16th chapter of IW S2.
The Dusk SettlesEdit
Penumbra/Day 6 (earlier than above)/Hyrule Castle
These people of Hyrule, these former penitents to the Golden Triune, were very receptive to the Blessings of the Dusk. From his own lifeblood, Penumbra drew the markings of the Faithful upon their skin, and through a consecration of Warp were they forever branded and changed.
How odd it was they reminded him, when tattooed thus and steeped in Dusk, of the race in which he had once counted himself member. They resembled, in this twisted fashion, none other than the Twili. He marveled at the sanctity of Dusk, and its wisdom in this showing. And this he preached to his converted flock.
"[hl=#BA55D3]See, now, see! As in death, so in Dusk; all are made equal. My Master comes, and your Master approaches, and through our sins we will be known and made pure! The Dusk touches all, and changes it. As you are anointed in this Duskblood, you are dedicated unto Umbra, absolved by Warp! This benediction will see you ready, and you will embrace the Coming, while your countrymen wail, gnashing their teeth at that which they do not want but cannot resist![/hl]"
Eyes closed, he summoned more of his Dusk-tainted blood through his pores, which dripped into a goblet.
"[hl=#BA55D3]The final sacrament![/hl]" he announced to the congregation. "[hl=#BA55D3]But a sip will open your mind, and you will see Umbra, and know her beauty! You will know her for her scorn, and her coming love![/hl]"
The first of the delirious mass crawled forward on his knees, hands held up to this wicked clergyman. "I will know Her! Bring first Her Blessing unto me, wise Penumbra!"
Penumbra smiled down at the man. "[hl=#BA55D3]My child, you will be rewarded for your fervor.[/hl]" He lowered the goblet, holding it against the man's lips and tilting it forward. "[hl=#BA55D3]And you shall be the second to enter Her embrace and lose your mind.[/hl]"
A single sip slid past the man's throat, and immediately her curled into a fetal ball on the steps of the dais. His jaw stretched, and wispy smoke swirled forth from his mouth and his nose. His eyelids spread unnaturally open, revealing solid caliginous eyes of swirling darkness.
"[hl=#BA55D3]Look into his eyes, my children, and you shall know the truth to the saying that they are 'windows to the soul'. But do not lose yourself in this man's Embrace, for your own is imminent, and it would not do to spoil the pleasure for yourself, living vicariously in his bliss![/hl]"
The next man came forward, accepting the cup from Penumbra, and he too curled onto the steps of the dais as the first unfurled his limbs. The first rose, caliginous eyes wide with wonder. He spoke with a voice half there and half not.
"It is the single most amazing thing I have ever known. I saw Her, I saw Umbra, and She is as Penumbra has said. And now the world is fresh, and new. I feel as though I am experiencing it for the first time. Before, everything was too real to be real, but now? Now, it is not real enough to be illusion!"
Penumbra smiled at his convert, and stroked his mind with a mental tendril. They were linked through the Warp, now. As much a part of each other as two fingers from the same hand.
It was not long before they were all through the ceremony, ingested by Warp as much as they had ingested it in Penumbra's Duskblood. Very few had died, unable to handle the twisting nether o Dusk as it invaded their very being. None were mourned, their purpose had been served, and the Dusk had chosen. And with each surviving, the room grew darker, the geometry less uniform. By mere congregation of so many Warp-tainted in such a small area, the fabric of reality was loosening.
Hyrule Castle was falling into shadow. From outside, a cloud of darkness hung around the structure, noticeably visible yet clearly imperceptible. It shone darkest when the wave of divine energy poured across the city: the Castle itself seemed to shrink away from the light, though the wave of luminescence did not penetrate the pall over the once-holy building.Chamdar Taliesin – Astral Plane – Sixth Day
All about was a world of smoke and mist, immaterial and vague, wholly unlike the mortal world of flesh and bone and blood in which they dwelt. He stood, if one could be said to do such a thing here, in the astral plane, a place of the mind and spirit connected to but separate from the physical world of Hyrule. Long ago had Chamdar learned to shed the burden of his body, and let his spirit extend out into the universe. It was, after all, a necessary function of his position.
But never before had he pulled another to him in that place from the mortal realm.
Having withdrawn from his confrontation with the undead queen, that profane creature of vile magic, he had intended to retreat to a position that would afford his vision the scope he desired. He had meant to overlook the field of battle, and to survey the forces arrayed there against him, and perhaps with him as well.
When Aurgelmir went cold as the arctic ice against his hip, however, he’d known that plans were going to have to change. There were matters that required a greater measure of attention. The walking dead would have to wait; they were a symptom only, after all, of the situation that Hyrule had been hurled into. In a mere six days the land had degenerated into a chaotic state of war and confusion, and while the Twili remained the greatest threat, there was already a Scion assigned to oversee the waging of that particular war.
Chamdar’s task in Hyrule was perhaps no less important, but considerably more specialized. It was why he was where he was, and with whom.
”Taden Hothnight, or do you still go by Merlot?” He spoke slowly, addressing his foe in a deliberate, measured tone. Even the question of Taden's surname was calculated, intended to draw history forth into the present. ”It has been a very long time.”
His hand, or what passed for a hand in this place, reached down to the hilt that was belted at the waist of his cassock, drawing with it the eyes of Hothnight the Hated. In this place they appeared as phantoms of their physical selves, given form by their thoughts and expectations. Chamdar, for the purpose of this meeting, had brought the image of the sword with him.
”I believe you remember this?”
”I thought as much.” Chamdar went on, hardly affording his conversation partner a chance to speak. He knew well the things the silver-tongued Terminian could do if he were allowed to orate unimpeded. ”You’ve been quite busy these past few days, Taden. Possessions, plagues, various and sundry other spectral hijinx, it’s all quite impressive given your… condition. However, it is becoming rather inconvenient.”
Chamdar smiled despite the company. He and Taden went back far indeed. It was, at times, difficult to keep straight in his head all of the experiences that they had shared. The fighting, the deaths, the revivals, they all became jumbled after so many centuries of struggle. Where Taden was a blight upon the land, a force of unrivaled destruction and chaos, Chamdar was the equal and opposite, a force to combat the pervasive pall of his hatred. All of that history, all of the shared experience, inundated his thoughts as he faced the fragmented ghost of his greatest foe. Each had taken on a multitude of façades and personas in their time, and each had walked in the light as well as the dark, and every place in between. They were like unto one another, yet wholly different. Light and Dark, Order and Chaos, Good and Evil, they were a representation of every dichotomy one could readily think of.
Perhaps that was why Chamdar had so often found himself drawn to the Hated. He’d done battle with many over his nearly incalculable years of service, and yet he’d never felt so vividly defined as he was when contrasted against Taden Hothnight. It was a remarkable feeling, and so very rare, to know exactly who you were and what you stood for without room for doubt or speculation. For Chamdar it was the times in which he struggled against his Terminian foil that he felt truly certain of himself, that he could see himself with such incredible clarity.
”I remained back when you seized control of the Sheikah girl, not wishing yet to draw your attention to my presence. Now though, I am beginning to realize how industrious you have been of late, and how little I can afford to keep my attentions fixated elsewhere.
“I brought you here, Taden Hothnight the Hated, to inform you that you have become, as of this day, my first priority.”
IC: The Ghost of Taden's Ghost / Astral Plane / Day 6
“I brought you here, Taden Hothnight the Hated, to inform you that you have become, as of this day, my first priority.”
The spectral mask of Taden's Ghost grimaced. "Priorities? Please..."
"Priority...order...structure...definition...All these abstractions are meaningless outside the thin veil of Light that your Goddesses cast upon this Realm. Anarchy, discord, chaos and pandemonium...these are the true face behind the sacred mask, the stuff of oblivion, of the abyss into which your Matrons hurl their feeble signs and symbols, their Golden Triangles and sacred talismans. And it is into this void that all your Order will eventually dissolve, into the infinite entropy of the cold and the dark."
The specter of a specter dissolved into a fine mist, and spoke to Chamdar from everywhere at once.
"I am not afraid of the dark, Taliesin. I knew you before the Goddesses raised you up on this sanctimonious pedestal, and deluded you with these visions of divine pomp and grandeur. I knew you when you were but a conjurer from the hills, a wandering old fool bent on harassing a boy from Clock Town. If you have brought me here today to tell me I am your first priority, I am here to retort that I will break your holy law and usurp it with black lawlessness. I will tear the Goddesses' mask from this forsaken Realm and show its true face to the empty heavens above!"
The long katana at Chamdar's side began to glow an icy hue and ring with a cold, clear resonance.
"Called Aurgelmir by the Yeti who forged it, Ataxia by the Hylians who stole it, I do not forget the Syzygy Sword nor what you have done to me with it. Know ye well what chaos, what discord, thou hath wrought on my very soul, and yet look what unexpected devilry I hath wrought in return, in thanks entirely to the judgment you rendered against me! Such lack of foresight is shameful in a seer of the Goddesses. What once I loathed your very core for having done, now I can hardly be but grateful to you for! For thanks to you, I now see all of Hyrule, and I stand at its four corners..."
Opening a hole in the mist of his presence, Taden gave Chamdar a glimpse of what he saw through the vessels he had assumed throughout the Realm, in those who had taken on his Hated Relics--the Knife, the Cloak, the Mask, and the Coin. On the Astral Plane, he could reach through the barriers of the minds he had once possessed, and see into the worlds of Polaris and Lynn Hothlight. The Maskmaker's Knife he had reclaimed, and built a new body from the Dead Heart of the Forest golem, but his Raiment had been absorbed into Hothlight's very soul to endow herself with cryomancy that rivaled his own. He showed Chamdar his so-called Allies, beaten and bloodied, licking their wounds in an underground cave in the heart of Twili territory. He showed Chamdar the caravan of Hylian refugees, with Whie Malreaux huddled amongst the masses as they neared the Kakariko canyons, holding the Monkey Mask close to his chest. And finally, he showed Chamdar Hyrule Castle Town, from the lofty vantage of his own ghost's eyes floating high above the ravaged ruins of the city, the Maskmaker's Knife hanging in the Dead Heart.
"Even now, an army of undead soldiers surrounds the Castle, enchanted by a great necromancer's evil. Your exit diminished their ranks, but they advance still. A parasitic hive of demons commanded by a succubus whose powers of manipulation defy mortal exorcism threatens to raise a new temple of suffering in the midst of these Hylian ruins. What townspeople remain have descended into roving gangs of marauders that curse the King's name and heathen clans of idolaters that perform blood rites on the very altar where you once presided over the Triune sacraments, that altar now forsaken due to the faithlessness of a godless City. To the west, the Twili army grows stronger, and my own witchcraft plunges Lanayru into an arctic wasteland compounded by the dark artes of the Twili Quell's Pentagram. To the south, the Interloper forces prepare their campaign against you and your Allies from the occupied swamplands where they started this war, with the detonation of the Forest Medallion just days ago. And to the east, your King cowers in a covered wagon, a coward cursing the clouded heavens that close their eyes to him. Your war was lost before it even began. As fell the Castle, the Goddess-forsaken Hyrule Castle itself lying in ruins, so shall the rest of this Goddessless Realm fall and lay in ruin. In the midst of such inevitability, the infinite vacuum of entropy and chaos, small wonder you should fixate on me, a mere wraith in the dim."
Finally, Taden lowered the cloud of mist he had become to the floor where Chamdar stood, and at his feet he opened up a portal containing a vision of the underworld, where the Ma Dusk that had possessed Habiki now resided among a coven of lesser demons whom he had turned to his will, the Storm Medallion waiting patiently in his breast. The Ma had a powerful mind indeed, but not so powerful that it was immune to Taden's influence. He spoke to it even now through the influence of the Storm Medallion, and slowly worked his magic on the enormous beast.
"You see, Taliesin? I am everywhere. I am in this world yet not of it; I am beneath it, in its most damnable depths, and I am above it, here in the heavens with you. At any moment, I can rise up and destroy this world like a candle in a blizzard. And there is but one thing standing in my way..."
At that, Taden rematerialized, his astral projection returning from its foggy form, and lunged at Chamdar with an arm out towards the Syzygy blade at his hip. Unhesitatingly Chamdar unsheathed the etheral projection of the blade, though the true sword stayed in its sheath wherever Chamdar's physical body remained. And even in this phantasmal facsimile of their physical forms, Aurgelmir ushured forth a mighty wind glowing white, and Taden was rent apart in the celestial squall unleashed.
When it cleared, Taden was gone, along with his mist, and Chamdar stood alone on the Astral Plane.
Chamdar Taliesin - Hyrule Field - Sixth Evening
"You see, Taliesin? I am everywhere. I am in this world yet not of it; I am beneath it, in its most damnable depths, and I am above it, here in the heavens with you. At any moment, I can rise up and destroy this world like a candle in a blizzard. And there is but one thing standing in my way..."
Chamdar departed the astral plane when their exchange concluded. Taden was still Taden, regardless of the form he took. As he considered those final words he wondered how his frigid foe did not see it.
"You look out through so many pairs of eyes, Taden Hothnight, and yet you do not see." Chamdar mused to himself. Though centuries at least had passed since last they stood before one another, it was ever the same. Taden was as Kinslayer was, though Taden was first among them. An instrument of chaos, wholly without care or conscience. The tenor of their interactions seldom changed. They were, as always, diametrically opposed. "You scoff at my intentions, but extol to me at such length the scope of your influence, and the darkness of your own machinations. You do as I knew you would.
"Your words lend credence to my fears, and give strength to my resolve."
His hand went to the sword at his hip, no longer radiating its sinister chill.
"Things remain unchanged, even though the whole of the world has changed around us."
Taden knew he possessed the blade, and Chamdar knew that he would come for it in time. But Taden had done something that Chamdar had not expected. In his towering arrogance, Taden Hothnight had given the Divine Hand a glimpse of all that which his spirit touched and poisoned with his hate. The Knife, the Cloak, the Mask, and the Coin. The vessels that contained and held separate the pieces of Taden's icy soul. The vessels into which those pieces had been banished.
Chamdar's thoughts were dark. He'd known this day would come, that his solution had been a temporary one, but Taden didn't understand fully the preparations that the aged sorcerer had made. So long as the fragments remained apart the full influence of the Hated was fractured. He had plans, he thought, and they bid him north. If those plans did not yield the desired fruit, however, his mission would become darker still. Taden wished undone all that which the Goddesses had built, and over which they presided. Thus was it Chamdar's task to oppose him no matter the lengths to which he must go. If it came to it, and all his plans turned to ash, then he would enact one final countermeasure against the Hated.
All those vessels of his soul, scattered and divided as they were, would have to be killed. The fragments of Taden's soul contained within their own would have to be destroyed. Chamdar did not revel in the prospect of murder, but faced with the alternative...
He would do what he must.
Isaac the Kinslayer – Hyrule Castle – Sixth Day
His lips drew back in a snarl of contempt as he walked through the burned out sections of Hyrule Castle, casting about his gaze over the smoldering stone and splintered wood. Of late, the devastation of the realm had risen to a level not seen in centuries. Wars came and went and Hyrule was often torn apart in the offing, more than once by his own hands. Still, events seemed somehow different this time, more terrible in their way.
He felt the Brand burn wrathfully upon his chest, as though it could sense his intentions and was railing against them. The power of the Warp was thick in the air here as it enshrouded the Castle. Isaac knew that the Brand reviled that sinister power, and thus he approached it with conviction. He ignored the burning upon his flesh, even though the sensation of such vindictive heat would have had others writhing about on the rubble strewn flagstones beneath his boots. It would cease soon enough.
He saw no other option, and in truth the Dusk intrigued him. He was finished being the slave of the Brand Serpent, finished being the puppet. The Interlopers would try to control him, but they knew him not. They would seek to make him their hound, but would find only a mad dog snarling at the end of their leash. They would not long entertain such notions.
Past the destruction at the gate the castle was largely untouched by the turmoil. Ornate tapestries lined the walls, depicting the various trials and triumphs of Hyrule’s past. Torches burned in brackets set at regular intervals in the wall between the tapestries. His footsteps echoed endlessly through the corridor, giving the impression that he came with a host at his back.
He passed a window of elegant stained glass. He surveyed it for a moment, and then peered through a section of clear glass that, while distorted, looked out to the parched lands beyond. He had been killed there not long past, but preserved had he been by the creature whose image was burned into his abdomen. Could the Dusk do the same? Did he even care? He’d never died before. Not like Taden, for whom it was a regular event. He had no intentions of revisiting the experience.
Moments after he was back to roaming the corridors, wondering at the stability of reality in the castle as he strode purposefully forward. He was drawing near something, and the clearly ordered lines and planes and surfaces seemed to bend and distort, or were different altogether from what they should have been. The fabric of time and space was not right here, something was affecting it profoundly.
It had to be the Warp.
The castle’s chapel appeared suddenly at his right where there had not been a door before. Had he been taken elsewhere in the castle, or had reality bent to present the chapel to him in its improper place? Dusk was indeed a powerful force, and worth exploring.
His hand drifted to the Sun Shard, tucked carefully in the back of his belt, concealed within the folds of his robe. It was a powerful tool, and one that he was not willing to yield. To free himself from the beast that styled itself his master, he would need powerful forces at his command. Thus did he place his hand on the chapel door and push it inward.
The chapel, once a place of worship dedicated to the Golden Triune, the Goddesses of the realm, Din, Farore, and Nayru, now was a place of perversion and darkness. The fabric of reality itself was fraying here under the strain of the Dusk, tearing beneath the weight of that chaotic power. Men and women convulsed on the floor with looks of rapture written on their faces as their eyes, like deep caverns of swirling black, stared off at nothing that could be seen.
Standing atop the dais of the chapel, smiling his depraved benediction over all those succumbing even in that moment to the power of Dusk, stood a man. At least, Isaac believed he was something like unto a man. He was Twili, or had been. Something about him was different, wrong or changed in some way, affected by chaos. He was young, or had been. Age did not seem as consequential as it once might have. His posture bespoke the life of a soldier, a trained fighting man, but his countenance now was ruled by religious zeal.
The very light itself seemed to shrink from him.
Isaac’s eyes flashed hot, sooty red for a moment as the fires burning within his flesh rose as though to a crescendo. He should have been writhing on the floor with those at his feet. He did not move. His eyes were fixated on the other, the one standing atop the dais. He was looking back over the rest to him.
”Is this what you seek? Zealots who cower before the Warp as these here do? Is this the following you desire?” His voice was dark, his eyes alight. He moved through the throng, stepping over the trembling figures upon the stone. Each motion was sinuous and serpentine, possessed of an economy of motion that conjured images of a coiled viper. His snarl faded as the corner of one side of his mouth curled up into his typical lop sided sneer of contempt veiled by only the thinnest layer of mirth. His eyes never left the face of the herald, even as he traced an uneven path through the chapel. Reality twisted and changed, groaning beneath the weight of the Dusk. ”Or perhaps you seek a different sort. These here will serve so far as they are able, but weakness suffuses them to their very cores. They were pitiful wretches before, and shall be so after.
“Tell me of the darkness you bring.” He came to it at last, the reason for his coming. His eyes never moved, never blinked. His smoldering gaze was fixed upon the visage of the herald. ”Tell me of the Warp.”
[b]Lucifer/Castle Construction/Sunset 6[/b]
The Rito stood within a few feet of his new mistress, truly seeing her for the first time. But he was not here to talk, he was here to build. He had heard the command, same as the rest of his new brothers, and he was willing to serve. Far more willing, in fact, than he had ever been for Eddard. Silently, he waited for the sun to set upon the destroyed city. He would receive his orders then, and he knew that, just like Eddard had done with him earlier, that he would perform them without hesitation. He had nothing to do but wait and watch, wait and watch. The darkness was coming, and he had a feeling that by the time it receded, this city would not be recognizable.
Penumbra/Hyrule Castle Warp Cathedral/Six Afternevening
Penumbra gazed deep into the eyes of this newcomer. There was a deep, dark heat simmering the soul of this one. Something... familiar, but entirely foreign. Nonetheless, the Herald smiled.
"You have felt the blessings of Dusk already, I can sense it pulsing in time to your heartbeat." He twirled his finger in the air, leaving a smoky circle trailed before him. "As much you wish to know the Warp, it yearns to know you." Penumbra cupped the caliginous ring above his palm. "To skirt so near, yet remain apart. You are a man of great will... or perhaps you curry the favor of another Great Power." His breath caressed his palm and bid the loop of Dusk drift to Isaac's face. "Let us test that mettle."
The smoke wafted its way into Isaac's breath, invading his lungs. Small doses of Warp energy absorbed into Isaac's bloodstream, suffusing him in the Dusk. The blood carried these energies into his brain, and Isaac's eyes rolled back into his head as his body collapsed to the floor.
"Return alive, and you will find that you have learned all you ever wanted to know, and perhaps some you will wish you hadn't."
[b][hl=darkblue][color=yellow]Whie Malreaux[/color][/hl]/Day 6/Kakariko Caravan[/b]
Whie slipped out of the wagon to find the caravan circled together for protection against a band of bullbo-riding bulblins. The escort soldiers rallied around the wagon circle, readying spears and arrows to deter the attackers. Whie smirked. Here was a chance for some fun.
He shimmied through a gap in the wagons, joining the line of soldiers. The only real question on his mind was [i]who[/i] to kill: the beasts, or the soldiers?
"[hl=darkblue][color=yellow]Or maybe just both...[/color][/hl]"
Electricity sparked off his flesh as he strode forward, heralding his approach. For those unobservant that missed even this cue, he fired a bolt forward, instantly frying the brain of one of the bullbos, sending the rider skidding along the ground as his mount crashed into a heap of seared flesh.
Poe Taden / Castle Town Ruins to Castle Cathedral / Dusk 6
Taden found himself hovering in the shadows of a ruined alley. He was almost corporeal in this thin shade, and he could feel himself becoming more opaque as the sun lowered in the sky. Without any firelight around to illuminate him, he marveled at the way he could hold his hand up and see it not, for the darkness of the shadow enveloping him, only to move it into the fading light, and still find it invisible. He grinned inwardly. Something in the mysterious properties of this Dead Heart left him unseen except when no one could see him.
Under cover of darkness, he set out for the inner sanctum of Hyrule Castle, where his Relics had first been laid. Chamdar was moving faster than Taden had expected. "The old man is more spritely without the weight of the world on his shoulders," he thought to himself. Taden would have to test just how little of a priority the modern war was to Taliesin, and tempt him to take his eyes off of Aurgelmir for a moment. "You may think yourself above the war now, Taliesin, but you will be brought low..."
Taden rose into the sky on a breeze and sailed towards the Castle, dissolving into a cloud of plague-ridden air. He aimed for the structure with the most windows, the Cathedral with its stained glass, and swept in through the cracks between the windows' iron frames. Currents of air rushed in from every direction, but before materializing, Taden took in the surroundings.
A tall sorcerer of some kind stood at the altar, and a mind-altering energy radiated from his body. Hylians kneeled and kissed the ground around him, some bowing in awe or stupor, lolling their limbs at the sorcerer's feet, others convulsing in wretched ecstasy on the steps of the altar. This was the cult of evil that had crept up in the wake of Taden's destruction, ignorant peasants desperate for a god and a psychotic magician eager to give it to them. Taden wondered if the Hylians' faith in the Goddesses he had destroyed only the night before was started in the same depraved fashion.
Suddenly, Taden felt an intense warmth coming towards the Cathedral, and knew Isaac Telamon was about to enter. When the fire mage burst through the massive doors of the church, Taden swept out of the nave over his head, knowing Isaac would be able to detect him if they were in the same room. All of Castle Town had been plunged to a frigid depth by Quell's Pentagram, so Taden could move undetected by aeromancers, but if Isaac were to warm up a room Taden would be noticed quickly. Outside of closed quarters, though, he had the advantage over Isaac, invisible and insensible in the mirk of cold and shadow.
As the tall doors slammed shut, Taden pressed up to them from the outside, and listened to Isaac as he spoke with the deranged mystic. He asked the man about the Warp, and this caused a palpable change in the psychic energy of the Cathedral, emanating through the heavy door. Taden dropped down to the floor and looked under its crack, just in time to see Isaac fall to the ground under the mystic's spell. Taden pulled himself up. "Well, well...it looks like Telamon has met his match. Pity there's no giant flaming serpents about to help him..."
Just after Isaac hit the ground, Taden thrust the doors of the Cathedral open, sending a frigid gust of air over his shoulders that put out all of the sanctuary's candles and torches. He stepped forth into the temple with flowing black robes, translucent enough to show the Dead Heart dimly in his chest. He raised his Phantom Lantern and expelled the heat from the room, except for that generated by Isaac. Whispering curses under his breath, he chilled the air until the entranced worshippers were lulled into a deep sleep, their bloodflow slowing and the vapor of their breath forming clouds on their quivering lips. Ordinary Hylians such as these would be unlikely to survive a full night exposed to such cold, if the plague coating the air didn't kill them first. The lethal cold would slow the spread of the disease through their bodies, but then, this night was just getting started.
As the mystic's followers fell into slumber, Taden flew into the air and levitated over Isaac's prostrate form, sending a cascade of cold air billowing downward onto the fire mage's body. Frost began to collect on his brow, like that of everyone else in the room, only to melt into sweat and steam, which gathered around Taden in wisps. The mist created a vector for the disease he had gathered from the cattle he killed at the ranch out of town, and compounded with the airborne toxins of the dead and undead littering the Ruins of Hyrule Castle Town. This cloud of death he directed at the unholy mystic. "I am not interested in your Warp, magician, but it appears you lord over this Castle at the moment."
Taden raised his cold lantern into the air, the only light in the room, and cast his cool glare into the tattooed mystic's crazed eyes. The lantern cast a blue light across the glistening coat of frost that veiled the stone altar between. Lifting the lantern higher, the mist rising around him from Isaac's body drifted across the altar towards the black mage, tempting him to inhale it, and the ethereal death it carried.
"Take me to your Dungeons, O Dungeon Master."
Monkey Taden / Eastern Hyrule Field / Evening 6
As Whie blasted the Bulbo-mounted raiders with lightning, a storm gathered overhead, and began to pelt the terrain with rain. Thunder growled within the clouds, and within Whie's mind, the growl was a primate's. "Mine!" the voice of a simian ice mage screamed into Whie's mind, filling his consciousness with a screeching terror. Seizing control of Whie's left arm, Taden had him grab the Monkey Mask, and put it on his face. "All mine!" he cackled, his own cold shriek breaking through Whie's vocal chords.
Leaping into the air in his monkey form, Taden descended on another Bulbin and chomped into his shoulder, sending waves of electricity coursing through his body. A bolt of lightning came down from the storm and struck the Bulbin, frying him and leaving Taden to control his boar. "Fun!"
Picking up the Bulbo's reins, Taden whipped the beast into a frenzy, and as it reared up on its hind legs Taden slammed his paw downward, bringing three lightning bolts down from the aether to set the tops of three of the caravan's wagons ablaze. As the Hylians scrambled in the chaos of rain, raiders, and flaming wagons, Taden whipped the Bulbo's reins again and rode it in a rampage towards the Bridge of Eldin.
The Gorons had built the bridge a century before, as a trade route with the Zoras, and Taden would have to break through their defenses if he wanted to reach Zora's Domain. He looked up at the brilliant red ruby that sat in the arc of the Bridge, a symbol of the Goron's dominion over it, and sent a bolt of lightning flying from his fingers straight towards it. The ruby did not shatter, but refracted the lightning in all directions, striking the Goron who stood guard at the southern gate of the bridge. As Taden neared the blocked gate of the bridge on his Bulbo, he let the beast charge headlong into the barricade and smash it, while he flipped off of its back and landed in the center of the shocked Goron.
"Die, Goron scum!" Taden tossed his tiny head back in maniacal laughter as ropes of lightning ripped out of his body to lash the guard, electrocuting him in the navel of his soft underbelly. He dropped to the ground seizing violently, then dropped dead. But before Taden could mount his boar again, two great Dodongo statutes on either side of the southern gate let forth a river of fire that buried the entire entrance in flame. Taden leapt onto his Bulbo, and the beast hurled itself out the inferno and back into the rain, putting a wall of fire between Taden and the Bridge of Eldin.
The flames climbed higher on the stone bridge until it were as if a drawbridge of flame had been raised up between the two guard towers, cleansing the rocky flesh of the fallen Goron's body. And then, from ramparts at the top of either tower, Taden saw four Goron archers taking aim at him with flaming arrows. He called out to them before they could shoot, "Curse you, rock munchers! The only good Goron's a dead Goron! The King of Hyrule sends his regards: there will be no peace on the Bridge of Eldin until it falls into Hylian hands! You tunneling mole creatures are hereby banished from the surface of this Realm! Get ye back into the tunnels whence ye crawled!"
With that, he fired four lightning bolts at the archers, then slapped his electric paws across the Bulbo's ears, urging it onward. When his words hit the Goron's ears, they let the thunderbolts bounce off their craggy heads without flinching, then lifted their bows to fire at Taden in a wide arc. One shot his Bulbo in the hindparts, and the pig beast squealed like a monster from hell and began stampeding back towards the chaos of the caravan where his brethren were circling. Taden had just time enough to see a Goron rolling off towards Death Mountain in a cloud of dust, sending word of the attack on the Bridge back to the Goron Elders. As he watched the Goron rolling away, one of three archers remaining shot an arrow into the Bulbo's saddle, catching it on fire. Taden struggled to control the Bulbo's reins as both their tails caught fire, but in this form it was all he could do to hold on without being thrown.
"Damn, foiled again!" Reaching up, Taden scratched at his face with one paw, and plucked the Monkey Mask off. Whie returned to his normal form, the seat of his pants still on fire, just as the Bulbo reached the beleagured caravan. It charged into the refugees who had fled the smoke-filled caravan in a panic, and gored two small children with its hooves before crashing into one of the flaming covered wagons.
"Some one take care of that thing!" Seishi yelled out to his platoon has he used he ice sabre enchantment to deal with the burning wagons.
The commanders yelling caused Megan to notice the rampaging bulbo. "Len, move you ass!"
"Right, right." The lethargic heavy swordsman called back as he positioned in the behemoth path. "The hell does that women think I was doing." He mumbled under his breath not noticing the lieutenant walking up behind him.
"She thinks you were taking your sweet ass time." The Lt fired back as he readied his sword.
"Ah, so the might Lieutenant Lon wants to go on a big hunt with me. Well sir, loser buys the first round." The two soldiers stepped the side of each other leaving enough room form the bulbo to pass buy. As the rage blind beast charged passed them on its way to another wagon they both swung their large swords at its legs with the full extent on their strength. One one side both the bulbo legs were sliced off at the thigh, on the other just the front leg was sliced off at the knee. "You know Lt I don't think you get to call me lazy any more. You're like twice my size and you only got half a leg." Len bragged as the two walked over the fallen beast where Ridden had end of his pike an inch for its riders neck.
"Cut the crap." Seishi said walking up behind them while motioning back to the wreckage of the wagon the thing had just destroyed were Laynnei trying her damnest to keep most of its inhabitants alive. Sadly at the forefront of its victims were to tiny bodies mangled far beyond anything even she could deal with.
"So kill him right?" Crim asked tightening his grip on the pike.
"Monkey..." Seishi said aloud to himself. He'd manage to catch most of what the rider had done before it went of to the bridge. The other three looked at him a bit confused until he final started talking again. "Tie him up and put a bad over his head, we're taking him with us.
"What!? Why look what he..." the Lt yelled in protest but stopped as Seishi just started walking away to go add what little help he could to his wife's efforts.
"A Hylian working with Bokoblin doesn't make sense. Besides, you didn't see what I did." He said back with out bothering to turn around.
Isaac the Kinslayer – In the Warp – Sixth Night
Madness. All the world was overturned in dark chaos just as before. Only what before had been whispers crawling within his skull, enticing him seductively, bidding him come, now were raging howls in the abyss of the Warp. He felt himself being pulled apart, felt himself becoming lost in the abyss of entropic madness, and he wondered why the experience was so much more jarring the second time.
The second time? Had he truly been here before? He could hardly keep himself grounded and conscious under the strain of the Warp, which threatened to tear him apart and consume him, but he thought he remembered… something. It took all of his mental control not to give himself to the Warp, and even then he knew it was a losing battle. The voices of that place, roaring angrily in his thoughts, commanded him to give himself to the power of Dusk, as though the Warp was in its own way conscious, or else something else existed within the Warp that was beckoning him to give in.
”You must not…” The voice died, and did not come again.
Kinslayer did not understand. He forced himself to remain focused, forced himself to remember. The Brand Serpent, it had been the Brand Serpent that had protected him, his slaver. The Warp was detrimental to the Beast’s control, and so Isaac had come willingly. He was conscious at least of that. That which the Brand opposed, Isaac was now interested in. But he needed answers; he would not give in blindly. Despite the incredible, titanic force of Dusk tearing at his essence as it howled in and assaulted his mind; he kept himself whole through sheer force of will alone. He was the Kinslayer, he was not weak.
”Give me the answers I seek! Tell me of the Warp!”
His thoughts, sent telepathically, echoed and reverberated through the Warp as though shouted in a canyon. He did not know whether he expected an answer or from whom, nor was he sure he could withstand the incredible, chaotic power of Dusk much longer, but he would not yield until he was certain.
Poe Taden (Habiki's Dead Heart + Maskmaker's Knife) / Castle Cathedral / Night 6
As Taden held his lantern up to scrutinize the necromancer at the altar, he heard a low groan coming from the fire mage behind him. Whatever effect this wizard's gas had on living brains, Isaac was enduring it in the land of dreams.
"Say, magic man," Taden turned back to face Penumbra, "if you're trying to enslave this guy, you'd better be careful. He's wily."
Taden floated through the air and descended to one knee at Isaac's ear. He steadied his palms a few inches from the fire mage's temples, sending a cool radiance into his mind that slowed his breathing. "This is Isaac Telamon, an evil sorcerer. He's not like these other townsfolk, he's sure to come to any minute." Taden amplified the cold coming from his hands, and Isaac began to groan and shiver. "See? He's already waking up!"
Taden swept one hand over Isaac's body, and a gust of air spread his long jacket open to reveal the tattoo on his chest.
"See this? It's a magic emblem that gives him the powers of a dark god. You don't want to mess with that!"
Taking flight again, Taden moved away from Isaac and settled on his feet at Penumbra's back. The Brand on Isaac's chest gave a smoldering glimmer as the turmoil howled in the Kinslayer's mind. "Look there, it's activating! There's a dragon lives in his belly. I've seen it in action!" Penumbra did not turn to look at Taden, but instead kept his gaze on the fire mage fallen before his altar. Taden continued to speak in low tones into his ear.
"If I were you, I'd lock this guy up and throw away the key. You may be able to overpower his mind eventually, but until then, best to keep him chained to a wall. Here, I'll help you..."
Taden moved his pale right hand through Penumbra's arm, and pointed at the symbol on Isaac's chest. A funnel of blue light gathered over the smoldering brand, then condensed into a plate of ice that coated Isaac's upper body. The simmering embers of the Serpent's eyes were reduced to black charcoal.
Taden withdrew his outstretched palm from Penumbra's side, but kept his incorporeal fingers overlapping with those of the Dusk being. "Why don't you have two of your minions here take him to the Dungeons? I'll escort them, and make sure that dragon of his is kept on ice..."
Monkey Taden (Whie + Monkey Mask) / Lanayru-Eldin Border / Night 6
The Monkey Mask was tied at Whie's waist, but the spirit within it raged in his mind like a wild animal. As the Lieutenant drew closer, the soldier holding the spear pulled back a few inches, and Whie caught a glimpse of the commander standing back from the action. At the sight of Seishi, the primal instincts in the simian mask took over, and Monkey Taden's frenzy broke through Whie's human face.
"MA!" the young boy screamed.
As the Lieutenant reached down to catch him, Whie bit down on the man's hand, piercing the fat of his thumb and electrocuting his chain mail. The shock was enough to make him jump back. Whie's eyes opened wide and his brow and jaws clenched. His knuckles contorted and he hunched his shoulders forward. He spread his lips wide to bare his grinding teeth.
Whie threw his head back, then lunged forward and grabbed the spear that a guard held to his neck, pulling it in towards himself and biting down on it just as he had done the Lieutenant's hand. He ripped the electrified spear from the guard's hands with the force of his neck and back, then plucked it from his teeth to hold up with one hand. He spun the spear around once, then leapt into the air to perch on one the frame of a covered wagon. Whie pumped the stolen spear into the air three times, and a shower of sparks rained down in an arc that fell on the wagon across from him.
As some of the guards watched the arc and gasped at the new fire, Whie slipped the Monkey Mask back on, and transformed into a hooting ape. Thunder clapped overhead as Monkey Taden squealed into the deepening night. "You'll never guess what I did to those Gorons! Oo, oo, oo! I'd get ready if I were you!"
Monkey Taden jumped into the air, then zipped across the ring of circled wagons in a ball of energy, carving a triangle of sparks through the air. "Catch me if you can! Hoohoo! Or is that all part of the plan? Hoohoo!" Taden leapt to the ground before the shocked guard whose spear he had stolen. The other guards had backed up, forming a circle around them inside the rising flames.
"HAH...!" Taden rattled his spear feverishly at the soldier and bared his long fangs. Then, as he kept his distance with the length of the spear, Taden scrunched up his nose to gather a bristling point of electricity right between his eyes. "...CHOO!" Taden fired the streak of electricity in an arc that shot past his spear, bounced off the ground between him and his opponent, then stabbed right into the solider's chestplate. "LET'S SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT!" When the bolt connected, Taden dove in with the spear, and attempted to stab the soldier in the neck, just as he had threatened him a moment before.
Penumbra/Night 6/Corrupted Castle Cathedral
Penumbra's flesh roiled in malign shadow that split the cloud of poisonous vapor. Even still, this new visitor approached and even managed to touch him. The Prophet remained resolute against this trespasser.
"Your interference here is unwarranted and unwanted. The Dusk fears nothing. It is eternal; it is ephemeral. This paltry serpentine mark threatens my master none at all, as the Hylians themselves offer nothing but amusement to you. Leave us to our ministrations, lest the Warp take heed of your interference."
He snapped his fingers, and the already weak purple glow of the Cathedral fell to a paltry dim. The congregation began to writhe and thrash, collapsing in heaps among the aisles and pews. A puddle of black sludge formed around each body, and with Penumbra's conducting hands, the sludge drew together and formed into a mockery of Hylian shape. The vaporous poisons in the air gathered into this monstrosity, and it grew in size at is accepted more of the plague.
"You seek the dungeon? So be it. Follow the Dusksblood Golem. We have ceremonies to complete for the opening of the Void."
IC: Taden's Ghost / Hyrule Castle / Night 6
From over Penumbra's shoulder, Taden watched the bodies of the Hylian heathens begin to writhe, then merge into a towering, clumsy brute with an eyeless face and a body as of smoke.
"Follow the Dusksblood Golem. We have ceremonies to complete for the opening of the Void."
If Taden had had nostrils, they would have flared at the stench of the witch doctor's golem. But, incorporeal, the awful fumes passed through him. On the currents of the air, he could taste the scent of blood, but poison in the air would find no blood to corrupt in him. He wondered if the witch doctor himself were so lucky.
"The Void, eh? Sounds serious. I should warn you though, I tend to have bad luck with ceremonies."
Taden lifted into the air over the magician's head, then settled in the aisle at the foot of the dais where Penumbra's Altar stood. He looked up at the Dusksblood Golem, who seemed to turn an empty face down at him, yet peer through his translucent soul with the eyes of an hundred exiled heathens. Their tortured souls still lingered in the Dusksblood Golem's being, haunting its vaporous shell like buzzards on a dying tree.
Deep inside of himself, the Ghost of Taden Hothnight felt a weight in his chest, where the Maskmaker's Knife pierced the core of the Dead Heart. A gray light, as of a moon in fog, bled through a ribcage barely visible under the wisps of Taden's robes. Something inside of that undead Sol responded to the Golem's vague visage. Memories deep in the vault of this acquired heart seemed to reach out to the Dusksblood Golem. He felt the voice of every Hylian soul in the Golem calling out to him, to something inside of him. And in response, he felt a distant and subtle power lifting up in himself. He saw a vision of ice, felt the seams of ice that had formed in the underground streams feeding the Castle, and somehow felt the whole of Lanayru moaning under his feet in a dark, funereal chord.
He turned his gaze from the Golem and faced its maker. "Now, when you say 'we,' that's the royal 'we,' right? You seem like the type to refer to yourself as 'we'--just a shot in the dark. So while you all ministrate your ceremonies, me and the Golem here will deal with this hot shot here with the...what did you call it? A paltry serpentine mark? Yes..."
Taden looked down at Isaac, still stretched out on his back at his feet. "...Paltry."
He looked up at the Golem and clapped his hands. "Alright, big guy, I can't manage this bad boy all by myself,"--Taden swiped another hand through Isaac's brain to no effect--"so it looks like you'll have to do the heavy lifting."
The creature motioned its head down towards Isaac for a moment, considered him, then reached down only to have its putrid, ghostly hands pass through him. It looked back up at Taden and tilted its head.
"Well, that'll never do..."
Taden reached his hands out to the monster's and clenched his fists inside its massive, open palms. The monster closed its fists around Taden's, and as the airy hands overlapped, Taden felt a kind of cold pleasure that was absent when he crossed Penumbra or Isaac's flesh. In the black blob of the Dusksblood Golem, he felt no heart in the midst of those scattered souls. So many corpses and troubled spirits boiled in this monster's lumbering carcass, a fragmented nonentity composed of disparate parts. It was less than nothing, lacking even the sense of self required to feel alone. Like nothing else that existed in this world, in the conglomeration of the damned that this strange Penumbra had summoned before him, Taden sensed something of himself.
He pulled his ghostly fists out of the monster's, and the Dusksblood Golem's vaporous limbs congealed into frozen hands. The palms were open to the high ceiling of the Cathedral, with large holes stabbed through the palms.
"There, now we can get rid of this Kinslayer so our friend can work his magic."
Taden nodded towards Isaac, and the Golem reached down to scoop him up in its newfound hands, then turned to begin walking out of the sanctuary. When they reached the door, Taden turned back to face Penumbra. "Alright, boss! You get crackin' with the abracadabra, me and the Golem here'll lock the Kinslayer up in the dungeons for later. I'll let you know as soon as he wakes up."
With that, Hothnight spun around in the air and sent a jet of wind into the great wooden doors of the Castle Cathedral. But they did not budge. The Cathedral doors opened to the inside, and had been easier to blast apart with a gust from the open sky outside. Now, he could pass through the immovable doors, but for Isaac's body they were impenetrable.
Taden puzzled this for a moment, scratching his scalp behind his long ears, then noticed the Golem lifting Isaac into the air. It opened its faceless mouth wider than a man is tall, and began to pile the Kinslayer into its maw, icy fists and all. The Golem then marched towards the two great doors, pressed against them with its upturned elbows, and seemed to bulge through their frame, part liquid rot and part putrid gas, only to coalesce on the other side. Taden stared at the doors, now layered with grime, in amazement. "Void...Dusk...Warp--what fresh hell is this?"
He passed through the doors as well, leaving Penumbra alone in the Cathedral. Taden found the Golem holding Isaac gracefully in its large, cold hands, looking down a short hallway to the ruined Courtyard beyond, where only the night before he and Isaac had destroyed this Castle. And in the City outside, Isaac had been crushed under this dark sorcerer Penumbra's mansion, dropped right into the heart of Castle Town. It was strange, walking the halls of Hyrule Castle in peace. There were no Royal Guard nor Light Warriors there to harass him, yet the echo of the Battle for Hyrule Castle still clung to the charred walls, the tapestries singed and ripped, the broken windows.
Hyrule Castle was dead, but unburied. Indeed, its ghosts walked with him now, and in a sense, Taden was just another ghost of that Battle. As he and the Golem entered the Courtyard, Isaac back in the creature's icy hands, a light snow began to fall. The snowflakes passed through them both, but gathered on Isaac's cheek without waking him, melting to mingle with the sweat that coated his intensely knit brow. Taden scrutinized the fire mage's angst-ridden face, wondering how the Warp with which he had been infused would affect his mind.
"He'll come to soon enough, and chains alone won't hold him back when he does."
Taden hovered over the still-frozen fountain that had been destroyed during the previous night's battle. "Make no mistake. I know this Castle. I have haunted its halls for centuries, sealed in that Royal Vault. The Dungeons, or should I say the Sewers, are directly below this font."
He lifted his gloaming lantern from his vantage above the fountain, and the Dusksblood Golem standing beneath him raised Isaac above its head as if in offering, opening its mouth to begin lowering him down into it. "That's it," Hothnight said, "eat up."
Seishi/Hyrule Field/Night 6
A beam fired out from now where and sliced off the head of the pike before the half-pint primate could return it to its own, pointy side first. "Goron's was it? Well thanks for the heads up." Seishi said as he calmly approached the monkey. "Laynnei, take care off the... oh." Looking back he saw his wife already placing barriers over each of the remaining wagons one at a time. Dren had also taken the initiative to gather the rest of the able bodied solders to fight the fires and help the civilians. The exception to his was Crim how after throwing the monkey off him started to prep his bow.
"Alright you furry butt plug, round two."
"Crim go help the others." Seishi ordered, knowing damn well an injured sniper would just get in his way at this point. Crim briefly sneer back at both his commander and the monkey but ultimately complied and pulled back. "You're an odd little one you know that. You've got this whole monkey thing going on like Taden, and you even seem to recognize me. You've got the wrong powers, and the personality seems off, almost forced. I'm actually kind of curious as to just what the hell you are, and that's saying something since I'm the type to stab first and question later."
Seishi stopped just far enough away from the monkey build up speed and positioned himself for his standard rush attack. "It doesn't matter though. See you just killed a whole lot of people and hurt my precious underlings. Now I have to kill you." Seishi started to step forward but then vanished in a swirl of magic caused by Farore's Wind. Less then a second later he appear behind the monkey's back with the tip of his sword pointing and the fur-ball's head. "Burst."
Lucirito/Castle Town Ruins/Sunset 5
The newly dubbed Lucifer stood eyes fixed on his new mistress as she addressed him. Years of obedience made this simple act easy: never question, never divert your glance. She spoke in such a way that commanded respect, something that Eddard could never truly achieve. She was terrifying to behold, yet there was a certain beauty to her as well, an indescribable force which caused an unexpected lust.
He would never defy her like he had Eddard. It would mean his death, and so, in an offshoot way, his rebirth as well.
"Lucifer...now that I think on it, I do actually have a much more important job for you, if you so choose to accept it. There is another one of your kind, far away, in the desert. He insists on the destruction of the likes of us, despite us merely trying to live as we are. His mind is clouded, and he may leave his allies behind. If he does indeed do this, he will be an easy one to add to our family once more. My warm embrace and welcome to the family isn't so easily cast away. He has grown prejudice against us, and must be merely disciplined for such thinking. His connection with us will make it child's play for you to find him. If you so choose to accept this task, feel free to take as many of my children with you to prepare. As you can see, there is plenty to go around."
Lucifer hadn't moved an inch in all this time. He stood unmoving as all around him Her minions were busy working in the darkness. He had a mission, it seemed: find the last connection he had with his past, and destroy it.
It was how it had to be.
Still, without averting his eye contact, he spoke out four words, "I'll need a sword."
Sha'Tive/Twilight/Castle Town Ruins
She furrowed her brow at the thought. Of all her years of being a "witch", she had never truly needed a sword. Still, a request was a request.
"Very well." She answered with a smile.
She whistled loudly into the air, which rang out into the distance, in a manner suggesting the sounds' path was predetermined. It could be heard from the East, but not to the West. Sha'Tive's beckoning whistle was always a puzzling sound, but she and her children had gotten used to it.
Moments after, a familiar form appeared before them. It was the same little girl that had gathered Eddard's body earlier that day. She glared at the two with her one eye, then began to curtsey.
"What do you wish of me, mother?" She asked softly, straightening her posture.
"Lucifer is in need of a sword, and I was hoping that you could be a dear and lend a hand in obtaining one for him."
The little girl glared at Sha'Tive as she straightened her sleeves of her dress. Sha'Tive noticed it this time, and whispered to the Rito.
"Don't mind the looks she'll give you...she still hasn't forgiven me for the time she lost her eye. I can't say I didn't try to stop her from fighting that gibdo when we were walking through a graveyard a while back."
The girl scoffed, raising her hands into the air, clasping her hands together above her head, as a whirlwind of blackness and fire wrapped around her, increasing in thickness until she was no longer visible, leaving a black and orange egg-like shape. The wind that blew grew stronger and stronger, until the wind could be actually be heard from afar. A light gleamed from within the shape of blackness and fire, and Sha'Tive walked towards it. She raised her hand, as if ready to catch something, and after a few moments, plunged her hand into the compact whirlwind, causing it to explode in every direction, immediately dissipating. Sha'Tive straightened up, and walked to the Rito. In hand she now had a black rapier, which gleamed in the night like glass.
"This sword may seem dainty, but she's sharp enough to cut most every surface like butter. She will never lose her sharpness, and will never break...so long as you protect the hilt, which is where her heart resides."
She revealed the where the heart was on the hilt. the hilt glowed a rose red, and pulsated as if veins were within. She handed the sword to Lucifer with a nod.
Be careful, my child. Your target wields weapons of light, something my children cannot touch..."
"Be careful with me as well. I may be sharp and unbreakable, but making contact with light magic hurts me too. Although, unlike my fellow brethren, I can tread in the light of the sun in this form. Do not worry about taking part in a duel during the day while I am still by your side, Rito."
Sha'Tive smirked at the sword, and looked back at the structure, which steadily grew and solidified.
Isaac the Kinslayer – In the Warp – Sixth Night
Tell you of the Warp? The words rose up from the din of voices slithering in his thoughts, whispering seductively to him, bidding him join them in the maelstrom of chaos. Though he had no physical form he cast about, searching for the source of the question, seeking with keen interest the voice in his mind that seemed so strangely familiar.
There was nothing but the madness of the abyss tearing at the fabric of his being. You know the Warp already, hot stuff. You’ve been here before, remember? Such a pity there was all that interference the first time, we could have had so much fun.
The words, the inflection, it all came together in his mind. The realization came upon him like a lightning bolt cast from a fulgarite staff, blasting away any semblance of confusion in the moment of epiphany. He knew the voice that addressed him, or at least he knew she whom it imitated. Was it borne out of his own mind and given form in the chaos? Or was it she?
Good questions all, too bad you’re going to have to wait and see. The sound of soft, sultry laughter echoed in his mind, distracting him from the insanity that swirled around him and gusted through his ethereal form. The Warp is what you see around you, the Dusk what you feel caressing your phantasmal presence. It is the madness, the darkness, which pervades this place.
You know those things well, I dare say. Chaos and evil, they are the two halves of your infernal soul, with fire to bind it all together. You possessed the right attributes ere you ever heard the words “Dusk” or “Warp” to name it. And you have touched this place twice now, once in body and once in spirit. You are connected to it, sensitive to the power of Dusk, should you choose to see it. Penumbra has sent you, and you know now what you desired.
The last question is one you must ask yourself, hot stuff. You can touch the Warp; you can use it for your goals. But if you do, will you then use it for ours?
And in an instant the voice was gone, and the clamor of whispers rushed in to fill the void it left. Had the voice and thus the answers it gave come from his own mind? Or from hers? He pondered that even as the howling void fell away, dissolving back into the material world.
Isaac the Kinslayer – Hyrule Castle Courtyard – Sixth Night
Awareness erupted through him in a flash of darkness and heat as he came awake once more, a sinister chill upon his chest and a strange prison about his flesh. The Brand flashed hot, but at his will now, not that of the other, and the ice melted away. Whatever it was that enclosed him drew his ire, but he felt uniquely connected to it.
Even so, he had not the patience to determine where he was or what arcane magic sealed him within this claustrophobic prison. As the fire of the Brand erupted outward, he felt the strangeness of the thing, the odd familiarity he could sense in it, give way to his command. The enclosure spread open in a sudden outburst of howling flame so dark violet it was almost black. Out through the gap he leaped, and found that it had been in the body of an Interloper construct that he had awoken. He understood then that which he had sensed from it.
He found now that he could perceive the power that he had been so curious about. His heightened sense of it allowed him to see through it, to understand it. The chaos that pervaded the castle was a thing of warping the fabric of reality, making weaker the laws of nature and science. The Dusk was the power of darkness and chaos that weakened and shattered the ties binding all that was.
He could still feel the Brand Serpent, writhing fitfully on the other end of the Brand, languishing in its private hell, but he felt oddly detached from it. No longer did he feel held to it, crushed by it, compelled by the weight of its will. The power, though, was there still. His fingers drifted first to the head of the dragon seared into his chest, then to the black mark of Dusk upon his cheek that had been left by Madyni’s fingers. He was marked by each and tied to both, but he was a slave to neither. He felt the Brand as he felt the Warp, but the pull of each was weak upon his mind as they contended with one another. The Brand was stronger in him than the Dusk, but weaker than ever he could remember. He was free, and he felt strong.
And his eyes fell upon the specter of Hothnight.
”You again.” He observed with a sour grimace as he looked upon the floating phantom. The memory of their exchange the night prior still lingered in his mind, darkening his mood. ”If it’s all the same to you I think I’ll go celebrate my emancipation in peace. Despite all the war, this land remains surprisingly intact.
"I think it's high time I remind the people what happens when the hound slips its leash.”
C: Monkey Taden / Hyrule Field, Eldin Province / Night 6
Taden giggled madly as the Paladin executed his classic Farore's Wind technique. He spun around in time to face his attacker as he reappeared behind him, but did not want to reveal his knowledge of Seishi's fighting style just yet. Better to keep his old foe guessing, at least for now. His snout curled into an impish smirk in the light of the warrior's well-practiced Burst attack.
"Ee hee hee!" He let the blast connect head on in a blinding flash.
When the light cleared, Whie lay stunned in the grass. The Monkey Mask had been blasted clean off his face, and landed a few feet from his head. It still wore the same impish grin.
Taden's Ghost / Castle Courtyard / Night 6
The light in the Courtyard was weak, a thin veil of moonlight reflecting on last night's ice. Taden could hear some rumbling in the belly of his Warp Golem, but could not see it clearly. He squeezed his grip on the Phantom Lantern tighter, and its blue flame glowed brighter.
At the same time, a red heat seemed to glow within the Golem's chest. Taden saw Isaac's body--knees pulled up to his chest, ankles crossed, arms around his shins and chin tucked--radiating inside the Twilight being. "He's awake..."
Suddenly, Isaac burst forth from the Golem's torso in a funnel of dark violet flame. The shadow beast slumped to the frozen ground in a heap, its thick limbs splayed out in all directions, a giant hole gaping in the seat of its chest. The Golem seemed to groan with a dimly felt sensation of pain as the purple fire smoldered in a circle on its stomach.
From his perch atop the frozen fountain, Taden looked down at Isaac as he regained his footing in the material world, dusting himself off next to the writhing Golem. Purple cords of hellfire whipped against his limbs and back, like some black priest punishing himself for good deeds. With his usual grimacing smirk, Isaac glared up at Taden in disdain. A new madness glimmered in his bloodshot eyes, sunken into grey sockets like two embers in ash.
"You again. ... If it’s all the same to you I think I’ll go celebrate my emancipation in peace. Despite all the war, this land remains surprisingly intact. ... I think it's high time I remind the people what happens when the hound slips its leash."
Taden continued studying Isaac's infernal glare with his own cold, black leer. "You will not have peace long, Telamon. That Sun Shard in your pocket will have the Hyruleans hounding you as doggedly as you hound their Hyrule."
He drifted over to the body of the Dusksblood Golem, its open chest seeming to boil with a kind of shadowy sludge, and a wretched smoke rising from the indigo cinders. Its fat fingers and toes groped along the ground, and it groveled meekly at its master's feet. It seemed like the demon just might pull through, even after Isaac detonated a blast of Dusk and Fire in its chest.
As much as Taden felt somehow akin to this netherbeing, he could not risk letting such a powerful beast follow him. The sorcerer in the Cathedral had been shrewd to shadow him with this ghoul, but no more. He dropped to one knee at its head, and drew the Maskmaker's Knife from the Dead Heart. He continued speaking to Isaac.
"As much as I don't need you running around with a sun cannon, all the less do I need that from the King's holy henchmen." Taden ripped the Maskmaker's Knife through the Dusksblood Golem's face, and a putrid gas escaped into the air with its final moans. The souls of all the faithless Hylians, denizens of what once was Castle Town and apostates of what once was the Cathedral of the Trinity, roiled within the Golem's transparent skin like dead faces in a swamp.
The Hated had already taken their faith. He would now take their souls.
Tearing his Knife through the Golem's malleable skin, he carved its face from its gelatinous skull. A white light flashed from the Maskmaker's crude blade, and all at once the writhing of the Golem and its many souls subsided; its ethereal substance dissipated into the ground, leaving a black stain that reeked of death and heathen incense.
The Warp Golem Mask looked up at him with empty eyes. Its mouth gaped in a wide grin, but its eyes drooped in the grief of a thousand lost souls. Taden examined his handiwork, turning it side to side. Never before had he condensed so many souls into a Mask; never before had he claimed so many souls with one simple slice. In his hands he held the condensed artifact of that which once sustained the ties of the Goddesses to this Realm, the very souls of the chosen people who had worshipped them. Truly, Dusk was a power unlike any he had reckoned with before. The essence of men's souls, the fabric of the Realm, nothing could escape its cruel Warp. By sinking Hyrule into it, the Golden Power itself could be walled off from the Realm's fate. And it was with this Warp that the necromancer in the Cathedral had infected Isaac's mind.
Taden looked up at the moon as the overcast sky opened briefly to reveal its dispassionate face. The waning crescent bestowed precious little moonlight. He had much to accomplish, and little time to do it in. He could not afford to take any chances now.
"I do not doubt your ability to wreak havoc on the countryside, but I can't have you getting captured while you're out celebrating. Take this."
Taden sliced the Knife through the center of the Warp Golem Mask, splitting it in half horizontally. He handed the Warp Eyes to Isaac, and kept the Warp Mouth for himself.
"This Mask contains all the haunted souls of Hyrule Castle, the renegades, heretics, heathens and idolators who had forsaken Light for Dusk. That Dusk sorcerer fused them into this beast, and now I split this Beast of Lost Souls into two masks. If the Hyruleans ever hope to put these lost souls at peace, they will have to avenge them on not one, but two dark warriors. Wear this, and the Warp will transform you with demonic power..."
Taden cupped the Warp Mouth over his chin and nose and held it in place, then breathed in deeply. His eyes rolled back in his head and he began to rise in the air, then took his hand from his mouth to spread his arms out above him, tilting his head back. He hung in the air like a man in religious ecstasy, as the Warp spread down his throat, into his Dead Heart. A cold wind whipped around the Courtyard as he settled back down to earth, and a patch of Black Ice formed at his feet. The enchanted ice seemed to pulsate with a palpable dark energy--ice that had all the mind-bending power of Dusk.
Hothnight the Hated had consumed half the souls of Hyrule Castle in his first night at large, and with the Warp Mouth, he would soon eat many more.
"...That is, if you are prepared to see the world through the empty eyes of the Abyss."
The dark aura of the Dusk still surrounding him as he wore the Warp Mouth, Taden dove headlong into the frozen fountain that still stood in the center of the Courtyard. With his mind, he sent a message to Isaac from underground.
'If you wish to test the limits of this newfound power, find me in the Castle Dungeon. If you'd rather go get yourself killed, happy celebrating...'
Isaac the Kinslayer – Hyrule Castle – Sixth Nigh
Typical Hothnight. The thought floated through Isaac’s mind as he turned the mask over and over in his hands, considering it. He could feel the power of Dusk in it, more so now than ever he would have been able to. The mark on his cheek seemed to pulsate with the sickening sweetness of that chaotic energy. It was reaching out to the mask in his hand, drawing it, bidding him to place it over his face, and thus the mark.
He resisted. The Brand flared anew, and the Duskmark pulsed, and the two powers surged and swirled together in him, joined in a way that had never before been known. The fires, dark violet and imbued with the essence of dark chaos, ignited in his hands, immolating the mask.
Re-forging it. The fires reduced it to a more malleable form, bidden by the Dusk, and the twin powers together brought it back together in one solid shape. He found himself looking on a mask of what seemed like dark, polished steel or some ore the Interlopers might use. Contoured to fit the shape of his face, the top half was shaped like a rounded skull with deep dark eyeholes beneath the jut of a furrowed brow, but the bottom half reached down to obscure only one side of mouth and jaw. On that side that stretched down to the chin there stood slits in the dark material where the obscured half of the mouth would be.
Slashed across the glossy gray-black surface was a streak of dark, bloody red from above the left eyehole to across the mouth and cheek of the lower portion.
He grinned as he gazed at it. Though he knew not what the effects would be he could feel that it would benefit him when the time came. He would not don the mask until he felt the moment right. He still had too much else to learn about the powers he could now feel in him. For the time being though…
'If you wish to test the limits of this newfound power, find me in the Castle Dungeon. If you'd rather go get yourself killed, happy celebrating...'
”Perhaps I mean for them to find me, Hothnight.” He muttered out loud to no one as he pursued the dark spirit into the bowels of the dungeon. What had once been the center of a realm blessed by light was now a sanctum for the dark. The dungeons were not difficult to find, he’d been there in times past. As he walked he sometimes felt as though the laws of reality bent or warped for a moment at his passing, only to find them firmly reestablished when he looked back.
He came soon upon the ghost, and in the gloom of the dungeon held up one hand and with a casual wave ignited the torches set in iron sconces along the walls. Violet flame erupted at the end of each one, and before he realized what was happening had engulfed the entire length of the torch and had spread onto the iron of the brackets as well. Surprised by the effect of Dusk upon his flames his brow knitted together and he withdrew the new element from the conflagrations, leaving wavering orange torchlight behind. Somehow, at least that time, the introduction of Dusk into the previously established element of his fire had created a power more corrosive and lethal than what he’d intended.
He had much to explore about this new power.
”Here I am, Hothnight.” He stated as he spread his arms out to either side, palms forward. His eyes held those of the phantom as he wondered whether he was just going to regret his decision to follow.”What did you have in mind?”
Taden's Ghost / Castle Dungeons / Night 6
When Isaac's flames graced the sconces lining the dungeon walls, they flashed amber and twilight on Hothnight's turned back.
"Do you recognize this place, Telamon?"
The Kinslayer stood with his palms out towards Taden. He rolled his skull around his neck, feeling the warm, electric sensation of Dusk coursing through his veins. The aura of Dusksblood hung on him, after breathing it in from Penumbra's putrid censer, after being consumed by it in the Golem's maw. Isaac said nothing. He wasn't particularly interested in what Taden had to say next.
Taden's shadow danced against the far wall in the fervid firelight. It was a thin shade, only what Taden's nocturnal aether would allow. Spreading his arms out to meditate on the canals of drainage waters around them, he felt the lack of sinews and circulation to channel his magic into the world. He felt the lack of true lungs to breathe in the air that he bent to his will by merely thinking. His wrists hung limp from his outstretched arms, only a dull pull from the tips of his fingers to the trickling water. With most of the Castle's waters frozen from Quell's Pentagram the previous night, the water flowing through these sewers was minimal.
"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust," Taden said. "You'll find that in the scrolls on the Cathedral altar right above us. We're directly below the sacred site where that Interloper summons his Warp. The gift he gives to us now bears its fruit in the world below..."
Isaac seemed to come out of his Warp-induced reverie as Taden bent the air into a voice. His pallid whisper limped through the dungeon's ambience as if from around a corner.
"Long, long ago, before the Snowpeak Province was formed, this was the Sanctuary of Hyrule Castle. The river was not so high then. The lake of the west was smaller, and the Zora's Domain was warm. But then came the rains, and the Castle was raised above the floodplain on walls of northern granite. Those mountains belonged to the Gorons then, and they were black with their molten spirit..."
Taden kicked the black flagstones at his feet with ethereal boots. "...No longer. Those mountains are white now."
He turned around to face the Kinslayer. The Warp Mouth covered his face. "It was in this sanctuary that the Goddesses showed their Hand to me, in those antediluvian days when the hero did not appear. He was in Termina, and I was Terminian. That was all they needed to punish me for their own sins!"
Taden raised his hands now and clenched his limp fingers into fists. He lowered his eyes at Isaac, and the black waters flowing around them suddenly swarmed up into the air on a frigid gust of wind to surround them in a jagged spiral of crackling ice. The ice snapped and popped under its own weight like glass, and a throbbing hum seemed to radiate from its inner depths--the aura of Dusk in the frozen water, exuding its gravity on the mind and spirit.
"You see, Isaac, I have known the abyss longer than I have known life itself. My soul left this plane aeons ago, before I left Termina. It was a demon from the northern abyss of that land who found its way to Hyrule, tricked into coming here by a maker of masks. And it was the body of this Terminian demon that the Goddesses chose to take from me. In punishing me, they chose not to banish me to Hell, where they had no power, but to imprison me in the temporal realm where their reign was absolute. Thus do I walk the earth even now, a disembodied hatred for all the souls of this world--ruining their faith, torturing their minds, but too weakened to commit the very sins for which I was punished by those banshees!"
Taden slapped his hands together, and in a shockwave of shadow and wind the Black Ice burst, shattering the fabric of reality in the space it had occupied. A heavy, black vapor of crackling spots and sparks gushed across the floor from all angles and spread towards Taden, forming around him in a cold, black cloud. He rose into the air on a shallow plume of darkness.
"But thanks to them, without a body of my own, I have nothing to fear from the corrosive power of the Warp. You, however," Taden pushed one hand forward and his Black Ice snuffed out the torches around them, leaving them in a blackness lit by only Taden's Dead Heart and Phantom Lantern in the air, "you, Telamon, have yet to shed this mortal coil."
In time, the Brand tattoo scorched around Isaac's chest and back began to smolder in the dark. Still the Kinslayer said nothing.
"Don't you see? Already the Warp has tried to rid you of your body once, when it brought Penumbra into this Realm on the night Hylia lost her faith. And it was that Mass Apostasy that resulted in the Masks we carry now, granting you another chance at transformation. By curse of the Goddesses, I came to know the Abyss. By gift of the Warp, may you come to know the same."
Taden froze the icy vapor around him into a black cube, then let it drop with a crack on top of a switch in the center of the floor. The raised block sank into the floor under the cube's weight, small but unfathomably dense, and in the distance Taden and Isaac heard chains clinking, iron gates raising, rusted gears turning in the mechanism of the Castle Dungeons.
Then, they heard the flood.
A column of water splashed through the far canal, as the floodgates controlled by the switch before them came open. It would remain open so long as the heavy cube of Black Ice weighed it down. The waters blocked off the tunnel through which Isaac had entered, and rolled through an iron gate leading deeper into the Dungeons, the gate's metal teeth barely grazing the surface of the raised current.
Taden passed through the interlocked bars of this gate, and as he crossed over the bars were frozen solid. Now, he stood on the far side of a frostladen gate that pierced the crest of the stream flowing in towards him. If he wished to reach him, the obstacles of the stream and gate stood in Isaac's way.
"Let go of the body that traps you in this earthly crypt. Give yourself to the void. What the gods would damn, the abyss will bless..."
Taden's voice drifted through the iron bars, seeming to chill the air around Isaac as it reached his ears.
"...There is no other way."
Seishi/Hyrule Field/Night 6
The monkey had reverted to a human form and was done for the count. The sensible thing to do was to kill the guy and destroy to mask but what he'd had said about the Gorons had Seishi concerned and he had a hunch that he may need to wrap the little idiot in rocks so he could feed him to the stone eats. "Megumi, tie his ass up!"
He picked up the masked with his sword knowing better then to touch it direction. He didn't want it anywhere near its current owner, but leaving it laying around could be worse. Destroying it wasn't much of an option either since that could free the bastard that he was sure was sealing inside of it. Having no other choose he flung it into the back of on of the supply wagons and grabbed for soldiers that looked to be in at least half decent shape. "Ok you four guard that thing. If anyone tries to get near it you give them one warning then you kill them. If anyone touches it, even on of you, you kill them quickly. No one, not unless Phoenix is with them, not me, not a general, not even the damn king. Got it?"
[b]Isaac the Kinslayer – Castle Dungeons – Sixth Night[/b]
[color=darkred]”You were sentenced in a sewer?”[/color] Isaac asked with amusement as he looked about. He knew that the history of this place was different, that it had not always been as it was now, but he could not help but poke fun at his… companion when the opportunity presented itself.
Isaac never spoke while Hothnight rambled on, speaking of things that Isaac did not know, and of other things as though he did not. He watched with interest as the frigid phantom spoke of his past, of this place, and constructed for him a puzzle of sorts. He sought to push Isaac toward something. The canal was filled now, a switch at its bottom weighed down by a block of ice surely imbued with magic that would resist his own.
[color=darkred]”I could melt the stone and steel by which I am surrounded, Hothnight. I could evaporate the water into a cloud of steam.”[/color] He said, meeting the gaze of the ghost through the bars of the lowered gate. [color=darkred]”You know all of this already, for you and I are hardly strangers.
“And there is [i]always[/i] another way.”[/color]
He turned the mask over and over in his hand, considering it, weighing it. Hothnight played games now as ever he had, but the erstwhile acquaintance, ally and enemy alike, always had a reason, always had an agenda.
[color=darkred]”I have known the abyss, known death. I didn’t much care for it.”[/color] He said, prowling the edge of the raised stone walk that bordered the flowing sewer. The water rose just inches over the top, lapping at his boots, turning to steam as it touched him. Taden knew that the mere physical obstacles present could not contain him. His blade was sheathed at his belt, and the Sun Shard was tucked into the back of it. He had enough power himself to see his way free, even without either. But Hothnight was looking for something, and Isaac thought he knew what it was. [color=darkred]”I find I rather enjoy an existence in flesh, the pains are hardly enough to outweigh the inherent pleasures.
“But I think the Warp will serve just as well regardless.”[/color]
And with that Isaac raised the mask to his face and put it on. He could feel the powers seal it to him, hold it in place without need for strap or tie. It was a part of him now, and he looked at the world through new eyes.
Through the eyes of the Warp.
Though all that he beheld was still the same, he looked out at the world through a veil of Dusk. He could see the fabric of reality as true acolytes of the Warp must have, he could see the strands, and he could see how frail and fragile they could be. As he looked upon Taden Hothnight through the iron grate, he saw more than a floating specter, he saw an essence of evil, with power of his own, pulsing with the power of Dusk even as he must have. More than that, however, he saw strands of his essence stretching off into space, across vast distances, toward others, other parts that had been sundered from the core. He looked up, and even through the vaulted ceiling of stone and mortar he could see the way the Warp worked on the world above.
[color=darkred]”You and I have never been too dissimilar, Hothnight, even if on the surface we are opposite. We each have haunted the highlands and lowlands of Hyrule for longer than most.”[/color] He took several steps forward toward the grated gate, raising his hand to the criss-crossing iron bars. He perceived them through the eyes of the Warp, and even as what was had been disturbed and unraveled above, what existed below was disturbed. His psychic power had ever been weak, but now he knew how best to use it. The bars twisted, contorted, and moved aside. There was no sound as that small part of the world was changed at his bidding. The bars shifted as though it was quite natural for them to do so, though at the edges of the mask his flesh wrinkled in a grimace of concentration. Even despite what he could now see, the changing of it required immense mental strain. Telekinesis had never been his strongest asset, but it served him in this.
He looked now at Taden through a gap in the bars that appeared as though it was simply a part of the construction. The change was seamless, as though it had always been that way. He ducked his head slightly and stepped through. He let out a sigh as he released his mental grip, and at a glance back he saw that it had all reverted back to its original state of being, with no man sized hole and no evidence that there had ever been one at all.
[color=darkred]”And we each have had our experiences with the Hand. He thought to place his chains upon me as though he could leave me neutered and impotent, but I cast them off. When you kill him I will be glad of it.”[/color]
Chamdar Taliesin – Lanayru Province – Pre-Dawn Seven
Driven by grave purpose, compelled by his knowledge of the forces arrayed against the would-be heroes of Hyrule, Chamdar Taliesin, the High Chancellor, the Divine Hand, went north. Along swerve of shore and bend of bank he strode, following the frozen watercourse ever onward past the fallen castle and the hordes of evil beasts that infested the city surrounds. He had announced himself to the Hated, had brought himself face to face, figuratively speaking, with his ancient enemy. Taden knew that he was there now, and knew in no uncertain terms that Chamdar meant to undo him. Hothnight would not long hesitate before moving against him, and when he did Chamdar knew that the ice mage would come at him sideways. It was his way.
But Chamdar had been awaiting this day as long as he, and unlike his frigid foe had been free to plant the seeds of his victory. What he lacked of Hothnight’s inhumanly devilish cunning, he accounted for by his seemingly incalculable aeons of experience and knowledge. He brushed one wrinkled hand over the hilt of Aurgelmir, which hung from his belt off his left hip. It was but one step, though an important one. What bore him north was equally so.
The voice of the servant echoed in his mind.
The one from Termina, he who is frozen in his death throes but yet walks will not rest until you are finished, Chamdar Alaunus. He will revel in wanton butchery to goad you, he will draw unto himself all the dark and entropic powers to imbibe them. When next you meet it will not be as you suspect, for the best laid plans last only until the first arrow leaves its bowstring, and when Hothnight the Hated is involved they last shorter still. You will need all of your arts and your wits to succeed where all others have failed.
He was deeply contemplative as he walked, partitioning his mind as only one such as he was capable. One half was left fully alert to his surroundings and the journey whilst the other half ruminated darkly upon the realities of the situation. There were many who opposed Taden, who hated him as he hated all, but he doubted there was another tied so closely to the fate of the Hated as he himself was. In time one would be the ultimate death of the other, he knew. It was not oath, nor was it prophecy, but a feeling deep within his soul. One would die, or both would, lest their bloody game of chess stretch on even unto the end of days.
And there was Kinslayer to consider as well, for he had thrown off the safeguards that Chamdar had placed upon him. No longer did the pariah and the plenipotentiary check the worst of his chaotic wrath; no longer did they defy his will for freedom and violence. Isaac could be as terrible a foe as Hothnight, if not so mischievous and clever, but that one was another’s to finish and Chamdar would not have interceded even if he could. Davus Fulmen too had resurfaced for a time, but had faded back into obscurity shortly thereafter. When he came forth again the war would reach the apex of its horror and barbarism. Three of the worst of the ancient votaries of the dark would spell much destruction and death for Hyrule before the end.
The darkness will deepen yet ere the Dawn comes.
C: A Dead Ape / Lanayru (Zora's River) / Late Night 6
Chamdar had arrived in a frozen shell of what once was the Zoras' Domain. A cold wind whipped ice around him, and threatened to push him back along the slickened riverbed, into the jagged cascade below. In all his years, he searched his mind for a time when he had seen a frozen waterfall of such commanding height. He could only remember one lonely time in the universe when he had seen such a sight, and that was not even in Hyrule.
He grabbed hold of a branch to steady himself against the torrent of winds that blew against him.
"The wind was at your back once, wasn't it, Taliesin?" A voice came from behind him. Even without seeing the speaker's face, Chamdar could see the impish smirk. As he climbed up the waterfall, he risked loosing one hand from its grip in the icy wall tonestle it over the hilt of Aurgelmir.
"The wind was at your back, and the sun was at your face, when you had the banshees' blessing...but that was a long time ago, m'hm?"
From within the bushes where Chamdar grasped, a shadow lurched and rattled the surrounding cascade. Frost dislodged from a spire and dropped on Chamdar's head. Then, the shadow hopped down from the top of the bush and landed on Chamdar's hand gripped firmly on a hook of ice, a small white ape looking down at him with a crooked neck, and a face twisted upside down. The ape uncorkscrewed its head, and Chamdar saw no eyes in its sockets. Blood seemed to drip from its cavernous leer. It opened its jaw, and a dead fish fell out of its mouth and plopped at Chamdar's feet. It was frozen into a crystalline white.
With that, the monkey climbed higher, eventually lunging over the crest of the waterfall into Zoras' River's upper pools. At each ledge and foothold it landed on, the decrepit monkey left another dead fish.
"I'll show you a way, if you can climb the wall; but what good is a fish in war?"
The Hated Knife (Poe Taden) / Castle Dungeons / Midnight 6
Taden watched idly as Isaac donned the Eyes of Dusk, then reconstituted the iron gate into a doorway he could pass through. The block of Black Ice that Taden had used to depress the switch operating the gate was unmoved, but Isaac had overcome the obstacle. The flame of the darkening horizon had yet to meet the abysmal ice in battle or bewitchment.
He would try a more direct approach.
"Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing to what I shall unfold."
Taden floated in the archway of the narrow dungeon tunnel, his pale light reflecting in the high stream that flowed beneath. Isaac stood to one side of the drainage path cut into the mortar. With the gate behind him, there was no going back without more exertion of the Dusk Fire, unless the gate were lifted otherwise.
Taden raised his Phantom Lantern, and the Black Ice block on the far side of the gate evaporated into a quivering hive of black sparks, the plasmatic mass radiating cold all around it. It faded through the rusted iron of the drainage gate, and congealed within the glass panes of his lamp, forming a tiny blue flame that pulsated there swiftly.
"Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night, and for the day confined to fast in fires, till the foul crimes done in my days of nature are burnt and purged away..."
With the block removed, the gate lifted, and Isaac was free to return to the upper levels of the Castle. But as the iron gate retracted into the ceiling, Taden's Lantern floated down the gentle slope of the drainage tunnel, bleakly lighting the way to the underground rivers.
"But this eternal blazon must not be to ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!"
As his words echoed up the catacombs, a pale blue light emanated from the Phantom Lantern, and a dull tone fumbled from its form like leaden bells on a fogridden morn. Taden appeared in full view, the full length of his person visible to Isaac's adumbral eyes. Wearing the Warp Mask, Isaac could see the gaunt cheek, the narrowed stare, the frozen lip of Hothnight's face; he could see the bones of his hands under transparent skin, and the skull that rested beneath his brow.
"But that I am forbid to tell the secrets of my prison-house, I could a tale unfold whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood..."
Taden raised his Lantern high, and the catacomb was filled with an icy light that forced Isaac to turn away. When his gaze returned, he would find the entire downward tunnel sealed off by Black Ice. In a flash, Taden smote the surface of the refuse waters with his Phantom Lamp, and cursed the tunnel with a solid wall of Black Ice that stretched perpetually down.
Through its translucent mass, and wearing his transcendent lens, Isaac could just barely make out the shine of Taden's Phantom Lantern on the far side of the ice. It crackled with the maddening energy of the Warp, and as Isaac watched the tiny flame dance further and further down the tunnel, leaving a trail of Black Ice behind it, he heard the Hated's voice pass through the obstruction as if it were not there.
"Murder most foul, as in the best it is; but this most foul, strange and unnatural..."
Eventually, Isaac lost sight of the advancing flame, gone beyond a tunnel that was sealed with Black Ice. The way forward was coated over with a sheer wall of crystallized chaos. Isaac would have to pass through this wall to reach the mouth of the cave, and once beyond the wall, an endless labyrinthe of caves awaited him, with the right path paved in the Ice of the Abyss, frictionless and unwalkable. Over a mile of caves stood between Isaac and the tunnel's terminus, along a path that would admit not of gravity nor speed.
Sha'Tive/Sha'Tive's Cathedral/Dawn 6
To many, it would be judged as an atrocity. A horrible structure of death and suffering. Sha'Tive saw differently. He gazed upon the mighty structure that had come to form before her, with a feeling of admiration and euphoria. Despite being made from the bodies of many of her children, the building looked very much like it was made with proper materials. Despite everything being an inky black, the bricks matched the texture and integrity of real bricks, as did the doors. The doors were tall, strong and thick. Sha'Tive was almost taken aback at the attention to detail put into the structure. One would guess that the doors were made of pure goronite, as they were almost transparent, and glowed a lovely fiery color. Yet, they also had the look and feel of wood as well, creating an odd yet beautiful mixture in appearance.
She pushed the doors open, and entered the enormous structure, looking up as she walked past the doors. The room before her was huge, well beyond what was originally planned. She expected a humble castle, but her children had made so much more with their effort the previous night. She stopped to take in her surroundings A black silk carpet ran along the center of the floor, with demonic patterns engraved in it, which glowed white, giving a monochromatic feel. The floor that spread out from beyond the carpet was a glossy silver, which glowed and reflected light not unlike water. The mighty pillars that stood along the walls of the hall were smooth, and looked rather unusual, if not structurally impossible. The feet of the pillars were rather thin, rivaling that of the waist of an average Hylian, whilst reaching goron-like proportions as it met the ceiling above, which was pitch black, illuminated only by what could only be described as eyes, which gleamed like stars, giving the illusion of a night sky. Between each pillar was a door, each of which was a different color and shape, all looked rather pleasant, yet macabre as well. She barely noted them, as she came to the conclusion that the younglings among her army rested behind each door. To her immediate left though, appeared to be a library, as it was marked with a picture of a grimoire. The room overall was well more than seventy feet in length, in every direction.
At the end of the hall was an enormous pillar, which looked very much like a giant screw, made of pure glass-like material. Obviously stairs, so Sha'Tive began climbing it as she arrived to it. After much climbing, it had become apparent that the structure she climbed was well over one hundred feet tall, finally coming to its peak as she reached the second floor. The pillar that made the stairs ended precisely where the second floor began, making the top of it a part of the floor. The room before her was enormous. It was clear that nothing was above the ceiling, as it came to a peak, not unlike the roof of the structure. The room before her appeared to be a mixture of a throne room, a study, and a church. Most of the opposite wall of the room was an enormous stained glass window, created for the purpose of letting her look upon the city below, whilst protecting her from the sun. Along the walls were great goblets, which appeared to be made of the same material as the pillars in the lower floor. Within them were glass orbs, which glowed a luminescent blue, giving the illusion of a flame, illuminating the room in a calming hue. Between the goblets were bookcases, all filled with books and scriptures. Each individual book appeared to reflect the interests and beliefs of each individual soul that walked among her children.
The same carpet began again at the end of the hall, reaching on the opposite side, where a throne would be. Instead, it was a bed. It was covered in thorns, and it's decorations gave it the look of a giant rose, which wrapped around the structure of the bed, which was an onyx black. The fabric that made the sheets and pillows were a velvet red, complimenting the rose-like feel of the rest of the structure. Alongside the carpet that led to the bed were chairs, not unlike a church. As Sha'Tive reached the bed, she noticed something behind the bed. She walked around it to discover a table, which had chains and thorns all around it. Torture and sacrificial devices surrounded it, readily available for use. Every single one gleamed silver, completely clean, as if never used before. Sha'Tive smiled as she examined them further. Her children were thoughtful enough to not only arm her with the job necessary for the table before her, but in fact gave her the very tools she had used in the past to fell her enemies. Not one of the tools before her were unfamiliar. She picked up a sickle, which was nearest, and stroked along the blade's point.
She giggled as she imagined the eyeball that was impaled upon it last time she had handled one. The sickle's blade reflected an image for her, revealing something she had not yet noticed. To the left of the table, leaning against the window...was a cross, covered in black thorn, with countless needles impaled within the wood, readily available to pull out and use. She began to step towards it before hearing footsteps. She turned to see a woman in a maids dress approaching. The woman, unlike the previous girl that had gone with Lucifer, had both of her eyes. She was only missing a pinky, making her among one of the most structurally sound among the messenger slivers. Her hair was brown, and her skin was a dark tan, not unlike a Gerudo, yet she had the facial structure of a Hylian. Her eyes glowed an icy white, like the moon.
"We have come to a tactical decision, mother." She said, almost in a whisper. She was the tallest among the messengers, but was the most soft spoken among them.
"Go on." Sha'Tive replied, curious to what choice had been concluded.
"The necromancers that cover the opposite side of the city...I fear it would be the best if we engage them. With as many powers conflicting amongst one another, war for what is left of this town is inevitable."
"You suggest we strike first..." Sha'Tive thought about it for a short moment, before approaching the window, looking out at the city, which was feeling the warm embrace of early morning.
"Yes Mother." The messenger whispered, almost fearing the answer as she followed Sha'Tive.
Sha'Tive pursed her lips before replying, look at the messenger with a smile. "Do it."
The messenger quietly gasped, before gulping and nodding her head. "Th-thank you mother. I'll tell those brutes you gave the O.K." She quickly ran off before reverting to her sliver form, disappearing down the stairs.
"Don't bother waiting.' Sha'Tive yelled after her, 'the children nearby the enemy are to attack immediately."
Sha'Tive closed her eyes and shook her head. She wasn't particularly ready to make that decision, and really wished blissful ignorance of her surroundings would continue. But her children were right. Power doesn't just come to you. Not in this situation.
"It begins." She whispered to herself, with the slightest bit of fear in her voice. The window illuminated the room with the orange glow of the sun, whilst filtering out what would normally harm Sha'Tive.
Vykos/Castle Town Ruins/Very Early Morning 7
"Yes, futile mortals and hellspawn, pay no attention to the necromancer hidden amongst his horde. My fortress will soon be ready!"
As the battle waged on throughout the Sixth Day of this conflict, High Evoker Vykos took full advantage of being undetected amongst the hordes of undead, demons, and remnants of Hylian forces. Instead of devoting his full effort toward bolstering his ranks, here and there he took his chariot and started putting together a profane building's foundation.
Indeed, he was working on a necropolis. Others were entrenching; it was going to be a long conflict. His strength was in his army. Alone, he would fall. But in entrenching he could also set up more extended projects. Become even stronger than before. Develop new blights and poxes.
In his rituals, Vykos felt way too vulnerable to not be well-guarded. Instead of saving his five elite Gibdos for a last resort, they were deployed as his personal honor guard.
Brick began to be grafted onto his building's skeletal framework. Four sectors were in the floorplan, and they would continue to be constructed rapidly by Stalchild thralls. One was reserved for the study and maintenance of constructs. Another contained his garrison, his militant Stalfos, ReDead, and Ghini. The third was his Blightcraft Research Facility. And the final quadrant would be his command center.
"There's nothing wrong with Stalchild labor..."
To keep it somewhat defensible, he planned on using profane energies to levitate it. To hold it in place would require some serious anchorage, hence the four foundational corners. Using more raw materials, he formed long chains of bone and reinforced their connection. But how to get in and out?
An unholy levitation system could float the dead as though they were incorporeal. However, this limited entry to the dead and dying. This was no place for the living, after all.
Fighting continued throughout the night. Occasionally some would discover what Vykos was up to. Soon afterward, most of them joined his labor and military forces.
As the sun began to make its daily labor of rolling back darkness, the Necropolis began also to take flight. Unholy gases swept from underground and tested his city's weight. After a small struggle, Vykos' bone chains kept everything secure.
The necromancer cackled with glee at seeing his creation airborne, and fired a bolt of orange vaporblight at the ground beneath. It began to merge with cobbled stone, tracing heretical sigils in a circle. Many of his forces formed up. Some instinctively knew to begin preparations inside. Others formed a defensive perimeter.
At seeing things successful, the master also ascended into his floating fortress. Ghini seeped through the walls forming a skyguard as he turned to vapor and floated in.
Sha'Tive/Sha'Tive's Cathedral/Early Morning 7
Sha'Tive gazed at the floating fortress with almost child-like wonder.
"...This may be my worst idea yet, but I'm thinking of giving that fortress a visit."
"You wish to negotiate with him?" A nearby nun sliver asked.
There was a long pause.
She looked at the nun and pointed at her.
"I will need several of our numbers that can fly."
"V-Very well!" The nun feverishly responded as she vanished down the stairs of the room.
Mere moments later, Sha'Tive was lying in the collective arms of her children as they carried her swiftly to the fortress Vykos had erected. They gently set her down at the entrance and pushed the door open for her, before disappearing in her shadow. She walked forward with her eyes closed until she could feel the shroud of cool darkness of the interior fall upon her. She opened them and looked around curiously.
"Fascinating...Hopefully he doesn't mind a visitor."
As she walked, the slivers that had come with her formed around her body, and materialized into black robes, covering her otherwise naked form.
Chamdar Taliesin – Lanayru (Zora’s River) – Dawn Seven
The wind at his back, and the sun at his face. Indeed, Chamdar remembered those days. The banshees’ blessings, such as they were, imbued him still, but he had long ago lost much of the favor that he had held in their eyes. Another now took up the mantle he’d once proudly worn, back in the days before private enmities had driven him to disobey.
And now he pursued a dead ape up the side of a frozen fall, a sheer cliff of ice hundreds of feet tall. The harsh winds buffeted him as his hauled himself ever upward, the driving snows pelted his face, blinded his eyes, froze his limbs. At every viable foothold he found a frozen fish, a trail left behind by his peculiar guide to lead him through his ascent.
His partitioned mind wandered even as he climbed, scattering in the harsh arctic gale. Snow and ice and wind, ever the ammunition of his adversary, pummeled at his aged limbs and exposed flesh with relentless furor.
The old man, though, persevered as ever he had.
How long did he climb that wall of deathly cold? The driving snows, howling gusts, and swirling clouds above obscured the sun from his vision. He could check the watch in his pocket, were both hands not needed to keep from plummeting to his end. There was nothing for it but to ascend, and so he did. Time worn muscles strained beneath his wildly whipping vestments, but waning though his strength may have been, it still held him fast to the side of that great fall.
Until, that is, he reached a hollow in the bleak frozen wall, a hole seemingly bored into the ice and rock itself, and found a crystallized fish sitting at its edge. Straining as he was, he ground his teeth and pulled himself up into the cavity, unhooking his staff from the back of his belt and slumping against one wall, weary from his climb and thankful to find respite from the violent blizzard.
The slightest of sounds turned his head into the cave, away from the storm. The eyeless simian sat hunched some distance into the hole, staring at him with its head corkscrewed upside down. Aurgelmirwas safe at his hip, and his staff was in his free hand. He drew a deep breath, wearied to the bone from his climb, and pushed himself back to his feet. He needed to hunch to keep from bumping his head on the top of the passage.
"I’ve done my part," he claimed, steeling himself for trials that loomed ever higher on his horizon, "now show me the way."
[b]Harken Zeiss/Morning 7/Underground Headquarters (Castle Town)[/b]
"Sir. Here are the numbers you wanted. It's... not good."
Harken looked up from the crate that served as his makeshift desk. The man before him was a younger Hylian, he used to work construction and Zeiss had recruited him from one of the work-gangs that had been clearing rubble before the Sacking of Castle Town. Harken couldn't remember his name.
"Good show on the timing, at least. I wasn't expecting good results after that big damn mess. Let's see..."
The paper he was handed listed survivors of the melee with the undead. It was rather grim, but not nearly as bad as he had thought it would be. His gaze drifted away from the list to the two trump cards his army held. Tobias Pepperwhistle and the abomination called Taur Dagnir. He shivered, briefly, recalling what had happened the last night, how they had almost lost the only thing that he believed could bring them through the trials ahead.
"Well, Pepperwhistle. Take a gander at the results of the census." He offered the list to Tobias.
[b]Summary:[/b] Time-skipping them to next morning. May or may not ever explain HOW they survived. Fill in the blanks yourself with your own idea of suitably epic hijinks.
[hr] [b][hl=#BA55D3]Penumbra[/hl]/Morning 7/Desecrated Hyrule Castle[/b]
Penumbra loped through the halls of Hyrule Castle, splashing Dusk-poisoned blood on the walls. The splattered blood formed unholy arcane sigils and runes, completing a vision that had been burned into his mind during his brief tenure in the Warp. Of the few Penitents that remained, three followed him to provide the tainted blood for the ritual. The rest were off spreading the pattern through the rest of the Castle.
The stench of Dusk grew ever more present inside the ward that protected the Keep from the rest of Castle Town. To Penumbra, there was no sweeter scent.
This continued through much of the night, and come morning, the entire Castle was marred with splattered Duskblood. Penumbra gathered the handful of Penitents back in the Corrupted Cathedral.
"[hl=#BA55D3]Penitents! Followers of Dusk! Listeners to the Warp! We have labored through the night, and completed the second stop in transcendence! The coming of Umbra grows nearer! She will elevate us to beings of pure Dusk, but there is still much to be done to bring her into this blighted world of light! Only then will we show the Goddesses why they should not ignore Hyrule![/hl]"
He turned to the shattered stain glass window. Outside, through the shimmering veil of the ward, spread the remains of Castle Town. A palace of bone and a floating mausoleum had appeared as new landmarks in the midst of the city. Penumbra smiled at the sight.
"[hl=#BA55D3]Even now, all the world works for our ends. Go, one each, to the leaders below. Spread the Word! And be sure they kill each other. We must weaken this world's fabric further.[/hl]"
Young maiden Sliver/Hyrule Castle/Morning 7
She slowly materialized from an inky mist before the entrance of the proud castle of corruption. She nervously cleared her throat and entered, turning into a bird and flying to the room where the men within rested. She reverted to her human form upon finding a room with an enormous stained glass window. She nervously squeaked as she entered and approached the mighty Penumbra whom gazed upon the city below.
"Um...A-are you the leader of this army? I-I wish to speak on the be...behalf of my own leader. We have...interest in your p-power, but do not wish to engage you in w-warfare, for we are aware of your...power, and in worst case scenario, v-violence among us will only end in a bitter sta-stalemate at our present state."
She quivered as she adjusted her glasses.
Something was opening the main flight door that should not have. This sanctum of the dead reacted in kind once the doors shut again; the atrium was full of surprises.
A reservoir moat was surrounded by grave dirt on both sides in this circular room. Within this moat was a foul-smelling pale green ooze, and a few bridges connected Quadrants together.
Vykos was aware of uninvited visitors; when the door opened, he heard it and started making his way with a retinue of various undead in tow. He opened the portcullis sealing off his Command Center and strutted out. ReDead and Stalfos emerged from their dirt naps at full attention, bursting through the floor and holding their position. They were obedient to their master's call.
[hl=limegreen]"So you have decided to pay my home a visit, unannounced and unaware of the horrors within these walls! State your business; my hordes hunger, and I am amused."[/hl]
He stood tall with his Goron femoral staff, adjusting his mask with his free hand as he addressed his visitor.
"My business?' Sha'Tive chuckled. 'Why, I'm just rather interested in this castle. I absolutely adore the work you've put into it, quite macabre."
She looked around the room, and examined the Redeads from where she stood, duly noting Vykos' intimidating form. One of the slivers that made the sleeves of her dress unraveled and became a stool, which she sat upon, crossing her legs and settling her hands on top of her pregnant belly. She admired Vykos as she spoke.
"Though, I won't be long...I just wanted to let myself in for a tour of the place." She giggled after speaking.
Sha'Tive smiled and bit her finger seductively.
"Also...I'm a bit...lonely."
Vykos/Necropolis Atrium/Dawn 7
She hadn't even identified herself yet had the gall to ask for a tour? This simply would not do for Vykos. There would be no tour. He couldn't give away such vital information to anyone, let alone an unknown flirtatious party who walked right in the front door during phase two construction protocols.
"While compliments are appreciated, I know not even who you are nor your purpose in this realm. yet you want a tour? You know not even who I am, either! Who are you?"
Vykos was not dumb enough to start a fight without gathering his facts first. If this bold demoness was of any use or shared any similar goals, best to know before letting the hordes of undead loose in a frenzy.
Being members of differing forces of darkness, Vykos reluctantly agreed with his neighbor.
"Indeed, witch, it is quite neighborly. And if you have a distaste for the mortal denizens of this realm as I do, I also think it wise to be in a state of non-aggression with you. If we can focus on exterminating and enslaving the living, we can settle territory terms once the blood stops running."
The necromancer approached his seated visitor and adjusted his mask.
"You are bold. I will give you that. My creations will feast on mortal flesh this day. Vykos Osteon, Lord of Undeath."
Sha'Tive/ Necropolis/ Morning 7
Sha'Tive bowed to the mighty Lord, wearing a grin on her face.
"Excellent to hear. Here's to a bright future for our kin, and may any disagreements that may come be dealt with in a civil manner."
She slowly turned and made her way for the door.
"Now Lord Vykos, consider me gone. I bid thee adieu."
As she opened the door, she walked to the edge of the castle, and jumped off. Two of the slivers that made her dress formed into wings and a blindfold for her as she soared through the skies.
"Is it true? Are we allies with that Lord?"
Sha'Tive chuckled. "For now. We have more pressing matters to attend to."
"What may that be, mother?" they all asked.
"I think we should have some fun with our Scion friend now that she knows of us..."