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Ayden

Clash of Two: The Story of Many

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*This story takes place in the near future as a side story to a bigger arc and only serves the purpose of fulfilling my character needs. If you feel the need or want to jump into this, please pm me before doing so. Thanks.*

 

As I lay upon my back, the cold rain drops hit my face. My baby blue eyes pierce the darkness that has completely enveloped this entire city, and though I've tried my best... I fear it may not be enough. I wiggle my fingers and feel nothing but a numbing sensation and mud. Perhaps it's the chunks of sand mixed with water that offer such a grit feeling. None the less, I can feel myself waning... losing blood... dying... 

 

Within the sky, a shooting star flashes before me and I come to the realization that it was my life. In just a blink of an eye, as quickly as the star shot through my vision, I could see it all. Every memory, every scent, every taste, every smell, every emotion... it was all there in my imagination. From these rotating pictures I can see it all. I can see all that was before me, all that lead up to me, and all that will pass me. To understand this story, I must start from the beginning...

 

- - - - - 

 The Angels and the Sorcerer

 

In another time and another world, a being had walked upon the lands. Light had radiated from his very core, wings would sprout from his shoulders and a golden halo would levitate above his head. An Angel of Light and all that was holy would traverse the world to fight the opposition forces of evil and darkness. Through this darkness, facing many evils; running into Lucifer himself, the Angel of Light had managed to find love in the most unexpected of places. It was during his heroic antics that he would rescue a woman - much like himself - from the darkness. 

 

The darkness would not let go of this woman, this female angel. Much like the Angel of Light, she was an Angel of Darkness. Through such odds, they fought and protected each other as both opposing forces clashed upon them. Their love had guided them time and time again, protecting them as they moved from city to city. The constant fighting had put any town or city they were in, in jeopardy and great peril. Upon each city, darkness would sweep over the buildings and roads like a blanket, swallowing everything in its path like an eternal abyss. 

 

It would seem that through such chaos and madness where love would try to persist, finding friends and comrades would be no easy task. Without any doubt they were alone in this world; nothing more than two needles in a haystack. After much suffering, the Angel of Light and the Angel of Darkness would go their separate ways to insure that balance within the world could be restored. How selfish could they be to let the world burn around them in the name of love? 

 

The Angel of Light would carry on with his duties and tasks after they separated. Anger filled him, and he would go back and hunt down any evil that crossed his path. Attempting to eliminate the darkness from the world, the Angel of Light would be the shining beacon of hope for all to see. Though he didn't know it at the time, he had crossed paths with many powerful beings besides Lucifer. There was a time, though brief, he had fought with two twin Angels, Jharyn Raze and Jaren Storm.

 

Years would pass, and though it felt like millennia, the Angel of Light would grow tired. Tired of a world filled with hate and darkness, without love. It was then that he decided he would attempt to find his love. Plunging back into the depths of darkness he would search for his one true love. The beacon of his aura would shine brighter than any star in the night sky, calling out for her. After some time she would finally come bearing news of their fate.

 

She had warned him of a growing evil in the lands. A young sorcerer had come to power, abusing the darkness and shadows, manipulating man and beast to do his own work. The man would even summon creatures from The Underworld to do his bidding in time of need. She would then step forth, offering the Angel of Light her one and only sword. Though it appeared to be nothing special, the blade would forever be known as the Sword of Darklore. Accepting the weapon, the Angel of Light was determined to rid the darkness from her life and to save her from such evil. 

 

It was then that she expressed news of a brighter kind, that their son was born. Though he was in shock at first, not knowing that she was baring his child to begin with, he was filled with delight. The euphoric feeling remained for seconds before she continued on. Their child was sent away in an attempt to free him from the clutches of darkness and evil, so that their son wouldn't have to bare such a similar fate as their own. She had given their one and only child a fighting chance. During this moment of gathering, the darkness from around her would wisp and lash out. In seconds, the shadows would consume her and the Angel of Darkness would disappear from his life forever...

 

Halo...

 

He cried out to himself, the name of his beautiful love and lost one would echo. From there on out, the Angel of Light would spend the rest of his days searching for his son. Knowing it was his duty to protect him from the evils of the world and the real new threat of this sorcerer that Halo warned him about. Constantly searching, he would also be constantly training. Preparing for a battle, a battle that would end much like the one I have endured in Morgana.

 

...Another millenia would pass before the Angel of Light found his son. A child born of light and dark, an angel neither cursed or blessed by the heavens or hell. A neutral force, a metaphorical and literal grey area that the world would be presented with. The boy who bore wings of black and white would reject his father at first, angry and mad for being tossed away. Before long, this child would fall into good graces with his father and begin training to fight against the evil's of the world. All the while, the Angel of Light was preparing for a final battle to end it all... to get his love back, to save her and to insure their happily ever after.

 

Upon a stormy night, the Angel of Light had called forth the Sorcerer to settle things. Dyne. The Sorcerer called out to the Angel of Light knowing his name fully well. Though Dyne didn't know the name of this Sorcerer, it mattered not as they fought. A vicious battle had commenced, a personal war was waged as good and evil clashed like two titans. Their power had shook the earth like angry gods. It was a battle of life or death, and Dyne had everything riding on this very moment and opportunity. Years of training and preparation all led up to this. After hours of combat, inflicting wound for wound, the Sorcerer would outwit the sword wielding Angel and strike him down with one last attack.

 

Dyne would fall to the earth from the air, hitting the ground with an audible thud that was masked slightly by mud. Blood had poured from his lips as his eyes went cold. The Sorcerer had won, killed the Angel of Light, and fled to tend to his wounds for recovery. Laying upon the ground, much like I was before my death, the rain would beat down upon his face as the life faded from his essence. His grace however, the presence of light that had once given life to the Angel, would not falter. The grace within him was not yet done, not yet ready to give up, not yet ready to fade from existence.

 

As the Angel's body would dissipate with fragments of light, a single white feather would be left behind. A pure white feather from his wing would attach itself to the Sword of Darklore that rested where his corpse once was. With some of his essence within the feather, the rest of his grace would carry on with a new plan. Dyne's grace would give rise to a rebirth... a resurrection of sorts... a reincarnation to be more exact. And though I didn't know it for the longest time, I came to suspect that I was something more. That my life was not simply mine, but that of another's that resonated within my own spirit.

 

Little did I know...that I... Dravish Michael Crane, would be the reincarnation of the Angel of Light... and little did I know... that I would be facing that same evil from so long ago... it seams that heaven truly does cry over an angel's death...

 

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Teacher and Student, Kings and Dragon

 

Auron Darklore, son of Dyne and Halo Darklore, would find himself in a world all alone. With his mother's disappearance and his father's death, Auron had sought out a journey of his own. Focused on revenge, Auron was torn between two paths in his life. He could take the road paved with light, or venture down the unknown road hidden in darkness. Years of bloodshed had caused the young angel to mature into a man. Mastering the sword that was passed down onto him, the Sword of Darklore had become a known signature to any foe within his path. 

 

During this time, the Sorcerer would challenge Auron along the way. Facing the young angel was many trials and foes that Auron would do his best to overcome. It seemed that no matter how many foes the angel would rid the world of, there was no end in sight to stopping the evil in the world. During this realization, Auron had turned away from the world of blood and combat in search for new power. He was quick to realize that the new power he was to obtain would come from books and knowledge. 

 

Traveling all over the world, Auron would ascertain knowledge in hopes of one day finding a way to rid the world of this Sorcerer and the evil within it. Many years would pass, and as Auron was now equipped with the physical skill as well as the mental, he would seek out the Sorcerer to ascertain revenge. Word of his task and duty had spread from city to city, gaining popular attention from a great many people who feared the evil of the Sorcerer. 

 

Within the Kingdom of Croven, Auron was stopped by the King and his people. A special request was made to the Angel to stay within the Kingdom. King Nedane had asked the Angel, filled with all the wisdom of the world and skill of the sword, to become guardian and teacher to the Prince of the Kingdom. Struggling with this decision, Auron had to decide if revenge was more important than raising a young Prince to become a good King for an entire Kingdom. Knowing that it was likely impossible to defeat the Sorcerer by himself, Auron would place all his stock and faith within the young Prince in hopes that one day the boy would rid the world of such evil. 

 

Auron would train the Prince for several years in the art of sword play and scholarly ordeals. It was obvious that the young Prince fancied the sword and raw power over sheer knowledge, but Auron had forced him to balance that out. As the Sorcerer continued to get stronger and stronger, collecting more and more power, the evil magic would spread across the lands. It would take years, but eventually, such evil would be at the foot of the Kingdom of Croven. The King had led a mighty charge against the Sorcerer, where Auron joined in and fought. Three days had passed, and only a small hand-full of people returned. 

 

News of the King's death would spread through the Kingdom like wildfire. Auron would return, to hand the Sword of Darklore down onto the Prince who was now becoming the King of Croven. As the new King attempted various tactics against the Sorcerer and his magics, the new King would realize that it was futile. Without ascertaining more power, there would be no way of defeating the Sorcerer. As Auron would pass down his last bit of wisdom to the King, Auron would take flight and fade from the history books. Unlike his mother, presumably dead, it is said that Auron was called back into the skies of heaven. Though no one knows why, or what business that the Angel had to attend to that would cause him to abandon this cause, the Kingdom of Croven had to push on.

 

The new King would travel through his Kingdom with the Sword of Darklore in hand. Several of his companions would aid him on his adventures for more power. After a few short years, the young King was able to track down the mightiest of Dragons within his Kingdom. Ashkore, the name of the Dragon, would fight the King and make him prove his worth to forge a pact and bond. Yet this dragon was different than any other, for it was the first of that kind in the Kingdom. The Eldest Dragon, the Original, would be fought until an outcome was reached.

 

Despite the burns and wounds, the King had managed to narrowly best the beast with the aid of his comrades. It is said that the King himself had consumed the entire dragon, and in by doing so, created the pact and bond. Further more, by doing so, the King had become one with the dragon. The King and Ashkore were one of the same, and all the powers of the Dragon plus more, were his. Though it took him some time to master the new skills and attributes that went along with this metamorphosis, the King was satisfied that his power had increased a million times over. The feeling of being a human had waned as he now felt the power that could only be equivalent to a god. 

 

With this new power, King Nedane was referred to by his entire Kingdom as the Dragon King. Taking much pride in this accomplishment, he would set out once more with his companions to approach the ever-so-near darkness that the Sorcerer washed over the lands with. In a final battle between all that was good and evil, the King and his companions would clash sword and magic with the Sorcerer. Among his companions, one was his wife. In a heroic display of affection, she had taken a direct hit from the Sorcerer himself that was aimed at the King. Though it injured the King as well, leaving a scar across his chest above his heart, his wife would die in his hands.

 

As the rest of his comrades would fall beside him, the Sorcerer would laugh. Instead of killing the King who spent his entire life for this moment, he would freeze him and transport him to another world. Crystallizing the King, the Sorcerer would place him into hibernation while sending him to the world of Valucre. In Orisia, the Red Sands, the Dragon King would remain dormant for some time... until I freed him. The Sword of Darklore was also transported too, but fell in the Cold South of Genesaris.

Edited by Ayden

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The Edgemaster & His Bastard Son's Quest for Power

 

My father, one I never had the chance to meet, was rumored to by a mighty swordsman in Genesaris. He had spent his entire life traveling across Genesaris in an attempt to master the sword. War after war, battle after battle, my father fought for the people of Genesaris and those who hired him. I was told that after one battle, he had come home to the Cold South with a brand new sword he had found upon the battlefield.

 

The sword itself seemed fairly standard, but against the hilt of the weapon would rest two feathers chained tightly to it. One feather black and the other white, representing good and evil... light and dark... Dyne and Auron... the Sword of Darklore had found a new master. After my father obtained the title of Edgemaster, he had become power hungry as his strength had surpassed his imagination. Due to his travels that required his expertise, he had stayed in many cities and towns in Genesaris, and even spent time with the beautiful ladies that Genesaris has to offer.

 

One of those beautiful ladies happened to be my mother whom he impregnated. Though it was debatable if he truly loved her or not, I will never know or find out. Being called away and summoned by the Godslayer, my father perished in a great battle that saved many lives in this world. The only thing that remained of my father was his sword, which was salvaged and returned to my mother. With the Sword of Darklore within my mother's possession, and my birth on the advent, something miraculous happened that took me years to understand.

 

A Magestorm had swept through on the day of my birth. As my mother is giving birth to me, she is struck by the storm and dies. Though the others that were assisting her at the time lived, they were able to pull me into this world and insure my life remained. It seemed that during this time, the magestorm that hit my mother had imbued me in such a unique way. As I grew up, I was stronger, faster, smarter than those surrounded by me. It was obvious that I was something more than human, but what was still unknown.

 

Unbeknownst to me, the magestorm had opened up a pathway for the grace of an Angel to make way. The grace of Dyne had entered into my mother and insured his reincarnation through my life. Though I blamed my uniqueness at first on this magestorm, I would later learn the truth of such a revelation. Once I was old enough to take hold of the Sword of Darklore, my father's sword and uniquely enough the sword of the Angel who lived within my core, I would become the light in the darkness. 

 

With sword in hand, I had trained to become a Paladin. The holy path had taken me all over the world from Genesaris and Terrenus, to Iselyr and the other various lands and cities within Valucre. To become stronger, I knew I had to train and practice, to hone my skills in order to meet the calling before me. I wasn't blind to the evils that filled these lands, and knew that the only way to destroy them was to do it head on. After so many feats, I had become known as "The White Wall" Dravish. My long white hair would flow to the ground, and my formidable defenses had become recognized among many.

 

Along the way I made a great many memories, ones that I would never trade for the world. Despite all the odds of being faced with various trials, I had found love. Natalie Nichole, a beauty of beauty. A female Knight that mimicked and surpassed my own set of skills. It was for her that I wished to become stronger, to protect her from the woes of her life that presented a challenge. It was then that I felt the inevitable pull, as if I were being summoned by a higher power within Valucre. Setting upon this quest, I would adventure forth for quest for power... where I would learn the truth of my destiny and origins of the Angel within me. 

 

Being summoned to the Red Sand's of Orisia, I could feel the pull of the Dragon King who reached out to me in my dreams. I felt that it was because I owned the Sword of Darklore, a weapon that was once his, that I felt his connection that pulled me in. The sword led the way as we fought past various monsters until we entered the lair of the Dragon King. Awakening him within the lair, he informs me of his past and the connection I bare with him and the Angel's that once assisted him. He told me that he could feel the Angel within me, recognizing Dyne as if I were him. 

 

Allowing me to keep the Sword of Darklore, he granted me the truth and power I needed to advance forth to my vicious fate. My calling to help destroy the Sorcerer was a task I would face head on. This was the very reason of my birth, to destroy the evil in the world. The Dragon King had told me that such evil had come here, and that we would have to crush it together if we were to succeed... 

Edited by Ayden

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The Bridge and Inversion, Heaven's Dark Spot

 

Upon the Crystal Empress I enjoyed and recovered for one last time. What better way to spend the last few days of my life other than on an Air Ship flying over Genesaris? While I would have loved to see my beloved one last time, it simply wasn't possible. Where she was, getting there and coming back would have taken far too long. It was then that I decided to unwind, relax, and enjoy the various comforts and luxuries that the Crystal Empress had to offer.

 

Though I met several people, some I would never forget, some I would have loved to known more about, they would all eventually be left behind. I knew that the Black Queen of Orisia had attended, and it briefly made me wonder if she even knew about the future of her city. Did she even know that Morgana was about to be consumed in darkness? Did she even know about the darkness that lingered onto one of her own Knights? After all, it was then that I realized that we were all connected.

 

The Dragon King, the Knight of Diligence, and myself included were all apart of the grief and curse that The Sorcerer put onto us. He haunted each and every single one of us to the point of madness. My life came into existence through the reincarnation of an Angel wishing to destroy him. The Dragon King had faced the Sorcerer and was exiled while having to witness his beloved wife die in his hands. The Knight of Diligence on the other hand most likely had it the worst of all. While myself and the Dragon King were nothing more than an inconvenience for the Sorcerer, the evil creature set his eyes out on the Knight of Diligence.

 

The Sorcerer had yearned for more and more power over the ages. Though he had successfully managed to become immortal, that would prove to not be enough. His desires had caused his dark hand to reach forth for anything that could curb his appetite for power and destruction. After eons of searching, the Sorcerer had finally been able to create a most powerful spell. Though the spell lacked any devastating abilities, it was what the spell did that pleased him so much. Attempting to learn it, the Sorcerer was quick to realize that he could not channel such a power. Though angry, the Sorcerer had searched out for the one who would be capable of handling such energy.

 

It was then that he took witness to the fallen Angel within Orisia. The young Knight who was nothing more than an experimental creation from the heavens. Though I know little of Leo's origins, the Knight of Diligence was targeted by the Sorcerer for his ability to house such tremendous energy and power. There seems to be no doubt in the Sorcerer's mind that Leo is the key to using his power, to using the Inversion.

 

Though there had been warnings of the Sorcerer attempting to pursue Leo to use the Inversion, there was little more that I could do other than prevent the young Angel from falling into the evil clutches of the Sorcerer. It was rumored that if the Inversion was used, the Sorcerer would be able to turn a hero or outstanding citizen into an evil creature. All goodness within the grasp of the inversion would turn to evil and darkness. Everything and everyone under the influence of the Inversion would be under the Sorcerer's control. The stronger and mightier the hero, the stronger and mightier the villain he or she would become. It seemed, that such a power would wreak too much havoc onto this world. 

 

If he were to capture Leo and use the inversion, there would be no telling how far the Sorcerer would be able to reach. Morgana would be the stronghold against the brutal attack that the Sorcerer had to offer. It would be here in this very city where I make my stand against all those who threaten the lives of my friends and people. It would be here where I strike down the mighty Hell Knight.

Edited by Ayden

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The Sorcerer and his Hell Knight

 

Many ages ago an organization called the Underworld had come into existence. Within its ranks hosted a great number of individuals with various powers and capabilities. Each and every one of them were evil without a doubt. Their existence and domain remains between worlds, allowing those deemed worthy enough to travel from one land to another as they pleased. One of the individuals who had made a name for himself quickly, was a Sorcerer by the name of Xildax. Though I was never able to ascertain the whereabouts of who the leader of this organization was, there was a time that I thought it was truly this man... this monster.

 

Destroying kingdoms from lands afar, becoming immortal, the Sorcerer had come to Valucre. It was here that he first had troubles reaching the world's surface, for the world of Valucre didn't make such a feat to be so easy. Instead of surfacing, the Sorcerer would rest and wait. Planting a seed underneath the surface of Valucre, a red pod would sprout to the surface of the Badlands where it would grow for five days and nights. Upon the last night, the embryonic sack would break and release a humanoid into the world of Valucre.

 

Hyza, the humanoid, had quickly become affiliated with the host of demons that guided her from beneath the world's surface. As she was seen scavenging the lands from one end to the other, she would do the bidding of her master - the Sorcerer. Though her natural state of mind is good, the evil within her forces her to act against her own will. Several confrontations leave most puzzled as she tries to kill them or save them, sometimes often at the same time. Even I had heard her plea out for my safety as she tried to strike me down.

 

After another encounter I had with her, she revealed the story of the Sorcerer and his plot within Orisia. She warned me of his advent, telling me that she even warned the Dragon King and Knight of Diligence after several encounters they both shared. While I felt bad for the woman who claimed to be a Hell Knight, a woman who tried to fight for her innocence, there was little I could do at the time to save her from those pulling her strings. 

 

The Hell Knight had continued to assist the Sorcerer to the point of his arrival in Valucre. Using the Dragon King to Awaken the Sorcerer, Xildax would enter the world and quickly get to work. Hiding in the shadows of Orisia, aligning his own might with that of La'Ruta, Xildax would prepare himself to take on the forces of Morgana and capture the Knight of Diligence. Without a doubt, it was through the Hell Knight that Xildax was even able to reach his goals and dreams to use the Inversion against Orisia. Though her very birth and creation was his own doing, her guilt and burden would be one to share all the same.

 

As Xildax grew in power, his loyalty to the Underworld had shifted. He no longer cared about their rules or purposes and decided he would do as he pleased. Though he had no opposition from the organization, when truth be told, his purposes served their own in the end. If he was capable of spreading chaos into the world above, than the Underworld would allow him to go about his own business. It had taken much time, but the time had finally come, and Xildax would unleash his own forces down upon Morgana.

 

With the Hell Knight at his side, Xildax would flood the city with his minions of darkness that sprawled from the Underworld. Though most of the shadowy fiends remained concealed in the darkness, some creatures wrapped in the darkness such as gargoyles and dragons could be seen. Hundreds, thousands, of shadowy fiends under the Sorcerer's control would attack the city, overrunning it after much battle. After taking over the initial defenses of the city, Xildax and Hyza had taken a stronghold within the city. It was then that I decided I had to do what was needed for the people. Though I intended on facing the Sorcerer himself, fulfilling my destiny and the angel within me, the Hell Knight had accepted my challenge instead.

 

I knew I had to give it everything I had to stop the Hell Knight, because there was no doubt in my mind that she would kill me if given the chance now. Right before we started, the Dragon King had bypassed us both and started to face off against the Sorcerer. I cheered him on silently as they started to battle while I came into focus of the foe before me. With sword in hand, I prepared for the battle of my life.

Edited by Ayden

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Life for Death

 

 

My body filled with a frenzy of power, I could fill myself coming into full swing with the Angel within me. The Sword of Darklore would sing a glorious song as I started my relentless charge across the battlefield. The streets of Morgana would be my battle ground, the absence of civilians who had long flee'd the scene would leave any worry behind as each step closed in upon the Hell Knight. As my mad dash across the road had started, she had mimicked my own movements. The two of us rushed towards each other, in a game of chicken - loser dies. Though my eyes are catching all her movements, I take special note of her own sword that came swinging forward.

 

With all my momentum, I would swing the Sword of Darklore in a horizontal slash from right to left. The Hell Knight would counter with her own as both of our blades would come clashing at full force in front of us. I would use the momentum to swing my body a full 360 to provide another swing that ran parallel with the ground. Despite my swiftness, she would counter once more and push off to regain some ground. It was then that I could feel the depths of her strength, it wasn't human. She hit harder than any man I had ever faced before. I knew that the power within her was being held back, I could feel that she wasn't going all out.

 

My thoughts would come to fruition as the air cracked and her fire would become lit with a daemonic fire. No doubt she was manipulating the power of La'Ruta to forge the power of the monster within her. I would hesitate little in my next advancement, but what came next was what truly set me off guard. She dashed forward this time, unlike before. Her feet hardly touched the ground as she glided across the street with an unexpected swiftness. He assault was so fast as the blade came forth, that I hardly had the chance to defend as the weapon glazed across my garments. 

 

The flames of the blade would burn the fabric, singing my clothes but burning my skin at my side. For a moment, I thought she had taken flight, but I couldn't truly tell. She hovered off the ground ever so slightly as she paused to see my reaction. A smile had covered her lips, and in my moment of pain she had shouted out to me. Please, run while you still can. I can't save you! The smile was still on her lips, but tears ran down her cheeks as her words faded. My heart was breaking for this one, but I couldn't stop. I had to go after the Sorcerer, I had to fight with the Dragon King to bring down the evil in this land that sprouted up so quickly. It was my job to save her, from herself, from the demon's within her, from Xildax.

 

Angry, I could feel my aura whip around me like a violent wind. Light would radiate from my body and I could feel the Angel within me coming forth. From my shoulders, two angelic wings would sprout and stretch almost ten feet from tip to tip. With the help of Dyne, I knew I stood a much better chance. Her reaction to my evolution was expected, and she would charge forth yet again. Another burst of fierce speed would send her rapidly in my direction. With my new power, I was ready and capable.

 

Timing her strike, I waited. Like a game of cat and mouse, I would dance only to lure her in further. It wasn't until she would thrust her blade forward, that I would send mine crashing down onto her with all my might. Using Dyne's power, I would channel his energy into my swing like that of an executioner at a guillotine. My sword would make a direct impact upon her own weapon, so unexpectedly that it caught her off guard. The power behind my strike would send her to her knee as she used her opposite forearm to keep the blade even with the ground. The only thing that kept her arm from being lopped off was the armor, it seemed that it would protect her this time.

 

Yet I could see the distress in her eyes. The murderous glaze was gone and filled with a look that longed for survival, one that feared death. The power behind my swing had caused her sword to crack, and she knew that it would only be a matter of time before this fight was over. My angelic wings would stretch forth as they wrapped around us both like a cocoon.  The light from my wings would radiate with positive energy, holy aligned to vanquish the demons from within her. Yet, within that brief second of hope and possibility, the look within her eyes would change again. Such confidence and tenacity after mixed confusions had caught me off guard yet again...

 

The fire from her sword would sizzle as a set of wings would rupture forth from her own back. Fiery wings would push back my own as a swirl of fire would envelope the Hell Knight. The heat was enough to push me back and relinquish my victory, if only momentarily I thought. Without hesitance, she would be relentless as she charged forth again and again. We would trade blow for blow, the battle moving from the ground to the air as our wings gave us true flight. The excitement of battle had filled me, but I was becoming more and more worried.

 

She tested my skills to the limit. I was afraid, not that I would lose or possibly die... but because I couldn't save her. Because I couldn't save the Dragon King or the Knight of Diligence. Unlike the Angel of Light within me, who had taken the lives of evil monsters, I was not him. As a Paladin, I had never taken a life. I was always defending it, and now was no different. The storm would rage on and the winds would push us around as we clashed with a viciousness that I had never known. Now, perhaps more than any time before, I felt out of control. It wasn't me any more swinging this ancient blade, it wasn't me making the decision to dodge and counter, it was the Angel of Light... 

 

A single crack of lightening would rip through the sky between them as I sat back and watched the events unfold. Both their aura's smashed together, reds and whites, that it resembled a bloody pink hue. Dyne would shove off as he swung the blade yet again at Hyza, this time causing a literal break through. Her attempt to block the swing with her own weapon would cause it to break and snap in half. The previous damage it sustained was enough to cause it to break during the pursuing battle. I could feel myself smile on the inside, though I'm not sure if my face truly reflected the same at the time. 

 

While I thought Dyne had the advantage with Hyza, I could feel the pull. In mid air, as they both floated by the grace of their wings, I could feel him getting ready to deliver the final strike. As the Sword of Darklore would come down to deliver the final blow, my heart would flutter and I could feel myself pulling on the reigns once more. The sword would cut into her shoulder, though I would stop it from becoming a fatal blow. She grasped the sword as it dug in with an intense pain. Tears rolled down her face. Please, please! She shouted, no doubt another guise provided by the demon within her.

 

I then decided to give it my all, to pour my faith into this girl and save her. My aura would push itself onto her own, drowning her in a radiating light. Like a star in the sky, shining bright, my aura would leak into her very body from the wound that my sword provided. The angelic power within me would usher out the demons within her, allowing her to reclaim her body and soul. It took a few seconds, her screams cutting the stormy night like a warning siren, but it would finally happen. 

 

Her fiery wings would pull themselves from her body as a demon relinquished its hold onto the girl. The fiery monster, though being expelled, would not go without delivering me my fate. A fiery claw, razor sharp, would be thrust forth as digits ripped into my body. A demonic laugh would harmonize as it released the girl and its grip on me to our own fates. Hyza would fall to the ground unconscious, and as the demon vanished, I too would fall. The monster had severed several arteries from my heart, inflicting the fetal wound. 

 

Though I was still conscious during free fall, I didn't feel my body hit the ground. As I lay upon my back, the cold rain drops hit my face. My baby blue eyes pierce the darkness that has completely enveloped this entire city, and though I've tried my best... I fear it may not be enough. I wiggle my fingers and feel nothing but a numbing sensation and mud. Perhaps it's the chunks of sand mixed with water that offer such a grit feeling. None the less, I can feel myself waning... losing blood... dying... 

 

I look to my right and a calm peace would wash over me. The body of Hyza could be seen, and from my position, I could tell she still had a heart beat. I could tell she would still live, and I hoped more than anything that she would choose to do just that. Though I felt remorse that I couldn't save everyone else, deep down this was enough for me. Regardless of the Angel's plan, my life was my own and I ended it in a way I could come to terms with. 

 

Within the sky, a shooting star flashes before me and I come to the realization that it was my life. In just a blink of an eye, as quickly as the star shot through my vision, I could see it all. Every memory, every scent, every taste, every smell, every emotion... it was all there in my imagination. From these rotating pictures I can see it all. I can see all that was before me, all that lead up to me, and all that will pass me.

 

The shooting star was me. The Angel of Light would be reincarnated once more some day, eventually, somewhere. A part of me would be with him, and we would fight with another warrior against the darkness. It would be an endless cycle, but one that was necessary to preserve life and the greater good of all. If my death meant the life of Hyza, or the life of thousands in the near future, then I gladly welcome this eternity of slumber. Until I awaken again, in a new body, my lifeless body shall return to the earth. The Sword of Darklore would eventually find its way home again... but I have no doubt that it will be useful for others until then. For now, I leave the fate of this city in the hands of the Dragon King and its people. I know that Orisia will not bow down to a parasite, and this evil will not, and cannot, stand...

 

 

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Fading Light

 

A lot had happened in such a short amount of time. For everything that had happened, Leo wondered if it was all meant to lead up to this very moment in time. After having his beloved Dollya robbed of life, journeying to find the spirit of La'Ruta and bringing her back, to not being able to see her again... it felt so wrong. Thanks to the Sorcerer, he felt as if he were being robbed. In essence, given the current situation, he truly was.

As the power of the Inversion worked its way upon him, Leo could feel his body being stripped from all that which was deemed 'good.' A trance-like state had washed over him while his chameleon eyes rolled into a white hue. The fallen angel would retract into the recess of his mind, holding onto what little was left with everything he had. Transcending the physical limitations of Morgana, though his body would remain, Leo would guard his mind until there was nothing left. 
 

- - - - - - - - -

Upon inspection of his mind, he would take witness to how horrible the situation truly had become. The three demons that were locked inside were now roaming free and on their own. Though they still remained tethered to each other, their rampage within him was destroying what light was left inside him. Leo knew, that if all the light within him were to fade, the power of the Inversion would finally grab hold and that all the others he cared so much about in Morgana would be in grave danger. 
 

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Brandishing his new silver wings, Leo would push forth with a burst of speed. A single hand would grasp upon a bone-like structure attached to his wings as he pulled it forth. A small wince of pain could be seen across his face as he removed the object from its sheathed position. A long silver sword, matching the color of his own wings would be produced as it glowed with a small radiant light. The sword itself, if anything, would be the last to fall to such darkness... and as long as the blade continued to gleam, there would still be hope.
 
Three against one hardly seemed fair, and considering his last
encounter with these three demons almost didn't pan out so well, Leo would have to give it his all. The small militia that helped him before wouldn't be here this time to save him, he didn't have his friends here, he had no one but himself. It was a good thing, or so he hoped, that he had grown much since then. Not only was he becoming a man in his own right, his growth would be shown in his body, his emotions, his rage and hate, his skills, and his determination. Leo wouldn't give in so easily, and he would have to do everything within his power to stop it.   
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With sword in hand, Leo would swiftly pursue the demons head on. His first target would be upon the far left in the air. Expanding his wings and pushing them with a strong burst, the Angel would take to flight. Closing in with a rapid approach, the demon would pay him no mind as the rampage continued. Taking advantage of this, Leo would make this blow count. His sword would sing and hum, glowing with warmth as the taste of demonic blood drew near. Pulling the sword back, Leo would use all his might with a single thrust aimed at the demon's spinal area. The blade would aim true and pierce the demonic flesh with near perfect accuracy, signaling a successful hit by the cry and scream of the beast.
 
Instinctively, the creature would twist and turn, thrash around as the sword had lodged its way into his spine. Only until Leo relinquished his weapon from the creature's body, would it fall to the floor of his mind and squirm in anger. Somehow, someway, the creature wasn't completely paralyzed. Despite the successful hit, the two remaining creatures would now have his full attention. Though they would seize their rampage, the devastation they already caused was alarming. His mind was becoming darker and darker by the minute, and the creature down below slamming its claws and body into the ground with pain would flake away the little light that surrounded it.
 
The two chained demons would rush in towards Leo at the same time. Preparing himself, the Angel would cant his sword and press forward. His chameleon eyes would watch as the chain shifted between the two and the third upon the ground. His mind would race as they closed in with an impressive speed he wasn't quite ready for. The demon to his right would produce a wave of pure energy as it rushed him. Leo would pull his wing in and dodge to the side quickly, narrowly missing the attack. Yet, as the blast pushed past him, it would slam into the mental spaces of his mind and successfully destroy more light. The amount of raw energy in combination to the further deterioration of his mind, caused him hesitation which set him up for the secondary blast by the last demon. A massive demonic hand filled with claws would slam into him, combined with the metal chains that were whipped at him, would send Leo flying across the darkness of his mind.
 
As his body hit the ground, sliding several feet, he could see particles of light vanishing before his eyes. Blood had spilled from his lips as he looked back in the direction of his foes. One demon still on the ground, another had gone back to destroying, and the third remained fixed on him. He watched as the second went back to destroying, using its body to hold onto the ground, spreading the darkness of its very essence into the surrounding area to complete the power of the Inversion. It was then, that Leo could feel the crackling of power come from behind him. He had no idea what it could be, but it wasn't good... it felt as if his entire mind was going to collapse, as if the power was going to take him over. 
 
Before Leo could look over his should, the flat of a sword would be resting upon his left shoulder as the tip of the blade could be visibly seen. Someone, something with a sword, pushed itself into his mind. Though he didn't understand at first, he looked back to see who or what it was. A man clad in a scale-like armor had been produced, standing tall and strong. Leo could feel who it was, knowing that the man within the dragon armor was none other than the
 Dragon King himself. If the man wasn't threatening him with a sword right now, Leo would have thought of the man as a heroic looking figure... unfortunately it felt more like executioner. 
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Though it wasn't the best timing in the world, it looked like Ayden had arrived just in time. Using the power of the dragon within him, he was thankful that there was enough power left to reach Leo. Despite Ayden's battle against the Sorcerer and the advent of his children being born, the Dragon King couldn't ignore this. Ayden knew, as well as Leo, that this day would come... and they would both do whatever was necessary for the greater good. How much light do you have left? His voice was cold and demanding as he took in his surroundings while holding Leo at sword point.

Enough.

 

The light response of the Angel caused the Dragon to smile ever so slightly, but the reality of the situation hadn't fallen short upon either of them. Ayden would remove the sword from Leo before stepping to his side and helping him up. The Dragon King's voice would push out once more in a tone of warning. I will kill you before I let anything happen to them. Despite the obvious threat, it was one that Leo was more than comfortable with. Truth be told, he wouldn't want it any other way. If Leo couldn't stop these demons, if they robbed him of all his light and the Inversion were to happen, he would never be able to to live with himself. If his death meant saving the lives of hundreds or thousands, then he would do so with a smile on his face. 

 

With the two of them side by side, they would analyze the single demon that stood before them. The creature would use its tattered wings to propel itself forward. The massive creature held no fear or content, just a primal rage that knew nothing other than to destroy. Whatever was in its way didn't matter, they were chaotic and free. The Angel and Dragon looked at each other one last time before offering a head nod and reacting.

 

Ayden's dragon armor would coil and retract as it sprung his body into motion. The cape would flicker in an imaginary wind as it guided him across the floor of Leo's mind. His feet would never hit the ground as he closed in, building the fire within him. He wouldn't have to look back, because he knew that Leo was right behind him. On his tail, the Angel would drift in the wake of the Dragon's speed. 

 

As both the Dragon King and Demon came within striking distance, the two would clash. The Dragon King would unleash an inferno of blue fire from his maw that spewed onto the demon. As the fiery wave came crashing into the Demon, the creature's action would freeze the fire and the Dragon in its place. Like a stop action scene in a movie, a freeze frame had occurred with Ayden and his blue fire. Luckily for them, Leo was still free of such power. 

 

Diving through the flames of the Dragon King, using his silver wings to protect him from the fire, the Angel would spin through the heat like a projectile. The unexpected demon was more focused on the Dragon, that it didn't notice the light breaking free from the blue flames. Exiting the fire, Leo would engage the target with his sword once more. With his own celestial energy, Leo would run the silver sword right through the demon's heart and flood the creature with his power. 

 

Another perfect strike, piercing the heart had caused the demon to stutter step and stun itself. The demon practically froze, in disbelief of such a sneak attack, that it fumbled for a few seconds before collapsing to the ground. Collapsing on the ground the creature would begin to break free of its chains and binds, the darkness that created such a creature would break down and turn the demon into ash. With the death of that demon, Ayden's fiery attack would dissipate and he would be free from the time-pause.

 

The two remaining demons could feel the death of their sibling. It shook them, it angered them. Even the one that had been attacked in the spine was healing and gaining its footing. Leo would take another step to pick up his sword, but would collapse to both knees. His hands would grasp his head in pain as the light from the world around them shattered nearly ten fold. The Angel would scream in pain as the Dragon King watched. Utilizing his angelic powers had unexpectedly consumed the light around him, draining him of his life force, and inadvertently assisting the Inversion with its process.

 

The critical situation looked like it was all about to collapse around them. Ayden was more than certain that Leo was about to fold and buckle, losing himself to the darkness of the Inversion. With a heavy heart and sword in hand, the Dragon King would watch the last of Leo's light fade to darkness. Even Leo's sword would flicker and dim at an alarming pace. It was then, that he would swing his massive sword down upon Leo. There would be no words of sorrow, no time to express regret or the complaint of not wanting this task. Ayden didn't find peace in knowing that he could be saving thousands of other lives by ending Leo's. The two were connected from the start like brothers, sharing a common enemy despite their very different upbringings. Ayden only wished... he didn't have to do this. Just as his sword had come down for the final blow, time would freeze once more as the sword stopped only an inch from Leo's neck. 

 

...I can end this all... 

...you are to protect La'Ruta, not die...

...think of Dollya, think of the others...
...I cannot solve this for you without a price... Your celestial spirit, erased...

...In return, you will have your humanity...
Deal...

 

A silver light would erupt from Leo's body and explode in a frenzy of La'Ruta power. The sword that had come crashing down would be broken into several pieces, being shattered, and causing him no harm. The Dragon King would pull his arm to his face as time would unfreeze, protecting him from the blinding light that threatened to swallow him whole. It would do just that, plus much much more. The power would stretch far and wide, past Ayden and to the demons that still lingered within his mind. As the silver light traveled with a godly speed, it would consume every inch of his mind and erase the darkness that threatened him. 

 

He could feel it instantly. Leo could feel relief, could feel the blanket of security once more as he knew that he was safe from the Inversion. His silver wings had fallen from his body, and while he expected it to be painful... there was none. It was as if they were never a part of him. The power of La'Ruta would swell within his body, retracting from his former wings and into his very core. His chameleon eyes would turn a shade of silver as they scanned his mind. Everything was... gone. The Dragon King had been pushed out of his mind, no doubt returning to his own situation. 

 

Now that Leo was human though, the world around him would collapse. This manifestation of reality could not exist for humans to hide within. It happened very quick, but the walls would burst and darkness would return. Leo's eyes would close as his heart would race. His human senses would kick in before his eyes would open once more. He was back within Castle Heights, the Sorcerer was before him and the audience around him had grown. It was time to finish this, even if he didn't have his former weapon... he would find a way.

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