Influence From The Shadows

A New Future Carved In Flames

All Journeys Must Come to an End

• As Arturian’s swinging silver sashes erupt around his vanishing remains, striking out against the 3 guardians, 2 kudzus, H and Andrei. H manages to dodge the attacks, A is carved heavily in his transformed state but remains standing, one kudzu is carved in half, the other harmed, and all three guardians take sharp blows, some worse. Then F and L strike the egg once more, which causes another corona of fire that F resists, but L has all of her memories before La Roche swept away from her brain. The chains snap, although L and A don’t see, then the egg falls into the magma and it melts in. Everyone but L and A notice F pendant opening up. Then, the lava erupts and the great form of Kagutsuchi rises up before them. Kagutsuchi “Who are you, and what is it that I may assist you with?” F stares at it with open awe. A slow clap happens behind them, and God The Shadow appears behind them. GTS “Congratulation, it seems you have actually awakened it. Well then, are you Dreamers, still standing or remaining bound to this corporeal world, would care to answer the mystery that you have searched for so long?” L “Yes.” GTS “Well then, you must ask this grand creature to carry you up, higher and higher into the sky, to the very peak of its flight. There you will find your answers.” They turn to Kagutsuchi, F with reverent awe in his eyes before his new god, as he asks Kagutsuchi to “Carry me up oh god, carry me to ash upon the wind as high as possible.” L and S ask Kagutsuchi to carry them up as high as it possible can so that they may find the answers they seek. A scoops up all of F belongings. Kagutsuchi accepts that invitation, asks them to hop on the back of her neck, and then she takes wing. Upwards they fly upon her back, the lava of the volcano following in her wake. In a great rush they are able to burst forth from the top of the mountain temple, lava and ash continuing to follow them as the Aeon of flame continued to fly upwards behind them, then raining down behind them upon the mountains and space behind. Upwards they continued to soar, the curvature of the earth below them, before the beast struck a barrier and all of them were thrown through the air. H and S rolled upon impact upon the sheer white cobbles, A landing hard but not taking damage, F and L floating as they were still spirits, and SY has one of his birds try to catch him, and so he hits hard but is able to get up. They find themselves surrounded by a strangely structured city, deserted and all of pure stone. All but L notice the grand wall of oblivion slowly dissolving the city, and the grand central structure before them. They decide to charge towards the structure to try and find what it is. They go forward and find the grand, twelve faced building that has no windows and a great pointed roof. They find that the doors are locked. F, L and S go looking for other entrances but can’t find any. SY has his three guardians shove open the door, breaking open the locks. They then find themselves within the sealed chamber that has haunted their dreams for every night this past year. Within they find the buttons, levers, knobs, and the grand central crystal chamber containing the floating young woman. They stare for a while trying to figure out what to do. L checks the crystals, and realizes she and F could interact with them if they wanted. They see that there seems to be no way for them to gain access to her, so Andrei attacks the great chamber, cracking it slightly with his weapon. He smiles and then swings again, with S attacking with his Sang Kauw in order to further damage the tank, while F hits a small blue crystal button and L pulls a lever. As A and S attack with their weapons once more they unleash a grand crack which begins with a torrent of the chamber beginning, the torrent causing more and more of the crystal to break up, Andrei batting them aside with his blade and S dodge the attacks as well. They all watch as the girl hangs by the cables. SY then realizes that the void has reached all of the doors, and is beginning to dissolve the building that they are within. SY runds in, and has his kudzu’s try to grab her. They get her, and as they touch her she opens her eyes, and then the world blinds them all in a white flash.
• They awaken on a field, rolling plains burned by magma with ash falling like snow, the woman they saved talking nearby to GTS, with Kagutsuchi resting in the mountains nearby, watching over them. F and S had headaches as they woke up. The two talking forces noticed them as they got up, but GTS seemed unhappy. Lady “I see that you all are awake. It is a pleasure to meet you all in person. Also, I must apologize for all the pain and suffering that my presence has forced upon you.” S “That is good, but could you please explain all that this means exactly?” Lady “That is quite understandable. My purpose was to observe this world, and I have spent a great deal of time observing the grand variety of peoples, places, and things that travel across this place. Then I saw the group of Dreamers, and I hoped that you might be the ones able to grant me my wish. I saw all of the difficulties and struggles that both went through, all the suffering and pain that you endured. Through it all I wept for the sacrifices that you made, but you always continued forward for someone that you had only seen in a dream. Every time I almost hoped that you would give up so that you could all go back and be free of it, but you never did. Now I am incredibly happy that those of you who are here persevered.” H “How long were you trapped in that hell?” Lady “I was always within that prison, from the beginning of my life until now. This is the first moments of freedom I have ever experienced.” L “And what was it that you hoped to do now that you were set free?” Lady “I wish to experience the world, to travel it, to meet people, make friends, experience all that it has to offer. I wish to be able to do more then merely observe.” GTS “Now that all this has been discussed, there is still more to be done. These people that I found and sent towards you have succeeded in freeing you. Next it is time we discussed your freeing me.” S “And how would we go about doing that exactly?” GTS “Ask this one. She knows more about my prison then even I do I’m sure.” Lady “I know how to find your prison to be sure. However, I believe it is up to them to decide if they believe it is the time to free you now.” GTS “This was not part of our agreement.” His hand twitches on his sword. Lady “You have waited a great deal already, another decade or so would not harm you. Besides, I have only just begun to have a chance to experience this world. There is much I wish to know before you are freed.” GTS “You may regret that decision. Let us let these mortals decide then.” S “And what would you do with your freedom, what is your purpose exactly.” GTS “My purpose is to bring balance to this world.” S “Balance how?” GTS “I don’t mean to sound condescending, but the extent of the true series of balance is beyond the understanding of most mortals.” L “I’m afraid that since I won’t be here much longer, I shouldn’t decide for this kind of thing.” S “I don’t believe that we should do anything until we better understand this situation.” GTS hand twitches on his blade again. H “I think we should wait for this.” ST “Are you known by any other names?” GTS “Yes, once they referred to me as Omega.” SY goes through his grimoire, but finds no entry at all. He looks over very suspiciously at Omega. S “We will think on it, and perhaps assist you later.” Omega glares at them all, twitches his hand once more; “Fine, but I shall not wait forever. I expect your assistance eventually, I shan’t forget this.” Omega vanishes into the darkness. L turns to face Kagutsuchi; “I can’t seem to remember anything before we began upon this journey from Gabriel.” Kagutsuchi “That is because the flames took your memories as a price to assist in my awakening. They were the price to pay before you vanish into the flow once more.” L “I see.” F talks to Kagutsuchi; “Now that I have awakened you, what would you ask of me my god?” Kagutsuchi “You have done all that I could have hoped for my dear child of fate. Now you may either go to the flow in hopes of reincarnation, go to the land of your ancestors afterwards, or else you may join your soul to mine in order to burn brightly until all flames leave this world and I with them.” F thinks heavily for a moment as he gazes at the spiritual wings behind him. F “What do you mean my ancestors?” SY goes through his grimoire once more; “Sounds like you have inherited the soul of an Ebudan, those that have destiny pre-determined for them.” S “It is good to know that, brother.” F “Brother? Well then, I think I would like to go to their realm for a time, but then I would like to be reincarnated one day to continue my journey forward.” F turns to A, has him give his cloak to S, his money to SY, who rejects it so the others divide them amoungst themselves, and lets A keep J’s mask, the Oni horns, and Taiko the Fallens demon helm, then asks him to bury his book and necklace. S also asks if all debts can be forgiven, based on all that was lost this day, and F accepts and allows H to tear up the debt sheets held by A. Kagutsuchi smiles down upon F before he vanishes. The grand bird then turns to face SY; “You are a summoner, correct?” SY “Yes, no use in arguing it I suppose.” Kagutsuchi “Then I shall grant you the power to call upon a fraction of my power in order assist you in your time of need. Call upon my cleansing and revitalizing flames when things look grim.” Kagutsuchi then takes wing and flies off until she is little more then a glowing spec upon the night sky. Lady “Well then, is there anything else that I can help you with before I let you move forward? I can offer you protection from the eyes of those behind Arturian so that they cannot follow you’re actions from afar. Should you continue to perform actions that shake destiny and draw their presence in person however, I cannot prevent them from seeing you then.” SY “I should have no need of that gift, I just intend to spend the rest of my days in the mountains, peaceful and alone.” S “I would like that gift. I do enjoy going unseen.” A “I have a question for you. What exactly am I?” SY “Even I can answer that. You most likely bear the blood of one of the ancient beasts within your family, a demon from the looks of it. Their blood courses through your veins.” A smiles at that. He then turns to the L and asks her “Do you know where my father is?” Lady “There was a similar energy to yours in Galgados. Other then that I may be no more specific.” Andrei “Then I shall go looking for him.” L looks over to H “There was something that I was hoping you could do for me since I have to leave. I would like to you find my family and let them know that I am dead. The only problem is that I can no longer remember where I am from.” H “That does make things more difficult.” S “I remember you said that you were from somewhere in the Abel Empire.” H “Great, only the largest empire on the planet. That wouldn’t take too long to search at all.” L “Would you be willing to try at least.” H “Of course,” she says hiding the tears brimming in her eyes. L smiles, “Thank you, then I believe it is time I try to find Taiko in the Flow now that he has been able to return to it.” L vanishes as tears fill H eyes. S to A “Well, seems that we will be traveling the same path for a time at least then.” A “Sure, but when our paths split I will leave without a second thought.” S “Acceptable.” Lady “Seeing you all does make me realize just how much there is for me to experience here. I shall grant you that protection that I promised,” she weaves her combination of psychic powers and zeon to cast the protective barriers upon them, “That should aid in protecting you to the best of my abilities. Now, I believe I shall begin my journey. Is there anything else that I can do for you?” H “Yes, I would like to know your name.” Lady “True, I suppose I will need a name here, won’t I. Then you may call me Gwyneth.” H “Well then Gwyneth, may Jihamath guide your steps.” Gwyneth gave them all a bright smile, one that spoke beyond the countless tears she had shed within that tank; “Thank you, I believe that this shall go well.” With a final wave Gwyneth vanished into the cold night air. SY “Well then, I suppose this is where we part ways. If you would like, then I can grant you my birds to carry you across the sea. They will not tire, and it shall speed your travel greatly.” They all politely accept. SY tells his birds to listen to their commands, come back to him afterwards. SY lets two birds carry each of A, S, and H, and then has his last bird carry him up into the mountains. Out they fly into the night.

Copyright © 2012 by Jeremy Marshall

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