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The Rift Dancer

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26 Re: The Rift Dancer on Thu May 03, 2018 9:39 am

New Era’s Adventures.

Scared, helpless little girl, afraid of evil, which was piercing through her soul...  was facing her fears... all alone... lamenting sour tears... The girl was holding a kitchen knife in her hands. Surrounded by the vicious beasts with bloodthirsty eyes, burning pillars of wood, rising smoke.. falling cinders... collapsing dust... this chaos and crippling puking fear were carved in the eyes of innocence. A situation where one is forced to shed blood in order to survive. “Well... not on my watch!”

-”Gugihihigahahahaha!”- One of these so called ‘beasts’... rather a man, but a foolish one and weak minded as well fractured his mouth to release this high-pitched, sadistic laughter before licking all over his lips and preparing to raise his axe above his head.
-”Juicy...juicy... she’s a blooming flower. My friend down there will be savoring this delicious meat!” - And another filthy mouth resounded in the area... The girl was slowly backing away, but the heat of fire beneath was roughly stroking her spine, the tips of her long hair were gradually melting away...

The weak girl was surrounded by the bandits... or raiders.. I was not aware... I was just passing through and watching the scene from a far, awaiting for my opportunity to interrupt. I was well aware that I had to save up my energy, but I thought that I would rather end up dead than fail to protect them. Four against one... and the “big bad boss” watching from behind. The village was on fire, bodies scattered across the dirty path... all the belongings, all the treasures sacked and ready to be loaded on a wagon... the horses were neighing, seemingly afraid of fire. Poor animals, to be used by such beasts... The remaining survivors fled on the three o’clock from the village. Not even one was brave enough to face these filthy animals, not even one was courageous enough to save this little fragile girl, who frankly appeared to be the bravest of the bunch. I released a deep sigh... pathetic creatures... I drew out Zerneger from my back and chanted words in the language that I was born with...

-”My buddy, grant me some of your strength. Allow me to deal with these beasts, give me the courage and energy to vanquish them from my sight and return the calm breeze in this location.”- The blade was held straight in the air, a pulsating blue aura was seeping from it, merging with my arm as my muscles tightened. I swayed the blade and with a sudden and fluent movement I inserted my index finger in the hollow hole that was carved above the hilt. The sword was spinning on my finger like a propeller as I etched it into the dirt below my feet and let go of it.
-”But not today, my friend. I’m not going to use you to kill these scums.. Their fates will be decided by the villagers.”- Absorbing some of it’s powers I left Zerneger stationary and like a bullet... rather like a projectile with unrivaled momentum I shot up for the sky, my feet were flaring from underneath in it’s magnificent blue colors of hope and opportunity.. of sky and freedom. The flames were those of purity... rather than burning the air, they were freezing it instead, leaving an arc of ice in the trajectory that I was flying through.

At the center of the carnage, at the eye of the Armageddon... the epicenter of the storm and collapsing raging dust a helpless girl stood strong, holding a blunt knife. The man was about to fracture her skull, however his attack was interrupted. I fell down from the skies, crashing into the soil, burying my feet in it and shaking the ground below us... like a marching machine I held out my right hand straight and the axe that flew at the girl got stuck in my hand.. The girl dropped her knife and hid herself beneath my black cloak, which I received as trinket from that Damon person quite some time ago.  

-”What the hell!?”- The man grunted and tried to pull his axe out off my hand... it was deeply stuck inside my black steel gauntlet, the indent metal kept the axe from reaching my flesh. I smirked beneath the cold and expressionless mask, which I’ve been keeping right to this day. It was not the face that mattered, nor was it the past that mattered... it was the goals, dreams and ambitions... both of living and the dead that truly mattered. A symbol of peace... the meaning behind Azure’s mask... my will to carry on, my soul to be strengthened by it, no it was a remainder, a perfect remainder that even right to this day this persona known as Azure was protecting the realm. His face was a symbol of peace to me and to those that I was yet to save. For a defensive action I did remarkably well.
-”What the hell, you ask? I am not hell, I am your salvation!”- I calmly stated to that lowlife and pushed my own hand with the very same stuck axe towards him as he suddenly lost his balance and collapsed on his back. The others took their stances, they did not hesitate to strike me down, but I was prepared to punish them as well.
-”Oi, oi! You masked freak, get tha’ hell outta ‘ere!”- One man, located to my right marched towards me with his mace positioned forwards.
-”Masked freak? Not a correct title either!”- I backfired and quickly bent down my torso forwards his direction and delivered him an uppercut to his jaw. His mace hit the ground as he was sent flying skywards and writhed in pain, hopelessly trying to count his remaining teeth.

There was no time to rest, two more of these grunts were still on their feet. Simultaneously, with their combined efforts they tried to belch out my bowels from my stomach, as their blades were about to be plunged inside me.
-”I would say this attack is too straightforward!”- The confidence of my tone echoed in the skies as I pulled myself from the earth, disobeying the laws of gravity I jumped above their heads and with the help of my, cladded in steel, feet I forced them to bang their heads against each other. It looked like they hugged and kissed each other on the lips in the process. I landed firmly on my feet just before they fell down on the soil.

No one sustained fatal injuries, but it was enough for them to experience pain, and to stop their mischievous acts. The burning fire around the place was dropping a nice shadow from their bodies, with a snap of my fingers I reshaped their own shadows and embroiled them in the shadowy ropes, utterly immobilizing their movements. A couple of more things were left to do... The prioritized one was to deal with their leader... a fat and bald hog of a man... He looked strong, physically at least. He was more than twice my height, carrying a huge sword on his shoulders. His eyes were burning with fury and pride... I could easily read his thoughts of savagery... He was full of himself... way too full... most likely thinking that he alone would be enough to bring down a pipsqueak such as me. Well, his fantasies were nothing more, but a delusional act... a mere childish fantasy... For me these scums were not enough... not even enough for a warm up.

-”Bwahahaha! Come! Come! Your legs are trembling, your pants are wet... and most of all your face beneath this ridiculous looking mask is drenching in snot!”- Petty taunts were not enough to make me furious.. The outcome was already there, it was foreseen since the beginning. Only a matter of seconds remained.
-”I sincerely hope, that you will be having a good time gluing back your shattered bones.”- I sighed and began to slowly approach him. He brought his blade inside two hands and swung it behind his back.. and quickly unleashed the devastating blade, in hopes to split me in half... like I was a ready to be chopped piece of wood on a stump to him.
-”How do you like this, you vermin!?”- He furiously shouted, but I did not even flinch... I was just going straight at him. My relaxed and firm posture reflected the confidence that I was lacking before.. I was well aware of my capabilities. The titan’s blade was stopped by the pitch black arms that rose from the ground just before the impact. The shadowy hands took a hold of his blade and fractured it to miserable little shards with the applied crushing force.. I remained silent and was standing just before him... His shadow overlapped my frame. Indeed... such a big guy... and such a wasted life on his side... I was nowhere close to his waist in comparison.
-”No! My blade... You are a demon! Please have mercy on me!”- The bandit boss suddenly bursted into tears... his pathetic face expression begged for pity. His hands were shaking, causing him to let go of what remained of his once so great and mighty sword... well nothing much remained... only a mere hilt was left from it after all.

Fiery breeze passed through us as the wind began to build on my feet... It was not a mere wind, it was the energy that I was storing inside my body. Like a minuscule hurricane it enveloped my body... Like a helix the pressurized wind was spinning around my body, slowly lifting me up to his stomach level. The helix of wind suddenly received a new form.. a new form of energy seeped from the depths of my body as the markings of darkness etched themselves deeper throughout my body. Cold blue blazes were swirling around my frame as my clenched fist became like a burning stone.. The blue fire spiraled it’s way up across my whole arm as I sent my fist flying across the air, aiming for his stomach.
-”Oh, I pity you. However, remember this... those, who hold power are responsible for this situation. You have nothing to do with it, you are nothing, but a mere scapegoat at this point of time.”- My words were marked before the fist impacted with his stomach. His frame bent backwards, due to collision as his whole body was caught in the momentum produced by the sheer force of the spinning flames, ultimately sending him flying across the scenery. He went through several trees up ahead, leaving a smaller hole each time.. before he ultimately crashed in the strong, huge and mossy oak.

-”Oops. Guess I placed way too much force inside this one.”- The flames went off as I landed on my feet, glancing at my fist.
-”Oh well, he should be alive. Not sure if he’ll ever walk again though.”- I shrugged and lowered my hand. Only one thing was left, I turned back and approached the scared little girl, I bent down before her and removed the gauntlet from my right hand. I placed my hand on top of her head and stroked it gently.
-”It’s alright now, these bozos will not cause problem anymore. You shouldn’t be crying, the villagers in the east should of seen that big guy hitting the tree there. So they will return here in no time and put out the fire.”- I comforted the girl and stood up, stuffing the gauntlet on my hand.
-”But.. mister... don’t go!”- She cried out and held my cloak tightly.
-”Sorry, I can’t stay with you here, nor I can do anything about the burning village. I have important matters to attend to. My presence is needed elsewhere.”- I smiled beneath the mask and began to walk away from the place with my arm raised skywards.. I was waving at her.
-”At least tell me your name, mister hero!”- She fell into tears and shouted at the top of her lungs. For the last time ever... I stopped and spoke to her.
-”My name is Si-..I mean.. I am Az-... Nah.. I am nothing, just a guy, who happened to be at the right place, at the right time. I’m not a hero.. a hero would prevent this village from being attacked in the first place... a hero would put out the fire. However, in my eyes, you are the true heroine... you were the last one standing here, trying to fight back... trying to defend the things that are precious to your heart. This is a true act of heroism.. You are so young and weak, but yet you were willing to sacrifice yourself in order to protect what’s important. Take these words to your heart and do whatever you deem right! I believe in you, one day you will grow up to be a fine woman!”- I raised my thumb up and vanished from the scene, I regretted the fact that I did not put out the fire, but I could not do anything about it... Every lump of energy was necessary in order to survive for me.

Thus it was just a beginning, rather a single memory of my new adventure. Reflecting on the changes and new thoughts inside my mind I was only about to begin my true journey. With positive thoughts and ideas I felt like I could do almost anything, nothing was stopping me from achieving my dreams, hopes and ambitions. I felt like I could do anything on my own, a feeling that rivaled the capabilities of kings and queens, Gods and Goddesses alike. Although I was aware that the real path up ahead was rough, the winds of changes were blowing everywhere... The trust issues that I had remained there, but slowly and steadily I was taking my steps into this world. Guided by hopes and dreams of those, who were indifferent for me... of those, who died and sought to do better... I decided to stick to each and every of them, like an unbreakable chain that connected the ones, who left and the ones, who were still moving forward and fighting further.

My ideas were fueled by each and everyone of them... my dreams were reignited with new life inside. I truly became something else, it was so unexpected for me... I never hoped to be someone like this, but yet here I was today... standing tall and unbroken. Lots of expectations and lots of struggles still remained, but my heart was free, the painful aching that I had before vanished. With each step that I took I started to like myself more, but yet at times I still got stuck in my emotions... if only Azure was able to see my growth... How I came to be... I deeply knew that he was somewhere there watching over me... protecting me from the shadows.. As he was the shadow himself... To my surprise I actually felt that he was alive, still breathing somewhere in Atreia. Still waiting for our true and happy reunion. My soul could tell it, but my eyes were craving to see it.

I really did evolve... I woke up having nothing, but what I’ve done, what I went through and what I received made me realize that I had a lot inside me. In the end the words of his were not meaningless, they were pushing me further... I was actually doing whatever I deemed right, I was actually doing something alone and it was no one else’s, but my own doing. Yet no one was able to gaze inside my heart or soul, but it was not the case for me to shut myself completely. However my heart was unable to rest... not until I was able to see Azure again.

Thus I arranged my final journey... a journey to meet this world, to seek for atonement, to help the ones in need and with my last remainder of power... or rather life force.. to see Azure once again and hand him back the damn mask, that I held precious to my heart. I was unaware how long it was going to take or if I will ever fulfill my dreams, but I was not going to give up on them either... I was ready to resort to every measures that were necessary. It was a new beginning and a true one indeed... not a fake and made up one, when I just wanted to excuse myself with my misery. The real and most likely the final journey of my life... What would follow beyond was not up to me. The memories that I created in this world... I held everything dear to my heart... Pain and misery.. those were just memories.. I was yet to escape the pain, I was yet to destroy the misery... Standing tall on the hill, I was gazing at the sun... awaiting for my newest adventure.
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Zerneger’s awakening.

Thus... days and nights were crawling by... moons and suns were spinning in the sky... My foot marks were scattered across the globe of Atreia. Climbing up the hills, swimming through the rivers, surviving the coldest glaciers, enduring the fiery heat of the volcanoes, cutting my way through the dense bushes in the jungles, escaping the thirst of the desert I was advancing... Marching like soldier, advancing like bullet... I was spinning in circles across the various continents... looking for one man, although my search was fruitless so far... nothing good came out of it, not a single clue.. nothing at all, but I had not given up the hope. I settled in the region of Cygnea for some time, to relax and prepare my mind for what was about to come next. Cygnea, was located somewhere in Balaurea. Cygnea, which until very recently was in the depths of the ocean, still housed it’s abundance of aquatic life and features... or at least that’s what I learned so far about the place. I was above the land, but yet in this place I felt like I was below the ocean waves. I found myself a nice waterfall in the far south eastern corner of this land and submerged my feet in the water that was streaming down. There I began to meditate, to feel one with the nature... to escape out of my physical shell, which was my body.

I steadily took a deep breath inside my lungs, absorbing the coolness of the air inside myself and raised my arms up to feel the energy of the nature... the energy that I was well adapted to. A spiraling stream of wind gathered from below my feet and consumed me whole, the newfound power that I was able to harness after I accepted my thoughts. No, it was rather the power that I always had inside me, but finally... after so long... I was in perfect control of it. Those were mine and Zerneger’s connected powers. Long and deadly time of struggles improved me... Of course, the cost was great, the sacrifices were deadly... but it was indeed a learning process. A time, when I sought for knowledge through struggles and pain finally paid off, though it was a shame that I only acquired this power after I lost everything dear to my heart. Though, not everything was completely lost... I still had my dreams inside my heart and the sword that I forsook most of the time was still there with me.. My last buddy in the shape of a tool of war. The time was finally right, I had to talk with him. There were a lot of questions still lingering in my head, but now I was aware that Zerneger will not be keeping his mouth shut.
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-”Listen, I get it that you don’t like speaking about my past, but I just want to know a couple of things.”- I drew the blade from behind my back and held it straight before my eyes, speaking to it... more like speaking to him, if he was really a male.
-”Oh? You want to know something, perhaps I can tell you a thing or two.”-The tip of the sharp blade vibrated as the echoing shriek of Zerneger’s voice flooded my ears.
-”Yes. Just where the hell did you come from!?”- My mouth fired the question like a cannon.
-”Hahaha! Silly, Simon. Weren’t you going to ask about your own past?”- As usual he started out his question with a laughter and some form of insult.
-”Silence! Just tell me.”- I backfired, angrily shaking the sword back and forth.
-”Yeeeeaaah riiight. I’ll be brief.. I hope... I came from the universe, more exactly from the multiverse or the omniverse. I was the space itself, the one who created the matter, the one who expanded the universe. Basically everything what you see before you is a part of my body. One of the Gods of creation I was, a true and righteous God, but even Gods are powerless against some beings... You wouldn’t even believe in their existence. To them both you and I are nothing more, but ants or microbes. Thus, after the universe was created I was reduced to nothing, but a mere sword. I hid a part of my consciousness and powers inside this sword and this is how I came to be... A good-for-nothing talking sword, which grants it’s wielder a speck of my former powers at the cost of the user’s life.”- He ended his speech with a prolonged yawn, whether he was lying to me or not was not up to me to judge, but I trusted in the fact that his powers were indeed amazing.. thus I had to place my trust in him.
-”I see, it is hard to believe this, but wait! You mentioned something about the contract, what did you mean back then?”- There were no boundaries to my curiosity.

-”Believe what you want, I’m just stating the facts... though I have no proof. Well yes, even in the current state that I am now I have an option to be alive, that maybe one day I will be atoned for my actions and come back to my own realm not as a sword... but as a God of space. However for this to happen I was bound to mortals, I was forced to learn about their everyday lives, their feelings, motives and establish a connection with them, which should become deeper than anything. Basically to completely escape this sword and ascend to my Godhood again I am obliged to become just like you mortals are. I was well aware of the fact that someone like you will come to existence, actually I was waiting for the moment of your birth. Indeed there were others before you, but those fools failed to use me wisely, those worms died before they could fully synchronize with me and all the progress that I made so far was reverted back to zero. However, as millions of years went by...- you were born. Your past life reflected a promising potential in your eyes... Your powers and abilities shone through the centuries that passed by and that was when I realized that one day you will stumble upon a shrine where I as a sword resided in. It was nothing more, but destiny... The rifts, the space itself was guiding you towards me. Though you can’t remember about your past, but you live longer than you are aware of. Your home world is not Atreia and you’ve been in several worlds before. Though, as I said I will not reveal this to you. It’s against the rules of our contract. But note this, that only you alone can use my powers. It’s not for anyone, I only grant you my powers by choice and the more full of yourself you are, the more our interconnected souls grow. However, since this power is not designed for simple humans to use negative effects take place on your physical body, the example of this is the black corruption, which is spreading throughout your chest. One day you will crumble from the excessive use of my power and so will I, but the difference will be this that I will be reborn as another sword and you will be banished from existence.” - His words seemed hard to believe, everything appeared incomprehensible and chaotically insane.

However, after my brains digested Zerneger’s story I finally understood how he felt and what he was doing in my hands in the first place... Maybe it was destiny, maybe it was something else.. The answer that he gave me might turn out as smoke and mirrors one day, but this forsaken sword was the only thing that I had left for me. I had to put my faith in him, it was not by choice, I just had to... In all honesty his speech awakened even more questions in my head. I had to understand everything, I had to seek for knowledge. It was not by choice, but it was my destiny. Reflecting on my brief past... I finally understood that the sword itself was there, since the very beginning, when I woke up that day... He was there, with me.. It was my fate since the beginning. The Godly power of Zerneger was necessary to put an end to all the struggles, to all the conflicts... no...to end the power, to end the hate and suffering... I knew it all deep inside my soul, because my long absence in the past meant his presence here in Atreia. Most likely, I sought him out... to do this task, to protect the village.. to protect my friends... to defeat Triniel. The reason behind my lost memories was probably, because of him... Those people always tried to steal him away from me... To absorb my own powers... yes... indeed... it was because of his amazing power. I had no other choice left, but to never give up on my path. To march through the invisible boundaries of illusions and to face with the unknown and devastating forces myself.

-”So you are saying that you have to become human first in order to ascend to the Godhood again?” - I was able to feel my facial expression changing to a sad one, my face...my mouth dragged itself down, the smile turned into a frown of concern.
-”Indeed.”- Zerneger gave a brief answer.
-”So, if you manage to ascend to the Goodhood, will it mean my death?” - This would make a lot of sense, considering the fact that our souls and minds were merged into one.
-”No, but the fact is that you would never see me again, this sword, where my consciousness reside in will crumble to nothingness. It will crumble to nothingness if you die as well, but as I said I will be reborn as another sword, seeking for another potential wielder. Hell, the reason why I saved your sore ass countless of times is because I want to see you succeed.” - At least he reluctantly admitted that he is indeed on my side.
-”I got you, partner. So was I the one seeking for you, or it was you?”- Arising questions to pointless answers.
-”It was neither. It just happened that you lost your sword to some dragon. However, you made allies afterwards and they showed you the shrine from where they were driving their own powers by forming contracts with souls or beings similar as me. However the soul itself handpicks the user according to their mentality and strength. Since I was the most compatible with you I chose you.”- Thus it was the story behind his appearance in my life.

-”I think I understand what you mean, honestly nothing can surprise me at this point of time. Though one thing is still bugging me, what did you mean by that... for me to live longer than I am aware of? Do you mean that I am way older than I appear?”- It was surprising for me to believe it... he even meant centuries... was I really a relic from the past?
-”Well, since I can’t say exact information about you, but I feel that there’s no stopping your curiosity I can only say this, - you are not one, but several centuries old.”- His statement was as shocking as I imagined for it to be.
-”H-..hold..on! Am I even a human being then!?”- After hearing this I could not maintain my calmness.
-”Technically you are, at least you were born as one, but there’s more to it than you think. However, I can’t break the rules. If you want to find out for yourself then seek Thomas, he is ready to lift the seal. Any more questions?”- Zerneger sighed.
-”I think my head is getting dizzy from your words, it’s just hard to believe everything... actually I’m not even sure who I am anymore. However, I will do what I must for now... this is my resolution, I can’t lose my way... not now... not ever... But I want to know one more thing, why in the living hell I can see a person standing in front of me!?”- I was distracted by a figure, just a couple of steps before me... With each glance the image before my eyes became clearer and clearer... The transparent body, almost like a ghost was standing before me. Showing it’s back... six blue transparent wings on each side, transparent body was cladded in black robe. Did it belong to male? Or was I imagining things? The sight that I witnessed before my eyes was unclear and abstract until it finally shaped itself into a transparent tall, masked man.
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The stranger suddenly turned his head at my side and looked over his shoulder, there was nothing... just robes, no visible flesh, some black substance made up the visible parts of his body, if it was his body to even begin with and then my sword suddenly spoke.
-”It appears that I can already manifest myself into this realm of space. Though the assumed form is not enough yet, but I managed to evolve this much indeed. My consciousness is finally awaking itself.”
-”Wait it is you!?”- I nervously reacted out of rising confusion.
-”Yes and no, but it’s more like a spatial projection of me, I created the appearance to suit your understanding.”- The sword said.
-”So, does this mean that we already synchronized this much?”- I asked him.
-”Yes, through our connected consciousness I can come to flesh one day, I will be more similar to mortals. It’s the work of the ultimate universe that resides inside your feelings and my mind.”- His projection or whatever slowly raised his arm and pointed his index finger towards me.
-”Ultimate what?”- I was both lost for words and excited.
-”Allow me to show you, the place, the realm, the state of mind, the world of mine, the world of your feelings, the inner part of your soul, where you visited not once, but countless of times along this journey of yours.”- He said and then darkness consumed my vision.

Power of the ultimate universe.

My consciousness drifted to a whole other plane of reality, at first I was only able to feel nothingness... No I was gazing into blackness of the dark, my body was numb, I tried to talk, I tried to shout... I tried to see and even feel myself, however there was no response... The sound was silenced. No, there was no sound at all, my body was somewhere else as well. It was a familiar feeling, but yet completely distant and new experience. Everything that lied inside myself were my thoughts and thoughts alone. A complete state of nothingness, but yet there I was thinking about this nothingness. At first I thought to myself that I am already dead, that Zerneger killed me as soon as he spoke his words, however it was not the case... I realized that I was trapped inside my mind, but was it my mind to even begin with?

-”Welcome to my world, Simon.. no welcome to your world... no welcome to our world... no welcome to the world of everything that you know and see, everything that you feel and hear, everything that you do or did, everything that passed and everything that is yet to come... welcome to the gates of truth, to the state of our mind. To the doors of your inner universe.”- A chilling pressure on my body and a wind that was far stronger than everything imaginable pierced through my head like a shrieking bullet. White and abstract cracks suddenly marched through the black walls, - as they shattered whole... to light, to red, to green, to blue, to pink, to gray... the visible specters were changing wildly. Before my eyes moving images engraved in the vast nothingness.. they were showing the moments of my life, the moments of my thoughts, the moments of my dreams and everything that happened these past years...

But yet I could not speak, I could not whisper a damn word as my throat was dry... I found myself standing on a tall mountain, gazing at horizon, snow was falling as I finally was able to move my body, no it looked like I received a body.

-”Where am I?”- I silently asked.
-”You are inside your mind, inside your heart and soul. You are in the world that we both created, - inside the deepest layer of your mind. Everything here is under our control. No it is under your control. It’s the reflection of your thoughts, the reflection of your inner world. The time here has lost it’s meaning, not even a second has passed in the real world. It’s the space of your world, the space that I created with my consciousness. Subconsciously you’ve been in this place countless of times, this is how we used to communicate. This is how I broke you out of the endless sleep when Thomas trapped you, this is how you were able to gaze inside your thoughts and shape their visual appearance. It’s the manifestation of your own world that you created throughout your journey and here I am, this is where I live, in this spiritually abstract world.”- The strong and thundering voice broke down the sky as the ripple in time and space broke through and the white hands took a hold of my body and pulled me inside.

-”Where am I?”- I was confused, but yet I was able to distinct the place, the feeling that I had... It was really the plane of my own existence, where I witnessed the visions in my head... everything that I’ve done so far, it was like a database of my life.
-”You are inside yourself. It’s the power of our shared soul and yet it is incomplete, due to your lacking memories. While it can’t do any physical change, it can help you to make your decisions mentally, as it only acts to take quick decisions and to gaze inside your heart, and to reshape the path of your choosing. The more you develop here, the more significant I become in the real world, once you reach the pinnacle of this ultimate universe I will become human just like you. Familiar place isn’t it? Now try to reshape this world with your mind and see what happens.”- Zerneger came up with a suggestion at the end.
-”To reshape this world huh?”- I asked, imagining the world of happiness, the world of no worries.

The darkness suddenly twisted into meadows of greenery, the sun was shining, my friends were there... Even Azure was there, lying beside a tree. I approached him as the tears bursted from my eyes, his image suddenly vanished as I tried to reach him with my arms.
-”No wait!”- I lamented.
-”You see, here you can rethink and tune yourself mentally. You can do everything, even recreate and interact with your memories, well at least the ones that you already made and not the ones you lost. However it will not change the things how you remember them, it’s only for you to escape from reality and remember the important and close to heart things by reliving them differently.”- The sword calmly stated.
-”Agh! You mean, this is how I managed to overcome my grief so quickly? This is how I happened to become mentally stable!?”- It started to finally make sense, but the experience was otherworldly... It was not the experience that was out of this world, - it was the clash between my imagination and my feelings, however this time I was aware of this world’s existence and was able to consciously interact.
-”Exactly, this is the place, this is the ultimate universe. You can only achieve this state of mind, because I am here. Because I am a part of you. Although, if you become mentally unstable once again everything here will shatter and your powers... well they will crumble and become wild again, just as it happened when you witnessed the death of Azure.”- Zerneger’s laughter poured down like a swarm of meteors, shattering the place apart... for it to become dark once again. I began to fall into nothingness until I opened my eyes into the real world.

-”Now I know the answers, indeed you are one amazing sword! I never thought that I was able to enter inside this state of consciousness. I thought that everything that I witnessed so far were just vivid illusions.”- I spoke to the “ghostly” Zerneger once again.
-”No Simon, it was the power that you possessed all along, although I didn’t want to tell you about this... because the boy that you were in the past couldn’t possibly perceive the existence of such reality. Yet it may be useless in this current world, it has it’s uses for you to take important decisions and not to fall down from your road. Take it to your advantage, as not everyone can do it, as not everyone possesses me.”- Zerneger finished his speech and the spatial projection disappeared into the thin air, like it never existed. Thus it was the first step for Zerneger in taking a different form, which could resemble him closer to human.

Travels of unknown.

After I got to learn about Zerneger and myself deeper I decided to stay at the waterfalls for a little longer, mostly I meditated and trained. I was trying to master the control of my power consumption and how to spend less energy, the training was necessary to prolong my lifespan for a little longer. The training went well, nothing and no one were interrupting with the process, I had sources of drinkable water and ate local fish to keep my stomach full. After I was done with the training I packed the food supplies into my backpack, which was now located beneath my cloak and headed out with great hopes of finding traces of possibly alive Azure. The journey up ahead seemed long, but I never stopped to believe in my own dreams. With my newfound personality and will to move on I felt like an unstoppable force of nature.

My possibly meaningless, but hopeful travels led me to a lot of places, I stumbled upon ancient relics, studied the culture of the Daevas, helped strangers along the way, fought my way through hordes of horrible monsters, as always my travels never ended nor they led me somewhere, but at least it helped me to develop into something else, into a man that I once dreamed to become. Instead of a useless crybaby I became a solid man, the mirrors of the past were not trying to break my will, the reflections of distant future were not interrupting either.

I’ve climbed the mountains and gazed at the horizons, marked the visited territories in my map, but Jake... he was just a goner or maybe it was me, a really bad tracker... If only I knew what sort of energy he possessed if only I was able to feel, then maybe... maybe a rift in space would of done the job. However, I was unlucky with this circumstance as it felt like it happened ages ago, like the man itself was probably gone for good... although I was still hearing stories about him, but there was no way tracking that guy. Even then if I were to find him the answer to my question was not guaranteed. The starlight led my way, the cold and dark nights warmed me from inside.. I was not afraid of anything, I was ready to accept any given challenge, but yet I was lacking something... However I never knew the answer to this question.

Once I even visited Reshanta or the abyss, for me it was the same... I did not care how to call it exactly. There I was hoping to find someone or at least something that would help me on my journey, but everything was just as fruitless as before. Although the place was nice, the place really suited my heart’s requirements. Yet there I was facing off the greatest of threats... mindless, but powerful monsters... all of them wanted to erase my presence, but my sword and my powers were slashing through their flesh. It felt so satisfying, - to avoid the fear, to feel my blood pumping with adrenaline, to unleash my emotions and ideas by force... a force that was not even understandable for me. Though with each use of my sword I merely closed in to my bane, my death was ringing the bells of eternal silence. The worst was yet to come, but I was not aware of anything, however I did have the feeling, but it was not the reason to turn back and not the cause to stop my final journey.
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Days and weeks, and finally months has passed, since I started to live a nomad’s life... I was faraway from home, well at least this is how I wanted to call my village, but yet I was unsure about my presence there, but I made a promise to Sandvika that I will return there one day and I will... I did have feelings for that girl, but I was not aware of these emotions, it was love, but there was not anything romantic between us. I counted her as a family member of mine, like a little sister... Probably Azure felt the same way about her or he was not feeling anything at all. It was strange that the person I felt attached to most was the most mysterious one for me, but deep in my heart and the inner layers of my soul I knew how both of us felt about each other. He accepted me as I was, and he did not care about my choices, because he always had faith in me. That was the definition of true friendship.

After a while I stopped counting time, the ticking clock was nothing compared to how much I thought about these things... about the hopes that I had... everything was easy, but yet so hard... the journey itself was challenging, it was the greatest one indeed, I could not compare it to my other journeys. However, indeed I was missing something on my side, maybe the things that I was lacking were acquaintances or even friends. I was aware that it was necessary to establish some connections, but yet I trusted little to no one. This thought exposed itself as the biggest dilemma of mine, if only I was able to find like minded people, if only someone showed me such great compassion like Sandvika, Jaina, Azure or others did... but hell no... I was not seeking for compassion, my journey was set in stone and I had to carry it out alone. In the end this was a fun thought that crossed my mind, yet I knew nothing what would happen the next day or the next month.

I reached the desert of the Eltnen and it marked a couple of important events in my journey. It all started with me fighting the desert lizards, I was not even using my sword... actually I was fighting them barehanded, I managed to manifest the blades of energy from my wrists with the help of the blue flames, like my shadow manipulation ability the flames were able to change shape and density. However the range was not so great and this ability itself was drawing out the force of my life, but I had no other choice since there were too little shadows on the sand, due to the brightness of the sun. Yet I fought my way through, stabbing through their guts, slashing through their necks, it felt great, but it also wore me down even more and more until I became aware of my fleeting existence, but I had no other choice, there was no escaping those beasts and to relight my dreams I was forced to take my stance. It was not me, it was the strength that I was left with... Those, who cared about me were living deep inside my heart and the strength they gave me was far beyond anything. I was not invincible, I was just a fragile man, but I was not intending to leave it all behind and escape from the reality, not until I return my friend back. At the same time it saddened my heart, but at the same time it inspired the inner side of me, I wished for my journey to be a deserving one.
-”Shadows die twice, eh?”- I silently whispered to myself at the end of a long day.
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The man, who knew everything.

I took my time at the deserts for longer than I planned, but I had to scan through every corner, through every inch of sand... maybe... just maybe a clue, a trace, anything would of done the job... I decided to take a break for one day and visited some sort of oasis along the way to receive some proper rest. A fine place it was, the greenery of the wildlife was revitalizing, the flowing water in the rivers gave me chills of relaxation. However, I ultimately realized that someone was tracking me for the whole time. I was not wrong, I had this feeling, but it was impossible to pinpoint the person’s location or to feel it’s intent. However the very same person finally showed up, this encounter marked one these so called important events of my journey. It was confusing, but yet daring... I was ready to face the consequences in the future.

A shady man approached me from behind, I was able to feel his presence and his frame. Something was ominous about him, but I was curious to know why in the living hell he was following me. I stopped in the middle of the road, planting my feet firmly on the ground and exhaling all the air from my lungs I decided to talk to him.
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-”Alright, this is getting on my nerves, what the fuck do you want from me?”- I squeezed my fists tightly as I let out the question with annoyance in my tone and overall speech.
-”Sh is’ awwright’o, Simo’.”- The man answered me, his speech was the most random thing I ever heard... Not to mention the goofiness in his tone and a voice that was a little similar to my.
-”Ahh I get it! A creepy stalker already managed to learn my name.”- I commended his efforts as I clapped for him sarcastically.
-”Creepy stalka’? I always knew yar’ name, dumb fuck.”- The man laughed after saying his insult, his voice irritated me.. not only it was similar to my voice, but it was also in a higher pitch on purpose and sounded so daring. The intonation itself sounded funny and childish, like I was talking to some damn kid, who did not know the manners.
-”You what!?”- I touched the hilt of my sword and prepared to cut him down just in case if things were to get violent.

-”Yesh’, yesh’ mi’ bud’, mi’ brotha’ I know who yar’ are. No need to resort to yar’ sword.. Zerneger I assume.”- The stranger ended his speech with a laughter.
-”Alright this is getting way too annoying, how do you know all this information about me? Like hell, I didn’t tell the name of my sword to anyone if I remember correctly!”- I suddenly found myself wishing to break his arm or leg for this.
-”Ah gotcha, gotcha! Dun’ be angree’ awright’, Simo’ bud? Ye’ see I know everything about ya’, but I’m ‘ere not to brag about it, I came to discuss business ‘ere, brotha.”- He kept his tone goofy.
-”Tch, alright at least let me take a glance at you.”- I loosened the grip on the hilt and lowered my arm, slowly turning my head to his side. However my motion was interrupted by a sudden arc of blizzard, Half of my body became frozen from the bottom to the top.
-”I strongly advice yer’ against looking at mah’ face, matey!”- The solid ice suddenly thawed and drenched the right half of my body with liquid.
-”Damn you, what do you want from me!?”- I sighed as I yelled at him, but decided to keep myself from looking at him.  
-”Enough of this silly act. I came here to tell you something, Simon.”- His tone suddenly turned to a serious and ominous one. It’s like his personality shifted to the opposite side.
-”Tsk.. how did you manage to find me!? No, how do you know so much about me?”- My fingers twitched nervously along with skyrocketing heartbeat.
-”It wasn’t a hard task, given all the information I have about you. I know everything about you, about your past and where did you vanish for two whole years. Your sword is also responsible for the appearance of various rifts around the globe, they connect with some of the worlds that you visited once. As for myself, for now there’s no need for me to disclose my identity.”- This guy appeared like a dangerous news, but I had to act cool.
-”What do you want from me? What business do you have with me, are you with those people, like Hanzsel.. if that’s the case then I’m going to cut you down instantly.”- I threatened him.

-”Go on then, cut me down.”- He passed me by my right shoulder, patting me gently before stopping in front of me and exposing his wide open back. He was dressed in gray chained robes, his hands were covered with steel plates that had three spikes erected from above, they almost resembled steel claws. Probably a good tool for assassination and even better for hand-to-hand combat, where one punch would do to make his opponent bleed. On the upper part of his body a hood was sewn to the fabric and another, smaller one, was worn by him. Such a shady looking appearance, his attire almost resembled the one I worn in the past. A dangerous looking cyan sword was strapped to his back by metallic chains, it looked incomplete as it was frozen solid, reflecting sun rays at my side and emitting chilling pressure off it’s frame. The temperature gradually started to drop as a chilling sensation touched my skin beneath my clothes. The stalker was wide open, but yet I hesitated to strike him, his sheer presence and knowledge intimidated me. Despite the fact that I took him for a complete idiot at first he was probably smarter than I could of thought. As no one is foolish enough to expose the back to it’s opponent without a good plan up ahead.
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-”Your boldness will get you killed one day, you know.”- I desperately tried to keep calm.
-”Maybe, maybe. In the end it’s up to you, cut me down now and you might survive. Hesitate to cut me down and you might turn out as a corpse one day.”- He was perfectly calm.
-”So what business do you have with me? Should I repeat this to you or not, - are you with those people, who attacked me?”- I just wanted to wrap our pointless conversation as quickly as possible.
-”Ah... those people are not my enemies, but they are not my allies either. I fight for myself, just like you do right now. I came here to give you a message.”- He sighed and reached in inside his right pocket, searching for something.
-”What’s the message then, stranger?”- I curiously asked him as I lowered my guard for a moment.
-”Here, catch this card!”- He brought a white plastic card from his pocket and swiftly tossed it backwards, above his head. The card was flying in a trajectory, which resembled an arc. The throw was well calculated as it landed right inside my palms.
-”What is this nonsense?”- I took a glance at the card, numbers were present there.. The first one was crossed out with a red marker. The numbers went from one all the way to thirty one.
-”Count the days, exactly after a month come back to Baltasar Hill village.”- He stated.
-”Is that it? What will happen then? Why should I come there after a whole month?”- It sounded way too suspicious, but yet I was unsure, which part was the most suspicious, - was it his secretive presence or was it his message..?

-”I am just a messenger, nothing more and nothing less. However, exactly after a month a great crisis will strike this village. An all out war will break out, if you care about it’s safety you have no other choice, but to pay a visit there. Do I make myself clear?”- It sounded like a declaration of war, however was he really my enemy... or maybe, just maybe... he was my ally?
-”There’s no way, who are the attackers this time?!”- I panicked.
-”Well of course, it’s going to be them... Hanzsel, Aurora.. a couple of others will participate in the slaughter as well.”- He sighed and took a step forward.
-”Tch, well thanks for telling me this information, but can I even trust you?”- I wondered.
-”Of course you can, I’m not a liar. After all, we’re like brothers... in some way at least.”- He chuckled.

-”What the? This sword it can’t be!”- Zerneger’s voice suddenly entered inside my head.
-”What do you mean, do you know this sword?”- I spoke to him telepathically.
-”It’s way too similar to that sword, but it’s impossible! I must be imagining things!”- His tone was awfully nervous and distant, it’s like I could feel the fear coming from his voice.
-”What the hell do you mean? Tell me!”- I tried to draw the knowledge off him to the light.
-”No, never mind. It shouldn’t be possible for a human like him to have it. It must be a similar type...”- He suddenly stopped talking and remained silent for the time.
-”Brothers huh? You know what? You don’t make a lot of sense, but since you know a thing or two about me, I’ll be there after a month. Guess it’s inevitable, however can you at least tell me your name?”- I agreed to his bizarre request and wondered whether I was aware of his true name or not.
-”Perfect. I can’t say you my name, not yet at least. By the way, do you know Thomas’ whereabouts?”- He ended his speech with a question about Thomas at the end.
-”Guess, there’s no helping it. Thomas huh? I’m not sure what do you want from him, but since you know him I can tell you, he should be somewhere at Morheim I assume.”- I did not disclose the exact location to him though.
-”I see, thank you for your cooperation. Farewell, Simon.”- He headed off and ultimately vanished in the distance. I was lost for words and thoughts, I was not sure what to even say or do, however I was completely sure that my questions will be cleared in the upcoming month.
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Something was definitely suspicious about that person, yet I could not move a single finger under his ominous presence, it seemed like an invisible wall of  otherworldly strength was surrounding his body. It was always a foolish act to trust strangers, but then I thought that Sandvika’s life might be in grave danger. I had a whole month to prepare myself for the upcoming carnage, but yet I had to search for traces of Azure. Without Azure on my side... I alone stood no chance against them. I was trapped in a corner, but yet I had to move forward, I had no time to waste... not anymore. I decided to cut my break and head out off the oasis without further waiting. Hiding Zerneger inside it’s pocket dimension for convenience I began my search.
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(More will come in the evening or tomorrow.)

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27 Re: The Rift Dancer on Thu May 03, 2018 9:38 pm

New connections.

Water, food... I was almost out of supplies, the temperature was unbearably hot.. my skin was burning and the liquids inside my body were evaporating with each step that I took. The effects of the starvation took longer to take a toll on my body, but the lack of drinkable water made me nauseous and more or less mad. On top of all things I was lost in the middle of the desert, going in circles, wearing myself further, seeing mirages up ahead... my mind was getting crazy, rather I was getting insane myself... I was so exhausted that I was even unable to summon Zerneger to my side and escape from the desert through a portal. In the end my existence was fleeting, but I was clinging to one last hope, no matter what I had to survive, and to my biggest surprise I was able to see a village in a far, on some sort of hill, I decided to pay it a visit. At that point of time I was not aware of what kind of fortune the future may bring, however my decision marked the beginning of the second important event.

As a few crickets chirped in and among the village gardens, a girl in a distance struggled to get some shut-eye. She released a tiresome yawn, it appeared that the girly was watching over the entrance to the village or at least she was hanging out near the guards. In her horizon my frame became visible. I was advancing towards the village, taking slow steps as the scorching breezes of the desert were heating up the steel of Azure’s/my thick-layered black mask. My white clothes were smeared with sand. From the outside my skin was concealed by my cloth, which was drenched in hot sweat... I was breathing heavily beneath my mask. In a matter of a single minute I was fully present before the entrance of the village. I took a glance at the female guards, but my gaze remained shifted at the beauty, who was resting to my right. The visible red eye spots in the mask flashed a little as I exhaled the air from my lungs before speaking.
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-"I assume that you protect this village?"- I started off with a simple question.
-"Ahh! I didn't... see you there...” - She lulled from her half-sleeping daze. She jolted back for a moment, due to not having been paying attention to my approach before. The young girl stood up on her feet, revealing a remarkably tall, thin frame. She looked down at me, squinting at the mask I had on my face, she noticed the streams of sweat pouring from my forehead as well.
-"It's a bit late for tourists... wait a minute, you’re lepharist aren’t you?”- She frowned and knelt closer, poking at the mask.
As she invaded my personal space and poked my mask that I held so precious to myself I instantaneously backed away, by simply taking a quick step backwards. I brought my right hand to my chest, panting heavily from exhaustion...
-"Hmm... no, yours doesn't look like a revolutionary mask... however, you must answer truthfully if you're to stay the night here. Are you with them?"- With that question the girl rose above me, clutching her right fist tightly.  The sand crawled up her legs and flowed towards her hand, hardening into stone.

On normal circumstances I would of been amazed or even shocked seeing a woman, who appeared almost twice my height, but occurrence of this caliber did not make my jaw drop as usually. For some reason only momentary series of flashbacks passed through my head of the suffering and fighting for unknown cause. It appeared that my assumption was correct, the girl was indeed protecting the village uphill.
-"Lepha... w..what?"- My voice cracked, I was pretty much out of breath, but yet I tried to maintain  a straight posture. Upon seeing the hardened fist of pure sand I realized that it was not a wise decision to act hostile towards the woman.
-"Listen... woman.. I don't want any trouble here, I just want to stay the night here and I will be gone by the morning. I'm not here to cause problems... nor that I could in my current state."- It clearly was not a polite introduction, but I was just lost for words. The exhaustion was clouding my thoughts. After saying my words I wiped the dripping sweat from my chin with my black gauntlet.
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She merely rose her eyebrows as she looked down to me, and  then she dispelled her stony hand. The same hand reached for and wrapped around my back. After a long pause of silence she began to talk again.
-”Come with me, visitor." - She turned and began walking up the trail to the village, her heavy footfalls betraying her lithe figure.
-"There is space for you tonight, thankfully... and you need food and drink. Come, come.”-  She held me like some sort of puppy with her outstretched hand, but she slowed herself, noticing that I could barely stand from exhaustion. She sighed, and stepped back to me.
- "Do you... need a lift, sir?"- She placed her hands on her hips, sharing a fair view of her toned arms and stomach to me.  Although my, dried from the heat and lack of liquid, face was hidden beneath the mask, I could feel that my facial expression was just priceless. My eyes were widened as my mouth was completely opened out of confusion. I did not expect such hospitality from a stranger, especially a woman, who casted down a huge shadow on my manhood, both physically and psychologically.
-"No. I can take care of myself..."- I merely shook my head as I replied. I just shrugged away her gracious offer.
-"Although the food and drinks would be nice.”- It was not my pride that rejected her, it was just distrust. My suspicions rose, because I barely trusted strangers. Thus I began to barely climb up the hill by myself, my legs were shaking and my back was bent forwards. However I still managed to take some small steps upwards, grunting and hopelessly trying to reach the top by myself.
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The guard woman followed closely behind me, and with one outstretched hand she slowly pulled the burning-hot coat from my shoulders. She seemed to respect my lethal stubbornness. Though she followed closely behind, ready to catch me in case if I collapsed.
-”You’re going to burn up, you need to take that mask off, fellow."- Her coarse, commanding voice lowered and a smooth, sweet yet bassy tone escaped her lips when she spoke. She continued to pat my shoulder with her hand as we walked, her heavy footfalls were still easily audible behind me.
-"Nah... it is quite alright.. If I'm going to burn alive in this mask then so be it... I have to be worthy of wearing it as my own face.”- My fist was clenched tightly, the metal of my gauntlet was grinding against my hand. No way in living hell, I wanted to take Azure’s mask off. Maybe I finally started to become more like Azure?

As we were walking to the top I found myself thinking about various things, why did I receive such hospitality, what was up with her overly welcome kindness, so many questions marched through my head, but yet of all things I did not even properly introduce myself. How could I introduce myself in the first place? I thought that maybe I was going right into the enemy’s trap. If it was not the case, then still I did not deserve to be welcomed so friendly. I was nothing more, but a pathetic loser with communications, who had an awful mouth and it was not like I could repay her properly afterwards, since my mission was my top priority. Meeting her was yet another trial to me, a trial that I had to overcome. A question of trust and opportunity to gain a potential ally in the future. I knew nothing at all, but I decided to keep myself cautious. Thus questions of distrust began to linger in my head.

-"So, what are your real intentions? Are you going to assassinate me in my own sleep or are you just as naive as I was? Not that I changed to this day."- I laughed as my pace became significantly slower, my feet were abandoning me already. The girl’s expression contorted a bit, she showed signs of confusion.
-"Assassinate you? What? Why would I..."- Her speech stopped midway, before she added something more to it.
-"Look... Mister... Mask? I'll call you M&M for now. I do assume that you you have a heat stroke or you've had a rough patch, but nobody here wants you dead... nobody here wants to kill or maim you. You're in Agairon Village now, and you're under the watch of the Guardian Protector, Janus." -She introduced herself as she stepped ahead some more.
-"Look, tough guy, I... know you don't want to be babied, but... you can't stand much longer. Let me help you."- Her voice grew increasingly tender, sounding less like a bassy teenager and more like a maternal woman, she extended her hand towards me with a though to guide me up to the village like a mother would her son. At least this is how it looked, because of our significant height difference.
-"No... no...I am strong, trust me. I'm just weary..."- I sighed beneath the mask as the dense condensed steam of sweat made it's way through the side gaps of the mask. Ignoring Janus' kind and unusual gesture, I chose the path of pride. Rather it was not pride, which was driving me, I was just inadequate from all the heat that my body absorbed. I passed through Janus' extended hand and took a couple of steps forward, but then ironically I lost my balance as my left foot impacted with a pebble, which was halfway burred inside the sandy path.
-"Azu-.."- My strength was gone and yet I tried to say his name, but this sentence of mine was interrupted as I fell on the path face first. Luckily for me, the mask protected me from breaking my nose or fracturing my front teeth. Pathetic, such a wasted effort... I ran myself straight into damnation.
-”The name is Simon..."- At last I introduced myself with, lying all hopeless on the rough sandy path. My consciousness was slowly dwindling, just a drop of water or at least some food would of done the job to keep me in shape.

Janus watched my display without speaking, and pinched her nose in silence as I collapsed.
-"I gotcha, champ..."- She sarcastically said.
The large woman knelt down and wrapped her arms around my stomach. She gently lifted me up and pressed me against her bosom, afterwards she began to make her way with me in her arms up the hill. She was coddling me close like I was some damn child. She could feel the burning desert heat having permeated all of my clothes, and then she tugged open my shirt with her free hand to let some ventilation in. However, I did not care... I was already at the verge of passing out.
-”We need to get you water now."- She quickened her pace, and pressed my hot chest into her own, trying to suck up some of the heat with her body. I was able to feel a slow, steady throbbing of her bosom, which signified her heartbeat. She took long strides up the hill, kicking sand up as she came over to the priest to lend her a hand. My exposed chest was immensely hot, probably close to fire in heat... alongside the chest one more detail became visible for Janus. My skin at that area was almost devoid of life, blackened like charcoal as the black rounded ornaments were outstretched to various sides of my torso from the chest, which was marking the center of this corruption of mine.

She brought me inside a building. Janus yawned, the sleep deprivation was getting to her far harder now. But still, she managed to shove the cups and candles from the table as she laid me down across it.
-"Aerope, get him some spring water. We're losing him."- She gave a request to someone nearby, but my eyes were shutting and reopening, only small glimpses were visible for me. I was able to feel that someone stepped besides me and spoke.
-"I've... never seen these kind of burn markings before... What is this?..."-  The voice belonged to an old man. He ran his finger lightly across my chest. The desert girl clasped her hand around my mask and pulled it away.
-”But this doesn't look like a burn to me... I don't know what this is, but... it's got to be magical." - She leaned in closer, her more acute eyesight was able to notice the corrupt blackness that was dancing across me. A girl marched inside, carrying the mystic spring water, and without a word Janus took it from the smaller woman's grasp. The girl lifted my back from the table, administering the water to me.

I slowly reached for the bowl, which was filled with revitalizing water, and leaned closer with my mouth. My red eyes lit up as the sparks of joy glimmered in my pupils.
-"F...i...na..lly.."- I barely murmured and then  I began to suck the liquid substance inside my mouth... my mouth was like a black hole devouring the light... the content was emptied in a matter of seconds, since I was thirsty like a predator that was lusting for blood. Instantaneously I was able to feel quite a surge of energy entering inside my body and at last I was able to talk more clearly.
"Thank... you... but why in the living hell would you help a person like me?”- I started off with a simple, but yet self-disrespecting question. Not that I hated myself, it was just to test her worth. Afterwards I slowly glanced over to the sides, looking at the people presented inside and then I looked down at my exposed chest. I folded my arms around my chest in means to hide the corruption. The people were staring at me, I merely remained silent for a bit, but with a little bit of passing time I shifted my gaze to Janus.
-"Can you... uh... give my mask back...?"- The mask was more important to me than being grateful or so. It meant almost if not everything to me. Janus sat beside me, leaning up against the table as she gently rubbed the surface of the mask with her long fingers, before placing it inside a nearby wardrobe.
-"You can have it back in a few minutes... right now, you need rest, traveler."- She lectured me with the same familiar maternal tone. She stood to move over to the nearby cabinets, pulling out a few pieces of salt pork and bread, holding it out to me.
-"We can give you some more for the road, but right now you need to lie there and get your strength back.”-
She looked down to my chest, and she poked it gently.
-"So... what happened here? And... yes.. we take care of the people who come here. That's what we do. It's my duty."- She spoke once more, not even letting for me to interrupt. The old man and a woman both nodded approvingly and they stepped out the building to get some air.
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I listened to her words and questions especially... I merely sighed while still trying to cover up my chest.
-"I do not think that it should concern you..." -  A brief answer of mine it was, before the growling sound from below my stomach stopped my speech. I was hungry like a starving wolf.
-"Alright... I will explain everything to you, but first can I sink my teeth inside the food?" - I could not resist the sight of delicious looking food, actually even if it was bread alone it would of been enough to satisfy my hunger. I frowned a little and unfolded my arms from the chest, I then fixed my eyes on the plate, where a delicious salt pork and bread rested, ready for consumption. The hunger awakened primal instincts of the hunter in my eyes as with a swift motion I grabbed the bread first and stuffed it inside my mouth, almost choking on it, I made sure to swallow every little crumb. Indeed the hunger that lasted for so long was getting on my senses and this meal was like a blessing from the divines for me. Sound of munching resonated within the room as I clearly showed no sign of table etiquette, not that I was taught to behave like this before.
-"Oh yesh... thish ish yummy..." - Like an uneducated monkey I talked with my mouth stuffed... that was until I ultimately finished the bread.
"Hah! Much better! Now for the best part!"- I grabbed the pork and sank my teeth inside it, tearing off the skin off meat with my teeth alone until I found myself slurping it inside my mouth.
-”Yesh... thish ish gheat..."- I did not allow for her to interrupt and my speech was barely recognizable as the sound of munching continued. I ate the meat clean to the very bone. My eyes were sparkling in joy as I then placed what was left of the pork on the plate.
-"Now that's what I call a meal! Only whisk-..."- I shut my mouth midway and merely shook my head, rising from the table on my feet, I clenched the right fist firmly. I slammed my clenched fist just before the plate as it slightly shot itself up due to my strength, luckily it landed on the table’s surface safely and was unbroken. I quit drinking for good. Or so I thought... But those cravings for the good old “cure” were still stuck inside my heart.
-"No, I'm done with that..."- I then let out a deep sigh and shifted my gaze at Janus, while still maintaining the pressure on my clenched fist. I decided to finally speak normally or at least try to.

-"I believe that I introduced to you, before passing out. Might be my imagination though, the name is Simon."- I barely managed to decorate my face with an artificial smile. I brought the very same fist that was clenched to my chest and gently knocked on it, looking at the floor once again.
-"Well, I can't be dishonest with you... after all... you showed hospitality towards me... As of right now, I am not sure what is this thing for myself... but each time I tap into my sword's power it starts to consume me... Well as far as I know it has something to do with my life force... oh... you probably don't know what it is either... so... uh... basically it means that I don't have a lot of time left in the world of living." - I shook my head multiple times, while trying to explain about the black corruption to her. After coming up with the explanation I began to laugh hopelessly. Janus nodded woefully as I explained my wound to her.
-"I see, Simon... as I'd said before you fell unconscious, I am the village guardian, Janus. I've been... taught enough about magic to know about hexes like curses.. but it’s a little different than that. It is slowly killing you? That's awful.. I... wish I could solve that dilemma for you, but, alas... I'm a mere sand mage. All that I know is how to deal with simple curses, which are outside the realm of this necrotic affliction of yours. I... wish I could save you." - She leaned towards me, her face collapsed into a frown.
-"Would you still accept our offer of lodging and food for the night, though? I... wouldn't want to keep you long; I imagine you were probably on the way to find someone." - She stepped close and held her hand out to me for a shake.

I was a little nervous upon Janus' approach. I raised my dominant hand, which was right, skywards, passing above Janus' hand... It was a complete fake out, but it has it’s own reason.. there were things more important for me at that point of time.
-”First Thing... my mask."- I stated as I raised my index finger up.
-"Second thing... my coat..."- I raised my middle finger up.
-"Give those back to me...Ok?"- After I was done with my requests I took off my black metallic gauntlet from my hand and nervously wrapped my fingers around Janus' forefinger, trying to shake her clearly larger hand.
-"And yes... I accept your offer... as I am lost on my tracks at the moment. I'm not looking for the cure to my disease as I learned to handle my sword a little better... and this curse is my sword that you are referring to, he is my partner... at times he seems suspicious, because he does not like to share information with me, but at other times he's probably the only thing that I have left by my side.”- I gave her a brief explanation about the root of the problem as I then built up the courage to tilt my head upwards and look Janus in the eye.
-"Though I am looking for someone else, but I don't see a point in explaining everything to you. However I am thankful and as a former leader of another village I must warn you, - do not welcome strangers to your village so naively!"- At the end of my warning I changed my tone to a deeper and stronger as the emotions of complete despair crossed my mind for a moment. I was taken back to the past... Yet it did not matter anymore... Some traumatic events still remained and honestly I just wanted her not to follow my path. As long term experience showed me the miseries of this world and when the fate of others rested on one’s shoulders I could not possibly stay silent about this.

-"Of course. You may have your belongings back." - The girl took one long step away from me for a moment, before pulling my coat and mask from the wardrobe, and holding them out for me. She then looked down to me with a worried face expression.
-“I appreciate your concern for my village, but I promise you Agairon is in capable hands. And one day, I'll come to a point where no one can threaten it’s people; that is my duty, my mission as the Protector." - She stepped and she wheeled about to turn to the door.
-"When you're fully dressed, I can show you to where you'll stay the night. Supplies for your journey will be brought to you in the morning, alright?"- I smirked in anticipation after hearing Janus' words.
-"As the Protector huh? Interesting...."- I started to empathize with her, to my eyes she looked like a complete image of a younger and more naive me. The suspicion was still lingering inside my brain, but I felt more closer to her... if she was not spouting me lies about being the protector. I dressed up and followed her afterwards.

-"Alright, let's bring you to the inn."- Janus began to walk down the road towards the building down on the left side cliff. She sniffled to herself for a moment. She opened the door of the inn, and held it there for me. She looked to me with a visible twinge of uneasiness on her face.
-"Here... tell the keeper that Janus sent you. And, look..."- She leaned in close, getting her face right over my eyes.
-”About what happened before, but before you conked out... you... said that I was luring you into some kind of trap so I could kill you... and... I don't do that... and what you said really upset me."- She rose back to her full height again and held the door open with her extended foot, looking off over the cliff and sniffling some more. She did not ask for an apology, but she was clearly choking on tears, much as she tried to hide it.
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Through the mask that concealed emotions on my face, I was able to see through Janus' pained face, however what I truly lacked were the words and emotions to comfort the girl properly. My breathing was dense and heavy, due to fiery air clear clouds of hot steam were escaping through the gaps of the mask as I finally began to speak, hoping to be reasonable about my previous actions.

-"It has nothing to do with you, it's me and me alone... alright?" -Nonchalant words bounced inside the mask as I sighed, producing even more steam than previously... I gritted my teeth and folded my arms against the chest, turning to the opposite direction of Janus. I knew that it was a bad choice of words, so I then tried to speak again, but my voice was cracking in between the words.
-"Listen... It's not that I consider you as horrible person, nor do I trust you completely, but the hospitality that you provided for me was enough to slightly change my image about you. I still expect a lot of things from you... even worse than I mentioned before... No...Sorry..."- A total failure of a man, who was trying to comfort a person I was.. I pressed my palm against the black mask, I tried come up with a different approach while suppressing the tears of unease memories of mine.
-"So several weeks ago I indeed met nice people that punched some sense inside my head, however I can't change myself so easily... I want to believe that this world is indeed beautiful, but I lack the courage to go on... to make it real... as I am just a dying man, who decided to reshape his fate and make his final dream come true... for that reason I can't just simply trust anyone, I have to save up my strength... No! That's not it...”- I found myself to be completely lost for words, as I then  fell on my knees and took a glance on the sand below, thinking what to say next.
“I just don't want to see my close ones suffering... I want for them to live in a world without sorrow, but to fulfill such a naive wish I have to keep my distance from people, because at each doorstep a shadow of despair is knocking... I'm sorry, it's not about you... it's just my own trust issues..."- For a moment I remained to be silent. I then rose on my feet again and scrubbed off the sand from my pants with my gauntlets.
-"Anyway, it was not for me to talk... I really hope that you are not one of them... at least not one of those people, who try to deceive me." - I wanted to say something else, something better... but nothing was knocking on my mind... nothing at all.. In the end I was unable to save a girl from mere tears, and yet she helped me to survive the merciless desert.
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After a while, Janus spoke quietly:
-"I... can't be that kind of person. I don't want to... A-a few days ago, there was a woman stuck up the hill, trapped in the Kaidan Caldera by herself, and I went up to go rescue her by myself.” - She was murmuring through the bloody tears of her.
-"I-I saved her, and I thought I-I could just leave, since I can fly and all, but I got grounded by those savages, and... I... lost my temper. I mean, they tried to kill us. I pushed the better part of two dozen of those red-skinned mooks off the cliff into the lava with my magic..." - She sniffled, and began to weep.
-"I-I didn't mean to knock them to their deaths, I just wanted them out of my sight. And the next thing I know the whole cliff-side breaks off and falls away..." - She was crying fully, stopping and continuing her speech repeatedly.
-"I... didn't want to hurt anybody... that woman said that they earned it but... people don't have to hurt... people don’t know the other way to deal with things like.... like that..." - She ran silent for some time, and pulled away from the door to look over the cliff face, crying openly into her hands.

I was merely staring at Janus’s direction with gimlet eyes, my expression was lifeless beneath the mask, which kept my emotions hidden. The sound of falling and sour liquid drops caught my ears, - it was the sound of Janus crying. Such a strange emotion, what was it really? The emotion, the innocence, the grief that I felt no too long ago was nothing less, but relatable for me. After all... she saved me, she helped me, she welcomed me warmly and I... and I of all people resorted to such violent acts... I felt no better than a scum. She was almost like me in the past... Indeed she was just like me... I too was a protector of the village, I too wanted to welcome others warmly.. Even I sought to save the ones in the need of help, but yet there was nothing for me to do, nothing at all. I was not the type to comfort someone, nor I was the type to say special motivating words. I did this only on occasions when I truly felt like myself, when I truly trusted in others... but this girl.. was different, yet she possessed no signs of danger I could not just trust her blindly. The damage that was done can not be repaired, never... the scars that were left behind can not be erased, however it only took a fraction of second when a not so distant memory of something crossed my mind.

It was the time, when I was crying... when I was trying to protect the village, where I had to resort to violence in order to protect the ones, who were worthy of protection. I was devoured by the sadness, which was the consequence of all the conflicts. That time, I lost myself to that sadness, that time I lost my sole friend... yes Azure... the name of my friend... It was a living hell for me, nowhere to go, no goal in mind... trails of misery followed, however even someone like me managed to overcome the sadness and to trust humanity by even a little. There were people for me, they helped me to stand up on my feet again, without them I would of been a mess right now... Indeed it only took so little to become truly happy for once... It was the time when all of them were there for me, believing in their different ideologies, but yet trying to do the same for my sake. Yes it was a memory of Jaina, which finally reached my head... The time when she hugged me and squeezed some of the sadness out of me, yet I was acting all childish and egoistical... I had to do the same for this girl, it was the only way to show her that I care about her, to show that I trust her... To make her feel better even if for a little. Because in the end... She did not seem like a bad person... She actually appeared like a reflection of my shattered past and I was not the same person anymore.. The strength was inside me... I never lost the motivation to go on, it was just a bad day that threw me out of balance... The meeting with that strange man, with a fancy blade on his back, reminded me that my journey will be rough... But it was not the time or place to reflect on the emotions... No.. it was the time and place to once again show this world how I managed to mature, and how these ideologies, which were driving me onwards my goal rolling their most brilliant colors.

I stood straight and I clapped with my palms, releasing an ear piercing shriek of metal, which was a product of my gauntlets. My gaze became fixed at crying Janus's back and my feet began to move on their own. Was it right? Or was it wrong for me to approach her like this? There was no time to be looking for answers in this scenario, I was just doing what I deemed to be right. The fiery wind produced by the heat in the desert was blowing against my mask, slightly burning my face beneath. A tear of fleeting memory rolled from my left eye, as I closed in to her back and slowly reached for it and wrapped my arms around Janus' waist, I leaned on Janus' back, hopelessly trying for her to get the idea that the firm and warm touch was present.. and it was firm. Indeed, just as back then... I was hugged by someone firmly, now it was my chance to spread this gesture of kindness.
-"Now... now, don’t cry now.”- I even subconsciously repeated Jaina’s words and then added a speech of my own ideology that I manifested throughout the time by the help of others and my own circumstances.
-”There... That's enough. I managed to take a glance inside your feelings. I am aware that some things can't be redone, but if it's your duty... then resort to any measure to protect this village. You are not worth the tears... You are too young to cry over these things. It's not the end of the world yet.. You can still make a difference by your actions alone. Just do whatever you deem right!"- My speech was firm, but something was lacking at the same time. I wanted to add a lot more to it, but I was not the person of  great words, at least not for that day. I sighed and a warm laughter resonated within my mask.
-”For you.. I am thankful. I believe in you, though I am not able to see through your thoughts. This time I'm placing my bet in trusting you..  Just like you are right now I was the leader of a village once... Although it is pretty distant from here."- My actions were bold, yet I was not aware what was about to come next, but she helped me and this was the only act I could perform to repay for her kindness.  

She jolted slightly when I came up behind her to give a hug, and as I spoke, she indeed slowly calmed down. Her long fingers migrated to gently clutch my back up to her full height. She slowly turned to look down at me, her face red and puffy from the tears she cried. Without saying a word, she knelt for a moment, and scooped me up into her arms, squeezing me firmly and holding my head against her collar.
-"Thank... you..."- She sniffled again, and walked with me in her arms towards the inn. She held me to herself like a mother would a child, her arm holding me by the waist. I felt quite uncomfortable to be treated like some sort of baby, especially from a girl of her age, but I was happy to know she got better. She ducked, setting me on my feet at the clerk's desk. She nodded to the woman at the desk, and turned to leave. Standing in the doorway, she looked back to me for a time, and broke off the silence.
-"I... I needed that. There’s good room for the evening, or as long as you wish to stay. Visitors are welcome here... you're welcome here, Simon."- She smiled warmly and wiped a stray tear from her cheek as she looked outside again.
-”I... need some time alone, to think things through. I figure that chest wound of yours needs its own time as well. If you need something the townsfolk can't offer you, come up the hill and give me a call. I'll be here... always. It's who I am."- She left then, allowing  the air from outside of the intolerable desert heat.

My thoughts and unsaid words remained inside my mind however. I slightly nodded at the leaving Janus and waved my hand at her direction.
-"I am thankful to you as well, I'll be departing in the morning as I have no time to waste. No one knows if our paths will cross again, but whenever I see you in a need for help I'll be on your side. I will support you however I am able to, it's only natural to express my gratitude after all the things you've done for me. It's a promise. Best of luck to you and remember that sometimes we have no other choice but to sacrifice something for a greater thing. This world is not fair, but it is the only way to assure the survival of ourselves and the ones that we keep close to our hearts."- Thus for the last time I expressed my gratitude towards her and shared some of my wisdom as a former leader of the village. The woman smirked as she walked up the desert trail.

Thus my encounter with Janus came to an end. In the end I was in the wrong, she was just a sweet and innocent girl, who had no ill intention towards people. Her life radiated with bright colors of kindness and selflessness, in order to protect someone she had to stain her hands with blood, but if only she had another option... I was sure that she would of chosen the different path. I was just blind, maybe... indeed... maybe the heat was getting to my senses, but one thing was certain, - I truly made a connection and started a new and most likely a powerful bond. I was reminded once again that this world was beautiful and no matter the odds people fight for the sake of this world. It was merely a futile ignorance coming from me... Just a couple of hours I was no better than the previous me, but at the end of the day I managed to grow even more. I realized that those ideas of people were keeping me alive, even I possessed the ability to save someone from fatal tears. Indeed the similarities that I shared with Azure were brought to light in their brightest colors. I became happy, full of joy... because I reached this conclusion. Janus became my friend, at least this is how I wanted to consider her as... Because of her unparalleled help towards me... Yet I could of been anyone and use her kindness to my own advantage. Thus my strength and my mind were back to their shapes.

It was a late night already, I had the option to stay the night and wait for the morning, however I chose a different path... as the numbered card reminded me that there was no time to waste.. not too far from now my village was on the verge of destruction and yet I still had to continue my search... to continue my journey of lighting my dreams up. Since I did not want to cause any more noise or unnecessary ruckus I decided to escape through the window in my room. I looked up at the window and noticed that it had bars instead of glass. I gathered the shadows in my palm and shaped them into a sharp and solid saw. Without further waiting I sawed off the metallic bars and climbed up the frame, jumping through the window and then landing on the solid sand with my feet. I reached inside my pockets in search for a coin or two. I managed to find a couple shiny coins and tossed them inside the room, through the same window. I hoped that the money would be enough to cover the repairs of the window. Finally I summoned Zerneger on my side, supporting the blade on my right shoulder I headed out to the desert again. However, after a couple of more days I realized that my search was fruitless even there, but it was not meaningless.. I experienced a lot of things myself and as well I made a nice connection. Indeed, a promising future it was... or at least I hoped for one to be... The sun was rising, marking my next destination. I already knew where to come next...
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(A recreation of the RP that I had quite some time ago. Continuation is estimated on late Saturday or early Sunday.)

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28 Re: The Rift Dancer on Tue May 15, 2018 11:53 am

In a search for fleeting memories, in a parallel vision scattered betrayal and devastating mysteries lingered.

After escaping the fiery hellish heat of the desert I headed straight to Morheim with a hope to regain my memories back. At last I felt prepared to learn the truth, the ultimate truth behind myself. I was aware that I was in the middle of a different quest, but there was no time to waste.. only fifteen days remained before complete destruction of the village. Without my memories back I was not certain if I could take them on... and even if I were to return my memories back I was not guaranteed in victory. However... all alone, without Azure by my side I stood no chance at all, at least this is how I felt... it was only logical to think this way. No matter how powerful I felt, no matter how brave I was I could not escape my fate, actually I acknowledged their strength. I thought that by unlocking my past.. the chances of survival would grow.

Thus the setting was quickly switched to the cold and wintry one as I found myself wandering around the snowy paths of the distant lands. The blizzard had a powerful impact on my skin, my body was indeed freezing as I then found myself unable to feel the tips of my fingers. However I loved snow, I loved winter... I did enjoy what was frosty.. Snowflakes fell like a mystical mysteries, the mountains in the far signified my destination and the cloudy peak in the distance appeared like a pinnacle of the tower, where the gates of truth stood mighty... Ready to be opened... The man, who held the key to my past also had a temporal cure to my disease... if I were to ingest that... the corruption of darkness, the vines of despair would back away... even if for a short amount of time, it was still enough to utilize my power, no, - my and my sword’s powers to their full extents.

I was walking on the icy lakes. The frozen lakes were slippery and appeared like a broken mirror with thousands of fragments, which reflected the light and the images of me from all imaginable angles. Such beauty, such crystal clear view, my heart skipped a beat it was something that symbolized my thoughts... A shocking and mysterious mess, which was my mind, but yet those dreams that I had was like a rainbow, which outstretched those delusions. I was not intending to turn back, to reflect on my journey... to return to being a child that I was before, however it was such an irony... indeed it was ironical... For me to reach the mystery of the future I had to return to the past and understand how everything worked up until now. It only meant one thing, - turning back... the only solution... the only salvation... However, acceptance of myself was an option to move onward, to fight further... to shatter those boundaries and to break those chains that were entangling me up until this point.

As I was getting closer to the mountain I found myself ascending the stairs with thousands and thousands.. miserable and thoughtful steps. I had the ability to fly, but instead I chose to do it the hard way, to think things through, to reflect on the person I became over these current years... Because I had a feeling that after I return my memories back the current me would probably vanish forever. However, cruel sacrifices were necessary in order to protect what was really important, in order to stop the darkness and illuminate not only the village, but the world itself. My resolve was firm.. As firm as a diamond, as strong as my sword... as deadly as Triniel... as promising as my wish to bring back Azure, or at least to see him again. The stairs were slowly filling themselves with white and dense clouds, my fists were clutched and my eyes were fixed to the sky, where the peak resided.
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Suddenly as the chilly breeze blew on my face my vision became abstract, something was changing... beams of white light emerged in my sight and divided into millions of square windows, where the visions differed... Visions of different places, of different realms... of yet unknown places and familiar ones as well, until everything blurred out and I was able to see something. To see something otherworldly and familiar, yet trivial at the same time. The gray area of Beluslan, the descending snowflakes in a far.. it felt like I was gazing through the eyes of a different person, it appeared so vivid and realistic.. I was not moving, but I was able to feel myself advancing forwards until I stumbled upon a cliff and gazed into far.. Somehow I instantly received knowledge that these eyes, which belonged to God knows who or what... Recently left this mountain, which I was climbing on, and were marching through other snowy areas, to the possible location where Brusthonin was... Suddenly my view zoomed out as I was able to see someone standing on a cliff. Possibly a man, cladded in steel, spiky armor, a familiar sword was present on his back, entangled in the frozen chains... it was... it was.. that stranger... but why.. why was I able to see through his eyes? Why in the world I was seeing him from a far, it made no sense.. it was an illogical and abstract experience just like the one I had not too long ago, when my subconsciousness merged with Zerneger’s.. the ultimate universe? Was it really the work of it? Or was it something completely different? Indeed it felt like I was that person, like we shared the same thoughts and sights.. like we were as one, but why? My head was burning up as I then collapsed on my knees and the vision dispersed. What was the meaning of that? I tried to shout it out loud, yet when I decided to ask whether Zerneger knew about this vision he just kept his mouth closed.. The terms of contract were keeping me away from answers as always.
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I snapped out from the misleading thoughts and rose on my feet, my cloak lingered in the air, the tips half frozen and solidified. I continued the climbing process, the world below was getting smaller and smaller... so this was the view? The view, from where Gods and Goddesses laughed at us... imperfect beings? Like insects we were crawling in the dirt, one single touch, one single assault from a higher force and the extinction was definitely inevitable. I was pretty close to the peak, although the stairs were not leading to the top, instead the construction stopped just there, and everything what stretched from that point was just pure, white snow.

I set my wings in flapping motion, accelerating upwards, my frame was pushing through the frozen air.. I was ascending to the highest point... I was this close, but yet I knew nothing again.. In the end it turned out that I just wasted my time... I lost time.. yes.. time was the most important thing for me... There was no one on the peak, nothing at all... A wasted attempt it was.. or was it really?
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-”Thomas!!!”- A shout escaped my lips, resonating in the skies like a rumbling thunder it broke through the layers of air, disrupted the wind and broke through the barriers of space. But in return I received only a dead silence.. a dead and empty silence stroked my ears.
The man was nowhere to be found, not even a trace of him was left... did he trick me? Did he die? It was not to my knowledge, but then I noticed a letter, which was burred in the snow between my feet. I leaned down and pulled the frozen paper from the snow and examined it carefully. It appeared that it was folded and had a black seal imprinted, which reminded me the marking on my face. Indeed it was Thomas’ true specialty, reality bending by the use of seals.. A sinister magic it was, how was he able to do it...? it was not to my knowledge as well, but him escaping his death was probably the help of the very same power. With the help of my finger I severed the seal, which was keeping the paper folded and took a peek at what it said.

“Simon, due to help of this seal that I planted on this piece of paper no one is able to see this letter, except for you. I thought that you might pay a visit to me soon. I might be dead by this time or I might be alive somewhere, nothing is certain at this point. However, I blame you for revealing my whereabouts to that monster.. you don’t even understand what you did, he’s a beast.. a monster of monsters! Not even yours and mine combined powers are enough to bring him down, he’s just way too powerful. Run away as far as possible, forget about the village, save yourself! Nothing good is coming, trust me. A great crisis will strike... you and I, everyone will die... however there is a way for you to defeat him.. you must regain your memories, if I manage to return safely seek me out in this place once again, if you will survive yourself. Best of luck to you.”

I burned the piece of paper, which rested in my hands and sighed.. Hanzsel? Was he for real? We were having him dancing on his toes last time... Was Thomas out of his mind? Or did the mad scientist suddenly gained a boost to his powers?! I rubbed my chin in wonder and looked up to the sky, thinking that it was not the reason to run away.. Gah and what was the vision about?! I was more than confused, I was trapped in a never ending labyrinth of my thoughts... some things did not add up. If the man was a messenger... how did he scare Thomas off? If Hanzsel and his army was preparing to attack the village, just how many of them were going to participate? I was merely bending my brain, it was meaningless to overthink.. I still had to make the difference, I needed numbers.. allies... anything or anyone...!! It was a painful riddle to solve, however I realized that I had to stop my journey for the time being... I had to head to the village right away and warn the villagers, without further waiting, without fooling around and slowing down my feet.. I really hated to do it, but I had to open a rift that led to my village. It was only a small exchange of my life essence in order to save many other lives. I called forth Zerneger and swung the blade in front of me.. it ripped through the air, shattering the continuum of space it teared out the reflections of the distant stars in the vast space and expanded before me, thus a dimensional shortcut was created, leading me to one place, which was my home in the past, where everything that I held dear resided in. Baltasar hill village it was...

Conference of rising conflict.

In the middle of my home village, I stood on a high and flat column. Although I wanted to reminisce about the days I spent there, although I wanted to talk with Sandvika or to apologize to everyone, who experienced harm because of me there was no time to waste.. I had to place my trust in the villagers and hope to receive support, to warn them about the upcoming genocide. The people were gathering below, the majority of them were giving me furious glares, while others were merely confused or afraid. Pebbles and other objects were flying towards me, but I was standing firmly, accepting each and every blow... I knew.. I knew... I understood that I was wrong in the past, but I did not want for my villagers to end up extinct. I wanted for their peace and liberation, for them to have peaceful and promising lives. Without terror, without sacrifices, without conflicts... yet it was only a childish fantasy of mine, to bring everyone together, to see if our combined efforts were enough to prevent the carnage, to prevent the suffering and the crippling despair.. it only took so little, they just had to see through my ideas, to gaze into my heart.. although no one was able to do so.. however I still chose to warn them about what was about to come next.

-”Monster! Murderer! Scum! Die! Rot! Choke! Disappear!”- The angry mob continuously repeated, throwing everything at me.. spilling every trash on me, their ignorant mouths were accompanied by hateful words. They had every right to blame me, they had every right to detest me.. But their ignorance was getting on my nerves...
-”Silence and listen to me!”- I released a loud and furious shout, the crowd suddenly fell into silence, but after a couple of seconds they raised their arms up to the sky, angrily swaying their fists to my side and picking up objects from the ground, only to toss them at me afterwards.
-”Killer of the child! Your presence here only attracts trouble and chaos! You betrayed Azure! You betrayed your people! Please hang yourself in front of us and burn your own corpse!”- Sentences of detest only flooded my ears as nothing was certain and nothing was clear, it was a bad idea to introduce myself as Simon, but even if I did introduce as another person... well they would of never believed in a complete stranger.
-”Shut up you ignorant scums!”- I treated them with their own medicine and pulled out Azure’s mask from my backpack and held it up, in front of the gathering crowd. Everyone suddenly went silent and whispers began to build around the place.
-”Oh, so now we’re scums.. but first you were begging us to hear you out..”- A notorious comment escaped from the mass.
-”Listen... You don’t have to believe in me, nor do you have to listen what I am about to say to you, however if you care for the lives of your children, if you cherish the bright future of this village you have to take my words to your hearts.”- I cleared my throat afterwards and inhaled air into my lungs. I was prepared for my speech, the plan with the mask did work.. I got their attention. Azure's mask was well known around Baltasar hill.

-”Go on then! Spill the beans, we don’t have a lot of time to waste on person like you!”- Their lips were synchronized.
-”People of Baltasar hill village, people of my home, my brothers and sisters in arms, everyone that I hold dear to my heart here. Please hear me out as I have an announcement to make! Not as Simon, who betrayed you quite some time ago, not as Sylvester, who helped you a lot and desperately tried to protect the village from the last tragedy.  Not as Azure either, today I am talking as the one or rather no one, as someone that you guys used to know, as a fellow villager of our humble village. In the name of the holy tree’s protection... no in the name of a brighter future.. I address all of you my fellow friends, enemies, allies and strangers!”- I tossed Azure’s mask down to the crowd, for them to take a better look. They were passing the mask from one hand to another, examining it carefully. Even more whispers spilled and disrupted the harmony of the blowing wind.
-”It can’t... No way... It really is his mask.. but how? Did he killed his sole friend? Is Azure alive somewhere? What in the world is going on?”- Whispers were growing louder and louder until it manifested into mass confusion.
-”Be quiet and focus your attention towards me!”- I strictly commanded. The traits of leadership were still strong in me. The crowd suddenly shifted it’s judicial eye to me and stretched it’s ear to hear me out. At last they escaped from the claws of ignorance.

-”I know that I caused a lot of problems to you, I am also aware that my sins can not be atoned and the dirt that I am carrying on myself can not be washed away, however even I... someone like me... I have feelings and I have things I want to protect in this village, but I can’t do this alone.. I ask for your cooperation.”- I began my speech steadily, trying to hide my lingering emotions of doubt.
-”Fourteen days from now this village will become a battlefield, people from another world will invade this place. Yes, it is my fault that they will attack this place, they are seeking to lure me right into their trap. Half a month ago a mysterious messenger warned me that they will strike this place in about a month. They mentioned that if I do not show up here, this village will be devastated, most likely it will mean all of you dying, the tree burning and so on...”- I held my fist pressed against my chest and went on with the speech.
-However if we work together we can prevent this crisis! We have time to prepare! The children, elders and women should be evacuated.. or at least the children. Those, who are volunteering to defend this village pick up your swords and shields, arm yourself with everything what’s necessary. Because soon this place will become a manifestation of hell, because soon maps will be redrawn in this area! Those who are willing to take their stances and fight remain standing here and those, who don’t believe in me... leave this meeting at once!”- I halted my speech, to test their faith... The crowd was rapidly disbanding... and only a couple of recognizable faces were present, among the faces, one belonged to Sandvika. Several dozens of warriors remained in their positions as well, those were the faithful comrades of mine, some of them belonged to the guarding division... the ones that I helped to take care of the monster threat on the outskirts of the village, when I was taking Sylvester’s identity. To my surprise even the grumpy brax herder was there with them, he was honing his knife.
-”I pledge my service to you, master Simon!”- A young man cladded in steel took a step forward and saluted me with his gauntlet positioned against his chest. Sandvika was holding Azure’s mask in her hands, sour tears were visible, building in her eyes. However she then placed her right foot back to build her strength and tossed the mask over to me, I caught the mask in my hand and gave her a reassuring smile.

-”Indeed, this mask once belonged to Azure. Our hero has fallen sacrificing himself for this village, after the last attack took place, in the time of my absence I witnessed his death before my very own eyes. In his dying minute he entrusted me with his ideas, he left hope in front of me. He strengthened my dreams and my spirit! I took his mask and carried it myself, throughout the regions of Atreia. I never let go of this precious thing, because it is the legacy of our fallen hero. His mask was like a face to us and still is to this very own day! It symbolizes his ideals, it symbolizes peace and freedom, protection and victory! It’s a symbol of our village! We must carry out his will and protect this village... as it was not me, who looked after you all this time... it was him and him alone! He was my teacher, he taught me how to live this life and embrace myself! He was and is the hero we always had! However when he’s gone we shouldn’t lose hope! We should believe in our hearts, we should trust our strength and set our souls ablaze! We must become the ones that will carry out his will, the ones that will surpass his ideologies and create the gates to both past and the future. To respect the fallen ones, to protect the ones that have their lives up ahead! We must fight, we must win! Not for Azure, not for me either, but for our sake, for our freedom, for our rights to live!”- I placed all of my feelings in this speech and motivated the ones that stood in front of me, for them to fight further, to never abandon hope. I was holding the mask up, it reflected a bright sun ray from above and illuminated the ones that stood below the column. Symbolizing that we had strength and hope in our numbers and unbreakable trust between each other.
-”AZURE! AZURE! AZURE! ALL HAIL AZURE!!!”- The small crowd was cheering on his name, waving their swords upwards and clapping their hands.
-”When the right time arrives I will give you a certain hand sign to ambush the enemy forces. Meanwhile I will be away from the village, I will travel around Asmodoe in hopes to recruit more soldiers. As of for you lot, you should convince the remaining villagers to join our ranks. You must evacuate the weak ones as well, it’s a primary objective! On top of that we will discuss about the details in private, I think Sandvika’s tavern is a good place to draw some drafts and prepare.”- I placed Azure’s mask on my face and leaped down from the column. A humble number of the most loyal people to me started to cheer me on, waving their arms and smiling.
-”SIMON! SIMON! ALL HAIL MASTER SIMON! OUR HERO IS REBORN!”- It was a flattering experience, but it was not the time to celebrate just yet.

After I received loyalty from some of my villagers we headed to the tavern and discussed about our plans there, we did it in private, to avoid spies. After we were done with the planning I bid my farewell and set my foot out off the village. I had no time for happy and innocent gossips with Sandvika or the others, my main priority was to gather forces before the arrival of the important day.


(Not a lot of posts are left, the finale of the first arc is nearing in. Well I took my time longer than I expected, stuff happens when you are lazy and uninspired and have a lot to deal with irl. Since I wanted to post another addition to this blog sooner I decided to divide it into smaller parts. A continuation to this will most likely be added tomorrow.. or at least throughout the course of this week, hopefully. xD)

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29 Re: The Rift Dancer on Sat May 19, 2018 9:29 pm

Race against time.

My fight did not end, my journey did not cease to be... Time was burning out rapidly, pendulums were accelerating with each dying moment as my struggle was etched in my brain, as my efforts, as my strength and will pierced through the clockwork. I was agile on my feet as well as swift on my wings, searching low and high, searching far and near, I continued to push through the time itself. Days were melting like icicles under the direct heat of the sun yet no one wanted to aid me. No allies, no volunteers, no mercenaries crossed my path I was on my own on this meaningless task. The current numbers were lacking, the currents of time were flowing in a river’s stream. Foolish, naive and ignorant people... of course I could relate to them.. why would someone want to die for a stranger’s sake? Even if the offered payment was higher than life, no one in my path was greedy enough to take a stance beside me. Yet it was not for me to judge those ignorant fools... I lacked allies as I lacked connections.. Janus was something else, probably.. just probably she would of helped me, however I was not the one to put a young girl’s life at stake in addition that she was not in Asmodae. I lacked the guts, no I lacked selfishness in myself.. Did I really become this soft? Or was the very same softness my biggest strength? Why did I have so many questions... yet little answers? Why I had a thought of quitting lingering in my head? Was it fear? Was it even worth it to begin with?

Another moonlight, another noon... Another wind, another place... different faces, ignorant desires... My head was lifted up, my eyes were gazing to the sky... Ah.. War... Death was the winner in any war... I could only laugh at myself.. Thinking about it straight... I was the catalyst of the conflicts... My own existence turned out to be the bane to the world around me... Everyone and everywhere just wanted to hunt me down... What the hell was wrong with this world? Was I at the fault? Was it my fate... to die for no reason? Or was the real reason left behind in the ancient past of mine? I was nothing more, but a shell... a relic.. a breathing reminder of my old self, whoever that person was... Was I acting according to his will? Did Simon’s will drag me this far? Amazing guy... horrible criminal or whoever he used to be... I wanted to be different, I wanted to be myself, to accept myself as I was... I sought to shatter this wall and lift the veil of truth between myself... To finally bring Simon down to the state of nothingness.. As I just possessed his body... as I just had his powers... shared the same name... However I was another man, this past had nothing to do with current me... these people had nothing to win from me... I only hoped that Azure, Sandvika and everyone else would forgive me for being such a broken persona... No! I was nowhere close to broken, only the memories were broken... They should of died with me ages ago... they should of ceased to exist... But yet it was my duty, my whim to protect my home... My true home, where feelings, bonds and emotions kept me alive... Where everything was true and not artificial... where my heart and soul lied... Not because of memories... not because of my past, but because of the bonds that I created... of the fact that I was accepted as new person back there... That’s why I had to protect the village with my own life... I had to sacrifice everything... and thus this was the agreement to myself... a promise to no one, but myself... to save this dream, to live through this dream... To NEVER GIVE UP on this dream... It was the choice of my own fate, the choice of my own universe... The choice of my life.. The people that I cherished for myself had to be saved no matter what.. although the sacrifices were foreseen.

In the mysterious foreshadowing of TIME, days were flying by... reducing to the dirt.. melting to empty memories of yesterday.. Fifteen, fourteen, thirteen, twelve, eleven, ten. Five days passed and no clues, no traces... no helping hand.. nothing whatsoever.. I stumbled upon mighty “heroes”, I crossed paths with deadly assassins, I witnessed the strength of the thousand men... yet they all laughed at my ambitions, they trashed on my will and bravery... Was it the tragic fate of mine? No, I knew what it meant... it meant that I had to become the strength of a thousand men for myself. I needed it, I wanted it... the will to protect the village was dripping from my teeth.. “Azure, lend me your strength.. allow me to win.. let me stand on top.. let me be myself... Trust in my strength, believe in my way...” I was not ready to see my closure yet... I was not ready to experience rapture yet... hell no! My search was as fruitless as every other... The grip on the hilt of my blade was tightened as my own blood was injected to the metal... The fire that was burning spread throughout my veins... the mask, which saw everything expressed emotionless smile. I was not ready to give up, no matter the odds... I was ready to break the clock, to bend the time.. to revert the pendulums... to escape the gear wheels.. to sever the strings that bound past and the future. As the time of passing, as the moment of death was nothing more, but my own delusion.. I had myself on my side.. the greatest power that existed was none other than myself.

The past, which held us tightly.

My day started as I stumbled upon some ruined coliseum in Altgard.. I was able to hear screams and the shrieking sound of blades colliding... The devastating fight was taking place..  Two men.. one smaller, the other one fairly larger... One held a massive round shield and was well armed with steel.. Another one was huge, like Azure... He looked insane.. no he was probably insane... His pale, ashed skin... his red beard... bloody crimson demonic eyes and a scythe on his back.. It was my opportunity the cease the conflict between the two, but which side to pick? This was the question... I decided to spectate their match to fully decide. Tremendous roars and clashes echoed through the area as the titanic, ebonclad giant beat back his final opponent.
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-"RAAAGH!!! HRRANNNGGGHH!!"-  The larger man pressed into the smaller, sending him several meters away.
-"Doesn't this place remind you of Hopstaad, you swine? All the good Nords you murdered when you brought the Coliseum down that day? DO YOU!?!?!"- The larger man madly shouted.
The losing, smaller man was at a loss for breath and words, the tired, battered warrior merely went through the motions now as he tried to prolong the inevitable. He rose wordlessly, and dropped his blade and shield before the titan.
-"I... Surrender. Alsius... wins..."- He surrendered to the big guy. It appeared to be some kind of affairs of unknown war that took place.
- "You, Grand Vizier, who denied so many of my people mercy, now plead for it? I thought you were made of steelier stuff, Mitsaras." - He paused his assault, crossly waiting for his opponent to arm himself. opponent of his  did not reach for his weapons, and stayed prostrated before him.
-"What are you doing? Get up! FIIIIGHT!!!"- The insanely huge man bellowed at his quarry, his powerful voice echoing off the walls of the coliseum.

-"I said you won, dammit! It's been too long... the war ended a decade ago, and yet here you are, destroying every last one of us! When will you be satiated!? It won't stop at me, you know that... you won't stop your vengeance.”- The man desperately tried to inject sense into the larger one.
-”No. I just know that once you're gone, my people get to rest at last. And you'll have paid for your people's sins by the blood you hack up." - Yet, he still did not advance as I was wondering for myself... whether it was wise to interrupt or not... The defeated warrior spat blood, clenching his broken ribs meanwhile and spoke again.
-"You... can't do it, can you? Hahaha... even after everything, such an honorable wretch like you can't stand to not execute his greatest foe. No, it has to be a glorious finale, right?”- The losing one showed some backbone. The larger man's teeth grinded together as he stepped forward, tightening the grip on his scythe.
-"You can't take the life... of a man who's nothing left to live for. You ca.."- Poor man.. he even had no word to say in his current condition.. was I supposed to help this Mitsaras person?
-"I SAID GET UP!!!!!!!!"- That demon furiously kicked Mitsaras in the jaw, sending him careening backwards. The crunch of bone on metal heel echoed.

The man did not reply. His broken jaw bit into his tongue, and the man lurched and rolled over, trying to keep from drowning in his own gushing blood.
-"You will scream for me, Ignean! You will fall after our greatest final battle has ended! Your death will be the GLORIOUS punctuation mark on the essay that is the demise of BOTH our people! Get UP!!!!!!"- He continued to beat his already beaten body.
-"GET UP! GET UP! GET UP!"- He then began kicking the smaller one in his broken ribs repeatedly, chanting over and over. Each kick sent the man rolling through the dirt, his entrails painted the sands red.
-"Oi...oi..What the hell is going on here?!”- Not anymore... my temper has exploded as I could not bear to watch the carnage anymore. He completely rejected my words... and kept kicking the man, and eventually the victim stopped responding.
-"GET UP! DAMN YOU TO HELL!!!"- He grabbed the man’s head in his hand and spat, screamed and shouted in his face...but the other man had appeared to have checked out. His body, riddled with scars of untold altercations from before, and the fresh, savage wounds of today were all laid bare for us. The man's skin was devastated,  body limp and lifeless. The psychotic murderer stopped his incensed attack and panted heavily, holding Mitsaras’ aloft by his head. For a time, the massive man held the corpse there, not wanting to believe Mitsaras was truly gone.
-"Wake... up... and let me get my vengeance.”- His tone was shaky and hoarse, and he began wiggling the body by its head. But alas, the Grand Vizier was dead, and all his kin who might dare seek revenge. Not that they ever could've anyway. He dropped his heavy scythe into the sand, along with Mitsaras’ body, and he collapsed to his knees. He looked on in silent bewilderment, occasionally prodding Mitsaras’ with his finger.
-"You... can't go like this. You can't just... leave me hanging like this..."- He pulled the man's body over to the water beside them, and began cleaning his wounds with the salty brine. He even tried to make the body drink from the salted spring.
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As the giant man wiped the blood from Mitsaras’ body, the rack of broken ribs was laid bare for my eyes to see. The corpse also began to seize up as rigor mortis set in, and the tall berserker finally stopped touching it.
-"Tch..."- I clenched my fists firmly in disappointment. I looked at the beaten to death Mitsaras and then shifted my gaze to the tall man.
-"Calm the hell down for a second and focus on the situation that you're in right now. God damn it... he's fucking dead!"- Obviously it was my first reaction from witnessing the scene. Dropping onto his hands and knees, the man looked solemnly into the water. A few sparkling tears fell from his seared, scarred face as he wordlessly processed my words.
-"You... didn't know him like I did."- Maybe I did not, however this whole situation reminded me of the hatred that I once bore inside my blood. I approached the large man with caution, just in case I was prepared to grab my sword by the hilt with my nervously twitching right hand.
-"What happened...?"- I tried to communicate with him clearly.  
-"This was... to be our final battle.. his... glorious curtain call..." - He remained staring at the water and continued afterwards.
-"I was going to... lay down the names of the people he had ended... I was going to... tell the demons below that the gates of hell were to be blown open by his entrance... Even in death, he took the glorious end I had.... planned for him... my final revenge..."- Vengeance.. the emotion, which lingered deep inside my soul... indeed.. I felt sorry for the man as I knew for myself that nothing good would come from vengeful ideas... Such a hypocrite I was..
-"Of course I didn't know him, this is why I am trying to be reasonable here... what in this forsaken land is going on? Gah! What did he do to you?" - Only confused questions were falling from my mouth.

He kept looking into the water and stood, shaking his head and speaking quietly.
-"What didn't he do, would be the question..." - He turned and slowly grabbed the body. He then walked around me, and hefted his scythe up onto his back. I raised my arms towards, extending it and holding my palm to him.
-"Hoold on.. I can feel your rage, but what are you planning now?"- Such a troublesome individual he was, why was I even wasting my time on him? But yet I did not want to abandon him like that... He also looked like a valuable potential ally for me.
-"The only thing I can give him now. A proper burial, least my... revenge won't be compete." - He walked to the spot where Mitsaras roughly perished, based on the kicking episode. With his hand clutched firmly around his, several series of mighty blows were threw, carving out a hole in the earth. He then lied the broken corpse into the hole and sweeped the sand back over it with his blade. He spoke not a word during the process.

While observing his action I was reminded, no I was rather taken back to one episode that occurred in my past. The situation was similar to his... I was getting a revenge against the person I despised from the bottom of my heart... it was Thomas.. yet I possessed no ill thoughts towards him.. The memory burring Thomas’ corpse underneath the cold and lifeless dirt. I snapped back to reality as I quickly caught up with the current situation that I was a part of. I allowed for him to have his silence, saying not a single word as well with my head lowered down. I stood firmly... like a stone on the earth, breathing deeply and then I lamented a few words.
-"I'm sorry..."- I broke the silence with these two words, however I was lacking for correct words... not even a solid sentence formed in my mouth.. 'I'm sorry...' like the situation required to say such thing.
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The giant threw his scythe over his shoulder again, and clasped his hands in a silent prayer. After a moment, he looked over to me.
-"Your respect is appreciated, human."- He was still wearing a face of bottomless sullenness.
Upon hearing his words my face expression appeared shocked, my mouth opened and my eyes narrowed.. beneath the mask.
-"Human? I don't think that it's a correct term to call me as one, however I'm not too sure who I truly am myself. Aren't you human yourself?"- As always my curious nature got the better of me... even in the situation grim as the current one. Yet I spoke more.
-"Look.. I do understand the way you feel. At least I can relate to it by a little, yet I am still clueless about what happened between you two, however I'm not going to interrogate you right now. It's not appropriate. But the hate that you displayed moments ago... is something that will continue to weigh down your soul until it reaches the bottom."- It was hard to tell his facial expressions from his heavily channeled face. Countless scars and burn marks caked up over it made it very hard to tell when he was not scowling.
-"The story is... long he started by demolishing my entire nation. And left me alive..." - He kept walking.
-"I couldn't give up on those I once fought for and beside... I needed vengeance... closure." - He kept walking away. I began to walk in his trails, trying to find a reason for him to stop.
-"Oh yeah? And what are you going to do now? Where will you go next? Do you even have place to stay? Do you really think that your vengeance is over? I think it's only the beginning... no it's more like a bane to your own hateful existence. But yet, I do know what it means... I seek for vengeance as well, I live with vengeance."-Nervous and worried questions were coming from my lips, the sound of the vibrating shout beneath the black mask of steel.
-"Allow me to stop you right here, right now!"- I brought my right hand on the hilt of my sword and then I drew it forth, carrying it sideways in one hand.
-"I don't have the need to cut you down, I just want to talk.. Because I kind of been in your shoes... rather I am still in your shoes... Our stories might differ, but it doesn't mean that the things we experienced, the emotions that our hearts felt are different."- Blue evaporating mist surfaced across the blade as small blazes were trying to break through the gaps between the metal carvings.  
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The huge man growled under his breath, and then sighed. He unfastened his hoplon from his back, and a shrill metallic shriek could be heard as Yish grinded the tip of a dagger against the inside of the shield.
-"This is the proof.”- He lobbed the shield like a discus at my feet. The face of the shield was immaculate, untouched, as though it'd never bit a blade. In the center, where a handle should be, were etched the words ‘SYRTIS’ on one side, and ‘IGNIS’ on the other. Most of the other tally marks were old and faded in rust.
-"He was the last of his people. I've had fifteen years to find my closure."- As I was gazing down to the shield the man was taking his leave... Leaving disgusting trails of gushing crimson blood. I picked the shield off the ground and approached Mitsaras’ grave, and raised it above my head, afterwards plunging it’s metallic round side into the ground. A monument of a fallen warrior..
-”Great warrior, may the angels lead you in the afterlife.”- I paid my proper respect to the fallen one and then I turned my gaze to the bloody trails, that were left... I decided to track the man.. Not only I felt indifferent to him, but I also saw a great potential in him.. A potential ally on my cause... though I was short on time, but I had to give him a shot.. it was better than doing nothing at all.

The broken thunder in their hearts.  

I’ve been tailing the man for days... the numbers were almost crossed out.. the fateful day was nearing in.. as it was my final shot.. I had to give it my all, go big or go home... whatever the case it was.. I had to try one last opportunity.. To return the pained man to his senses, to disrupt the balance of my prefixed fate... to gain the ally for my future.. not a pawn, but a worthy ally. Glimmering red eyes, etched in the black and cold metallic mask, starring blankly at one spot from a far. Footsteps marching closer of a man, who witnessed the carnage. This man was none other, but me. Lingering snowflakes in the air, the atmosphere around me was cooling down. Pure white snow, stained by crimson viscous blood... or rather the crimson path was trying to guide my way to a man, who forsaken everything... at least that was according to my own standpoint. My black sabatons trampling over the bloody snow and my frame magnifying with seconds, I was ringing the bells of my approach. My back was straight, my stance firm, my gaze clear, my thoughts shrouded in mystery. It was not too long after I reached the snowy cobble stairs before me. Witch each step, I was drawing closer and closer... until ultimately I reached the man’s level and stood straight before him. I tilted my head down, staring at his eyes. No remorse reflected in my eyes, no pity coming out from my aura.. those emotions were long gone for me. Only one thing remained... the whim...no the need to guide another lost soul on rightful or misleading path. Before I spoke, dense steam... more like vapor seeped from the gaps of the mask. It was a result of fallen temperature and my own deep breathing."Huff..puff.." I cleared my throat as I then clapped my hands, rubbing them slowly against each other.
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-"I finally managed to find you. You sure don't know how to cover your trails... you..."- I halted my speech for a moment as I scratched the back of my head.
-"Oh right... I don't even know your name.. at least I didn't get it when you were slaughtering that man... Most likely my memories are lacking, due to the scene that I witnessed.. but oh well..."- I cracked a small laughter, not intending to mock the man or anything, it was more out of despair and hopelessness.
-"But anyway, did you settle in? Can you stay calm?"- I asked him.
The large man's eyes remained fixed on the horizon, slowly scanning across it with time. It seemed he did not mind the cold either, as no signs of shivering or goosebumps were present on him. Furthermore, he seemed severely injured, where blade licks were visible on his forearms, and a gash through his sleeve through, which made a visible torn flesh and muscle. Despite these injuries, the man looked as still and unmoving as the grave, and after a moment's silence he finally spoke.
-”I take it you left my shield with Mitsaras. It's a long and sorrowful road that we've been on, but now that it's reached its conclusion I... have nothing left. I'd be happy to sit and remain here, with my peoples' remains.. as a monument for all to see, of the sad, sorry end of Yishay and his Alsirian brethren." - He blinked once, and added.
-"You've a troubled past too, I'd wager. You saw something of yourself in me earlier, and that's why you did not interrupt in my  business as so many others before you had."- He had a point here.
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The answer that I sought was granted, a smirk was expressed beneath the mask.
-"Good. Then I might as well sit down here and relax myself."- He stepped four small steps forward and twisted myself to face the horizon like Yishay. Slowly, but steadily I placed my backbone on the pavement and extended my legs towards the horizon. Sitting flat. Many questions were lingering inside my head, but not each and every of them were necessary to understand what the man beside me truly felt. Yet, at the same time, I was excited and sad to hear from Yishay. My fingers twitched out of disappointment.
-"Over my dead body you gonna remain here. You still have the things to see, things to learn, things to explore... I know, your feelings will not change overnight, but you shouldn't forsake yourself. You should go, you should run! You should live a new life. A life, that will fill you with joy and sadness once again... a life, who will guide you to either glory or another downfall. If you survived this long, you must find a new purpose. A purpose that is far greater than vengeance was." - He firmly clenched my hand into a rock-hard fist and slammed it against the pavement, denting the surface a bit, dissolving the snow underneath with my angered fist.
-"Anyway, I forgot to add it... but yes the shield was left with that Mitsaras person."- I began to continuously shift my sight over Yishay's damaged body, wondering how the man was even alive with these bloody marks on his body. But this was a question for a later time, more important matters were before my eyes.
-"First of all, it's not for me, to decide one’s fate, especially when I'm not even sure which one of you was in the wrong or right. However, I do assume that neither of you were wrong, you were fighting for your own ideals and countries. Nothing good would of came if I stopped you two. However, you're correct on this one. While observing you I was reminded of myself, of the things I've done... of the things I felt back then. Your soul was crying for help, it even does it now.. Just like mine sometime ago. Yet, I do know very little about myself right now. Hell! I'm not even sure if I will learn more about myself.. but yet here I am sitting beside you and trying to act all friendly... But trust me, I do know what vengeance is...and vengeance will breed more vengeance with time. Not that I escaped from vengeance myself, I sworn to kill a being known as a Goddess of death... and here I am talking... yet taking little action. However, I think this is the right thing to do, because I do believe that on my new found journey I will be able to make the difference, to take glance at the life through different eyes."- I paused for a moment and turned over to Yishay's face, looking him straight in the eyes.
-"Anyway... what led you to this conclusion? How did it really happen for you? It must of been a rough path... However, it's not the time to be sad."
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The great man rose and stretched for a moment, before sitting back down and sighed, speaking once more.
-"I won't bore you with details. I was a common man, who wanted his people to fight for freedom from being beaten down and enslaved by two other countries. I got them to rise again, and fight for our nation's future alongside me. Time wore on, days, months, years, decades even, until finally we lost. Our armies were smashed, I was taken prisoner and I got to watch everyone being destroyed before my very eyes. Then I was left alone to die... and after that, I became a walking engine of destruction, that, over a decade and some change, brought that same complete death to my enemies."- His answer was sent to the air.
-"So this is how it went for you... well then you're no different than me, in a way at least. For my people I was willing to sacrifice everything. I was ready to forsake my own humanity if needed. I killed in order to survive, I killed in order to bring peace and freedom, but yet I turned out as a complete failure. Not only that I failed them, but I lost them all... I lost their faith in me, I lost my brothers and sisters in arms... I lost my dearest friend. Or at least this is who he was to me. My sole friend in this world.. if it's even the world, where I belong in.." - I patted Azure’s mask with my palm, metal clanging noise resonated upon the impact.
-"I took this mask as proof, that my friend is still alive. It's the only thing he left for me when I drove a stake through his skull.. but enough of that.."- I brought my fist to my heart and reinforced my tone.
-"However... I do have no regrets... I must live on, to see what kind of person I was before my memories fled from me. You can actually refer to me as the trigger of destruction.."- I chuckles momentarily, the mask was trembling from the vibration beneath.
-"Haha, engine of destruction and trigger of destruction.. doesn't this makes us as an odd duo? Anyway, I suggest you to quit reminiscing about your past. You should find a new purpose to live, and you know what I might be able to help you. No.. I will help you to stand up. You don't deserve to meet a fate so cruel."

The man rose once more and sighed, looking down to me as he then pulled his scythe back into its sheath. -"Much as I'd like to indulge your request, what would I even do? My entire life was combat. Anything else forgotten hundred years ago. This land may offer me a chance, but what would I even make of it? What life is there for me to even try and make? Do I... just continue finding things to destroy?"- At least some signs of sentient thoughts and wonders began to develop in Yishay’s head. I risen on my feet as well, standing on Yishay's right I found myself smirking beneath the mask. I then readjusted my loose gauntlet on the left hand and lifted my index finger, pointing skywards. My own shadow came alive and crept up across my back, up to the finger that I was pointing with. It reconstructed itself as it started to swirl in a complete black helix.. settling in one stationary position and decreasing in size, into a small, dense and black sphere on the tip of my finger. I shifted my gaze to the furthest distance of the city, looking at the wild dagg chasing a kitter. The kitter, which was a smaller creature obviously appeared weaker... it was nimble, but poor animal had nothing against the menacing predator. I pointed my finger towards the moving animals, locking on their movement.

-"What would you even do? For starters you have power..”- The wild dagg cornered the kitter and was prepared to take a bite off it’s flesh. I was keeping my speech slow...
-”Second thing is that you lived your life for combat...”- The kitter was desperately trying to fend off the larger and stronger animal with it’s claws as I kept dragging my speech.. yet Yishay did not get my hints yet...
-”I also do have power... Power greater than you can even imagine. This miniature black sphere hovering above my finger is the proof of it..”- The dagg became injured, but did not back down.. the beast was about to plunge it’s fangs to the kitter.
-”And with power, choices are present.. You can either utilize this power to destroy or to protect...”- I shot the small sphere out off my finger, it flew like a bullet and crashed between two animals, leaving a small burning hole in the snow.. The animals suddenly became scared and ran off to opposite sides.
-”And that was my choice... I chose to protect both of them from slaughtering each other, yet with my very own power I had the option to slay both of them. You can utilize your knowledge and experience, that you acquired throughout the years, to protect the ones you care for.. and if you don’t have those, then to protect those that require protection or are worthy in your eyes... Eventually someone or something will become worthy of your protection.”- I gave him an option, but yet he remained silent for sometime.. probably he was thinking things through or was trying to process my idea.. Probably it was not the greatest one, but I provided him with options.
-”All those I cared for passed away long ago, mortal. What sort of fresh start could I even have?”- Thus, this was Yishay’s answer.. it was not an answer.. a question, which marked the pursuit of futile illusions... I possessed such things in the past as well.. Escaping, fleeing... giving up... letting your own hands down... those things... were just excuses to stop experiencing life. His way of thinking irritated me...
-"I am but a soldier. But you? You're a prisoner of your own twisted delusions!"- A sad and tremendous shout escaped my mouth.. I was angry... No... I wanted to break him down... to utterly annihilate him, to beat his delusions out off him...
-”I..”- He was about to say something, but he was interrupted as the blue flames spiraled up from underneath my feet.

-”If you have nothing else left, if you have nothing else to do... If no one is by your side... it’s not the reason to quit.. Only cowards and trash quit, but you... you are finally free of your vengeance! You can finally do whatever you deem right! You can finally be yourself, to live a life... a life you always wanted to live.. without being a slave to the nation! Without having to worry about the ones you murdered, the close ones you lost... you should start fresh, find yourself anew! You are worthy of another chance, nah.. you must take another chance... to prove to yourself that your vengeance wasn’t in vain... that you are the last remaining survivor of your people! Just do what is right, count this new start as your new vengeance! Just do it.. I will help you and I will support you, because.. I am no better than you, but yet I know that both of us require a better new start.”- I shouted and mumbled, rambled and growled... just to beat some sense into him... Thus our dialogue prolonged further...
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Thus our emotions clashed... it was another war in it’s own right.. where our minds and hearts sought to find meaning, when we just wanted to find a common ground, however not everything was easy.. and not everything was hard either... We exchanged our words like blows, we exchanged our spirits like missiles... Rotten ambitions, twisted illusions... Fallen dreams and broken desires... We were different, but yet so similar... We were close, but yet so far... However in the end... after a long battle of tongues.. I convinced this monster man to seek life and meaning, and to put the past behind him. For the first time Yishay was no longer bound up by the strings of fate like a puppet...

Before heading to the teleporter he nodded to me and thanked me sincerely... Of course, I wanted to stop him.. Because I needed him for the upcoming war, however the man had to think things through, he was yet to accept himself and in his current condition he was not cut for the job of protecting the village with me.. Instead he promised me, that he will surely find me again.. after he becomes a person on his own, after he manages to find himself.. I simply sighed, realizing that I wasted way too much time to save just one person from darkness.. Yet I was too naive to hope that he would help me right away.. However I felt accomplished in my heart.. I felt like I’ve done something great, something special too.. That my name will not be forgotten so easily.. No matter what was about to come next.. no matter where my journey would of brought me... The current Simon, who is me will never disappear, he will continue to live on...

Prelude to Finale.

At last... The time of clash was prominent, the gears of time were breaking apart, grinding the memories of the past and the future between the wheels. Disrupting the natural flow of harmony, shattering the delusions of mine... I came on top, but I acquired nothing on my part. Well, I was lucky to be alive at least, but being alive was not enough for me, I wanted to see the greatest success... to offer eternal peace to the village, to see the holy tree of life nourishing the fruits of our dreams... Sappy whims of mine.. Yet by my side the strength of the world resided. I was the strength of the world, I became fully prepared to place my life on the line to protect the village, to save Azure’s dream. I wanted to survive for myself, to see the day of returning memories... however there were more important things to do, than staying alive... It was to assure the safety of the village, if not the village.. at least those people... no.. at least Sandvika... I made a promise to protect her and I had to fulfill it, as this was one of my dreams as well.

Only one day remained, I decided to gear up myself.. Through the help of Zerneger’s produced dense black substance of space I managed to arm myself properly.. I cladded my arms in this otherworldly black metal.. I gave it the name of my own, -’The black steel’- I cut off my long braids and instead loosened my long hair, this time it was very similar to Azure’s hairstyle, well I aimed for it though... I wanted for the symbol, for the role model of peace and heroism to take a far more significant appearance in myself... My legs were also reinforced by this so called black steel.. I removed my cloak, as I thought that it would only get in the way and stashed my remaining clothes inside Zerneger’s pocket dimension.. Instead... by using the help of the shadows I woven the very same black coat for myself... Last time I wore that coat when I was fighting Azure... after then I never had the chance... Though it looked like an unwise decision to keep my torso unguarded.. but I had a plan for it... I was yet to manifest my new armor... the armor, which could prove to be strong enough to repel the heaven shattering attack of those demons...
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Thus... I decided to finally come back.. come back to the place, where everything began... come back to the past that I once held dear... To revert the clock, to escape the time... to suspend the space... To create the hole in the dark sky... from where light would shine down upon us... Erect the diamond ladder all the way up to that hole in the sky... for everyone to climb... It was my fate, it was my duty! I was ready to destroy every opposition.. hell.. I was ready to even sacrifice myself... in order to reshape the destiny of Baltasar hill village, in order to rewrite the fate of Sandvika... In order to reach out for my buddy Azure. My soul was in my sword, my heart was in the village... my dreams were made of those, who fell in order to assure the beautiful lives of the youngsters... I had to be like them.. I had to be like those heroes, those heroes of light... the heroes like Azure... It was not a childish dream.. it was a choice! A choice picked by me... As I then named myself as the crusader of the black night! Yes! Black Night Crusader, such a fitting title for my final act... as the conflict was inevitable. I was not alone, I never was...
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Yet.. as I was drawing closer to the village... my sight was getting gradually shrouded... I was able to feel like instead of walking through the dead lands... I... I was sitting in Sandvika’s Tavern... talking to someone... my head was getting heavy once again, a similar sensation it was... However I shrugged off the thoughts from my mind and continued to advance forwards... Forwards the battle, which was about to take the place.. A final war was nearing in...
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(As Promised I managed to deliver a new post here this week. So yeah... uh the upcoming posts are gonna be big, they will mark the finale. I will get pretty busy soon myself, however I do not intend to rush the finale. It will take time to produce, however the finale will reveal some things for the future and as well will open new paths for me and for new stories to develop. As Simon's verse is about to be expanded drastically. Those, who are still reading this look forward for it.)

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