In another world, gods created all life. The gods grew bored and departed. Then war began.
|A Tale of Men and Gods|
In the era before men, there existed the gods. Before the gods, there existed only the Void, and from the Void came the Light. The Void and Light waged a terrible war against one another. Little is known about their war, few among even the eldest gods have any notable knowledge of it. All that is certain is the Light had been shattered, but the Void conquered. From the broken pieces of the Void and Light came the old gods, the Sleeping Warrior whose true name had been lost to time, the Wise Father Aldfriþ, his queen Coleowen, and Estmere the master of time.
The old gods formed their children from pieces of their own essence. Those children became known as the young gods, and they number too vast to count. The most famous and powerful among them are Déprobane the Lord of Water, Fæsten Lady of the sky, Brytenlond Lord of The Land, and Díegol queen of the Spirits, Lady of Shadows and patroness of all creatures underground.
Using the elements around them, the young gods began to create all sorts of wondrous creatures, far too many of which have died out. Fæsten created the birds and all creatures of the sky, including the mighty Dragon. Déprobane created all the sea creatures, the most feared of them all being the proud and mighty Kracken. Brytenlond created the mighty land animals, including the reclusive giants. The Giants in turn cultivated the land, allowing for the birth of all the trees and plants. Diégol, the wisest and most powerful, made all things that dwell under the ground and fastened for nights for all living beings. She made the night and shadows for protection from the glaring, burning sun. Combining their powers, the young gods made Humanity.
Out of them all, Diégol loved humanity the most, viewing them as her own children, and so granted them her wisdom and gave them sanctuary in her domain after their death. Humanity began to grow in strength and wisdom and when humanity was young, the gods often walked among them. The humans all loved and worshipped them. However, the gods quickly seemed to grow bored of humans, like spoiled children with old toys.
All except Diégol departed from humans, and after many generations, humanity forgot about them all, save for The Great Mother Diégol. Infuriated by humanity's forgetting them, the forgotten gods plotted to destroy humanity. Diégol begged her fellow gods to spare humanity. Her pleas went ignored.
Seeing no other choice. She told humanity of the gods’ wrath, and she gifted her children the power to fight the gods. She lovingly sacrificed all of her strength to give humanity a chance at survival, and refusing to let her sacrifice be in vain, humans declared war upon the gods. They dubbed The Mother's gift, with an ancient word that can roughly be translated to "magic".
With this power, some could call forth rivers and fountains of magma from deep beneath the earth. Others could see the remnants of those who have passed on and learn from their wisdom or even call soldiers up from their grave to fight for them. Fewer could manipulate the shadows around them to do amazing, yet often terror inducing, things. The mightiest among them could do all of these things and much more.
The rarest among these though were those who were granted tremendous physical gifts. They could knock down trees with just a mighty kick or carry many heavy men with only one arm! Their skin has been compared to stone, with blades and arrows bouncing off them like tiny pebbles off a mountain. Though not as rare as fantastical physical gifts, few also were gifted with greater wisdom. The wisest of them led humanity against the gods, and their descendents became the Royal family. The blood-line continued through many many years, the greatest among them being Christopher the Lord of Shadows.
Ch1: The Soldier
Nearly 100,000 years passed after humanity managed to banish the gods that so longed for their eradication. The war had long faded into a legend, known only to a few scholars of the ancient ways. A young ex-soldier should know nothing of the legendary war between men and gods, until now that is.
Michael Rodgers downed the last of his beer dispassionately. He made eye contact with the tipsy bartender, tapping the empty bottle, signaling for another round. He knew better now than to try and shout over the crowd of washed up, middle aged drunks.
He was handed another beer, and the man next to Michael spoke up, “His drink is on me.” The bartender nodded, and Michael raised an eyebrow. The gesture didn't necessarily surprise him. Recently, all sorts of people offering to buy him drinks; he considered himself to be a fairly average guy if a bit on the handsome side. He didn't have cheekbones that could cut glass nor a super strong jawline, but compared to a bunch of staggering, grossly overweight 40 somethings, half of whom were covered in some unholy mixture of alcohol, and their own piss, he was a supermodel. Though if he were to be completely honest, the most fascinating thing about him was a thin scar going over his right eye. He had no idea how or when he got it, nor did he really care.
“Come here often? Name's Chris by the way.” The man who had bought him the drink introduced himself, holding out his hand to shake, which managed to shake Michael out of his thoughts. Michael grabbed the offered hand and gave it a firm shake before replying, “Look man, thanks for the drink, but I'm not really interested.” Michael surprised himself with how polite his dismissal sounded. Normally, he would've either just ust ignored the guy or told him where he could shove his shitty flirting.
However...Chris gave him a... strange vibe. He tensed up. He had a bad feeling about this guy. Chris was more than he appeared. He clenched his fist. He had to strike hard and fast. “Relax, I'm just playing. I am also quite above flirting with people who meet me for the first time. Anyway, it's excellent to see you again, Michael.” Chris said fondly.
“Again? Sorry, you got me mistaken for somebody else.” Michael unclenched his fist, got up, and paid his tab. He didn't think how weird it was that a complete stranger acted like they were old friends. Without saying anything else, he walked out into the cold winter air.
“No need to apologize Michael, I'm not surprised you don't remember. I am just a little disappointed though.” Chris remarked with a knowing smile. He stood under a street lamp with his arms folded, as if he'd been waiting outside for a long time already.
“Wait a sec, how the hell did ya get out here so fast, and how'd you know my name?! The fuck are you, some crazy stalker?!” He accused angrily.
If he'd been less drunk, he'd have noticed some more things that just did not add up. One of the most obvious things was Chris's expensive and obviously tailored suit. People from this part of the country could barely afford a crappy bargain bin suit, let alone a fancy tailored suit. More strange was the fact Chris was the only one in that area completely sober, not to mention well groomed. With a well trimmed beard and neatly combed hair, he could easily pass for some sort of wealthy politician. The kind o person who would not be caught dead at a bar like this, especially dressed like that! He'd get robbed blind within an hour if he was lucky, killed if he wasn't.
If Michael was anywhere near sober, he'd notice all these things and avoid him like the plague. Politicians were nothing but trouble. They liked to send kids off to fight wars for them, and when those kids ended up in places like this, they act surprised. Michael didn't like politicians and assholes in general and would do his best to avoid them, not wanting to deal with their bullshit. However given that Michael was 6 beers and 3 shots of whiskey deep. It'd be generous to call him shit faced drunk, so that's why he began and continued his angry and slurred tirade.
Chris' patient smile slowly slid into a scowl. The lone street lamp briefly flickered. In that briefest moment when Chris was wreathed in shadow, Michael felt pure and utter dread.
He had been in battle before, and he had killed and nearly been killed more times than he cared to count. In that briefest instan thought, he had been more afraid for his life than he had ever been before. Terror gripped his heart like a serpent going for the kill. Moments ago, Chris looked no older than thirty. For that briefest of moments though, Chris could easily have easily passed for over a thousand. “Your Majesty.” The words came to his lips unbidden, and he quickly fell to his knees.
The light flickered back on and Chris stood there, young again, smiling humorlessly. “Well then, it seems you're starting to remember. I do insist that you call me Chris though, at least for now. Come now, get up. We have much work to do.” Chris offered Michael a hand up, which the younger man accepted, pulling himself up.
Ch2: The Farm Boy
Many thousands of years before Chris and Michael meet at the bar. In the time of the legendary war, a young man called Arthur scowled at his mother and father. “My life is worthless in the grand scheme of things!” He yelled. “If I don't go, even if humans beat back those shitty excuse for gods and the human race isn't exterminated, I can't live with myself knowing I did nothing but cower helplessly!” He continued passionately. “Now, son.” His father began in an attempt to placate Arthur. “No, I'm not staying, and I won't ever run away from my duty!” The younger man said with a sense of finality. With those words being said, he walked out the door, letting it slam shut behind him. Hearing the sobs of his mother almost made him turn around, but he kept on the snow and the rain hiding his own tears.
“Okay maybe this wasn't a good idea.” He muttered to himself. His shirt and pants were threadbare, and the blizzard made him unable to see just a few feet in front of him. All the while the wind continued to cut like a knife.
He trudged through it all, willing himself not to turn back home for a hot drink and a warm fire. He had a duty to fulfill. Ever since the war began, he knew what he had to do. Humanity had outgrown its need for gods.
He went on for what seemed like miles, but he had no way to know for certain. The snow quickly covered his tracks. His arms were pressed against his chest, and he breathed on and rubbed his hands in a futile attempt to keep them warm. He felt a sudden tap on his shoulder.
He let out a surprised gasp then whirled around. There stood a handsome young man, he looked about 17 or so. He had thick, warm looking, fur cloak wrapped around his frame. “Nice reflexes." He commented, a friendly smile on his face. "Um...thank you?" Arthur replied, unsure of what to make of the odd compliment. "You're most welcome, but you'll die in this kind of weather dressed like that!” He warned.
Before Arthur could lie or deny how cold he was, the other man took off his cloak and wrapped it around Arthur. It was warm and very soft, far more comfortable than his own cloak at home.
The one his mother made always felt scratchy and rough against his skin; she made it from the cheapest materials available after all. Not that he blamed her. They were dirty poor, and he knew she and his father did their best. He loved them, but they couldn't understand why he had to leave, why he had to fight. He would miss his family, and home, and even the cloak his mother gave him. That scratchy cloak in a way represented his family and his old life. It had to be left behind.
He shook his head. He couldn't accept this gift! He didn't need some fancy rich boy's cloak to survive the cold. He'd tough it out on his own! He didn't need charity, so even though he felt touched by the kind gesture, he couldn't accept. “Look, I really appreciate it but…” He started but the other man interrupted him.
“Absolutely no buts! My tunic is more than warm enough, Father and Mother just insisted I bring the cloak as well. They're quite overprotective. Anyway, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Christopher, but I insist that you call me Chris.”
Arthur appraised the, now named, Chris. Now that he didn't have that heavy cloak, Arthur could now see he carried a sword on his hip. That made him dangerous but interesting. He could only see its hilt and guard, since it was sheathed, but that alone told him all he needed to know.
He didn't have much of an education, but he knew what that golden guard, white handle, and gold pommel meant. He got down on his knees, “Prince Christopher, Your Highness! I...um, I am unworthy to even look at you. Please forgive my rudeness, Your Highness!”
To his surprise, he heard an exasperated sigh and could almost feel Chris roll his eyes. “Get up, and I thought I just told you to call me Chris. Come on now, let's hurry and head to my carriage and out of this blizzard." He suggested eagerly. Seeing Arthur hesitate, he continued. "I've decided that we are now friends, and I shall not leave a friend to suffer in the cold. You would not besmirch my honor and make me a liar by not coming with me, would you?” He questioned, his voice a mix of amusement and a bit of annoyance.
Arthur could only nod numbly. He stood up and followed Chris. He had no idea what he had done to have the prince consider him a friend, but he dare not say anything and risk angering him. He didn't like to accept charity, but he knew his life held more value than his pride. Offending the Prince was a guaranteed death sentence.
“So do you have a name? I don't suppose to just call you 'fool I met in a blizzard’.” Chris inquired, breaking the momentary silence, chuckling at his own joke.
“My name's Arthur, Your highnes..er Chris.” Arthur replied his cheeks heating up, clearly embarrassed. How could he forget to introduce himself, especially to someone so important?! Strangely, his whole body felt so much warmer than before, but he couldn't be sure if it was from sheer embarrassment or the warm cloak.
“So Arthur, where are you traveling to in this weather?” Chris asked. “I'm heading towards Ine. I'm going to enlist in the military. It's where their main base is after all. Once I start training, I'm going to become a great warrior! Then, I'm gonna put help put an end to the tyranny of the gods!” Arthur exclaimed passionately.
“An admirable goal, coincidentally, I'm going there too. My father wants me to go there to...boost morale.” Chris mentioned. Arthur noticed the hesitation instantly, but he didn't mention it. Pissing off or even just annoying a member of the Royal Family could be the last mistake he ever made,. Chris seemed nice, but Arthur much prefered to not have him and his family be executed, thank you very much!
Chapter 3: Questions
“So you're telling me that not only are their literal freaking gods, they're all hell bent on destroying us all?! Have I got everything?!” Michael exclaimed, now clutching his head.
“Essentially, though they aren't ALL trying to kill us. Some of them may just want to enslave us, and at least one god is actually on our side or was rather! Gods are quite fickle creatures, but Mother Diégol was our greatest and really only advocate. For our sake though, I hope that changes. Unlikely though.” Chris mused, a far too cheerful smile on his face. He didn't turn to look at Michael though, his eyes focused on the road.
“Is this all just some kinda sick joke to you?” Michael asked, annoyance coloring his tone. “When one lives to be my age, one must develop a sense of humor. To answer your question though, no I'm not joking.” Chris answered, his smile fading.
Michael sighed. “Just how old are ya anyways? He inquired, raising an eyebrow.
“Too old to fight another war.” Chris replied, his tone making it clear that was all he would say.
“Alrighty then Your Majesty, what's the plan?” Michael said, his voice taking on a tone similar to the one he used when speaking to a superior back in The IAEM (International Army for Extraordinary Measures). Though his voice was still slightly slurred; he seemed far more sober than before. It had been less than an hour, but he already seemed less drunk.
“We are going to see some… acquaintances.” He remarked, a mysterious glint in his eyes. “And for the last time, call me Chris. You may not remember yet, but we are... friends. And absolutely no friend of mine will call me 'Your Majesty’!” He insisted, somehow looking dignified as he rolled his eyes. “As you command...Your Majesty.” Michael teased, holding back a smirk.
Chris raised an eyebrow. “You're mocking me? That is an excellent sign. It shows the person I knew is still in there... deep down.” He chuckled to himself. “And if we are to use our official titles, then I have no other option than to refer to you as Godslayer, Sword and Shield of the King.” He continued, his amusement obvious.
“Huh, who woulda guessed the King had a sense of humor. Godslayer...that sounds really, really dumb and kinda pretentious too. Sounds like some old fairy tale.” Michael remarked. Though he looked a little confused, why was that title so familiar?
“While I have little tolerance for the belligerent, I can take a joke. I don't make these titles up; they're passed down from person to person.” Chris retorted huffing, his pride seemingly wounded. “Okay, I believe you can take a joke but can you tell jokes, though? I don't believe that one for a second.” The younger man said sceptically.
“Fine don't believe me, here's a joke for you…” Chris began irately, then quickly shut his mouth, his expression turning far more serious. Michael simply looked out of the window not truly understanding what he saw.
“Don't worry Michael, all will be understood in due time.” Chris assured his friend, his face deathly serious.
Chapter 4: A Warrior's Beginnings
(Back in the past)
Arthur looked out the window in awe. His eyes shone like the stars in the night sky. Every building he saw looked to be the size of a mountain! The most impressive part was building being made of ice. The sun's reflection off of these magnificent structures brought to life colors he never dreamt possible! New shades of blue, red, green, and yellow moved before his eyes in a stunning and ever changing dance!
“Amazing isn't it?” Chris said, his own eyes sparkling with wonder and amazement. Arthur simply nodded, not trusting himself to speak.
The carriage slowed down to a halt. “I best let you go for now. Father would kill me if I led you straight to headquarters. You need to figure out how to get there yourself. May the Mother Diégol Patroness of All Things Under the Earth watch over you as you join her sacred alliance.” Chris intoned, looking intently at Arthur.
“Um... thank you?” Arthur replied awkwardly.
Chris let out a noise that seemed to be a cross between a chuckle and an exasperated sigh. “If I'm ever to introduce you to my Father or even my other friends, you must learn some proper etiquette. When someone offers you a blessing like that, there are only three proper responses. With an equal you must respond: I thank you brother/sister May the Mother's blessing be with you on your journey. When speaking to a superior, it is the same concept, simply replace brother/sister with milord or milady, and when you speak with an inferior, you must say, go climb back into the mudhole you climbed out of and rot in it!”
Arthur listened intently to Chris's words and gaped at his friend near the end, could that actually be an official way to respond to someone?!
“By the way, that last part is what is known as a joke. Something friends often say to each other for amusement.” He explained in an overtly patronizing tone.
“I know what a joke is!” Arthur complained, trying not to snap at Chris. Friends or not, Arthur did not want to risk death or indefinite imprisonment by pissing off the crown prince, the 1st born son of the King. “Anyways, why would I ever meet your dad? I bet even the some of the highest officers never even meet the King!” He exclaimed.
Chris chuckled. “Your innocence is both very endearing and very frustrating.” Seeing Arthur's confused look, Chris simply smiled, refusing to elaborate. “Unless you did not want to join our military, I'd recommend you get of the carriage now.” He suggested not unkindly but there was a touch of sadness in his words.
Arthur nodded. “Hopefully, we'll meet again. It was really nice meeting you Chris, but I gotta go. After all, I need to become a great warrior to help end this war.”
“Wait a moment!” Chris said quickly. Arthur looked back confused. “That's not true. You do not have to become a warrior. I could protect you from anyone or anything that would wish to harm you. One less soldier will not make any noticeable difference. I have seen what the gods are capable of! I have seen 1000's of soldiers massacred in mere moments, all of them killed by just one god!” He explained desperately, grabbing Arthur's wrist in a painfully tight grip.
Arthur shook his head slowly and got his wrist out Chris’ grip. “Thanks but no thanks. I really appreciate the thought but... I don't want a protector. Besides, I have a duty. If I'm capable of helping even a little bit and I don't, then I'm no better than the gods who'd destroy us just 'cause their egos got a little bruised!” Arthur proclaimed, his eyes showing a spirit able to crush mountains and split oceans.
Chapter 5: A Knight's Return
The creature moved towards them slowly. It walked as if its legs had been broken and then healed backwards. It's gait was slow and heavy and both men could hear its every foot step, each one sounding like sharps rock being dragged across concrete. Neither man could make out its features, only able to make out a vaguely humanoid shape. Ever so slowly, it came into the light of the street lamp.
Michael's mouth opened in surprise and disgust. The creature...no the abomination before him was nearly impossible to describe. Its body seemed to be a vile and heinous fusion of fish like scales, broken seashells, and cracked limestone. Its face though would frighten demons. Its eyes and teeth were like a shark, but the rest of its face looked more like a human's. However, it's skin was a sickly grey with gills and scales covering much of it. Its right arm held a large sword seemingly made out of the same material as its body.
It let out an inhuman scream and, using its sword, sliced through the base of the street lamp. The lamp lurched and came crashing down directly over the car.
Chris clenched his fists and the shadows obeyed his commands and grew around the car forming a protective barrier, then another tendril wrapped around the creature, holding it in place.
Michael watched this in awe, unable to truly comprehend what he was seeing.
"Stop your damn gawking and get out! You must hide somewhere, those creatures are powerful and rarely travel alone, but they are stupid. They will not think to look for you! Go!" Chris ordered tersely, beads of sweat and blood beginning to bead down forehead.
Michael shook his head. "I ain't gonna leave you to fight this thing alone!" He insisted.
"Fine! Do what you will! Quickly reach into the back seat and grab a weapon! I can't hold this much longer!" He demanded, gritting his teeth.
The other man nodded, reaching into the back seat, expecting a gun of some kind to be back there. Instead, he found something long and wrapped in a cloth. He quickly unwrapped to find a sword. He blanched at the idea of attacking that...that thing with a freaking sword of all things!
"If you do not hurry, both of us will be crushed!" Chris yelled, the rebuke was clear.
Michael swore under his breath, then ran out of the car and Chris following. He unsheathed the sword making a quick note of it's gold guard and white handle. It felt eerily familiar.
He jumped as he heard a loud crash behind him. He glanced behind him too see the car crushed beyond repair. He didn't have time to think as soon the creature was upon him.
He deflected its sword on reflex and quickly launched a counter attack. The two traded strikes quickly. While they seemed equal, Michael was quickly gaining the upper hand.
Michael had a huge advantage of skill, but the creature's strength could only be compared to a tidal wave! He avoided a heavy strike and quickly countered and managed to lop off its head. Immediately after, its head and the rest of its body crumbled to dust.
He turned quickly. Chris had made a weapon of some kind from the shadows and was engaged with three creatures similar to the one he just killed. Even from this distance, he could tell his friend was badly wounded! Michael knew he couldn't make it in time! In a desperate gambit, he lobbed his sword as hard as he could towards one of the abominations. As it grew closer to the combatants, a tendril of shadow grabbed it and brought to land in between the eyes of the creature closest to him, killing it instantly.
However, Chris was not out of danger yet. There were two creatures left, and they were poised to strike at him!
Out of nowhere, a thrown spear pierced both of the creatures, and they crumbled to dust.
Chapter 6: So It Begins
Arthrur explored the sprawling city. He only briefly took in the sites. The Ice City's enormity continued to astound him. He couldn't focus on its beauty nor its magnificence for very long. He hadn't come to sight see after all. He had to find the military headquarters as soon as possible.
"Now where the hell could it be…" He muttered to himself. He sighed, his frustration evident. An older man in a plain looking cloak, glanced his way and offered a nod of acknowledgement. The cold greeting reminded him of his late grandfather,colder than winter, but he certainly could tell a story.
Arthur smiled fondly. His favorite were the ones involving the military. His grandfather always said the military was the heart of the country, and that is why the gods couldn't attack the cities, the mother's power at the center protected it!
His eyes lit up. That gave him an idea! He'd have to head to the heart of the city; it was his only shot!
He found the heart quickly and came across a small round building. To his shock, it was roughly the size of his family's house.
He walked up to the door and before he could even knock, it opened wide. A man in a black crisp formal military uniform opened the door. "Quid vis?" He asked sternly. "Umm, ad iungere... militum." Arhtur responded uncomfortably, he knew he absolutely butchered the pronunciation there. His Capital sucked. He knew only the city folk really spoke it, even though it was the official language of the country. His parents tried to teach him some, but he never really had a reason to use the little he had learned. Not to mention there were a bunch all the different dialects that are spoken in different cities. The rural people almost exclusively spoke the Commoner’s Tongue.
"Fine, come in." The soldier ordered, a sneer on his face. His Capital accent, while very thick, was still understandable. He could probably tell what language Arthur spoke because of his own accent. "Strip then change." He said, then tossed Arthur a bundle of clothes. They included several sets of pants, shirts, socks, and one pair of boots. Arthur stared at the soldier, silently wondering if he had to change in front of this stranger. The soldier gave him a look that said, 'well what're you waiting for?.
Blushing redder than a tomato, he quickly stripped of his clothes before hastily putting on the new clothes provided. While he wouldn't consider himself the height of physical fitness, he did consider himself to be in pretty good shape. He really had nothing to be embarrassed about in regards to physicality. Nevertheless, stripping in front of some stranger was humiliating! Really not wanting to meet the other man's eyes after that particular event, he decided to examine his new clothes. They were all a dark grey and had a pattern that seemed to match the stones on the wall. The other sets of clothes matched the ones he wore currently.
“Follow me.” The man ordered, his face fixed into a scowl. He walked through a huge double doors “From now on your old name is nothing, now you are just a recruit, IF you succeed in your training, you may choose
new name.” He informed him.
Not expecting nor wanting any response, the soldier marched on down the mammoth magnificent staircase. Each step seemed to be carved by only the most skilled of stone masons, with thousands of intricate designs weaving in and out of equally complex patterns.
"Hurry, I will not find you if you are lost." The soldier warned, not waiting for an instant. Arthur quit his admiring of the stone and quickly ran to catch up with his guide. The man said nothing as the stairs ended and a near pitch black corridor began.
Arthur struggled to keep up with the older man as he took a dizzying amount of turns and after each one the corridor grew narrower and narrower, until he could there was less barely more than an inch of room between his arms and the wall. At the end of the hall stood what seemed to be a door. "It begins." The soldier said ominously.
Chapter 7: Old Allies
Michael glanced at the spear, before turning towards where it came from. There stood a woman in shimmering silver armour, with flowing dark hair and her skin the color of earth. She picked up her spear and kept the tip on the ground.
"Why are you here?" She asked, glowering at the men.
"Olivia, wonderful to see you again." Chris greeted through gritted teeth. Whether that because of the pain of his wounds or that he was just plain unhappy to see, the now named Olivia, remained unknown to Michael.
"Christopher, you've certainly seen better days." She pointed out mockingly.
"Well sister dearest, trying to prevent the destruction of humanity, tends to take its toll on you." He growled out.
She sneered and spat out, "1st, you're no brother of mine, and 2nd stop your damn boohoos. You shouldn't whine just because your hero complex is finally biting you in the ass!" She ended with a taunt.
"Listen here you witch…!" Chris started angrily.
"Alright enough, quit squabbling like children. We're all adults so both of you best start acting like it!" Michael commanded, his voice taking on a tone that felt both shockingly familiar yet oddly foreign.
"Stay out of this! And who the hell are you anyway?" She snapped raising her spear menacingly.
"My name is Michael." He responded, his grip on his sword tightening.
She raised an eyebrow, then a flash of familiarity showed in her eyes. She quickly lowered her spear, a twinge of fear in her eye. "Well if it isn't the god slayer himself." She remarked, grudgingly respectful.
"Now that we're all calmed down, let's talk. First things first, Chris you need some serious medical attention.” He said, turning to his friend. As soon as he said that, Chris collapsed to his knees.
Micheal kneeled down and caught him. He briefly appraised his injuries. His shirt was dark red with blood. He wrapped his arm around his shoulders, so he could support him.
“Is there someplace where can I take him a hospital or something? He’ll die if he doesn’t get help!” He pleaded, trying not to let his desperation bleed into his voice.
She seemed to wrestle with herself, before putting Chris' other arm over her shoulder and helped support him with her other arm.
"Follow my lead, my house is nearby." She instructed, still seeming very reluctant.
They arrived at a modest home and managed to drag Chris in. Olivia dropped him roughly on the couch. "I'm getting a first aid kit, get his shirt off and try to keep his blood off my couch." She commanded, before going to grab what she said.
Michael nodded and quickly removed the other man's shirt, revealing a grizzly chest wound. It looked about as long as his arm and nearly as wide, but it probably looked worse than it was.
Olivia came back with a first aid kit, which did include rubbing alcohol, and in her other hand, she held a bottle of very strong whiskey and a hand towel. She soaked the towel with whiskey and then stuffed it in his mouth, and Chris groaned indignantly. Micheal was about to say something when Olivia spoke up. "It's to keep you from waking the whole damn neighborhood when you end up screaming like a little girl. The booze'll help with the pain." She said bluntly. Then she poured the rubbing alcohol over the wound, causing Chris to groan in pain.
"Mommy, what's going on?" A small voice called out. Michael looked back and saw a little boy, who looked about 3 or 4, in blue footie pajamas rubbing his eyes. Micheal noticed Olivia's face immediately soften at seeing the little boy.
"Mommy's just helping some friends, sweet heart. What're you doing up so late?" She explained gently, walking over to her son.
"I was thirsty." The little boy offered in explanation.
"Well mommy will get you a glass of water, and then you gotta promise me you'll go straight to bed." She replied softly. The little boy nodded his head slowly, and Olivia went and grabbed him his water and sent him off to bed.
Once her son was out of the way, she began to stitch the wound up with the gentleness of an angry grizzly bear. Chris could be heard groaning in pain through the towel, throughout the entire process. Eventually, he stops groaning, seemingly having fallen asleep. Whether he passed out from the pain or the booze was up for grabs.
"Just like old times." She muttered unhappily but unable to hide the slightest touch of fondness in her voice. She gingerly removed the towel and tossed it away. "As soon as Christopher wakes up, I want you both gone. I've been able to keep a fairly low profile so far, but keeping you here will only attract more trouble." She said softly but with an unmistakable edge of steel. "You're lucky, I was only out there tonight on a hunch something bad would happen. Then I saw you idiots, and the rest is history." She explained,
"What does us being here have to do with keeping a low profile?" Michael asked, after a few moments of silence.
She rolled her eyes and looked at him like he really was a fool. "The king and his husband who just so happens to double as his top general are right here. Every monster on the planet would be able to sense you two and start to congregate here." She said patronizingly.
"You're afraid of a few monsters?" Michael replied, raising an eyebrow.
"If by a few, you meant hundreds of thousands then yes, yes I am! You accuse me of cowardice, but I can't risk the best thing to have ever happened to me. If it means protecting my son, I will pay any price." She bit out, barely keeping from losing her cool.
Micheal's expression remained carefully neutral. Minutes pass, the tension so thick it could be cut with a knife.
Knowing that Olivia would be an invaluable ally, Micheal had to do something to ease tensions or risk losing her support. "I married Chris of all people? He doesn't seem like my type." He asked incredulously, a joking smile on his lips.
"Countless of bloodthirsty creatures and ancient gods are looking to kill you, and that's your takeaway?" She asked, shaking her head. Then a smile grew on her face. "Wait a second, that means you don't remember everything yet!" Her smile widened and she could barely control her laughter. "That has to be driving Chris insane! Your own husband not remembering you. Serves the self righteous prick right!" She laughed like a hyena, not bothering trying to keep her voice down.
"So you must know what's going on? Why exactly all these memories are coming back to me?" He pointed out eagerly.
"You're right, I know exactly what happened. Here's a hint, it has to do with your little nickname." She admitted, a teasing smirk on her lips.
Then a loud rumble could be heard from outside. "Shit!" Olivia yelled, grabbing her spear. Despite not knowing what was going on, Michael drew his sword, preparing for the worst.
Chapter 8: A Beginning
Previously: Arthur finds the military base and officially joins the army as a recruit.
Arthur's guide quickly began to speak to a tall man in a dark blue uniform.
"¿Tú estás el nuevo recluta?" The tall man, asked his voice twinged with disdain.
Arthur just looked confused. The tall man just scoffed. "Commoner huh? Alright then, listen up all you useless slugs! Since this country boy is too damn stupid to learnEast Capital, we're all gonna speak Commoner!" The man yelled. Arthur could feel the glower of all the other recruits on his back.
"Recruit 42601, tell this dumb fuck how things work around here! The rest of you shitheads have 40 more times around the perimeter! The man yelled, before glancing towards a man of about 20 years old. This other recruit was the most handsome man Arthur had ever seen. His pale blonde hair shined like the stars, coupled with the most beautiful blue eyes he had ever seen. He looked like the very definition of a noble. He was tall with a well defined jawline and high cheekbones. He walked confidently towards Arthur, and Arthur swallowed nervously, expecting to be either chewed out or mocked.
Instead he got a polite smile and a firm handshake. "Call me Mikaile." He greeted softly. "I thought we didn't have names down here?" Arthur replied, a little apprehensive.
Mikaile rolled his eyes. "That is simply...bullshit." He answered. "The military's goal is to break you and make you the perfect soldier. The whole no name idea is meant to encourage... anonymity, when you have no identity you're more willing to die to support the goals of the military." He explained as best he could. "I don't like gods, but the military do not seem much better either." He whispered so as to not be overheard.
"Then why're you here?" Arthur asked, now confused. Was this really the best course of action? "I plan to change it from the inside! Don't be frightened, it is important that we watch each other's backs here. If we do that, then we'll be good. Handsome people like us must stick together, yes?" He offered a teasing smirk and wink.
At the compliment, blood rushed to Arthur's cheeks...and other places as well. "Umm...right, sounds like a plan." He agreed quickly, trying to act relaxed. "Now then, I best explain how things work down here. Most importantly, I tell you the pecking order. From bottom to top it's: recruits, the dirt, the worms inside of the dirt, Sergeant's shit, and then Sergeant." Mikaiel informed him, his expression turning deadly serious "Sergeant is the guy in blue, right?" He asked. Mikael nodded in agreement. "I know this a dumb question, but what language was Sergeant speaking? it kinda sounded like Capital but not...if that makes any sense?" Arthur inquired, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly.
Mikaiel smiled patiently. "That language is called East Capital. It's spoken in eastern parts of the city. The city is very very grand and large. So there are different dialects of Capital. While pure Capital is spoken towards the middle of the city, and it's unofficially called Central Capital. Other regions have their own dialects, in fact people from different parts of the city have so much trouble understanding the other local dialects; that's why many of us learn commoner's tongue. That way we can have language in common." He explained eagerly.
Arthur wished he could pay more attention, but he couldn't help but get lost at Mikael's blue eyes. He had never seen that color before! They were gorgeous. He could be lost in them for days. Seeing them light up and sparkle like the moon and stars as he spoke of all these odd languages, it was mesmerizing. Arthur was broken out of his reverie when the crystals stopped glowing, leaving them all in total darkness. "Woah! What's going on?!" He shouted fearfully. He could almost feel the angry eyes on him.
"Relax, that just shows that it's time to sleep." Mikael's calm voice pierced through the heavy and oppressive darkness. "Find a comfortable position and rest. Tomorrow is a big day for you." He advised, letting out a yawn. Arthur nodded and followed his advice, trying to find the most comfortable position on the floor. He found a decent enough spot next to the blonde and fell asleep.
Chapter 9: An Important Meeting
The rumble got louder as Michael waited, ready for anything. His eyes as hard as steel, all traces of his earlier drunkenness gone.
The rumble grew louder, and he soon realized it was the roar of an engine. A tall man riding on a black motorcycle rode up to right beside Olivia. "Hey Liv, been awhile!" He greeted, and Micheal could almost see the man's smirk despite not being visible under the helmet.
"The hell do you want James?!" Olivia questioned heatedly. James chuckled, "Aww, c'mon babe! Can't a guy, come and see his kid once in awhile?" He asked taking off his helmet, revealing a head of shocking red hair not dissimilar to Olivia's son. She scoffed, "Please, you haven't shown any interest in Theo before." She pointed out, almost mockingly. She lifted her spear and pointed it at his throat. "Now leave, asshole. 'Cause, I don't want to have to make a mess." She threatened.
The man's eyes narrowed. "That's just plain rude. I always cared about Theo." He replied, seemingly more annoyed than fearful. "My ass!" Olivia replied, preparing to strike. "Wait a sec." Michael ordered calmly. "Let me take care of him. I've had...a trying day. I could go for some stress relief." The supposed impostor snorted. "New boyfriend?" He chuckled. "Alright, I'll go lay this guy out and then we can we go catch up."
Olivia had a look of obvious amusement and hid a chuckle. "Be my guest." She allowed, lowering her spear. James grabbed a heavy looking baseball bat from a bag on his bike, and he smirked confidently. "Man Liv sure moves on fast, a new boyfriend already." Michael rolled his eyes. "I'm gay, dumbass." He said, before raising his sword.
"What were you doing with Liv then? Trading fashion tips." James laughed and Michae didn't bother responding verbly, only offering a stony stare. James felt A chill run down his spine, but he expertly hid his fear. "You're seriously gonna use a sword? What did thou just cometh from a renaissance fair?" He mocked. "Buddy, do you even know how to use that thing?" James laughed, holding his side's and wiping a pretend tear from his eyes. Suddenly he swung the bat, aiming for Micheal's head, who avoided it easily. "Nice reflexes!" James complimented snidely.
Micheal responded by landing an impossibly quick but purposefully shallow cut on James's neck. "If I wanted it, you'd be dead. Let's stop this nonsense before you get hurt worse." He said decisively. James glared, his pride wounded "I might not be much of a fighter, but at what I do best, nobody can do better!" James protested. "Bitch and moan?" Olivia questioned, raising a sarcastic eyebrow. "Haha, very funny! You know exactly what I mean. No one's better at hiding and killing from the shadows than me! So watch your ass gay boy!" James boasted glaring angrily, pressing his hand against his wound.
"My name is Michael. Anyway, you're an assassin? You?" Michael asked incredulously, putting away his sword. James scoffed, "I've got some special skills. You wouldn't understand 'em, even if I explained it." "Try me." Michael said dryly. "Alright then if you insist. A long while back, I was the most feared assassin in the world, and my most famous client was the mightiest kingdom the world had ever seen." He bragged. "I'm assuming it was the one Chris ruled." Michael replied, his expression unreadable.
"Alright seriously Liv, who the hell is this guy?" The redhead asked, obviously confused. "I already told you. My name is Micheal." Michael answered plainly. Olivia smirked and added, "You might know him as The Godslayer." James' breath hitched in his throat. His mouth opened and closed repeatedly, looking like a gaping fish. His hands shook, and sweat beaded down his face. "The Godslayer…." He trailed off, fearfully. He looked like he had seen a monster. "Have mercy please! Don't kill me! I-I can be useful to you! Please just, just spare my life." He begged, falling to his knees.
Now it was Michael's turn to be confused, but he kept up a neutral expression. "Get up, we all have a lot of things to talk about." He commanded before offering his hand to James. The other man greedily took it and lifted himself up.
Chapter 10: Garnering Attention
Arthur woke up to Mikaiel gently shaking his shoulder. "5 more minutes…" He groaned, shutting his eyes, protecting them from the piercing light of the crystals.
Mikaiel chuckled, "If I don't wake you up, then Sergeant will and I quote, 'shove my boot so far up his ass, he'll be throwing it up.'" With that knowledge, Arthur quickly sat up. He groaned. His body was sore all over from sleeping on the ground. Turns out rock isn't very comfy. Mikael smiled ruefully. "You have 10 minutes to use the hole, wash up a bit, and get dressed." He informed his friend. "The hole?" Arhtur asked, raising his eyebrow.
"No toilets down here, just a huge hole. Don't worry, you get used to the smell...eventually. There is an amazing water system at least. There's an underground lake above us, there are holes in the, uh, ceiling that allow water to come down like rain in certain parts. It lets us bathe and washes away the nasty stuff." He explained still
unused to using the Commoner's Tongue, but despite that, his amusement at his friend's discomfort was made crystal clear. "Wonderful." Arhtur muttered sarcastically.
After completing his morning routine. Arthur quickly got dressed. He spied a large mound in the center of the cavern and looked at Mikaiel. Silently wondering what it was. The other just smiled, a mischievous glint in his eye. Any annoyance he felt was quickly overshadowed by his fluttering heart. Finally awake enough to notice, the crystals gave Mikael's skin and eyes an otherworldly glow. His breath hitched in his throat. He had never seen someone so beautiful.
His daze was shattered by Sergeant's booming voice. "Alright you damned fucking stains, listen up! Grab a chainmail shirt, and a wooden sword. Remember, you are to treat these swords as real weapons. And what are your weapons?" He bellowed. "¡Ellos son nuestro vida!" They chorused back. Mikael whispered to a confused Arthur, "It means our weapons are our life."
Sergeant glared at them all. "If you do not treat your weapons with respect, I will personally shove it up your ass and then work you like a broken puppet! Do not drop them! Now you motherfucking shit eating worms, get your weapon and your armor, then follow me!" Sergeant shouted, shrugging on the heavy looking chainmail and lifting one of the dense wooden training swords.
The others quickly followed his example, fearing he would make good on his promise otherwise. Arhtur grabbed a shirt and sword and ran off after the sergeant. He managed to keep pace with him somehow. He didn't worry about the others or how he compared to them. He just ran as hard as he possibly could. He couldn't hear his or others' footsteps over his heart and blood pumping. After what seemed like 1000 laps around the perimeter. The sergeant stopped and seemingly couldn't help but look annoyed.
"Listen, you useless twaddle fucks, this newbie managed to run better than any of you! If you don't do 1000 times better during sparring, I will personally make you all jump into the shit hole and run laps in it until your fucking legs fall off!" Sergeant sharply reprimanded, and Arthur could feel the glares of almost everyone on him.
Chapter 11: A Much Needed Discussion
"Olivia wake Chris up. He should be here for this conversation." He ordered crisply.
She raised an eyebrow. "You expect me to take my eyes off this asshat?" She asked rhetorically. "Besides, I don't take orders. Wake him up yourself." She dismissed, and she didn't even bother to take her eyes off James. Micheal glared but before he could respond, he was interrupted.
"No need, I'm awake." Chris said softly, but everyone could still her him. "James, did you find what I asked for?" He asked, his face a stoic mask. James immediately kneeled and shook his head. "My deepest apologies, Your Majesty. I have found the location of the stone, but I was unable to retrieve it. Please forgive me, I know it's our only hope, but none would dare leave a god's weakness unguarded." He offered desperately, refusing to look Chris in the eye.
Chris' expression remained the same, his silence more terror inducing than any word he could have spoken. "Where is it?" He said evenly. "In Helleduru. The untakeable fortress" James responded quickly. "With our numbers so few, even with the Godslayer on our side, we cannot hope to lay siege. Even I would fail at sneaking into that fortress. Besides, if I did somehow manage to sneak in, there's no way I'd make it out alive." James rambled on fearfully, tripping over his words like a drunk toddler.
Chris looked thoughtful. "You're right, the monsters that guard that place can sniff out virtually any living thing. No one human can get that stone out of there." He concluded. "Though you're a pathetic excuse for one, nevertheless, you are still human." Chris spat out, making his contempt for James clear. "That is why you will not be any more use to us... alive." At his saying that, his hair turned white and his eyes darkened. Michael feared for his own life for just a moment.
"Wait!" James began to plead, before two shadow tendrils quickly and brutally snapped his neck. Then the shadows forced open his lips and throat and began to pour into James, causing his veins to pop out and turn black. His eyes shut , then reopened, now dark as the new moon as dark as Chris'
"That is why you shall fetch me my prize as a walking corpse." He declared coldly. Both Micheal and Olivia looked on in horror. Their faces showing a range of emotions, the most prominent one being fear. Micheal found his voice and could only utter one thing, "Why?"
Chapter 12: The Mission Awaits
Everyone began to eagerly look for a sparring partner, with Mikael quickly finding Arthur much to his relief. The other men had seemed to be closing in on him like a pack of starving wolves. As soon as Mikael went near him though, they began to back away. It was as if they feared Mikael, almost like a massive bear had come to his defense.
“Don’t fear them, they’re uh like...dead trees. They might look scary but they get bring down too easily.” Mikael reassured his friend. Arthur nodded, understanding the other man’s meaning well enough, despite his continued difficulty with speaking the Commoner’s Tongue. “So um, what do we do now?” He asked, gesturing towards the heavy training sword he held.
“We spar, it’s like a fight but just practice.” Mikaiel explained patiently, an eager look in his eyes. “Follow my moves.” He suggested, beginning to go through several sets of, what Arthur could only guess to be, different strikes and blocks. “Normally, I’d explain when to use each move, but I let you find out for yourself. More fun that way!” Then without warning, Mikael struck with a horizontal slash aiming for Arhtur’s neck.
Barely managing to raise his sword in time, Arthur managed to block the strike. He panicked a little as he heard the smack of wood on wood. Mikaiel was stronger than he looked, and Arthur could easily imagine the rippling muscles underneath the other's uniform. He didn't have long to think about them though, not giving him a moment to breathe, Mikael struck again. This time letting his blade slide off of Arthur’s and managing to strike his shoulder. "Careful! If this were a real sword, your arm would be hurt badly!" Mikael admonished lightly. "Next time counter attack or step out of my strike range." He advised eagerly.
Arthur could only nod, before attempting an overhead strike at Arthur's head. "Need to be faster!" The blonde encouraged easily avoiding the strike, his eyes sparkling with an unbridled excitement. Arthur could easily get lost staring into those beautiful blue eyes. Mikaiel struck at Arthur's ribs, which the younger man barely blocked in time. "Good!" He praised, going for another strike.
"Enough!" The Sergeant yelled. Mikael's expression darkened momentarily, but it was quickly smoothed over. He shot Arthur a disarming smile, and the other man forgot all about his worries for now.
"All of you shit licking whore sons better listen up!" The Sergeant demanded. "We have a mission in ten weeks! Important details will be given on a strictly need to know basis! All you need to know is that we will march a well defended fortress, then it will be captured, and the enemy routed. The majority of you will be attacking the front of the fortress, while a small group will sneak in the back to obtain an undisclosed secondary objective." The Sergeant glared, daring anyone to protest. Wisely no one did.
The rest of the day passed by in a blur. Mikaiel sparred with Arthur a few more times, before going on to humiliate a few other sparring partners. Arthur also found several eager partners, each one eager to kick his ass. To their annoyance, thanks to the little bit Mikaiel taught him and his own reflexes, he manages to hold his own. Later on, they did innumerable push ups, sit ups, pull ups, and everything in between. Until finally, training had ended for the day and they could sleep.
Arthur collapsed on the floor next to Mikaiel, completely exhausted. He shut his eyes and tried to relax, but sleep evaded him. He looked over and saw Mikaiel in a similar situation. The blond smiled at him and shifted closer. "The ground is so cold; we should be close for warmth." He leaned over and whispered huskily into Arthur's ear. The brunette felt a shiver run down his spine. "Maybe we should be on top of each other, we'd be even warmer that way." Arthur suggested, coming even closer to Mikaiel. "You'd like that, wouldn't you?" The other man tilted his head and brought it slowly over to Arthur's until their lips hovered over each other. Moments later they touched, and both men were in heaven.
Chapter 13: An Explanation
"The gods and their servants won't be able to sense him as he is now. He is a part of Diégol's realm now, and the gods won't impede on each other's realms. They're far too prideful to do that." His voice low and filled with a cold rage. "Besides, that one was personal." He growled. His eyes and hair slowly reverted to their normal color, and he seemed more tired than anyone there had ever seen him. He wobbled a bit and would have fell on his face were it not for Michael catching him.
"Get out of here...leave before I kill you both!" Olivia demanded, staring at the shadowy corpse that had once been her exlover. She always had mixed feelings about the man. She hated that he abandoned their child. Furious at his crimes. Yet at one point, she loved him with everything she had. He was the father to the greatest thing that had ever happened to her, and those two had killed her baby boy's daddy.
Michael looked legitimately contrite. "Please Olivia, he needs to rest, and we can't fight the gods by ourselves!" Michael pleaded. "Not my fucking problem!" Olivia bit back. "What about your son? Theo right? If the gods win, all of humanity will be destroyed. That includes Theo!" He pointed out. "Don't you dare bring him into this!" She grabbed her spear wanting nothing more than to skewer him. She turned around gritting her teeth, and let loose a strangled scream. She knew he was right, but she hated that fact more than anything, save for perhaps Chris.
She took a deep breath in an attempt to calm herself, refusing to look at the walking corpse, in fear of reigniting her rage. "I...am going to call my parents; hopefully they can babysit for a while. Both of you stay out here, or I really will kill you." She threatened. Michael frowned but didn't argue. The memories were still fuzzy, but he knew If any human could beat him in melee combat, it'd be Olivia. If they were to go at each other at 100% in their prime, Micheal would come out on top. He had every confidence that he would have won. Now though, he was rusty and they both knew it. These days, a fight between them could go either way.
Sighing, he carefully lowered the other man onto the stoop, so he could rest. "Best not do anything more to earn her ire. You might not remember, but she has been training with bladed weapons since she was in diapers. The spear is her specialty, and as you saw before, she is deadly." Chris advised slowly, forcing back a grimace. "Trust me, I know when not to push my luck." Michael assuaged his...husband...friend. He'd have to talk to Chris about that later. Chris snapped his fingers and James' walking corpse melted into the shadows. "Fetch me my prize." He ordered, sounding more exhausted than angry.
"Why did you do that? What the hell were you thinking?!" Michael rebuked. "Forgive me, I was out of line, Your Majesty." He apologized quickly. Chris his eyes and leaned against Michael. "No, you're absolutely right. I...I fucked up, and I am sorry that you had to witness that. My rage and frustration had briefly overcome my finer sensibilities. That man murdered my father, but that was no excuse to do what I did. To condemn him to a fate worse than death, was excessive." Chris sighed. Michael looked at Chris surprised at both at the revelation and the fact that Chris swore. In all time he had known the man, he had rarely ever sworn. "No matter, my excuse should not have exposed you to such an...unpleasant scene." He apologized.
Micheal felt both touched and mildly offended. He had killed in Chris' name, and sent friends to die for that very same cause. While seeing a man die like that and his corpse then used as a puppet was unsettling to say the least, but Michael had seen and done more than his fair share of terrible things. The memories grew more and more clear has the moments passed by, but many things were still a blur
Did His Majesty really think so little of him? And was that all he thought of the man, just his King? He shook himself from those thoughts. He had more important things to worry about. "What did you send him to retrieve?" Micheal inquired.
"A godstone. That's what it's called in English. It ties a god to this world. Gods exist on a different plane of existence, so it's almost impossible for them to manifest themselves here directly. To make up for this, they tether themselves to an object from this reality. It allows them to take a physical form, and while it makes them mortal, the gods are still dangerous and powerful entities. Instead of throwing an army at a single god with the hope that we can kill it, we find its godstone and destroy it, effectively banishing it...temporarily. There are other ways, but those have severe and long lasting consequences." Chris explained.
"Who's godstone is...was James supposed to retrieve?" Michael asked.
"The Sleeping Warrior's, the most powerful of all the gods. His true name is unknown. We really know very little about him. Most importantly, we understand that the old gods considered him mad and with their children, warred to put him to sleep. He nearly won. They are waking him now. They already fastened him a godstone, and if he awakens and manifests himself a physical body, then humanity ends." Chris said, his face set in a grim line.
"That's why we need to destroy the godstone, to prevent the Sleeping Warrior from waking up." Micheal realized
"Exactly." Chris confirmed.
Chapter 14: Marching to War.
Arthur easily deflected a strike aimed at his head. The guy he was currently sparring with had a lot of power and a fair amount of speed behind his cuts, but he moved with all the grace of a drunk toddler. After several weeks of sparring with Mikael, everybody else just couldn't compare. In fact, out of all the recruits only Arthur could give Mikael any kind of challenge. Even then, Mikael could beat him blindfolded, and with one hand tied behind his back.
Arthur saw his opening and quickly had his sword at his opponent's throat, too fast for his opponent to react.
"I yield." He muttered, grudging respect in his eyes. Arthur brought his sword back, then turning towards the sergeant who had been staring at him.
The Sergeant appraised him silently. "There is someone who wants to speak with you. Follow me." He said in a much softer voice than Arthur was used to. The Sergeant began to jog up the grand staircase that led him from the outside world, to the cavern they had called home for the past month and a half or so. Arthur reminded himself to thank Mikael for teaching him how to tell time without the sun. He might've gone crazy otherwise!
Then, the older man did something unexpected. He struck a seemingly random wall 14 times. A doorway opened, leading to somewhere unknown. He beckoned Arthur through. The younger man obeyed, having learned better than to question orders. The door shut behind him and Arthur gulped and swallowed his fear and walked forward.
He continued through the dark corridor until he came upon a small, well-lit, room. In the room stood a tall man in a dark red tailcoat, paired with black pants and boots, that had a red trim. The man himself was quite handsome with a well-groomed beard and stern eyes. The most revealing thing being the gold crown atop his head, that was adorned with jewels that sparkled like the sun.
"Tonum, quid vis?" Arthur asked, quickly kneeling down before the king. His Capital had improved a bit from spending so much time around people who were speaking it constantly. It still could use a lot of work though.
"While I appreciate your valiant attempt at speaking Capital, use the Commoner's Tongue. This conversation will go far faster that way." He ordered, his voice dripping with condescension.
"Of course, Your Majesty." Arthur replied, biting back a sarcastic remark.
"I'll use small words you can understand to explain what I want. You're familiar with my heir Christopher, and your Sergeant has reported that you're already leagues above most of your peers. Therefore if you survive the upcoming battle, I will personally groom you to become a proper bodyguard for my son. You should be honored." He declared.
"Your Majesty...to what do I owe this honor?" Arthur wondered aloud.
"For whatever reason, Christopher has taken a liking towards you, and he wants you near him. Since I am a doting father, I will not refuse him this request." He answered, a certain fondness creeped into voice when he mentioned Chris.
"Of course, I accept Your Majesty!" Arthur replied eagerly. Bodyguard to the King's only son. With a position like that, he could do so much good for the war against those wretched gods!
"As if you had a choice." The King sneered. "You may go." He dismissed, his face wrinkling as if smelled something particularly unpleasant. Now that he thought about it, Arthur probably did smell terrible! He hadn't changed clothes in weeks, and he'd been working himself down to the bone! He quickly got up to leave, but halted at the King's final words.
"What is your name?"
'"My name lost its meaning as soon as I joined the military. I suppose you can call me Micheal though." Arthur, now Micheal answered. That name, it had a sort of strength behind it. Plus, it reminded him of his friend's name, similar but not identical. After all, he owed everything to Mikael.
Chapter 15: Bastion of Morality
"My folks will be here any minute." Olivia announced coldly, walking outside. She went over to her garage and quickly opened it up. Inside was an old minivan that would get you where you needed to go but definitely had seen better days. "Get in and shut up." Both men wisely obeyed. Chris got in the back seat, and Michael would have followed suit, were it not for the colorful child seat that took up the remaining room in the back seat. Reluctantly, Mike climbed into the passenger seat.
"I'm calling in all of my favors for this. A bunch of my buddies owe me and their friends owe them one. They take orders well enough and won't ask too many questions. Then, I'm using my savings to hire every, merc, ex soldier, and crook that knows how to shoot. I'll invest everything I can into this war, but after this ends, I don't want to see either of you ever again." She declared solemnly.
She put the key in the ignition and the car started, purring like a properly pampered kitten. Soon enough, they were on their way.
Roughly an hour had passed, a tense silence falling over them. Usually Michael would use the silence to plan his next move whilst trying to predict and outmaneuver his opponents. However, he had some questions he needed answers to before he could begin to begin his mental game of chess.
"My memory is still fuzzy in spots, but from what I've observed, you and Chris are only half siblings, right? You're the previous King's daughter...King Edward right?" He slowly began to put the pieces together.
"Wow, aren't you just the smartest little lap dog." Olivia mocked, indirectly confirming his suspicions.
Michael refrained from rolling his eyes, just barely though. "Name calling? What are you 5? Aren't we above childish insults?" He thought people out grew out of petty name calling when they were 12.
"Speaking of childish, did mommy and daddy not hug you enough as a kid or not tell you or you're there special little boy. Is that why you cling to the only man who will show you affection?" She cooed, her voice as patronizing and condescending as can be.
Micheal blinked, his face stoic. Normally, he wouldn't rise to that barb; he had learned the hard way to keep his cool in tense situations. Today though, he felt pretty vindictive, and he lost his patience.
"Alright fine, I'll bite. My parents were poor, and I knew they resented having an extra mouth to feed, despite them pretending not to mind. What about you? Daddy screw some whore, then whoops, you popped out. Let me guess, The King, not wanting the public to know of his affair, claimed you were his legitimate child. Which I'm sure your step mother appreciated. Then baby brother comes along, making sure you'll never see that throne. Let me guess, after that daddy just ignored you, while the queen treated you like shit." Micheal coldly strikes with a frightening and elegant precision.
The rules of their game were simple. Every person that needed to negotiate with an adversary knew it. You lost when you lost your cool and explode or you give up out of sheer frustration. The game had many variants, and the current players were very good at this particular variant.
"Ooh looks like the doggy has some bite. You're right step-mother, and daddy dearest didn't care for me much. You think Chris actually cares about you though? Don't be silly; he's using you. As soon as you outlive your usefulness, he'll turn you into one of his shadow puppets. He'll put you down like the dog you are." Olivia stabbed back.
"I'm not a dog or a monster or really anything like that. I'm way worse. I am the devil. I've lost count of the people I've killed and the lives I've ruined. I don't, nor have I ever, claimed to be the bastion of righteousness and morality; I don't lie to myself not anymore. You do. How can you stand to hold and kiss your innocent little son, when your hands are no cleaner than mine?" He pointed out, landing a metaphorical killing blow. Though, he'd never admit it, her comments on Chris shook him a bit. They couldn't be true though...right? After all, weren't he and Chris married at one point?
Olivia grit her teeth but said nothing more, effectively conceding her loss. Though, she unknowingly struck Micheal with a mortal blow. Not to mention that if looks could kill, Michael would have been only ash and dust.
Chapter 16: Precipice of Hell
Arthur stood there thinking, 'I'm not who I was before. My name is Micheal now' he reminded himself. He took a deep breath to in an effort to steady himself. He shifted around, attempting to get used to the weight of his heavy chain mail and plate armour. It shone a glistening silver in the pale moonlight. Next to him stood Mikael, in similar attire. He looked like what Michael always imagined a knight should, gallant and unflinching in the face of danger. His heart skipped a beat. Mikael's blond hair was blowing gently in the wind, and he had a sort of glow around him that Micheal just couldn't describe!
Mikael, noticing his gaze, turned to him with a smile. "When we win this battle, we must get to know each other far more...intimately. I would like to see everything." He purred softly, getting very close to Micheal; the commoner felt his face flush and heat began at his cheeks and began to rush downwards. Michael didn't have to guess what the other man was suggesting.
"Sounds great!" He managed to squeak out.
"Real words not be enough to describe how great it will be. There will be plenty of sound, just no words." Mikael spoke, sending shivers down the, already flushing, Micheal's spine. He could hardly contain himself.
"Fall in!" The Sergeant's booming voice yelled out. Everyone quickly obeyed getting into organized rows. Even Mikael didn't hesitate obeying the order. They all gazed at the fortress of Helleduru. An army stood outside it's impressive iron gates. Among their ranks stood the most vile abominations the gods could make. Hundreds of creatures that seemed to be some horrid amalgamation of different birds and even some poor human.
Mikael looked sad. “They were probably human once, but probably they were distorted, tormented, and quickly driven insane, before they were ultimately fused with the most mighty and noble of birds. Though this was obviously Fæsten’s work, it wouldn't surprise me if the other gods learned of her tricks and mimicked them.” Even though the words were meant for Michael’s ears, everyone in the company heard and regarded his words, even the Sergeant. Mikael chuckled to himself. “I suppose my noble education finally paid off.” He said quietly so only Michael could hear this time. “Guess your finally pulling your weight here.” Michael teased quietly. The other man let out a quiet chortle. “In my defense, most nobles don’t pull their weight. They have horses.” He responded, gesturing towards a hill adjacent to their own. Upon it, stood mighty and majestic stallions and mares. Upon their backs, men and women dressed in bright clothes, brandishing what seemed to be bows and lances. He couldn’t be completely sure due to the fog that seemed to separate them. Though Michael guessed most of the people present could jump the distance if they had a running start and could shed their armour.
“Those horses are commoners.” Mikael explained. Michael gave his friend (soon to be lover) a quizzical look. “Not actually are they peasants, but it’s um...a metaphor!” The blonde clarified. “The nobles ride on the backs of peasants, er sorry, commoners. They only have power by stepping on others. That’s why I joined as a foot soldier even though, since I’m noble, I’m already entitled to an officer’s rank. I want, no I need to prove that blood doesn’t matter; that commoners and nobles are the same. My mother, after all, was a common woman.” He revealed softly, as if he were embarrassed by it. “The blood of nobles and common folk runs through me. If the nobles find out about my mother, all my rights are stripped. I would need to live as a commoner. Though they’d always be suspicious and fearful of me, because of my noble father. I will lift the fog that divides us by slaying the gods, by myself if I must. I admit that I hope you will be with me when the war is won.” He declared, softly but with a strength that Michael wished he had. Silence reigned for a scarce moment.
Then an annoyingly familiar voice shouted, "Find the person you've sparred with the most; remember, he is your battle buddy. You watch his back, and he watches yours. Now, show no fear and charge!" The Sergeant shouted, running head first towards the enemy. The others followed in suit.
Chapter 17: No Rest
The remainder of the car ride was spent in tense silence. Soon enough they came across a seemingly abandoned fortress. Michael got out of the car, making sure to grab his sword and attached it to his belt. Olivia and Chris followed suit and soon more cars joined them. Out of them came over 2 dozen men and women, all armed to the teeth with a great variety of guns, and knives. Michael had no doubt they knew how to use them. As he looked around, he slowly recognized one of them. They made eye contact briefly, and the other man smiled.
"Captain Mike! It's good seeing you my man!" He exclaimed, he quickly clasped Michael's hand and brought him into a one armed hug which the other man gladly returned. "Jon! It's been years, how the hell have you been?!" Michael greeted cheerfully. "Pretty good, pretty good. Met the girl of my dreams, had a kid, been a wild ride! How bout you, meet that special guy yet?!" He gave his friend a knowing wink, before gesturing towards Chris. Michael cleared his throat trying to hide his embarrassment. "You'll have to tell me all about him once this is over." He teased lightly.
"Guys, Mikey over here is the most badass guy you'll ever meet! I saw him dodge a bullet once and then he fucking stabs the guy in the eye!" He announced to a few of his other friends. "I got lucky is all." Michael insisted. "Lucky my ass, quit being so modest! That thing was point blank!" Jon replied, punching his shoulder lightly. "Care to prove it?" Someone called out. Michael heard a gun click, and instinctively, he prepared to dodge and retaliate. His actions proved unnecessary though. Chris was next to the gunman in an instant; his hand gripping the other's wrist in a vice. Chris' other hand was obscured from view, but Michael knew by the would be shooter's pale face it wasn't being used for anything pleasant. He saw his friend(or was it husband? He'd have to talk to Chris about that later) lean over and whisper something, and the would be shooter looked ready to keel over. Chris could clearly be terrifying when he wanted to be!
Chris took the other man's gun, replacing the safety and handed it off to someone else. Micheal couldn't see who exactly. "Geez, remind me not to piss your boyfriend off." Jon remarked, making sure there was plenty of distance between him and Chris. Evidently, he had heard Chris' threat. "He's not my boyfriend." Michael pointed out. "Oh, finally tied the knot, eh? Good for you buddy!" He responded cheekily. Michael just shook his head in exasperation, his amusement clear. "Anyway, we can catch up later. What's the plan chief?" Jon said, his face growing serious.
Micheal nodded, "Listen up! Here's the plan! Chris, Olivia, Jon, and myself will go through the front door. We're team A. A group of 10 will head up to the roof and enter the fortress from there. You're team B. The final group goes through the back. They're team C. We'll do a sweep of the building and locate any hostiles, but don't engage unless absolutely necessary. We'll meet back up in the middle in an hour. If any of you don't meet back up, I'm assuming you're dead and will not wait up for you." He directed calmly and there were nods of agreement all around. "Let's go." He ordered, walking towards the front gate. He quickly scaled it and didn't bother to check if the others were following him.
Chapter 18: Hell
Everything went wrong faster than Michael could ever have anticipated. Almost instantly, they were entirely surrounded by the enemy forces. Arrows were flying faster than anyone of them could keep up. The Sergeant was dead within minutes. The rest of the men could only hide behind their shields in an attempt to deflect the arrows just so they could buy one more minute of time. He was ashamed to admit; he was among the cowering.
All of them except Miakel. He caught an arrow in midair and tossed it back to its owner, killing it instantly. He gave a winning smirk to Michael. That feat gave some of the men courage. Mikael showed that these beasts were just that and able to be killed just as easily as one. No one dared attempt to replicate Mikael's actions but many of them began to throw stones at the creatures, which was really their only offensive option. Unfortunately, men could be killed as easily as beasts. Micheal watched in horror as an arrow hit its mark, right through Mikael's eye.
The world around him slowed to a crawl. First, an icy numbness spread throughout his chest. He'd never get to hear him laugh again, no more coy smiles, no inside jokes, and he mourned for what he could have had. He shed tears for his almost lover, his best friend, and everything they nearly had. Sobs wracked through his body, the icy chill that had lodged in his chest began to burn and morph and twist into an inferno of rage and pain. He let out a guttural scream!
Spotting the corpse of one the bird like abominations, he ran towards it weaving through the arrows like a leaf in a hurricane. He grabbed its bow and quiver and memories of a simpler time flooded back to him. His father teaching him how to hunt and, more importantly, how to shoot a bow. He notched an arrow, in the middle of the storm in his heart, he found a brief moment of tranquility. He released the arrow, striking down one of the abominations. He fired arrow after arrow, many of them missing but plenty hit their mark.
His courage seemed to inspire others, and they all began to fight back. Several followed his lead with taking the bows of enemies and turning them against the enemy forces. Others less confident with their bow skills finished off the grounded enemies with their swords. Michael ignored of all these things; he wanted only one thing right now, vengeance! He saw one of the creatures fly from the fortress, seemingly trying to retreat. "Not on my watch." He growled out, firing his final arrow. It soared through the air and hit the retreating figure. From its clutches dropped a smooth greenish blue stone which Michael caught on reflex. He gazed upon it and hot tears ran down his cheeks. It was the color of Mikael's eyes. He slipped it between his plate armour and chain male, wanting to keep something that could remind him of the man he loved close.
Suddenly a great blast of wind came knocking down many, and Michael planted his sword in the ground in order to remain upright. At the center of the great wind stood a woman with long, multicolored hair. Truly she was a wonder to behold. Her hair began as blue as the sky, then slowly the blue tapered out into orange similar in color to the setting sun, and the very end of her hair was pitch black with small flecks of white within. She wore what could only be described as a robe weaved from clouds. From her back jutted out two feathered wings more colorful than anything anyone present had ever seen.
"Who here hath the authority to discuss thy surrender with me?" She asks softly. Michael stared at her with shock, immediately putting together just who he was staring at. "I do." Michael replied. His commanding officer was dead; Mikael, their greatest fighter and only noble, was dead. The next best warrior would be himself; he doubted that gave him any real authority but no one seemed to care enough to stop him.
"Thy kind knows me as Fæsten, Lady of the Skies. One of thy men hath shot down one of my servants carrying an important item. I would see it returned to me or thine lives are forfeit." She commanded holding out her hand. Michael's eyes widened a fraction once he understood just what he had found after slaying that retreating beast. He didn't even think before responding. "I have a better idea. How about you kill yourself before I do the deed myself, you disgusting wretch!"
The clouds on her robes grew dark, like thunder clouds, with lightning quickly flashing across it. Her face morphed into an ugly scowl, and she bared her teeth. "A wretch?! Thou shalt die screaming for this insult, cur!" She cursed, flying towards Michael. Any other man would have been eviscerated, but Michael managed to dodge her reckless attack and countered by cutting off one of her beautiful multicolored wings. She cried out in agony and crashed to the ground.
Michael slammed his foot into her back where her wing once was. The wound gushed out light and shadow in place of blood, and it began to crawl up his leg. Too angry to wonder or question what was happening, he drove his knee into the wound and delighted in making her scream in anguish. This wretch caused Mikael's death. "I'll make you suffer!" He screamed, then he grabbed her face and forced her to look him in the eyes. With a cruel grin, he took his sword and began to slowly slice her other wing off. Her cries were music to his ears, now she'd know a fraction of his pain! All too soon, the wing had been completely detached.
"Please, I beg of thee! Spare me, and I will trouble thy people no more!" She pleaded. Michael glared, the heat of his rage knowing no limits. Mikael had received no mercy so why should this pathetic creature? He raised his sword above his head and with both hands brought his weapon down upon her neck, easily cleaving through. Light and shadow poured out of her, and her body faded into nothingness. He had avenged his nearly lover, yet why did he still feel so empty? Despite the applause and cheers of his fellow soldiers, he felt numb. Even as they began to cheer "Hail the Godslayer", he still felt empty.
Chapter 19: Discovery
Michael landed on his feet after scaling the front gate. He heard two more thumps behind him, indicating that Olivia and Jonathan had followed his lead, but where was Chris? He knew Jon and Olivia were athletic enough to scale the fence easily enough, but Chris was still injured, there was no way he could eaisly hop the fence!
Suddenly, he haeard a strange noise behind him, and he drew his sword. "Peace Michael, it's only me." Chris said, completely at ease.
"What the hell? Can he freaking teleport or something?" Jon asked, looking to Michael. Michael looked to Chris for an answer and even Olivia looked curious. "More or less, though it's far more complex than it sounds. Wherever there is a shadow, I can appear there at will. The closer a place is the more easily I can appear there. It took me quite awhile to figure out how." He explained patiently.
Jon looked very confused. He let out a long suffering sigh. "Mike, assuming we survive this, we're getting shit faced drunk later, and you are going to explain everything. Hell, you can bring Mr. Teleporter, and uh, hey, what's your name?” He asked, looking towards Olivia. “Olivia and not interested." She put simply. "Suit yourself." Jon replied with a shrug. "Alright enough talking, we'll give away our position." Micheal said softly. The others nodded their assent.
They silently entered the inside of the fortress proper and crept through the eerily silent halls. Dust and cobwebs littered the walls, along with all sorts of graffiti spray painted on crudely. By all rights, this place seemed abandoned, but Michael kept his sword out. His gut told him to stay alert and ready; that instinct had saved his life more times than he could count. The others seemed to agree with that sentiment. Jon's hands rested on his rifle; he kept it pointed at the floor but ready to raise it in an instant if he needed to. Olivia had a tight grip on her spear and looked positively deadly. Chris had a pitch black dagger in hand that looked wickedly sharp and its shadow seemed to twist and writhe as if it were in pain.
They came up upon a split in the hall. Two hallways going to the left and right and one more continuing straight ahead. "What should we do Mike?" Jon asked quietly. Micheal thought for a moment. "You and Olivia head right. Chris you go left. I'll keep straight. If you find anything make sure you're not seen and then regroup back here." Michael ordered crisply. "The hell do we do if we find something? We can't just yell; that's a good way to get us killed." Olivia challenged. "I can send messages with shadows, and with these you can too." Chris replied taking out two other daggers from his pockets identical to the one he held before, as if just realizing this could be helpful. Micheal pinched the bridge of his nose; he had to remind himself that Chris, powerful as he was, was not a military man and had all the strategic know how of a small child. Granted, Micheal should have established a means of communication with his makeshift team earlier, but in his defense, he'd been a more than a bit distracted over the past couple of hours. He gratefully took the dagger, and Jon did the same. "Just carve your message into a shadow, we all will see it and can reply." Chris explained. Michael nodded in acknowledgement. "Alright, let's go." He dismissed and soon after, they all went their separate ways.
Michael walked down the hallway, trying his best to avoid tripping over the countless pieces of trash all over the floor. The place had likely been used by the homeless for decades at least, judging by the amount of trash on the floor. He made a mental note not to touch anything. He didn't want to catch anything.
The hall eventually came to an end and there lay a simple wooden door. His heart racing with trepidation; he reached for the handle and walked through the door. The door led to a large cavernous room and leaning against the walls were rusted suits of armour all holding various bladed weapons along with a few staves and shields. At the opposite side of the room stood a stone throne like chair. On that throne sat another suit of armour, this one armed with a large two handed sword and unlike the other sets of armour, it looked shiny, well polished, and preserved. Then something Michael never expected happened, a voice came from that armour. "Welcome, Michael. I hope you're well prepared." It said, it's voice sounded scratchy and almost uncertain, as if it had not been used for thousands upon thousands of years.
Chapter 20: Consequence and Conversation
The battle was won. Micheal had killed Faesten, but that didn't sooth the agonizing pain in his heart. Like a tidal wave, it drowned and crushed him, and like a mountain, the pain and guilt bore down on him, collapsing into a blackhole of pain and misery. Mikael, his closest friend and almost lover, was still dead. Mikael had been avenged, but that could never heal the hole in Michael's heart.
Everything passed in a blur, one moment his comrades were shouting, "Hail the godslayer! Hail him who has slain an enemy of mankind!" The next, they had him on their shoulders carrying him off the battlefield. Then, he knew only darkness.
Ever so slowly, he came back to his senses. He was seated in an empty gray space on an uncomfortable, rickety, wooden chair. Across from him stood a young man around his age, as Michael continued to take in his surroundings; he was deeply unsettled. The man across from him looked identical to Michael himself! Actually now that he was looking harder, he wasn't quite identical. He looked older, more muscular, and far more confident.
"Hello Arthur, excuse me, you go by Michael now, don't you?' The man asked, his voice eerily similar to Michael's but different in a way he couldn't accurately describe. The man didn't bother to wait for an answer. "Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Estmere." The now named Estmere introduced himself. "You're...the god of time, aren't you?" Michael replied, suddenly very nervous. Estmere was ancient, even compared to the other gods, with him being the oldest out of all of them. "Well aren't you a smart boy." Estmere praised condescendingly.
"What the fuck do you want, you asshole?!" Michael growled out; he had no patience for anyone's games today, let alone the game's of some malignant, condescending deity, with an axe to grind! "Such coarse language, what would Mikael say?" Estmere chided lightly. "Don't you dare say his name!" Michael demanded, a white hot rage consuming him. He burst up intending to attack the smirking god. However, an invisible force quickly shoved him back down.
"Now, now, let's not get ahead of ourselves. I'm not as weak as Faesten after all." Estmere cruelly mocked. Though, he hid it very well; he had felt a twinge of fear when Michael rushed him. "Now as for what I want, well let's start at the beginning. First you must understand that time is not a linear path. It's more like a forest. It's alive in a way. It changes and grows and parts die and decay. Sometimes, it even burns down and then things are never quite the same. Just like with a single spark can set an entire forest ablaze. Just as easily, one man can change time and thus the fate of all of creation." He explained as if speaking to a particularly slow child.
"Then why don't you fucking kill me now?! Because I swear on my life, if you push me, I will burn time itself to the ground. I will tear the very planet asunder if it means destroying you and every other god that had a hand in this fucking war! I will have revenge!" His rage burned hotter than the sun, threatening to consume him entirely.
Estmere didn't even blink. "I don't plan on killing you. Let me tell you something. I have existed for eons, and I know and have seen things that you could not even possibly begin to comprehend. I don't get surprised very often. You surprise me Michael; I can't quite predict you. It is enraging, but even still, I am intrigued. You are a spark, and I need to see what happens next. In simpler words, I find you amusing." He continued, an unreadable look in his eyes. "With that in mind, I won't let you die before you can even reach the ground. That is the reason why you're getting a brief reprise. I'll keep my fellow gods off your back for a period not exceeding 6 months. That should be more than enough time for the spark to hit the ground, after that though, no more help from me. I'll see you soon, Godslayer. And remember, when smoke is in the air, the rain shall soon follow." Estmere then gave a cruel and malicious grin. Then, darkness claimed Michael again.
Chapter 21: An Awakening
"Who are you?" Michael asked cautiously. A cold chuckle echoed throughout the empty space. "Are you asking for my name? I haven't been asked that question in far too long a time. It's a fair question but a hard one to answer." The armoured being answered, and a chili ran up Michael's spine. He didn't let his discomfort show on his face though. "Why is it so hard? Did you forget it?" He questioned, throwing in a taunt for good measure. Annoying an opponent throws off their rhythm and an unbalanced opponent was a dead one.
To his surprise, the armoured being laughed as if he were listening to the greatest joke ever told. "You're right, I did forget or maybe I simply never had one. Tell me Michael, how does it feel to have a name? Are you any happier, or rather are you more satisfied, now that you have one again?" The being inquired, slowly moving forward in its throne. "Why do you want to know? Did you want mine maybe you can just have my old one?" Michael responded carefully, but he kept his easy-going playful tone. Though Michael couldn't see it, he could almost feel the sickening smile stretching across the other's face.
"Excuse my forwardness, I haven't had an interesting conversation in such a long time. After my long nap, you're certainly a breath of fresh air. I certainly can't wait to breathe with those beautiful lungs of yours. Where are my manners though? You do need something to call me. I suppose you can me the Silenced Warrior, oh but that is quite a mouthful. I'll tell you what, you may call me Sil, if I can call you Mike." Sil purred, like a cat after it caught its prey. "We'll be especially close friends soon, and friends give each other nicknames don’t they?" Sil practically cooed at Michael, and if he wasn't unnerved before, he certainly was now. "Why do you think we'll be such fast friends?" Michael asked.
Sil laughed. "It's really rather simple. You and I shall be sharing a body momentarily. Then afterwards, we shall begin our great conquest and rule the entirety of the cosmos. Things will go much smoother if you don't put up a fight. Your friends will come to know harm, and any other human that doesn't try and oppose us will be spared." Sil explained as if he just offered Michael the deal of the century.
Michael couldn't hide his shock. What Sil was suggesting...it was completely insane! As if sensing his feelings, Sil rapidly continued. "Think Mike, the war between men and gods will end. There will be true peace Mike. No more violence, no hatred, nor bigotry or even ignorance. Humans and gods living once again in harmony. Does that not sound like paradise? I can create that paradise. All I ask in return is the love and the gratitude of all living creatures; soon enough I, or rather, we shall be honored as King Above All, the full power of creation and destruction at our fingertips. Nothing will be impossible for us!" Sil declared, rising from his throne.
Michael forced himself not to lash out immediately. Even if the plan was completely crazy, he needed more information. When an enemy was telling you their plan, you better listen. "Say I agree, why my body? What's wrong with the one you have?" Michael replied. Though Michael couldn't see his face, he knew the creature before him was sporting a knowing smile. "Because, you're mighty in mind, spirit, and body. You have shown impressive courage and feats of strength impossible for an ordinary human, and you're clever too. Trying to extract more information from me. You really are the perfect vessel. The one I have now can hardly hold my majesty without burning up. Now then, any last questions before we join together?"
Michael kept his face perfectly blank, not giving anything away. "Just one question, you know my name, but do you know my title?" After saying that, Michael smirked confidently. "Of course, they call you the Godslayer. What's your point?" Sil replied, a bit of impatience leaking into his voice. Then, The realization hit him. He began to laugh, a big booming laugh that echoed throughout the fortress. "You intend to slay me?!" He said through his laughs. "Oh Mike, you do tell such wonderful jokes. Very well, I'll indulge your little games, but afterwards, we claim our place as the King Above All." Sil drew his sword and held the mighty two handed blade with just a single arm. "You may attack me at any time." He invited and fear gripped Micheal's heart, but even so, he held his sword up and attacked.