Here we go round two, taptalk mobile sucks and delete the thread. Nice

For two ralts

CC: 54k

Minimum required: 40k

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On the hilltops stood a thousand soldiers, and for every thousand, there was a thousand more. The sun shined bright overhead, the soldier’s armor shining bright. All held flags firmly within steel armored hands. Each had one single insignia. A dark green sword sword impaling a teal crescent moon stitched into a white cloth. It was a symbol of peace, a beacon for unity. The kingdom of Elotia would slay the dark nights that their ancestors had feared.

As loyal souls held each other close, their eyes wandered to the swirling black cloud that was growing in the distance. It was a storm unlike any other. The wind picked up and and came at the army as a sudden torrent of force, the soldiers shivered at the sudden chill. Yet somehow, the grass at their feet lay unmoved. The planet had seem to freeze in its place. The white clouds of the early afternoon began to fade away as the black swirling mass grew larger. Soon, the sun was swallowed by the darkness, a thick black overcast now plagued the land for miles.

The soldiers turned their heads upwards to the oddity. Loud whispers and confused grunts began to resound from the mass. Despite them knowing a threat was looming over them, they had no clue exactly what it was. They were out here because they trusted their king. That was all a good knight needed to be successful, trust in their king.

A loud moan creaked from within the swirling mass as it picked up in speed. Resounding, stomping louder than the storm overhead, were footsteps. These footsteps held dignity, honor, and were on a mission. Metal clanged against the solid earth, prints being left in the grass that seemed deeper than what any cannonball could make.The soldiers quickly parted into two, forming an open line in the center. The footsteps became louder, booming towards the opening at the edge of the hill.

From the depths of the soldiers. A single armored knight came out. Clad in white, bearing a cape with the army’s insignia, he stood out, staring down into the valley. Atop their head was a two piece helmet. The bottom a full, pure white, two small spikes jutting out from each part of the cheek’s armor. The top half was green, jutting upwards and around like a crown. Red eyes pierced through the helmet’s visor. There was no one with armor like this set. This was their king, after all.

The white cape stood still in the peculiar wind. On the soldier’s wrist, a blade expanded outwards and to the side in a crescent shape. “Men.” A voice spoke softly. The masculine voice reverberated in all of their heads, a wave of calm washing over them.

“Today, we face the biggest challenge our kingdom has ever faced.” The king’s head hunched over, staring off into the distance. His fists clamped together. “We have fought hard for this land, and now, we take it into our grasp and never let it go…” As he finished speaking, lightning struck the valley. Left in its place was a large charred cross. The king straightened his back and took a step forward. “It’s time, my men. Follow me after I begin the fight.”

“W-wait!” From the center of the crowd, a boy dashed forward. The men yelping in confusion at the outburst. Who would dare yell at the king a command?

The king stopped, but did not look back.

“Dad…” The young boy bent over, catching his breath. Green hair dangling over his eyes. A small red horn poked out from his forehead. “You don’t have to do this!”

The wind howled, the world was unphased. The king cleared his throat. “Who let him follow us out here?”

A few knights stepped forward, saluting. “We-we didn’t know he followed us sir.”

Silence for a moment. Then the king spoke again. “Keep him detained until this is over.” The king began to step into the valley. From the charred scar on the earth, a figure began to take shape from the shadows. The sky now pitch black, it was too dark to even see the storm overhead. Light emitted from nowhere, but it wasn’t harder to see.

“Dad- No!” The boy tried to reach out, scrambling forward. The knights that stepped out earlier each took one of his arms and began to drag him back. His voice was now being drowned out by the crowd of soldiers.

The king held his fists tightly. The blade on his arm glistening. His steps echoed in the silence. With every thud, his heart began to pound faster and faster. He was not scared. Excitement fueled him.

The figure stood in the shadows, arms crossed. Pure red pupil-less eyes stared out. Arms pulsing with red glowing veins that contrasted its blackish gray skin. Two large horns sat atop its head, twisting and turning, ascending into the sky like mangled branches. Their maw stained with dripping blood, a giant array of evenly lined fangs forced into a smile. The lower jaw of the figure had two spikes from each cheek, they had the texture of rust, but were as strong as bone. The king looked up to the figure, hand on his waist. The creature was the size of two men, and maybe even bigger.

Their body shook, the tattered white cape on their back began to shred apart, from the destruction, two large wings erupted from their back. Now, two wings each the span of at least an average sized tree spread out wide. The inlines of the wing made completely out of what appeared to be an alternate world. It was like looking into a doorway to a different place. Hues of black, red, blue, and purple swirled intently, there was no pattern to the colors. White glowing dots speckled themselves across the wings, shining like stars. In the darkness, the culmination of colors reflected off of the King’s armor.

The creature spoke, body unmoving. Jaw motionless. “Ah… Seliph…” Blood dripped down, soaking into the grass. “What brings you here, with your blind followers?”

The king kneeled down, bowing his head and body to the creature. “Father…” His body stiffened in place, movements reminding the world of his age. “They are not followers, they are our people.” Slowly, his head raised. “Have you forgotten who you are? Have you forgotten what we fought for?”

The creature spit. The blood soaking into the grass further. Smoke began to rise as the blades of grass slowly decayed into ash. “Where I come from… No. Where we come from… is a lonely road. Our bloodline ends on that same road. So tell me Seliph, are you ready to join us?” From the black cloud above them, red eyes peered down, piercing every soul that inhabited the valley. Some soldiers tried to step back, but they clashed into other soldiers. Metal clashes echoed through the valley.

The king glanced back for a second, but met the creature’s gaze again. “I know this, father.” He stood now, arm extended. “I know this, but I know something else…”
He flicked his wrist and the blade upon his arm slid out, glistening even in the darkness. “I know how to save us. I know how to save my children. I know… how to put an end to your suffering, father.” He tilted his head, free hand pressing against his helmet. In a quick motion the kin yanked it off, revealing his face. His skin was a light shade of gray, red veins pulsing, branching out from his right eye which was now a solid color, no pupil remained. “Father.” He spoke firmly. Graying hair dangling long, drooping over his eyes. His beard curling and fading to white. “Let me save your soul.”

The creature cackled, head tilted back. From the sky lightning began to strike the surrounding area, soldiers broke formation as the lightning pierced the earth. The world seemed to shake in pain from the storm. Scattered screams distorted amongst the now booming thunder. Clanking metal footsteps shuffled sporadically as soldiers panicked.

From the charred earth, red eyes glistened, watching intently. Wings sprawled out from the creature known as the king’s father. Arms outward at each side, palms open. “My son, you are the one who needs saving!” From the shadow behind the creature rose two large blades, each the height of the king. Crafted from perfect black steel, no light reflected off of them. Soaring into the creature’s hands, it arched its back down, wings spread wide. They flapped, creating unstoppable torrents of wind that launched the creature high into the air.

As it rose higher, the charred earth began to bulge and shiver. Soldiers held their ground finally, as the lightning had died down. Their lances, swords and axes held high. Shields pointed outward ready to take any blow that came their way. The king turned to his people. “This is the day…” The king rose his bladed arm up. “We save our kingdom!” The crowd cheered and bashed their weapons together in excitement. Their very souls filled with new life, a second chance. They roared out in cheers.

The shadows bulged and turned. Arms outstretched from each one. Slowly, heads poked out of the holes. Writhing and twitching as the cackling shadows stretched every fiber of their existence through a hole far too small for even one of their large hulking bodies. Beady red eyes throbbed with a faint light that pierced the soul of every soldier on the battlefield. Shadowy claws dug into the ground, pulling the monsters further out of the black scars. Soldiers stood like stone, watching intently. The monsters fangs shined brightly against their pitch black skin.

The king watched the sky intently. The leader of them all, his father, with wings flapping, stared back down at him. With a heavy breath, the king took a battle stance, bracing his body for the impact. His graying hair seemed a shade whiter in the darkness, his red eye glistening and sparkling. He pressed his lips together, teeth clenched,and waited for the inevitable battle.

A howl erupted from the mass of metal. The king glanced over to see the crowd dispersing as a single soldier charged at one of the shadows that had risen from the ground. The world fell silent as metal footsteps and yelling echoed through the valley. Running past soldier after soldier who silently turned their heads to watch the man who would strike first. The creature stood there, hunched over and head tilted. Black tendrils of hair draping over its entire body. Its wolf-like snout poking out from beneath the clutter of its existence.

The soldier grunted and thrust the lance into its stomach. For an instant, it gasped. Its voice guttural and bubbling. The man stared, heavy breathing, watching with wide eyes to see what the beast would do. Slowly, it lifted its head. Its eyes shining through its tendrils. A smile slowly grew across its face. “This… is all you have to offer me?” Slowly the creature lifted its arm. It heaved it up as if it weighed twice what it did. Then it let its hand drop onto the lance. “This measly thing?” The creature stared straight into the eyes of the man. It took a step forward. A tearing sound pierced the air. The lance jutted out of the back of the monster. Then another step. Blood began dripping from the creature’s mouth. “This…” The creature slid its hand down the lance and towards the soldier. The soldier’s lips quivered as his eyes moved from the monster’s eyes to the hand moving towards him. The warm claw of the monster now pressed against the cold metal armor. It scraped its nail along the armor upward until its palm was pressed against the cheek of the soldier. “...is all?” In one swift motion, the monster crushed his claws into the soldier’s cheek. The soldiers mouth hanging wide open, gasping for enough air to scream out in pain. The monster swung its other arm from its side and into the other cheek. Then, the monster grunted out, yanking upward. In one motion the head of the soldier was now dangling, with spine attached, from the grasp of the monster. The monster cackled, dropping the head to the ground. It looked down to the lance embedded in its torso and raised a single finger. Slowly, it pushed on the end of it until it fell out the otherside.

The king silently watched. “This is between us, father.” He shouted, eyes watering at the death of one of his own.

“Son, you brought them out here. If this is your fight, then make it so!” His father with wings no longer flapping quickly descended. Foot extended, he launched at the king like a cannonball.

The king raised his blade and lunged forward, ready to meet his oncoming foe. As his feet left the ground, he could hear the roaring of the crowd below as metal began to clash against monstrous flesh. A tear fell from his eye as he swung his blade forward.

Making contact with his father’s foot. It sunk deep into the blackish blue flesh of the beast. The creature yanked its foot back, using the momentum to do a spin in the air as they both descended back down. Blades in both arms outstretched like a windmill, rapidly descending and falling towards the king. The king swung his blade as he fell, the steel clashing against steel, pushing him closer to the ground.

With a thud, his metal crunched into the ground. The beast landing at his side feet first. He loomed over the king, grinning. The king gasped and roll to the side. A sword stabbing into the ground where he was just laying.

“Embrace the side of you that knows this is right. This existence is your fate. What I have become is your fate. It isn’t a bad thing, Seliph.” Another stab into the ground. The king kicked the ground and threw himself back further. Now sitting up he stared at the oncoming creature. The movements of this creature were all too familiar. They were the the motions of his father, the ones he had trained against in his youth. The ones that he had trained to face off against for years.

“I said… I found the cure to this wretched curse, father.” The king stood up, panting for breath. Blade outstretched. “When mother finally died…. She said something to me that washed over my heart like a ray of purity… A power that could not match our own.” He stepped forward. “I looked for this feeling… for so long. “ The blade glistened. “I looked for it in my late wife too, her last words of love to me.” The king glanced at the ground, then quickly stared into the eyes of his father. “We are hopeless alone. Our rule is cursed one. A world of anguish and pain…” HIs gaze turned for a second to the battlefield behind them. “I know you can feel it too. I know you can feel the pain of our people. I know that… you are still there. “ Another step. “When we find someone...When we find someone who genuinely loves us. Someone who can hold us… Someone who will let us release our tears into their chests in the late hours of the night… We will prosper.” The king sighed. “And with a heavy heart, I must admit, I don’t think our family ever learned to love… That was… until I met her. Until I saw mom’s life fall from her eyes.” The king was now a foot away from the creature, who stood like a statue, watching silently, breathing heavily. “Despite the feelings I have, the growing hatred I get when I think of you, I can find it in myself to love you, father.”

“Cute.” The creature raised his blades, and in one flash of a second, the king’s head soared in the air. The blades of the creature outstretched horizontally. “Very cute.” As the king’s head landed on the ground, the creature kicked his lifeless body to the floor. “And to think I was excited about you joining us…” The creature looked out to the battlefield, most of the soldiers were now lying lifelessly on the ground as mangled corpses. Monsters prowled, looking for survivors. Blood filled smirks stretched across their faces. A single body launched from the piles of corpses, sobbing. The small body launched towards the corpse of the king. Every monster’s gaze snapped to the boy who had been hiding amongst dead bodies of faces he used to know. His small pale arms stretching around the lifeless body of the king. “Dad!’

“Ah, so you are…” Trailing off, the creature dropped its two swords to the earth and knelt down to meet eyes with the boy. “Boy.” Palm opened up, aimed at the earth. From the dying grass, a single daisy sprouted. With his large hands he grasped it, it wiggled as he moved it. The boy’s green hair was greasy with the muck of the battle, he stared with red eyes at the man who killed his father. “Open your hands…” The boy did just that, too terrified to speak anymore, and too confused to take action, he did what he was told to do. The small daisy fell into his hands. “When you grow up, I will return, When this flower wilts, your kingdom will be mine.” With a fang filled grin,the creature descended into the charred earth. As the boy turned to the rest of the battlefield, the rest of the monsters began to do the same. The boy wandered over to the head of his dad. The lifeless gaze stared through him. With his small hands, he yanked the dented and dirt covered helmet from the head. It was then, he understood what it meant to be royalty.




DEAREST SON;
FOR THE PEOPLE


“I can feel it again, Alice.” A young man’s voice drifted through the cold autumn wind. Light green hair dangled, meshing with the grass, his red eyes staring off into the foggy distance. A bright red horn poked out of his forehead, shining brightly against the glaring sun. Ears peaked out from his hair, growing pink from the cold. Cape draped over his lying body, hands outstretched like an exhausted cat. His cheek pressed into the dry dirt. “I can feel all of their hearts screaming out in rage.” He exhaled, his hot breath rising slowly. “I can feel their sorrow, Alice.”

The wind whistled, blowing Alice’s wild green hair to the side. Smooth, pointed jaw clenched tight. Red eyes scanned the restless body upon the ground. A small red horn jutted from her forehead, longer than the young man’s by quite a bit, but still not long enough to be a nuisance. Water dripped from her eyes as the cold wind touched her skin. With a shudder, she pulled her dark fur coat tighter around herself.

Stepping forward, she knelt to the lying figure’s side. “Flynn…” She stared at her brother for a moment. As she stared at him, her eyes were forced shut by a jolt of heartbeats pressing against her chest. Teeth clenched, her mind was flooded with thoughts that she herself had never had. In her head radiant red blood fell from the sky like rain. Covering the land was an endless black. Silhouettes of monsters danced among the burned fields. One stood taller than the rest, arms crossed and a toothy smile complimented by eyes with no pupils. Pure red stared back at her. As the figure went into motion, lunging at Alice, she forced her eyes open, gasping for breath.

Her startled gaze was locked into place by two red eyes from her brother staring right back at her. Flynn took a breath before speaking. “You looked again, didn’t you?” The wind howled through the two, both twitching from the cold. Alice looked away not saying a word.

“Why are we out here, Flynn?” Alice dug her nails into the earth. Dirt digging itself deeper and deeper in her fingertips. She winced, as she grasped harder. Everything was starting to go numb. Looking at her brother solicited no reaction. His mind was now a blank slate, a prism of unreadable colors. She pressed her palms into the ground. Something lingered here, but it hid itself within the darkness. Watching, waiting, but was it judging?

Flynn rolled onto his back and stared upwards. A small flower raised upward in his left hand. The other arm outstretched. “This is where dad died… this exact spot.” He took a shaking breath before shutting his eyes. Alice’s eyes danced around the area, scanning her brother. His body lie still as he stared up. A small wildflower was pinned to his cape, hanging aimlessly from where it rested. “Why can’t I find him, Alice?” HIs eyes rolled around, staring at the area around him, head unmoving. “I never can…”

Alice took a deep breath and stepped towards her brother. Leather boots crunching against the dried earth, outweighing any other sounds. “Why does it matter?” Her hands now rested on her hips. The being in the darkness floated around her, watching still. She shuddered at the thought of the unknown creature’s gaze. “Besides…” she took a breath, a chill running up her spine. “He’s dead-”

Flynn lifted himself up in a flash, pale skin and watery eyes, staring at Alice. “You don’t have to remind me, okay?” His kneepads clinked together as he rose to his feet. Green hair now matted with smudges of dirt and grass. “I just want him to know, I guess.”

“Know what, Flynn? That you’re going off to your suicide tomorrow?” Alice rolled her eyes. The wind grazed her hands, she pulled them together and crossed her arms, shivering. A droplet of water tapped her nose. Looking up, the grey clouds above them now spat out pure white snowflakes. “In this weather too…” She trailed off.

Flynn now stood, his wide shoulders shadowing over Alice. He stared past her and into the valley beyond. Snow began to cover the fields like droplets of paint. His green hair fluttering lightly in the wind, now soaked with melting snowflakes. “I want him to see me avenge him.”

“And who will feel your childish wrath?” Alice smirked, a condescending tone tainting her voice. “Everyone?” She chuckled. “You will die, if that’s your plan.”

Flynn stayed silent. His tongue pressing against his mouth as he stared out lost in thought. His hand moved to his chest and clenched the flower. “If everyone must suffer, then I will bear that burden with them.”

“Flynn...Don’t do this to yourself.” Alice stepped forward and grasped his other hand. “Why won’t you let me in?”

“...You don’t see what I see, Alice.” He pulled away. “I’ll… I’ll find who did this, if it means that this world burns, then so be it. I will find the horned bastard who threw our home into chaos.” He lunged forward, Alice jumped. His hands pressed into her shoulders now. “I’m doing this for us.” As he looked her in the eyes, Alice swore she could see his eyes flash pure red. “I’m doing this… to bring order back to this kingdom.”

Alice clenched her teeth and took a breath. She threw her palm into his chest, but he didn’t move. “Flynn, revenge won’t bring dad back.”

“But it will put the people’s hearts at rest, sister. They won’t cry out in confusion, in turmoil, in rage.” His grasp tightened on Alice, tears fell down his face quietly. “I can feel it. Every second of everyday.” Eyes now puffy. “I will save them, Alice. I’ll save us. I will make us the rulers we were destined to be.”

“A good ruler doesn’t throw his life away.” Alice scolded, nose upturned.

“A good ruler doesn’t let his people suffer…” Flynn stumbled back. His hand flew to his forehead, index finger and thumb rubbing around his horn. His soft voice cracking in pain. “I’m so tired of their suffering Alice, I have to do this.”

“Let me do it. Let me go. I’m the youngest…” Alice fumbled her hands around each other nervously. They were pale and sweaty, despite the cold air chilling her bones.

“Dammit, Alice. Please.” He looked to her with tear filled eyes. His hand lowered to his side and anxiously wrapped the cape around his hand. A small nervous habit that Alice knew too well.

Alice stepped towards him and took his hand that hid within the cloth of his cape. Holding it with both hands she clenched it tightly. She shut her eyes. His presence wrapped around her. The horn atop her head throbbed. The prism of colors inside of his head molded into tears and then into the shape of a crown. The crown erupted into flames and the echoes of screaming flooded her head. “The only reason I’m letting you go, is because this is something you need to understand on your own.” The fire raged on, it swallowed everything. It was only in this moment she was able to sympathize with her brother.

His hand slipped from hers and he stumbled past her. “Please. Please stop looking at me.” With his head down, he wandered off back towards home.

Alice sighed, eyes still shut. Her brother’s presence disappeared like a light on the horizon. The world again barged into her head with howling wind and unnatural silence. She bit her lip and stared at the back of her eyelids. She spun around, lost in thought, and took a breath. In the darkness, in the roaring wind, beneath her feet, a single red light flickered to life. Alice stared at where it was, but it was gone before she could decipher what it was. She shivered and wrapped her arms tighter around her, and stomped out of the valley.



The Battle of the Northern Province

“M’lord…” A raspy voice echoed above the stirring commotion.

Flynn’s armored hand clutched tightly to the reigns of his horse. “What is it?...” His voice trailing off. Other hand shakingly clutched to his head, rubbing his forehead.

“Are we ready…?” The soldier struggled to hide his caution, it wouldn’t matter though, as Flynn could see right through him. Scared. Confused. Terrified. The word “why” Came up a lot in the soldier’s head, but Flynn ignored it. He had to.

“Are we? So soon?...” Flynn blinked, staring off for a moment. Shutting his eyes, he took a deep shaking breath. “How do you feel, soldier?” His voice, still shaking, found wavering balance, enough to speak firm, but if he dared to raise it any higher it would crack.

“Sir, I will fight to my dying breath.” The soldier’s back stiffened as they planted their spear into the ground and puffed out their chest. The face of the soldier remained motionless.

Flynn turned his head to the soldier, eyes still shut. The existence, the aura of the soldier hovering in front of him in vibrant yellow. It danced like a dying flame in front of their kind. Yet, despite everything this soldier felt, he stood stiff as stone, ready to throw his life away for the future king. “I know.” Flynn said quietly.

Eyes shot open. looking off into the distance at the city at the foot of the mountain, small fires pulsed with orange from windows. Chimneys spat out smoke, hiding the castle embedded in the chest of the mountain. A few guards walked patrolled the perimeters of the city.

“I can feel them…” His hand was still pressed against his forehead, his teeth pressing into his lips. “They know we’re coming…” He shut his eyes again. Thousands of small yellow lights flickered and moved about the city. Even in the dead of night the city lived. “Why are they so scared?” Flynn removed his hand from the reign of the horse and pressed it onto his sheathed blade. “I tried to talk peacefully, they wouldn’t tell me…” He opened his eyes, hand falling from his forehead to the flower pinned to his chest. “So, I’ll force the question out of them.” Teeth now pressed together, eyes glowing a faint red. He turned swiftly. As he turned the wind roared to life, blowing his hair outward like a blast of fire. His glowing eyes looked at the soldier to his side. “Tell the others to get ready to ride. We ride into their pathetic city take vengeance for my father.”

The soldier nodded with a heavy swallow and turned to face the mass of swords and shields behind them. The commands and chants the soldier shouted to them faded out as Flynn stared at his hand. His pale white skin was darkening quickly, like a flood of ink onto paper. He sighed, and his heart sank. Unsheathing his blade, he began his ride out into the city. The horde of soldiers followed.

They crashed through the gates like a storm. Flynn swung has blade back and forth, cutting through everyone and everything. His soldiers followed in his footsteps and did the same. A barrage of metallic clangs filled the night. Bells chimed and shouts from both forces mixed into inaudible chaos. Blood splattered against the walls and the armor of every soldier.

Flynn charged through a narrow street. Arrows whizzing by his head, just barely missing him. Soldiers ran by his side, falling one by one as they were either hit by the projectiles or opposing forces crossed paths with them.

Finally, an arrow hit its mark. Right between the eyes of his horse. Everything began to spin as the world turned upside down. The horse let out a final shriek before going limp, crashing into the ground. Flynn was launched off from the force, tumbling into the dirt, his cape wrapping itself around him in the process. As he sat there struggling to get himself free, a soldier lunged at him, throwing their axe into the ground just barely missing his head. Flynn took grasp of his blade and tore the cape from his armor and launched up at the enemy. He striked with curved blows, weaving back and forth as the soldier violently swung at him. Flynn slid forward, rolling into the blow, with precision, he jammed the sword into the throat of the soldier.

In that moment, his vision went red. Everything looked more clear, his mind colliding with his vision, the souls and emotions of his people and the enemy’s people now apparent with his eyes no longer closed. Letting out a tell as yanked his sword from the corpse, he called to his soldiers “No one survives. Burn everything as we move forward!” No one responded, but he saw the yellow in his soldiers flicker to a blue. Uncertainty.

Uncertainty. Was he uncertain for the reason he was doing this? Was he always this terrible? In the midst of the battlefield he placed his hand to his head. He stared off. No. This had to be done. He glanced at his surroundings as children ran to dying parents. People with lost legs crawling to the corpses of their friends. Anymore, he couldn’t tell whose dead bodies were whose. They were merely fodder. This tragedy would serve as a reminder of his agony. No one would hurt him or his family again.
Flynn marched up the mountain. His people still fought within the city, but he would slay them all himself. He grew impatient. The question remained: who were those monsters that killed his father?

His sword clanged against the stone steps as he dragged it up the mountain with him. The shining silver peaked out from the stains, leaving a trail of blood from his victims. The castle in the mountain lay dark, no fire’s flickered from within its walls. As Flynn reached the castle gates, he stared at their massive size. He blinked and scanned the surroundings, only a few souls were within the castle.

Flynn crashed his sword into the gate. A loud clang reverberated. “Let me in, or I take this door down.” He spoke firmly, loudly, his voice no longer trailing off. His green hair tangled and wild, stained with the war from the foot of the mountain.

Slowly, he watched as one of the souls moved, shuffling across the floor. Within a few moments, the gates creaked open. In front of him stood a small child. Dressed in what appeared to be royal clothing. Flynn only recognized the clothing to be so because he would wear clothing just like that as a boy.

Further in the castle was the other soul, sitting wearily atop the throne. They spoke with a tired voice. “See, Alexander. This is why you should have left with the maids. You shouldn’t have to deal with rude guests when it’s your bedtime.” The seated man rose, shaking legs. A purple rope wrapped around his weary body. The child ran to his side and helped him stay steady as he adjusted to standing. “What is you want, cursed child?”

The words “cursed” stabbed his heart. Yet they felt familiar, as if it was a title he had always held. He waved the thought aside and continued his mission. “You wouldn’t tell me. So I came to you” Flynn spat. He stepped forward, sword screeching across the stone floor. Slowly, he raised it, tilting his head. His eyes now glowing vibrantly, he glared into the eyes of the old man. “Who were the ones to kill my father?” His sword hand twitched, the white skin flooding with a color as dark as night.

The old man sighed. “Cursed child…”

Flynn stepped forward, throwing his sword to his side. “Don’t call me that!” His teeth shined, now sharpening into fangs.

The soul of the old man was not yellow with fear. It was purple, at peace, full of resolve. “Your bloodline is cursed, wretched, there is a reason I dared not to contact you.” He sneered.

“If you had spoken to me, then your precious city wouldn’t be in flames!” He waved his hand out, claws now jutting out from his fingertips. “Because of you, because no one dares to explain why my father had to die, your city lies in ruins!”

“Your very existence is the only hint you need to the truth.” The old man’s eyes widened as Flynn approached. “You insolent-”

Flynn launched his arm forward, embedding it into the chest of the old man. His eyes glazed over. “My existence.. Is not the problem.” The hint of purple faded away. To his side, a yellow soul flickering in and out of the ether. Blackening hand gripping tightly onto the old man clinging to life.
“I just...want him back.” He stared at the boy, the small boy’s lip quivered. They did not move. The flames consumed the city below them, and they stood like statues. Flynn’s body fading along with the fires. Body taking on a more skeletal appearance amongst the flames. Eyes shining red and his hair darkening to a slick black. Head darting back and forth.

“I can feel your pain…” Flynn hissed. “Yet…” His shoulders twitched and blackened wings outstretched, bursting through his armor as if it was paper. “I am not sorry. And I never will be sorry for what I have done.” The corrupted Flynn threw his heavy feet across the floor, pacing. The boy stood frozen, watching this monster. “It had to happen. I had to happen. I can still feel all of them hurting. They want answers. WE want answers.” He throw his hands onto the floor, piercing the stone and leaning into the boy, so that they were eye level.

The boy gasped. “Then why are you here-” A cautious tone. “M-mister? How does hurting all of these people help you?”

Flynn took a heavy breath and rose back up. He unclenched his fast, the stone dripping from his nails like sand. He raised it, claws glistening from the distant flames. With one swipe, the boy was sent flying against the wall. Flynn did not speak as he turned to the open door leading down to the city. As he stepped out into the mountain air, smoke filled his lungs. Yet he did not cough, he embraced the chaos wrapping itself around him. As he reached out his hand to feel the ash in the air, the flower pinned on him fell to the floor. Wilted.

DEAREST DAUGHTER;
FOR THE INDIVIDUAL

The castle halls echoed and reverberated anxious silence. A rattling skeleton with no heart left to keep it moving. The soldiers inside, the ones protecting what was left could be considered the death rattle of an entire country. A dying breath desperately clinging to anything.

Heels clacked like steel against armor. Echoing, piercing the vibrant death of the place she called home. Vibrant red robe dragged across the floor, hiding leather padded clothes, and a small rapier. Green draped past Alice’s shoulders and was evenly cut at the tips. Alice’s eyes pierced the stone walls and the cities encircling her home. Her heart felt the world around her, outstretching her reach beyond any human’s reach.

A single flickering flame danced miles away. If it was someone unknown to her, she would only feel the flicker and its slight hints of life. The shifts in colors and erratic movements divided her brother from any other living thing all too well. He was filled with confusion; a drowning pool of emotions he just couldn’t let out. God, she begged to the world to let her help him.

The empty throne room stood with nothing but whispers as Alice thrust the doors open, trying to avert her gaze from the flame in the distance of her vision. The world contorted and spun around her. Clenching her fists tightly, palms beginning to drip with sweat, she approached her father’s throne. “What am I to do with him, father…” A solemn stare to the floor was followed by her hand now resting on the arm of the throne.

“I can feel him… slipping away as we speak.”A rush of footsteps echoed through the halls .
The flame danced in the distance. It pulsed violently, rapidly, bursting in all directions then falling back into itself. After a moment, the color froze as if lose in thought, light fluctuating, pondering. It didn’t move from this color, but the flame’s movements grew more and more erratic as it approached the distant mountain.

Her hand was now wrapped nervously in her cloak. Sweat began to ooze from her pores as she bit her lip and slowly turned her head towards the flame in the distance. Her shoulders contorted from perfect alignment to unsymmetrical horror. Head tilting slightly in wonder, and a sick of awe. It was like watching a caged animal fight for their life. Which is exactly what her brother had always been to her. The flame became still, along with the wind and the noises of the world surrounding. “What are you doing, brother?”

The throne doors were thrown open by a guard gasping for breath. “M'lady… the sky… it has gone black.”

Alice sighed, her shoulders heaving heavily as she did so. “Isn’t that normal when a storm is on the way?” She looked to the flame in the distance with empty eyes. She shuddered at the thought of her brother having any connection to this storm. The timing was too close to wave a hand at though.

The knight gripped their lance and bowed their head, their breathing going back to normal. “M’lady...the people are terrified. As the sun gets lower and lower, the crops seem to be dying instantly. ”

She stamped her foot to the ground. Force echoed through the empty throne room, reminding them both of the lack of the empty throne near them. Alice’s eyes were fixated on her brother’s aura still. She winced. The flame was now black. She could feel him now, more than ever. His pain, his sadness, the world he was cast into was not a pretty one, and she couldn’t blame him for his rash actions. But she had only see this color in the depths of the earth, watching her in the dead of night. Watching her in silent valley where her father died. She knew not what it was, or what it meant, but she knew black was an omen. An omen for what though?

“The people… they are my brother’s responsibility. Not mine.” Alice spoke between her teeth. Tears fell from her face. She didn’t know what to feel in this moment. A nation she was entrusted was now at her feet begging to be saved. Yet all she could care about was her brother, who she feared was dying.

“M’lady, you must soothe their worries, tell them it will be okay.”

Alice straightened her posture and turned back to the guard now. Her eyes were red,puffing out with bleeding lips. “And lie to them? Their future king could be dying right now, and none of them know it. I’m not the one for this. I’m not the kind ruler you need right now…”

The knight lowered themselves to a kneel. “You may not be… but you are the only one we have.” Wind howled outside, sending a shivering sense of loneliness through them both. The castle was never this quiet.

“What’s your name, soldier?” Alice stepped towards him, beckoning him to rise with her hand.

He rose and choked on the air. “L-Lars, m’lady.”

She continued past him to the throne room’s door. “Come with me, Lars. I guess I have no choice but to try and ease their pain.”

She turned to glance at the throne, whispering under her breath. She shut her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath.

The castle was in ruins. Heavy steps marched towards her. Fire burned her soldiers and her citizens to ash as they clamored at the walls. Some called out to gods and others out to mothers and fathers. As they died and rotted away into the castle, all that remained was her. Alone amongst the flames.

As the black figure burst through the door, gazing down on her with fierce glowing eyes. It was then that she realized that it was always just her. The flames disappeared along with the people, leaving empty desolate halls for her to walk alone. These people would never understand her. No matter what happened, no matter how endangered their nation was, they would always save themselves in the end, not each other. She would see the flames of her ancestors and no one would ever know this truth. She could see their corpses coming to life slowly.

As her brother fell, the ancestors who had long passed rose.
“Father, give me strength to fulfill my duty.”
DEAREST SON;
FOR THE FUTURE

Flynn marched forward into the castle as red rained from the skies. His own laughter echoed down the castle halls he called home.The wind’s howled was muffled beneath the screams of agony. Fire and corpses mingled. Clawed feet dug their nails into the stone as they stepped closer and closer to the end of the hallway. He could see through the arching windows the city he called home. It was nothing but a crater and broken buildings now. Black clawed hands rushed to his face. “What am I seeing?” His head pounded like a war drum.

His vision went black for a mere moment, but when it returned, the castle was no more. He now stood as a young boy in the valley. He squinted at the two figures in the distance. He would recognize the long green hair anywhere. He broke out into a sprint to her. She was now within arm's distance. Her face had sunken eyes and pale skin. She was alive, but she was not the sister he left at home. Crows feet grasped to her face tighter than he could grasp his own blade. Her head rested upon her hand, and her legs crossed each other. One foot tapped to the ground.

Flynn stopped and stared at her. “Alice…where-”

“Are you going to come home?” She cut him off, her speech was colder than usual, like he wasn’t the brother she had.

“I-I..I will, as soon as we find out who killed father-” He gasped as a leather claw wrapped itself around his mouth. He let out a muffled yelp.

Alice stood as more arms wrapped around him, pulling him farther away, back to where he began. “Ah, so never.”

He wanted to scream, to tell her he’d be back soon, but he couldn’t. A flaming pain pressed into his chest and his body ached. With one final deep breath the hands pulled him into the earth below.

Drifting in darkness, nothing but black. Gazing eyes of many hues stared from all corners of this unknown domain. Tumbling deeper and deeper he clenched his chest. The burning grew deeper, a drier feeling. A lack of love and hope. His hands contorted, twitched, and spasmed as they morphed into the demon he had tried to forget from the night before. His jaw unhinged and stretched, now resembling a wild beast’s. Flynn pressed a hand to his changed form. This was no nightmare. This was as real as could be.

Tufts of leathery skin fought against the fur jutting out in wild tufts. His armor broke apart as his muscles pulsed and grew. He screamed out in pain, his whole body being toyed with like clay. He reeled back, eyes falling back into his head. Lengthened wolf-life tongue lulling out from behind razor sharp teeth. Any sense of humanity now left his body.


.

..




“I want to have hope… That I can save us, Alice.

“Save us from what?”

“Everything”

Although he was wrapped in dark, and his eyes shut, for a brief moment, he could feel the ocean at his feet. The salt tainted wind brushing his nose. Her hand wrapped around his.

“And what is… everything?”

“Anything that would dare hurt us, that would dare to hurt you.”




..

.

Tumbling further down he began to feel a rush of heat around him. Blood curdling screams were quick to follow. He let in a deep breath, oxygen flooding back as the hands that had engulfed him were no more. As he came back to his senses, he fell to the blackness below with a thud.

A voice rang out from the depths of the screams. “Flynn…” A familiar voice. Warmth held him for a brief moment before he rose. A gruff voice, stalwart, stoic. An undeniably loving voice.

His father spoke from the depths of nowhere with a deep sigh. “Son, what are you doing all the way out here?” The voice coughed. “You left Alice alone during all of this?”

“During...all of what?” Flynn opened his eyes and looked around in confusion.

As he sat up from his fall, he looked around to the corpses around him. A dying old man, hurting youth. Destroyed families. Ones who fought with loyalty, on both sides. Women screamed their husbands names. Children cried in confusion. Before he knew it, he was descending the stairway of the mountain. In the distance he could see his own home, now shadowed by dark clouds, darker than any storm’s, and blacker than any night’s.

Flynn shot another look to everyone around him, they all shot beams of hatred his way. Venom oozed from them like sweat. Their souls blazing with hatred.

“They will probably never forgive you, Flynn.” His father's voice echoed again, reverberating inside of his head.”But… they don’t have to, Flynn.”

Flynn stared at his bloodied hands. “Is this… child’s blood?”

“This pain is yours, and no one can take it from you…but alas, my son, heir to the throne…” His father spoke again, solemnly. Flynn could imagine his father sleepily laying back in his throne, eyes shut, lost in thought. “That does not mean that others have to feel your pain too.”

Flynn spoke aloud at the sky. “I just… I miss you so much.” He stamped his foot down onto a pebble, decimating it.

“I know this, but you are not the only one terrified. I know you know this… or you would not be here today. ”

Flynn grasped his head with a single hand. “What did I do wrong, then?” Flynn began subconsciously stumbling towards his homeland.

“You are hurting others, in lieu of healing them.”

“How do I make it up…”

“You don’t, son. You have sewn this burden intro your legacy, and it will forever taint you. You will bear this sin forever.”

“That’s not…It hurts, dad.”

“I know, but it gets easier. There is no point dwelling on it. You have a kingdom to run. Every man has flaws, it’s just a matter of how much you let them define you.”

Flynn nodded to himself, and walked into the valley.

“Father, I won’t let myself fall to this ever again.”

“Don’t just promise me, show it to me. Show it to Alice.”


DEAREST DAUGHTER;
FOR THE ANCESTORS

Her cloak was as bulky as a bale of hay. She stood out on the castle’s balcony, gazing at the dark sky and the citizens running amok in the streets. It was odd to her how clueless children could be. Parents running to their laughing kids, huddling them inside as the mother or father looked up mortified at the sky.

She was a princess, not a god, but none seemed to give her the chance to explain that. If her brother could end their agony and get vengeance, they would deem him an even greater hero than he already was. Son of one of the most prosperous kings this kingdom had. Their father knew love and kindness more than anyone else. It was sad to say, that all the prayers and hope went to the next in line to rule, not the sibling who would be cast away as a political tool. Or at least, that’s what her maids told her she was anyways.

Alice was the opposite of her brother. She couldn’t feel people like him. Her powers only let her see what was in front of her: ones that were close to her.

When she felt the giant claw rest atop her shoulder, she did not shudder. She had seen its flame deep beneath the earth all her life. She watched it rise from the earth. Now, it stood behind her, ready to fix the ailments that plagued their scared kingdom.

“Dearest granddaughter, do you see what I see?”

She looked, and not a flicker of flame was in sight. They were just people, objects, things. People that didn’t matter to her. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t find it in herself to care for them.

“...I… I see-”

“So you see what I see.” The beast looked down to her. Mangled horns blocking the torchlight. His teeth shined with a grin. “Nothing important.”

Her eyes widened and her heart stopped. What it said was wrong. What it said was far from the truth. Yet she resonated with it, more than anything anyone had ever said to her. Something so cold, so uncaring about the world around her. It made more sense than it should have any right to.

“Darling, I can make it so that we never have to feed these people again…”

“What… do you mean?” She turned, eyes sparkling with a sick wonder she never knew was in her.

“Emotionless, immortal, powerful, all gifts I can bestow upon them. They will never hunger, never fear, never anger, never revolt. They will simply live as a part of our kingdom.”

“Why would…”

“An ever growing militia, an army that can never stop fighting. Your ancestors and I, we don’t have to sit in the depths of the earth anymore. We can be up here, with you. People that understand you.”

Alice stepped back from the beast, looking up to him. “Will father come back?”

“Maybe he will.” He needed, red eyes ablaze.


She lunged at him. “Where have you been all this time?” She gasped, now starting to cry. “End this… end this heartache, I don’t want to miss him anymore. I don’t want to worry anymore…”

“Very well, dear. Then we must commence the first step.” With a single hand, the beast took Alice’s neck and held her into the air. “On the count of three… you will die and be reborn anew.”




DEAREST SIBLINGS;
FOR LOVE


“Alice!” Flynn cried out in the doorway of the balcony. Panting and blood soaked, he trudged forward, a blade strapped to his arm. One etched with white and gold. “Don’t you dare touch her!”

The beast looked back with a smile. “Ah, so you made it back home…” His grip tightened and a light crack could be heard from Alice. She gasped out in pain, still just able to breath. “The flower wilted, so here I am. Just as I promised.” He turned to Flynn.

“And now you get to witness firsthand… this kingdom becoming mine.” The beast let out a cackle.

“Flynn, what are you… he’s trying… to...save...me…” Alice spoke in gasps, her eyes watering.
She clutched at the beast’s hand, pressing down in it. Her heart raised as she thought of the freeing feeling that would consume her.

“No...Alice. He is the one who killed father.” Flynn took another step.

“Wha-” Before she could finish, a loud snap echoed through her body. The flames all around her flickered, watching. Flynns was no longer black like she remembered, but a vibrant red. The beast unfolded his hand and dropped her to the floor.

“Well, something tells me you won’t come back like the rest of us. You are going to die how your father did, won’t you?”

Flynn was breathing heavily now, he couldn’t focus on Alice. As much as his heart ached and his muscles screamed at him, now wasn’t the time. Tears fell from his eyes as he stared at her limp body. Even in this state, this horrible, awful state, she was still as elegant as ever. That was what hurt more. He would be reminded of a beautiful person that he loved deeply about everyday for as long as he lived.

“I see you have adopted his blade… but where is your father’s beloved helmet? The one that hid his face from me all those years ago… He never did fight me without it. The last time I saw his face before his death… well, I was alive.” The beast cackled out, arms crossed.

“I won’t hide my face, I want you to see my eyes as I murder you; just how I murdered the rest of your ancestors.” Flynn grit his teeth.

The beat raised an eyebrow. “Oh? They’re all-” before he could finish, a steel fist landed itself right into his jaw. With a hook. Flynn pulled his other arm back preparing for a swing. As he propelled it forward, the beast caught his fist and began to crush it.

“If I’m going to be filled with this much pain, this much…then I might as well put it to good use.” In a surge of purple light Flynns arm turned black, beastly claw now twitching to life. Claws dug straight through the palm and out the other side. The beast’s hand was obliterated. They tumbled back, yelping in pain. Flynn went in for another jab to the stomach. That too, busting a hole in his torso.

“This curse… This family curse… This is what dad fought so hard to prevent. And here I am… becoming what he dreaded.” Flynn stepped forward and took the beast by one of his horns. “But that’s okay… I’m doing this for someone I love...just like you did, just like my great grandfather did, just like all of you did.” Flynn sighed and stared at his blackened flesh. It began to swallow the rest of his body. “You were right, grandfather. Feeling emotions… is sometimes too much.” Flynn let out a yell as he put both hands on a horn and pulled away from one another, ripping the beast’s head in half.

DEAREST


Alice awoke, clenching her neck. She tried to speak, but the pain in her throat confirmed her worries. There was permanent damage. She looked onward at the city, the blackened sky had faded and the corpse of the beast lay there lifeless. A single guard. Stood at the doorway to the balcony, in his normal stance of protection.

She rose, gasping and retching. Her body weak.

“M’lady!” The guards voice was familiar.

She tried to speak, call out to Lars, She looked to him with a weak stare, as if she was staring through him. Slowly, he helped her to her feet.

“W-We have to get you out of here!” Lars beckoned her to the ladder on the side of the balcony.

She tilted her head in confusion.

“Prince Flynn… something terrible has happened to him!”

She began to walk slowly, yet not cautiously, to the doors that were barricaded shut.

“H-He would not stop staring at you… there was bloodlust in his eyes.”

She undid the barricades. His flame flickered through the walls, it was red, but calm, no longer writhing in pain. Bloodlust. She knew her brother inside and out, and he always had a reason. Looking back to the soldier she sighed. Tossing him a pin from her cloak, she nodded. With a wink, she entered the room.

People weren’t her strong suite. She had barely known the soldier. But she never talked to people. And he was the only person who took the time to talk to him. He had faith in her, and she blew it, she can only hope he wouldn’t do the same.

Growls emanated throughout the room. She shook her head, tears filling her eyes. Weakly she stumbled forward, feeling for the heat of Flynn’s body. She knew the stare he was in. She knew it all too well. The curse of their family. Her father had told her of it once, a form created from the pure inability to feel. The curse was inevitable, because like her, all ancestors before her could only feel the emotions close to them. Even in his rampage, she never thought Flynn would be victim to this wretched thing. He was the outlier, a gift from god, a gift from their mother. The prince who could understand the people.

She looked at his sleeping body. His armor tattered across the floor. Black wings stretched out on the floor, he was fast asleep. Alice fell forward onto him, hugging his chest tightly. Tears fell onto him and soaked his matted fur. She could feel him and she burst into a fit of sobbing.


She felt arms wrap around her. Flynns body was a mix of beast and human now as he looked to his sister. “You’re okay…” His hand buried itself in her hair. It all smelled too much like home. “I’m here to stay, Alice.” She didn’t stop her quiet sobs. But, just as he promised, he came home.