, with a peculiar design resembling a tattoo, but it appeared as if it were raised skin, only crimson.

Xavier leapt backwards to avoid another bone-shattering strike from the demon, the ground in front of him bursting open with a plume of dust, dirt, and rocks. He gripped his staff tightly. "Bombardos!" From his hand burst a large orb of energy, which struck the monster hard, bursting into flames. The creature swept away the flames with its mighty hands, looking minorly injured, but otherwise, simply pissed off.

The demon charged him, ramming Xavier into one of the crumbling walls of an inn. The air in his chest fled from his lungs. He struggled to free himself from the monster as it pinned him down, while at the same time attempting to refill his deflated lungs. He managed a weak articulation. "Concussion..." The free hand that fell at his side shot forth a blast of concussive energy, successfully blowing the monster back several yards. Xavier fell to the ground, but picked himself back up, coughing. He looked up just in time to see the beast charge him again. He rolled out of the way to the side, standing again to watch as the demon rammed its head into the inn wall. It pushed away from it, but couldn't move. It was stuck!

Xavier smirked, taking this opportunity to seriously damage the creature. He shouted, "Arcanos!" From his staff, a large bolt of pure energy shot forth, stabbing into the enemy and spreading throughout its body, crackling with energy, the stench of burning flesh rising into the air. But, the creature still lived. Xavier fired off another arcane bolt, successfully striking the beast full in the head. The demon then fell to the ground, crumbling away into nothing but obsidian dust.

Xavier moved on to assist his other allies, moving from place to place, managing to burn, electrify, and slice demons to death. Still, even with the Twilight assisting, the demons were gradually gaining the upperhand. Xavier now sat on the ground, staring up at a demon with blades for hands. He shut his eyes as the blade fell to lop his head from between his shoulders. But....it never happened. The mage risked opening an eye to see that the bladed hand now lay to his left, chopped off. He looked up to the demon, its eyes spasming, impaled by a huge, violet glowing sword. The creature seized up, then shriveled away into nothing. That sword...

Xavier leapt to his feet, coming face to face with Drakath. Chaos was here too?! What else could go wrong? "Why the hell are you here?" He growled at the Chaos Emperor, a spell already forming on his lips.

The bat-winged man put his sword behind his back. "Helping you, you imbecile." He spat contemptuously. Drakath spoke no more, moving on, taking down demon after demon as they threw themselves at him.

Xavier watched, dumbfounded as Drakath slew the creatures, more agents of Chaos coming to join him in the fight. But none attacked anything other than the demons. "Chaos...So, he really does realize the gravity of the situation." Xavier muttered to himself.

"This place is really quite the mess...isn't it?" Came a raspy voice.

Xavier spun around. "Who's there?" He put up his staff defensively, now concentrating that readied spell on the man before him. But, the spell died away as shock came into play. Shock so severe that Xavier's staff fell from his hands.

Before the mage stood a man he had hoped he would never have to see again. He was garbed differently, but it was him. He wore obsidian duelist armor, light but sturdy, giving off an unnatural feel. He clutched a pitch black blade at his side, from whose hilt black water poured endlessly, sloshing onto the ground. His skin was grey, with stitches lining his face and arms. Soulless black eyes glittered with menace as they scrutinized Xavier. A mop of ragged black hair hung over his abyssal eyes, with a grey streak down the hairline. And...he looked strikingly like Xavier's young comrade, Arata. Fuketa...

Behind this haggard doppelganger was a large force of creatures. Ice elementals, only now the normally transparent bodies resembled sparkling stones of obsidian. Fuketa chuckled, raspy voice piercing Xavier's ears. "Miss me?"

___________________________________________________________________________


Bill sighed morosely, placing Sangue's body on the altar before the statue of Empousa, articulating pitiful mutterings for the suicidal man. He turned to look at his group of friends. They were bruised and battered, but otherwise, relatively unharmed. The guards appeared to have fled once Sangue had killed himself.

Bill shook his head, walking back to his friends. Azk clapped Bill on the back. "Nice job! You brought him down!" Bill nodded, offering an unconvincing smile.

Nami looked up at him, sullen and reserved. Bill bit his lip, looking down at her apologetically. "I'm sorry Nami...you should have been the one...to bring him down..."

Nami sighed, nodding. "It's alright....but..what do I do now?" The girl had only come along to kill Sangue, and now that goal was lost.

"Why don't you stay with us?" Frozen suggested, placing a hand on her shoulder. "We could use good fighters like you. The Twilight...it could be your home." He left it at that, leaving it for Nami to dwell on.

Bill coughed. "I'm sorry...I couldn't stop him from breaking the next seal on Geddon.."

Selena smiled reassuringly. "Don't worry about it...Now that he's gone, we won't have to worry about him releasing any more of them."

"But, what about his two goons? I'm sure they would be more than willing to finish what their boss started," Azk pointed out.

"Oh no, you're right!" Bill said, smacking himself on the forehead. "We have to follow them! Frozen can you track them?"

-

The group filed in silently behind Frozen as he bent down to examine the ground. For two gigantic oafs, the guards had suprisingly light footsteps. Frozen looked back at the group and nodded, pointing out the right direction.

They soon came to a large clearing, near the outer reaches of Darkovia. Within it stood a delapidated Chapel. The place was overgrown and crumbling. Ivy poked its way into the cracks between the stones, which were falling away into nothing. Stained glass windows stood shattered, the once beautiful shards of glass littering the ground with their broken images. "Are you sure this is the place?" Selena asked, voice barely above a whisper.

"Positive," came Frozen's reply.

The group entered, Bill leading the way, pushing past the worn double doors. At the back of the Chapel were two figures, standing in the moonlight that poured in from a round, broken stained window. The altar that would most assuredly stand there had been discarded, broken against a stone pillar that stood off to the side of the room.

Bill stepped forward, the rest moving behind him cautiously. "Who do you serve?" He called out to the identical giants.

At first, only silence came, then clicks. Attempts at words were being formed, and finally, the two managed to form a sentence, speaking in unison. "We...serve...Talona..."

Bill went rigid, clenching his fists, his left hand going to touch the ring on his right.

"Who is Talona?" Nami asked, confused, but still on guard.

"Bill, are you okay?" Selena asked softly.

Bill shook his head at Selena. "Talona is the goddess of Chaos..." He looked up at the Agents of Talona.

The twins made slow, pounding steps towards Bill, almost clumsy in their appearance. "You....are...the key..." Suddenly, with surprising speed, they darted forward, grabbing Bill by both arms and moving back before the group could do anything.

"Let go of me dammit!" Bill struggled within the vice grip of the two Agents, but to no avail.

"Stop!" Azk drew a fist full of knives.

Frozen put his arm down. "You might hit Bill..." Azk cursed, then replaced the knives in his cloak.

One of the twins moved away, while the other one took hold of Bill completely. The twin that left the center came to attack the group, giving his twin enough time to do what they had promised. The one holding Bill removed his ring, setting it under his neck. The monstrous twin brought out his index finger, from which protruded a lethally sharp clawed nail. He made something between a chuckling and clicking sound, drawing his nail across Bill's neck...

__________________________________________________________________________


Arata stood quietly with Leyla, standing in a small clearing within Greendguard. Sunset was almost here... "What do you think we'll find?" Arata asked.

"I'm not sure...But, I know it will be....wondrous," she said, smiling at him. He smiled back, looking upon the center of the clearing in awe as the air shimmered and ripple. Suddenly, within the folds of the rippling space, glimpses of another forest could be seen, sparkling with deep green and twilight. "Are you ready?" Leyla said, looking at Arata.

Arata nodded. "I'm ready.."
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Poppy Bill

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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:15 pm

Gasp! Looks like I'm in a jam! Great chapter, Arata. Now writez moar plz.
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:33 pm

lol bill, but yes, more is win. but- Fuketa omg!!!! Thought he was dead OMG!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:43 pm

Heh, I had a feeling he was still alive...
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ookaminami

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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:28 pm

great chapter Arata. OMG Fuketa is still alive. x_x
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:31 am

yah lol, scary hey? but nami...get back to writing your story...NOW! ZEV WANTS MOAR STORYIES!!!!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Ice Heart   Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:29 am

I have writer's block and now have come down with a cold, but I am writing, it's just taking longer than expected. x.x but I might have it up by the weekend Zev. =)
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